The ideology that supports the power of the ruling class does not consist merely of explicit propositions. It also comprises silences and blind spots - things that are not seen or said. The debate about whether to turn the clocks back or not illustrates this.
Rick thinks our existing arrangement is “bonkers”:
Shifting the middle of our daylight hours to 12 noon means that for almost everyone, there will be light in the morning when they don’t need it and darkness in the evening when they do.
This debate is daft. Whatever we do to the clocks, we’ll only get eight hours of daylight in the winter. The only way to increase hours of daylight is to winch the country southwards.
Which raises the question. Instead of changing the clocks, why don’t we adjust our hours of work and schooling instead? If it’s dangerous or unpleasant to go to school or work in the dark mornings, just start the school or working day later. In the lighter south, the school day could start at eight and finish at three. In the darker north, it could start at ten and finish at five.
Businesses could do a similar thing. A northern one could weigh the convenience to its employees of starting later against the desire to keep the same hours as southern customers, and choose the optimum hours accordingly.
Granted, it would be a little inconvenient for schools and businesses to change hours twice a year. But this would be mitigated by the convenience of having the same clocks as our European trading partners.
This seems obvious. So why isn’t it being considered, and why are we faffing around with talking about changing the clocks instead?
Enter the ideological blindspot. Working hours are not chosen for the convenience and safety of employees. They are instead a means whereby the capitalist asserts his power over workers, and whereby workers are dehumanized and turned into mere means of production. As Andre Gorz wrote:
The scientific organization of industrial labour consisted in a constant effort to separate labour, as a quantifiable economic category, from the workers themselves. This effort initially took the form of the mechanization, not of labour, but of the actual workers…
Time for working and time for living became disjointed; labour, its tools, its products, acquired a reality distinct from that of the worker and were governed by decisions taken by someone else. (Critique of Economic Reason, p 21-22)
And the school day is imposed upon children in order to inculcate into them the discipline of capitalist work.
So successful has capitalism become in normalizing this discipline that we do not even see it. The strongest powers are those we take for granted. And this blindness leads to the madness of changing the clocks when we could instead change our behaviour.