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Behind the Skull Mask: An Overview of Militant Accelerationism

Behind the Skull Mask: An Overview of Militant Accelerationism
4th April 2024 Matthew Kriner

Militant accelerationism has recently emerged as one of the dominant terrorist movements in the Western world. Defined as a set of tactics and strategies designed to put pressure on and exacerbate latent social divisions, often through violence, the goal of its proponents is to hasten a societal collapse, which they believe is already underway. The continued proliferation of these ideas on various online platforms, as well as their role in inspiring multiple far-right terrorist attacks, make this an increasingly urgent issue for analysts, policymakers, and technology companies alike.

This report will serve as an introductory guide that will explain the key elements of militant accelerationism and its primary manifestations. It will begin with an overview and description of the phenomena of militant accelerationism, defining and discussing its main features, influences, and tactics. The following section will outline how practitioners can identify and categorize accelerationist content and activities adherents conduct to further their agenda. Finally, the report will conclude with an overview of observed accelerationist presence on digital platforms.

The report additionally offers policy recommendations for technology companies to aid in their efforts at disrupting accelerationists activities on their platforms. These include the need to develop internal policies aimed at improving enforcement towards accommodating the multilingual and multicultural nature of transnational militant accelerationism. This is in addition to conducting network-based disruptions of militant accelerationist communities on their platforms, amongst others. The threat of militant accelerationism remains a top security concern, necessitating a comprehensive understanding of its core characteristics to address its associated threats.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Militant accelerationism is predominantly neofascist and transnational, with three distinct yet overlapping activity types which include Active Resistance, Passive Resistance and “The Movement.”
  • Adherents of militant accelerationism intentionally join, infiltrate, or otherwise influence pre-radicalised extremist spaces so as to intensify the mobilisation of such ecosystems towards violence.
  • Accelerationist actors largely rely on digital forums as part of their efforts in brand creation, recruitment, and radicalisation and maintain a consistent presence across a variety of online platforms.
  • Accelerationist actors favour alternative media platforms with permissive environments, such as Telegram, Gab, Odyssey and Bitchute.
  • Accelerationist indicators are also present in video game ecosystems online, including on platforms such as Discord, Steam, Xbox Live, Roblox, and Minecraft.
  • Mainstream media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and X (formerly Twitter) remain high-value targets for accelerationists.

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