The most extreme accelerationists intend to implement destructive means to prevent a future where white supremacy falters.
It’s ironic that anti-lockdown protests took up so much space this past week and distracted me from the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing on April 19th. It’s my opinion that the bomber, Timothy McVeigh, would have enthusiastically joined these protests if he had the chance. His anti-government control sentiments, conspiracy theories, and white nationalism made for a deadly combination in 1995 when he parked a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, where 168 people died. Though he would ultimately be painted as a “lone wolf” by the media, there is plenty of evidence that he had entire organizations behind him—white separatists of the “Patriot Movement” who had helped to radicalize him. McVeigh went to prison, but those extremist groups have remained. They are alive and operational, albeit behind the scenes or underground.
They are the kind of groups behind the current protests by white supremacists and “Patriots” against COVID-19 safety measures. As The Guardian reports, they are “supported by street-fighting rightwing groups like the Proud Boys, conservative armed militia groups, religious fundamentalists, anti-vaccination groups and other elements of the radical right.” The protestors are an enigma to a lot of people. I’ve witnessed folks on social media trying their best to make sense of their rallies—pointing out the cognitive dissonance, the contradictions, the hypocrisy, the antithetical nature of their arguments, and the fact that they are actively putting themselves and countless others at risk.
The simple answer is that they are a death cult. A more complicated answer is that, though they may be a minority, their beliefs are rooted in a foundation shared by many, many more. The US is proving more than ever right now that it is a failed state and white supremacists are showing their investment in its failures, because furthering our dystopia—the state in which BIPOC have always lived—is the point.
Cruelty is the point.
Dysfunction is the point.
Incompetent leadership is the point.
Making things worse is the point.
I’m not being pessimistic or fatalistic. This is what accelerationism fueled by white supremacy looks like.
Accelerationism, a concept ironically misappropriated from a Marxist critique of capitalism, is a philosophy which advocates for the intentional collapse of the current social order. The objective is to create conditions that will allow white people to begin anew because they believe white people are becoming oppressed and diluted by racial diversity, the overpopulation of BIPOC, and immigration. It’s yet another manifestation of their fear of the mythical white genocide.
Thus, white supremacists, nationalists, conspiracy theorists, Nazis, right-wing extremists, and separatists take up their flags and arms to march against orders that are intended to help bring us out of crisis. Because crisis is exactly what they want. Moreover, many hope to exacerbate it. Meanwhile, Trump supports the protestors because his administration sees even more opportunity in the collapse—to give fascism and the police state an even stronger hold. The only people who continue to deny Trump’s ties to and investment in white supremacist nationalism are those who refuse to see it and those who benefit from the denial of the truth.
Accelerationists remind me of suicide bombers—willing to sacrifice themselves if it means that their cause is furthered, and they are convinced that their sacrifice is a significant contribution to the cause and will ultimately help it become realized. When you understand this, the anti-lockdown protests make some kind of backwards sense.
Self-proclaimed ethno-nationalist and eco-fascist Brenton Tarrant published his manifesto online immediately before carrying out the New Zealand mosque massacres in 2019. His accelerationist ideologies are articulated throughout, particularly in the section titled “Destabilization and Accelerationism: Tactics for Victory.” He writes, “Destabilize, then take control. If we want to radically and fundamentally change society, then we need to radicalize society as much as possible.”
Tarrant also addresses the white genocide mythos: “It is never wise to become a minority group… In every country, on every continent, those that are in the minority are oppressed. If you become a social, political or ethnic minority it will always lead to your oppression.” People like Tarrant see a bleak future for whiteness because they harbor deep fears that we will inevitably do to them what they have always done to us—an anxiety that I call apocalyptic whiteness.
They cannot fathom a world in which minority groups are not exploited and abused, because this is the system in which whiteness has always thrived. And so, they will do whatever they can to prevent becoming a minority group (even though white people are the global minority and still oppress entire countries with majority Black and brown populations). To combat this, the most extreme accelerationists intend to implement destructive means to prevent this bleak future. The sooner society collapses, the sooner we descend into madness, the better. Sewing seeds of chaos and creating even further political and economic divides will inevitably, by their calculations, inspire passively racist or “on the fence” white people to move further right and embrace white supremacist violence.
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Accelerationist inspiration is notably found in William Pierce’s 1978 novel, The Turner Diaries. A white extremist explains to the main character that “[O]ne of the major purposes of political terror, always and everywhere, is to force the authorities to take reprisals and to become more repressive, thus alienating a portion of the population and generating sympathy for the terrorists. And the other purpose is to create unrest by destroying the population’s sense of security and their belief in the invincibility of the government.” The character goes on to use a homemade bomb in a terrorist attack at a federal building and thus allows the Aryan revolution to succeed in their mission to overthrow the government and take over completely. The Oklahoma City Bombing was Timothy McVeigh’s attempt to bring The Turner Diaries to fruition, as he followed in the main character’s footsteps almost exactly.
You cannot convince me that white supremacy is not a religious cult of its own kind, or that participation in it is not a sort of spiritual experience for its devout worshippers.
You cannot convince me that they do not find pleasure, enjoyment, and even ecstasy in spreading racist propaganda and indulging anti-science, anti-government conspiratorial rhetoric.
These protests are a demonstration of what it looks like when narcissistic myths of overpopulation, resource scarcity, and white genocide come together with eco-fascism, ethnonationalism, and eugenic thought. All of it—even the anti-science and anti-vaccination rhetoric—is yet another display of white people’s racial anxiety. They are afraid of us.