Time “Wasted” in the Age of Capitalism: Impatience With Revolution

The text continues its sometimes winding rhetoric with the succinctly titled “Space/Time”, which makes me very anxious just by the title. After all, one of my pet projects, a fantasy novel, has been floating around in my brain (and in various mediums, through different hard drives and notebooks) for the better part of a decade, and thus, I worry if the project will ever be finished. Oh, the woes of living under capitalism! But I digress.

It must be said that I heartily enjoy the discussion of the labor movement and the progressive instinct in the civil rights coalition (See “Why We Can’t Wait“), as the Marxist in me adheres to a materialist view of history as time is on the side of the workers, all but inevitably so. Although I could wax philosophic on how oppressive systems in capitalism also impose upon the dimension of space, it is time I wish to draw our attention to.

For people who consider themselves to be any sort of leftist in the United States, there may be hope to be had for pushing real progress. Currently, the Democratic Party is experiencing the prospect of real political infighting (of sorts), in the form of Senator Bernie Sanders staging an insurgent campaign against the longtime frontrunner Secretary Hillary Clinton. For months, the “democratic socialist” from Vermont has campaigned hard for the souls of American voters, to bring about a “political revolution”; volunteers, interns, and even his wife, putting in dozens of hundreds of labor hours. Is this struggle worth the time, or does the capitalist oligarchy in America doom the Sanders campaign? We’ll see.

But as the race continues, and Clinton’s inevitability questioned, some worry that we are merely wasting our time championing a messianic narrative for yet another neoliberal that “fails to live up to the hype”, as it were. We are lacking pragmatism. However, the TT itself gives many examples of people (black Americans living under Jim Crow especially), who might’ve faced similar criticism for being discontent with their lot in life. Black Americans waited to be served after whites for food, healthcare, the bathroom, quite literally all aspects of life in the public sphere. How long did their ancestors wait to be freed from slavery, only to be thrown into a different kind of bondage? How long did black women wait to escape cruel and sexually deviant white masters, only to be held hostage by the tyranny of slave wages?

This legacy of slavery echoes in the frustrations of racial justice movements today, such as the #BlackLivesMatter crowd, who demands (most recently, at a Sanders rally) with the chant “Not one more!”, referencing the death of countless African-Americans at the hands of police.

How then should we view time in our every-day society? To what degree are we afforded luxury, freedom of time, freedom from oppression under the neoliberal consensus? This answer may vary, depending on your socioeconomic background, race, sex, gender, religion, and so on.

And that, my friends, is precisely the problem. There should be no variance. Daily, systemic injustice wastes an inordinate amount of time in our society, and we all suffer for it. Do not be shocked at those who call for radical change. You perhaps, might not immediately think of revolutionary politics when engaging with theoretical tools, but to paraphrase a modern intellectual,¬†on activism, “Don’t just act, think!”

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One Response to Time “Wasted” in the Age of Capitalism: Impatience With Revolution

  1. Prof VZ February 7, 2016 at 8:49 pm #

    Great post–and I do enjoy those old-school videos! In relation to time, when you say that “Daily, systemic injustice wastes an inordinate amount of time in our society, and we all suffer for it,” that mounts a powerful argument against the sort of pragmatic, middle-road message that guide centrist candidates. I suppose the danger is embracing radical change as an end (or good) in itself. That sort of reaction against the “status quo” or “establishment” can lead to some virulent strains of politics on both left and right. Awesome linking by the way!

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