Nettime mailing list archives

[Nettime-nl] Deactivist Manifesto
Florian Cramer on Wed, 18 Sep 2013 15:56:08 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-nl] Deactivist Manifesto

...written and published by WORM, Rotterdam (http://wpu.worm.org,
http://www.worm.org). -F

"Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social,
political, economic, or environmental change, or stasis." (Wikipedia)

"Change management is an approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and
organizations to a desired future state." (Wikipedia)

DE-ACTIVATE: a de-activism manifesto

* De-activism is non-passivist activism that refuses to end up as change

* De-activism is activism that does not buy into innovation narratives.

* De-activism basically is turning ‘things’ off.


De-activism considers the concept of 'having or gaining less' to have equal
value to the doctrine of growth.It is clear that some species have to
shrink in order to save their own kind (species). We need smaller fish in
less water. We need decreased visibility in organisations and systems to be
kept out of sight from controllers, bureaucrats and accountants.

Like conventional business economics, conventional activism often falls
into the trap of promoting growth. Look at social activism that activates
the dormant economy of a neighborhood. Look at environmental activism that
grows organic supermarkets and solar cell industries. See how queer rights
activism ends up growing the wedding industry. See how media activism
fosters the growth of Silicon Valley and Chinese computer sweatshops by
promoting access-for-all participatory media.


De-activism embraces shrinkage. It looks for systems to deactivate - no
matter whether these systems are technological, commercial, social,
cultural, political, personal.

De-activism is a turn against accumulation - accumulation of stuff, of
ever-more layers of determinism and complexity. De-activism is about
leaving gaps and opening up undefined, new spaces.

Doing so, de-activism is strictly pragmatic. It entails no whatsoever
romanticism and zero nostalgia for a pre-modern, unalienated or off-urban
life. But it permits itself to indulge in obscure, obsolete and ineffective
systems, technologies and practices that have slipped under the PRISM radar
of this self-control society.

De-activism does not buy into any liberal or libertarian ideologies of
deregulation either. These ideologies are ultimately about economic growth
and accumulation of property. They only pretend to do away with systems
while actually installing new ones that are just as intransparent and even
less manageable than the ones they replace. (Bitcoin, the libertarian
alternative to conventional money, is a good example.)


And lastly, de-activism is not about quality over quantity. De-activism
opposes qualitative accumulation just as much as quantitative accumulation.
It embraces quality loss, at least aesthetically. It also makes no false
dialectical promises (like: "less is more") of a better life that is to be

De-activism is a deliberately open experiment, indeterministic, with
unpredictable outcomes. What will happen if we switch off and shrink? How
can we produce less goods, less services, less data - without this activity
becoming yet another system on top of everything else, one more layer of
accumulated complexity?

This is the fundamental paradox of de-activism. De-activism does not
pretend to ever solve this paradox, but embraces it as an (un)creative

De-activism is our emancipation from self-imposed burnout, from Tiredness
Society, ADHD, Prozac, Effexor, Ritalin, from our own opportunism in doing
stuff that we know is a bubble. De-activism simply aims for the functional
decolonization of everyday life. It doesn't fetishize shrinking, and
therefore won't stop at itself. Probably, it will deactivate itself at some


WORM, Rotterdam, september 2013
* Verspreid via nettime-nl. Commercieel gebruik niet
* toegestaan zonder toestemming. <nettime-nl> is een
* open en ongemodereerde mailinglist over net-kritiek.
* Meer info, archief & anderstalige edities:
* http://www.nettime.org/.
* Contact: Menno Grootveld (rabotnik {AT} xs4all.nl).