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Tim and Freedom: Anarchism as Synthesis

Anarchy is not the negation of the state but the synthesis of freedom as thesis and time as antithesis. The least conscious domination, the most hegemonic inasmuch as it is often not even defined as such, is time. Marx, Thompson, and Zerubavel are three writers to consider, but each only examines the partiality of temporal domination. Time dominates at all levels as negation of space and freedom of movement in it, from the microsecond of capitalist transactions to the longue duree of slowest historical time. In between are eventful agendas, daily schedules, yearly work cycles, the life trajectory, debt repayment schedules, family history, nation-state monopolisitic chronotopes, and mythico-historical religious and secular temporalizations of long term history. All negate space in their estrangement from the real flow, that is precapitalist time as Marx regarded it, samsara in Buddhism, the Tao in Taoism (an original anarchism), or what Bergson calls duree. Anarchism in history has sought and can seek to reclaim time in multiple but unprescribed ways, from Situationism to TAZ to the Nietzschean dance, to hip hop local liberation on a global scale, to indigenous peoples' assertions of rights in their territory, to union strikes, etc. etc. However, in each effort, the reflexivity must be about how much temporal control has been gained in th elong run. What is more, in light of recent events, is the monopolization of state control in times of temporal disjuncture or crisis time, whether generated by human practice or natural catastrophes. Class/race/gender advantage is always everywhere temporal capital, i.e. the ability to overcome daily, personal, community, or national crisis without disruption, though never completely!! The state must bale out the destroyed capitalist over and over. Thus, even natural breaks in time are really socially produced, since the wealthy can always airlift out on a charter jet, hire armed mercenaries to gurard their property, or repair, with state help, the breaks in their captial flows and cycles. The paradox, though, is that bourgeois actors are just as much servants, even slaves, to the domination of state-controlled time. Once inside the accumulation of capital, the conspicous display of wealth, or the global potlatch-like game of it all which is capitalism, they can not extricate themselves from TIME either. They are always everywhere still even more dependent on others to supply their choices with freedom, just like Kierkegaard's Aesthetic Man. They can plan parties of liberation, freedom in nature, or orgiastic spontaneity, but all always depend on others who do not share their advantages against time. The isolated individual can not escape from social time, but as Robinson Crusoe's most serious task was to keep a calendar and is partner took the name of time = Friday. On a different plane, "liberating" social movements are often framed only by a concern for a break of the dismempowered from space, without regard for time. Ironically, all so called liberating social revolutins have been followed by or coincident with intensification of time regimentation, whether the Puritin ethic of the American Revolution, the Republican Calendar of the French Revolution, Welfare capitalism, or the industrialization of time in Soviet Russia. Even workers' movements generally gain only concessions not control of time that number many in history like the eight-hour work day, long vacations in France, etc. Both the anarchy of capitalist competition and the anarchy of anti-capitalist social movements have been reclaimed again and again by the state. The sttae establises standaradized times to assist expansion and ultimately globalization of capitalism, wich, if left to its own flow, would collapse into an anarchy of competing temporalities, e.g., the early railroad schedule problem in the U.S. The hard-worn assurances of leisure time through socialist and anarchist actions without monopolization of labor-time by capitalism, the latter of which Marx predicted without considering the power of the state to claim a higher control of labor time, both converged into the state power. None of these resolve the underlying contradiction between time and freedom, and reclaim ownership from the state. In all, the modern state is a time-control apparatus first and foremost. Portrayal of the state as only an imagined community within constructed spatial boundaries, overlooks the hidden dimension of exploitation through the temporalization of power. It is not just about anti-essentialism, but anti-spatialism mixed with pro-temporalism. The very immense question is how to reclaim time from its negation as a subjective eventuality from the state.