A Few Extra Remarks
9. l e n b r a c k e n
* With the development of capitalism, irreversible time is unified on a world scale. He returns to the concept repeatedly:
*(...) the class which organizes the social labor and appropriates the temporal surplus value of its organization of time: it possesses for itself the irreversible time of the living. * From then on [from the time of the great technological revolutions] the succession of generations leaves the sphere of pure cyclical nature in order to become an event-oriented succession of powers. * The chronicle [of history] is the expression of the irreversible time of power... * Eternity is the element which holds back the irreversibility of time... * History, which until then had seemed to be only the movement of individuals of the ruling class, and thus was written as the history of events, is now understood as the general movement... * The triumph of irreversible time is also its metamorphosis into the time of things... * Thus the bourgeoisie made known to society and imposed on it an irreversible historical time, but kept its use from society. * The irreversible time of production is, first of all, the measure of commodities.
IRREVERSIBLE TIME IS INTRICATELY linked with Debord's vision of revolution - a moment when time is used differently by various individuals and groups (rather than as the time of production and consumption as it is today), but this time is also used the same way by the whole of the proletariat in the sense that historical life becomes generalized and everyone has access to the irreversible time of history:
* The revolutionary project of realizing a classless society, a generalized historical life, is the project of a withering away of the social measure of time, to the benefit of a playful model of irreversible time of individuals and groups - a model in which independent federated times are simultaneously present.
IN MARCUS' UNIQUE, AHISTORICAL historico-comparative method, the outward resemblances of cultural forms of the Beatles in Hamburg and Debord in the lower depths of Paris (all in black leather) are the "reversible connecting factor." If this doesn't break the bounds of credulity, why not go further and say that situationist provocations, rarely going beyond the level of insult except in extreme instances such as the riots of May '68, are based on the same "activation of archetypes" as Nazi massacres. These limitations of Marcus' book have been obscured by the way that the whole is cut up and reshuffled to provide still more obfuscation.