back to e-flux.com

Against Nick Land and the Reactive Left — ANON


#1

The William Buckley debates was political discourse at its finest. Although watching Norman Mailer throwing shade at Gore Vidal is entertaining, James Baldwin taking Buckley to task holds a special place in our hearts. Baldwin defending his, and by extension, the black underclass’ right to exist With persuasive reason and eloquence is a relic of a bygone era. Gone are the nuanced with engagement with your opponent, self-gaslighting is on trend these days.

“I don’t know too much about Karl Marx, but there was this man who wrote The Decline of the West, Spengler— he had another book that’s a little lesser known, called The Hour of Decision.” - Malcolm X on Oswald Spengler.

Nick Land is a smarter, poorer Martin Shkreli. A comic book villain with an over-inflated ego. He understands post-truth very well, and at this point, he’s just a versatile rhetorician. The Kellyanne Conway of the Marxist academia. His reactionary defection has been theatre and pure hyperstition. At one point, his “Dark Enlightenment” read as a prophetic dead canary to the Left: a prognosis of what type of program lies ahead.

Sometimes we suspect even he’s confused by his right wing hyperstition and oscillating between having no real politics and being a cryptofascist. Whatever the case, we believe refusing to engage with him or his work will not get to the crux of what is going on right now.

The rise right-wing populism in the 21st Century shows a significant portion of the population is open to postmodern, authoritarian demagogues like Trump or Le Pen. Until we confront the historical demons and pathological deterritorialization that brought us here, we will continue to see this problem evolve.

Land himself even remarked that the Alt Right is a mass political movement against capitalism incubating, unexpectedly, from the right. Don’t get the wrong impression, this is no apologia for Nick Land. He is, indeed, the enemy, politically and philosophically. He deserves to be indicted, but not in the court of public opinion. Attack him in the academy, then shit on him over Twitter when seminars end. That’s what we do every weekend.

Some of us, the members of Anon, have been attending Land’s seminars at The New Centre for Research & Practice. The virtue of taking his seminar on Accelerationism gives us a chance to engage with him directly and challenge him in a way that is rare and helpful. The seminars have a flexible structure, structure and accommodate multidirectional conversations. Thus, we seize every opportunity available to both learn what we can from him and others attending the seminar while protesting and pushing back on his ideas when necessary.

As leftists, we should learn to engage with materials that make us uncomfortable at times, if only to better learn how to effectively resist. The “shut it down,” no platforming culture has its own limits and is partially responsible for the emergence of the Alt-Right as a mobile online force.

The marriage of the memetic SJW to tactless AntiFa is a hurdle the Left needs to overcome. Our first document skewers the “woke” Left because, a). they are our cohort, for better or worse; and b). the Left should feel more culpable for the state of affairs than it does. Thank you, AntiFa and SJWs, for proving us right. Congrats, on shutting down the LD50 gallery! But when are you going to take on The Whitney for Dana Schutz’s crass painting? Does the spectacle of LD50 hide the fact that there are left wing galleries that are far more complicit in gentrification, worker exploitation, misogyny, and racism?


ANON is a collective of “Other.” Some of us are sex workers, some immigrants, many of us queer. There are even a few privileged white cucks amongst us. Nevertheless, ANON is largely the work and brainchild of People of Color (PoC). Our social disciplines are as varied as our identities, from journalists to dominatrixes. ANON are the intellectual cousins of #BlackLivesMatter divorced from liberalism. All inquires should be directed to: xenochan@protonmail.com


Why is Nick Land still embraced by segments of the British art and theory scenes?
#2

The reason this continues to read as scurrying is because it is. Everyone is, on some level, aware that the real (unvoiced) answer is something like ‘screw this disruptive no platform nonsense, some people with real dubious politics are worth talking to and others aren’t’ - undeniably, in some sense, an “apologia.” And just so is everyone aware that the reason the New Centre, and many of its supporters in this, can’t or won’t say it is that the ‘reactive’ ratchet-left still have their hooks in you, and can jerk your strings (or chains) accordingly. And so they raise their toy hammer, and you scurry. Being unable to bear the risk of not remaining firmly to ‘the left,’ loudly divorced from any element of the new right, is crippling, and it shows.

How much money, directly in course tuition and indirectly in attracting bright new students, has been thrown away in summarily capitulating to these people? Which is to say, what tithe, what burnt sacrifice has been extorted by the new priests of this wannabe Inquisition? Herein lies a stark measure of the surrender to weakness rather than strength.


#3

HenryDark’s reply to this post is really brilliant and much, much more than this deserves. Any approach to theory that is “memetic” is necessarily anti-intellectual. Indeed, if you read the #AltWoke manifesto that these guys wrote, it is clearly memetic in nature, and their official Twitter account contains a number of embarrassing pronouncements alongside its memes.


#4

Ha - way to signal-boost, guys. You’re not using the word ‘memetic’ particularly well, by the way.


#5

This whole article is so confusing.

First they cite M. X citing Spengler, the questionable historian with a theory, that came out to be an apocalyptic fairy tale (early Huntington ghost stories / *funfact: Hour of Decision in german is called “Years of Decision”), then they throw Shkreli, comic-book villains and Conway at Land, what’s very academia-like, then they describe Trump and LePen as postmodern, what also very scientifically seems to mean: “later than recently”, then it re-advocates Land for some good stuff and then dismisses the Antifa and SJWs because they didn’t shut down the Whitney Museum for exhibiting a “crass painting” by a woman of a murdered black child, what becomes worse than cryptofascist Land in that context.

I don’t understand the whole reason for this article. Actually I am not a fan of Accelerationsim, either the one of Land nor the “nicer” euro-version of Srnicek, Williams or Avanessian. If one is against the political concept, I don’t see, how sitting ferociously in a seminar and “shit on [Land] over Twitter when seminars end” is anything at all. I don’t understand what’s that horrible about a painting. Sure ethnic tensions in america are highly problematic, but attacking a painting is sort of Stanlinistic, even if one feels that the aspect of representation should be discussed. What is “pathological” about deterritorialization? What’s wrong with Antifa? They’ve being fighting Neonazis and taking shit from all cites since forever?

I sometimes fear that all americans have just gone crazy.