Occupy Leap Year

Okay, right from the outset, let’s get one thing straight. Nobody associated with this movement has said publicly that leap year is a tool of capitalist oppression. There are a lot of people associated with this movement—it’s a true, grass-roots, communitarian effort to promote a more human, more progressive climate for policy—and they have a lot of different views. Just because I, personally, happen to think that leap year is just another instrument of social control that the 1% use to enforce their agenda, well, that doesn’t mean that all of us feel that way. There have been too many cases where people have used the private views of one or two members to make the entire movement look foolish or naïve. The insidious distortion of the corporate media is almost as bad as the slander from the right-wing noise machine, if you ask me.

Besides, it’s not like anyone is consciously using leap year as a mechanism of social injustice. It’s more like nobody’s ever thought through all the implications in the modern era. Most people don’t even recognize that the calendar itself is a tool of the Western patriarchy. They start teaching you the days of the week in preschool, and you don’t ever even stop to realize how embedded it is in the culture. Even if we started calling it by its right name—the Gregorian calendar—that might make people stop and think where it came from and who started it. And like a lot of negative things, it comes out of organized religion.

For over fifteen hundred years, Western Europe had a secular calendar, developed by the Romans. Then Pope Gregory comes along and says, well, we can’t use the Julian calendar, because that means we can’t predict when Easter is. So the Catholic Church takes eleven days out of the calendar because the Pope didn’t want do something sensible like just decreeing that Easter was the first Sunday in April. That just shows you the conformity inherent in faith structures. And the Jesuits spread it all over the place, and that meant that local, culturally-relevant calendars in the Islamic world and the Far East were effectively supplanted by a Western import. The Catholic Church even pushed its calendar into the Protestant nations, although that took a couple of hundred years. It’s so warped that when Lenin and the Bolsheviks took over in Russia, the first thing they did was switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian—that’s why the October revolution actually took place in November. Some revolutionaries they were.

I mean, really, think about it. Every four years, we arbitrarily just say that February has twenty-nine days instead of twenty-eight. If you were trying to come up with something that ridiculous, you’d be laughed out of town. People would think it was a page out of The Onion or something like that. So the year is a little longer, and the big corporations get another day’s work out of their employees, and another day to bank their profits and fund misinformation campaigns to make it look like anyone who doesn’t go along with their worldview are a bunch of dirty hippies.

Of course, leap year in this country just happens to be in an election year. Don’t think that’s not a coincidence. In places where there’s a parliament that’s responsive to the voters, you know, you can have an election whenever you want, if the current regime isn’t following the will of the people. In England, the prime minister can call a snap election and have the whole thing over with in three weeks. But it doesn’t work that way in this country. It doesn’t matter how high the unemployment rate is, or how much they make in bonuses in the investment banks, or how the people are calling out for social justice. You still have to wait for the Tuesday after the first Monday in November of a leap year, and even then the regime doesn’t change until that next January. That’s pathetic.

You want to know who had the right idea? The French revolutionaries. That was a people’s rebellion like this one is, except they marched on the palace and arrested the king. They tried him for treason and chopped off his head. And once they got in power, they did not mess around, not one little bit. They took the Gregorian calendar and tore it up and replaced it with a decimal calendar. That’s twelve months with thirty days each, ten days per week, ten hours a day. That left five extra days a year—six in a leap year, of course—and they put those days in at the end of September and made them a national holiday. That’s the way that serious revolutionaries do things. Then Napoleon comes along and switches everything back.

Hope that cleared things up for you. Love to stay and talk, but there’s a tweet I got that said that somebody’s dad brought over a bunch of meatball sandwiches, and I better hurry and grab one before the homeless guys snag them all. Napoleon was a counterrevolutionary SOB, but he was right about the army traveling on its stomach, you know.

Leave a Reply