But should the Left be coming up with ‘new’ ideas all the time? Politics is not fashion – and, in any case, even fashion is more cyclical rather than endlessly transhistorical. […] Certain fundamental things that the Left seeks to abolish – exploitation, inequality, material poverty, exclusion – are more present than ever and while they may take on ‘novel’ forms, the real newness may simply be quantitative, as more and more people ‘pay’ for a crisis they didn’t create (which is not to buy into the idea that austerity is in any way ‘necessary’, of course).
Perhaps the real problem here is the way in which time itself always serves as the measure for all politics, and all critique of politics, whether it be the bleak future, the heroic past, the desolate present, the utopian tomorrow, the shadowy past or the dawning of a new day. […] If time is a weapon used against people fighting against the speed and brutality of what is happening, we may be forced to use a different image of time – or perhaps an image of a world without time altogether – against those whose only measure seems to be the maximisation of profit in the shortest possible period. The question of whose finitude counts and whose doesn’t – a brutal marker not only of the division between life and death but between the more important distinction between those whose life/death ‘counts’ and those about whom nothing is counted at all – is played out in the only post-religious ‘infinite’ permitted to matter: permanent accumulation. The dedication to amassing at the expense of life itself reveals a terror of time so disturbing that any politics of temporal pessimism/optimism looks insignificant by comparison.
As we defend those who await trial, or write to those in prison, or sit in courts, job centres and universities as futures are crushed all around, time may be all we have left: time in which to abolish their notion of time and replace it […] with a life in which nobody seeks to make time measurable at all, for all time.
- Nina Power, The Pessimism of Time