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Tag Archives: Accelerationism

Karl Marx’s Social Time

This is a paper I wrote in 2015-16. Some of the ideas in it were discussed previous to that with Professor Mike Neary at the University of Lincoln. ‘Karl Marx’s Social Time’ advances a new theory of social time based on Marx’s rendition of socially necessary labour-time. It indicates how the flow of time can speed up, but also how it can slow down, using examples that demand basic arithmetic.

Although the paper does not explore implications of the theory for Accelerationism, nevertheless, it clearly has significance for this wayward and superficial theory of capital’s time.

‘Karl Marx’s Social Time’ is now available online at ResearchGate and at Academia.

At ResearchGate:’s_Social_Time

At Academia:

In 2006, I gave a presentation in the Centre for Philosophy and Political Economy at the University of Leicester, where some of the ideas in this paper were first germinated. This presentation was also called ‘Karl Marx’s Social Time’.  

Going back further – indeed, 20 years back – and working with Mike Neary, two articles we wrote together provided the foundation for the 2006 presentation at Leicester, and the 2016 paper. These were:

‘Time and Speed in the Social Universe of Capital’ (2002), which is online:

@ ResearchGate:

@ Academia

And, ‘The Speed of Life: The significance of Karl Marx’s concept of socially necessary labour-time’, which is also online:

@ ResearchGate:’s_concept_of_socially_necessary_labour-time

@ Academia:  

To see all my writings that are online, go to:



Glenn Rikowski, 10th October 2022.

Education Crisis

Education Crisis



The Open Library of Humanities (OLM)

CFP: The Abolition of the University: Deadline: Nov 1st, 2015

Deadline: 1st November 2015

In 1968, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and his colleagues at the University of Nairobi called for the abolition of the English department. They attacked an enduring colonial legacy and envisioned an intellectual renaissance in Africa. In 2012, at the University of Glasgow: “Forty years after Ngũgĩ and his colleagues argued for it in Nairobi, the abolition of the Scottish Department was achieved by managerial diktat in Glasgow.” Two institutional interventions: the first driven by the desire to liberate education from epistemological and pedagogical domination; the second, by the neoliberal business model. This special edition seeks to consider the chequered history of the westernised university, to diagnose its embattled present, and to imagine its future.

In recent months, academics, non-academic staff, students and their allies across the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, Albania, Finland, Colombia, Mexico and elsewhere, have staged protests against neoliberal reform of universities. Wendy Brown argues that the evolution of neoliberalism from a set of economic policies into mode of reason imperils not just liberal institutions but democracy itself. Education across the board is jeopardised by the corporate university model. The liberal arts face multidirectional threats, of extinction and irrelevance. Yet as Gayatri Spivak suggests, if the humanities is the ethical healthcare of society, what resources can we summon to reform, destroy, transform, or re-create the university? Or less innocently, as Bill Readings suggests, simply foster a space where academics (and students) can “work without alibis” in acknowledgement that radical possibilities are constrained by the societies in which universities are situated.

This special edition calls for a cross-disciplinary response, from the humanities and social sciences to all critical, creative and deviant positionalities. Diverse submissions are encouraged from policy reform to short stories. In particular, the edition reaches out to those who traditionally or purposefully find themselves outside the ivory towers: those not included and unassimilated.

Contributions will be considered around (but not limited to) these themes:

  • The western / imperial history of the university
  • Literary / creative representations of the university
  • Epistemologies / pedagogies of possibility
  • Western imperial humanism and the humanities
  • The co-option of postcolonial / Black / queer studies and ‘minority’ / transnational / diasporic literatures
  • Education in an age of neoliberalism / neo-colonialism
  • New models for higher education, including cooperatives, free schools etc.
  • The pedagogy of debt
  • The ‘Student As Producer’
  • Accelerationism and competition in the university
  • Activism: Strike / Occupy / Transform (In / Against / Beyond)
  • Resistance through radical poetics / humanisms

The special collection, edited by Lou Dear (University of Glasgow, and Martin Eve (Birkbeck, University of London,, is to be published in the Open Library of Humanities (ISSN 2056-6700). The OLH is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded open-access journal with a strong emphasis on quality peer review and a prestigious academic steering board. Unlike some open-access publications, the OLH has no author-facing charges and is instead financially supported by an international consortium of libraries.

Submissions should be made online at: in accordance with the author guidelines and clearly marking the entry as [“The Abolition of the University,” SPECIAL COLLECTION]. Innovative submissions that do not clearly fit the submission guidelines are welcome and we encourage authors to contact the editors to discuss this. Submissions will then undergo a double-blind peer-review process. Authors will be notified of the outcome as soon as reports are received.






‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

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Alien Life

Alien Life


Tate Britain, London

Friday 10 April 2015, 19.30 – 20.30


All discussions will be held in the Clore Auditorium at Tate Britain 19.30–20.30.

Attendance is free but tickets will be given out on a first-come-first-served basis from 18.00 in the Clore Foyer

Part of the series Speculative Tate

This panel brings together three leading political thinkers, Nina Power, Nick Srnicek (via Skype), Alex Williams and chaired by James Trafford, to consider the ways in which we might think and construct a “future”.

This is surely a task that is an absolute necessity, given, for example, the breakdown of the planetary climate system; increasing wealth disparity, rentier economics; precarity and automation of labour; state bailouts. But at the same time, the future itself seems almost impossible, with the ultimate channeling of thought and action under the axiom of Capitalist Realism: there is no alternative.

The issue raises further concerns regarding “whose” future is under construction? We may rightly ask, for example, if anything can be retrieved from the narrative of “progress” given its alliance with Modernism and Neo-liberalism. On the other hand, the relinquishment of “progress” by the left has arguably left us in a political bind, wherein we have little way of constructing an alternative form of modernisation in a context where increasingly the transformation and automation of labour requires us to think precisely this.

The panel will discuss: Post-work society, automation and Universal Basic Income; How or if it is possible to “think” the future in a democratic way; Whether or not it is possible to restructure the left along the lines of a radical form of modernisation.


Nina Power is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Roehampton and Tutor in Critical Writing in Art and Design at the Royal College of Art. She has written widely on European philosophy and politics.

Nick Srnicek is a political theorist. He is the author of Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics and the forthcoming Inventing the Future: Folk Politics and the Struggle for Postcapitalism (Verso 2015) (both with Alex Williams), and Postcapitalist Technologies (Polity 2016).

Alex Williams is a political theorist, working on the relationship between social complexity and political hegemony. With Nick Srnicek he is the author of the Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics and the forthcoming Inventing the Future (Verso 2015).



download‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

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Capital as Computation & Cognition: From Babbage’s Factory to Google’s Algorithmic Governance

Seminar syllabus [draft, in progress]

New Centre for Research and Practice, 3-24 March 2015.

Enroll –›

Instructor: Matteo Pasquinelli –›


Since the times of Smith, Ricardo and Marx, if not for even longer, capital has functioned as a form of computation constituted by and as a complex mathematical system. As Simondon noticed, the industrial machine was already an informational relay, that was separating the source of energy (nature) from the source of information (the human). After WWII the numeric essence of capital has been coupled with the informational dimension of cybernetics and computing machines, while also subsuming emergent forms of augmented intelligence. Capitalism, as a form of accounting and as an exterior mnemonic technique, is in itself a form of transhuman intelligence. Cognitive capitalism, Specifically, on the basis of its infonumeric procedures, from layman’s accounting to sophisticated algotrading, as well as from immaterial labour to scientific research, is an institution of computation.

The aim of the seminar is twofold: on the one hand, it will provide an introduction to some critical keywords (such as abstract labour, general intellect, cybernetic loop, calculation problem, immaterial labour, cognitive capitalism, augmented intelligence, computational limit, etc.) and to more recent debates around the technological form (on Accelerationism and algorithmic governance, for instance). On the other hand, the seminar wants to provide a compact and accurate bibliography about the canonical approaches to the relation between capital, technology, knowledge and labour. A specific attention will be given to the precise historical contexts in which fundamental ideas were originated and crucial books published. All the bibliographies are therefore compiled in chronological order to make genealogies and the circulation of ideas more comprehensible (and to clarify also epic misunderstandings, weak intepretations and harsh criticism).

The seminar in structured in four parts that correspond roughly to four different historical periods and to their relative types of machinic assemblage. The seminar aims to illuminate each historical moment according to a specific composition of the three variables: capital, computation and cognition. The first technological assemblage to be covered is Marx’s industrial machine, that inaugurated the bifurcation between energy and information. The second one is the cybernetic machine, distinguished by the feedback loop system and by the first experiments at the scale of national economy. Third, the Turing machine more in general will be taken as the basic diagram of cognitive capitalism and the network society and as the terrain of a further bifurcation, that is of the split between data and metadata. Fourth, algorithms for data mining will be discussed as models of the last stage of capitalism and its algorithmic governance, marking the passage from metadata to a global machinic intelligence.

Each seminar presents two or three historical and fundamental texts that are selected from a general bibliography. Documents that will be discussed during the seminar are underlined in bold and marked with an arrow (it is mandatory to read only the texts marked with an arrow: titles in bold are highly recommended). At the end of the seminar, students will be asked to pick up one text or more and to reconstruct how the diagram of the composition of capital/computation/cognition emerges in a specific author or historical moment, or to propose new trajectories of analysis.


As a general introduction to the seminar is recommended the reading of:

➡ Pasquinelli, Matteo (2014) “Italian Operaismo and the Information Machine“, Theory, Culture

and Society, first published 2 February 2014.

➡ Pasquinelli, Matteo (2014) “Augmented Intelligence”, in: Critical Keywords for the Digital

Humanities, Lüneburg: Leuphana university, 2014.



‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia:

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate:

Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas:


Rikowski Point: