“Every clock is a cop”


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April 2024

“Every clock is a cop”

Police, prison, boredom, work, drudgery – these things exist because our lives are ruled by the implacable rigidity of Time. They are under its control, caught in its clutches. “Every clock is a cop.” Time is our master and our tormentor. Let’s rise up and throw off the shackles of Time! Abolish Time! But that’s easier said than done.


here is both truth and fantasy in the call to “Abolish Time”, the appeal to make 2024 the “final year”. But it’s not about predicting the coming Apocalypse. Unlike the legion of prophets of doom warning about the end of time, the anarchist authors of this manifesto state quite explicitly that what they want is to abolish dead time, and replace it with party time. This call for the abolition of Time is also a call for peace and celebration.

The problem is that when you abolish Time, you also abolish the Self. Time is not external to us – it’s part of what and who we are. Without an internal clock, our vital functions could not regulate themselves – we would succumb to chaos and death. Just as the matter that makes up our bodies is ultimately dust from the stars, our internal clock is regulated by the master clock of the Universe. When we try to measure time, all we’re doing is chasing after it. We get closer and closer, but we can never quite reach it. (It is now possible, apparently, to measure time with an accuracy of 1 second in 30 billion years, and we’re still trying).

But what our anarchist friends really mean, when they say they want to abolish Time, is that they want to abolish time’s ability to dictate our work. That all began around the time of the industrial revolution, which was only made possible through the precision of mechanical horology. Ever since the first clock was invented, an hour has been the same length for everyone. The clock is the great social regulator. Although it has facilitated countless scientific advances, it has also enslaved people to the tyranny of the timetable, the rhythm of machines, the strict division between work and freedom, and constant surveillance.

What's in a name ?

In this respect, smartwatches represent the ultimate triumph of temporal regulation over our lives. They are even able to display the rhythms of our internal clocks, the waveforms of our beating hearts. The smartwatch is the perfect cop – recording and registering everything, omniscient, omnipresent, tracking every second of our waking lives, and our sleep too. They have infiltrated our reality to the point that choosing not to wear a tracker on your wrist can seem almost irresponsible, dangerous even. We’re “on the clock” more now than ever before. Thanks to their extreme precision that records far more than our dull senses can even detect, they paradoxically seem to abolish time by communicating their information instantaneously.

So you want to abolish Time? Time is already being erased, swallowed by the eternal Now.

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