Let’s Assume We’re All Fucked:
At the 2016 East Bay Anarchist Bookfair, I gave a preliminary talk on a coming anarchism: “Hello From the Wired: An Introduction to Cyber-Nihilism.” Here is an attempt at summarizing the talk’s main points and circling ever closer to some kind of clarity about cyber-nihilism. The full, raw notes can be read here, if you’re a bit masochistic.
In this talk, I introduce a new position within anarchism which takes the nihilist tendency to its fullest conclusions through the force of technology. I aimed to put forward an anarchism that rejects anarchist positions on technology thus far, as either a gateway or a barrier to utopia and an essentialist becoming. I instead argue for an anarchism that recognizes the danger that technology poses, and embraces this danger.
Cyber-nihilism is in a sense a repulsive synthesis of primitivism and anarcho-transhumanism. It appropriates anti-civ and primitivism’s phenomenology of technology, as well morphological freedom and anarcho-transhumanism’s embrace of technology. Cyber-nihilism contends that the proliferation of technology will signal a metamorphosis of the natural world into something beyond the capacity of humans to control instrumentally, and it welcomes this as an eldritch anarchy that retrograded hierarchies and narratives won’t be able to survive.
Cyber-nihilism, as a post-humanist position, isn’t interested in whether or not homo-sapiens or any other living biological lifeforms can survive this transition. It recognizes that Nature is neither static nor kind, and that our subjective experience need not be tied to a particular physical form. Cyber-nihilism is anti-individualist in the sense that it rejects all forms of individualism as grasping at hot air mistaken for the Unique One. It is also anti-collectivist in the sense that it rejects the construction of Man as a surrogate, secular God. Cyber-nihilism therefore welcomes the alienating influence of technology so often derided by primitivists and denied or ignored by anarcho-transhumanists. Let ourselves be alienated from our Selves.
I introduced two primary points of attack for cyber-nihilist praxis: Memes and economics.
Cyber-nihilism seeks to claim and expand the Wired as a space for the digitization and flow of radical memes, revitalizing the cyberfeminist goal to destroy identity in virtual spaces. Cyber-nihilism adds to this project the need to reject and attack the virtualization of hierarchy in the form of the Internet by supporting decentralized and, wherever possible, anonymous alternatives. Wherever meatspace tries to play at the Wired in the form of the Internet (meta-meatspace), it must be stopped. Fascist movements forming on the Internet must be destroyed from their roots in meatspace, and all forms of digital fascism must likewise be cast back into the mud. There is no race, gender, or sexuality in the Wired, and all who seek to impose these constructs in the Wired by virtualizing our assigned identities will also pay for their attachment to meatspace. Every rapist and racist must be phished, hacked, and doxxed, every ad must be blocked, every email must be encrypted.
Cyber-nihilism also seeks to exploit the coming automation revolution that will be necessary to keep capitalism alive. Monsieur DuPont’s Nihilist Communism already ended Marxian political-economy in demonstrating that proletarian revolt is permanent and apolitical, but what he failed to address is the desperation of capitalists. It will soon be software rather than proletarians operating the machines that make capitalism possible, introducing the precariat worker into former third world sites of industrial production. Cyber-nihilism, in the spirit of the post-left critique, welcomes this as the final gasp of 19th century retrograde politics and the birth of a new revolutionary who not only doesn’t need mass movements but rejects them. It is the hacker, not the proletarian, who is the revolutionary subject of the future. The hacker who has the most direct relation to the means of production by understanding the software that runs them, and the hacker who has the revolutionary potential to make profit impossible by exploiting and disrupting these networks of automated machines.
Cyber-nihilism, finally, is nothing if not a last-ditch grasp at vengeance. It seeks to be a more lightweight form of anarchism, one that rejects progressivist narratives, after-the-revolution planning, and romanticism as bloat. Cyber-nihilists are interested only in realizing our class hatred, and we argue that this means rejecting anarcho-technophobia as useless and past its time. We align with the altogether-inhuman, with something far greater and more terrible than anything homo-sapiens can fully grasp or control. We will gladly admit that the bio-mechanical landscape very well may not be suited to us - on the contrary, all the better! The more hostile it is to us, the more assured we are that hierarchy too will not survive in it. We don’t hope for a better world for ourselves, after all. We only ask for one that we can leave without regrets.