The Politics of Time is the seventh overall release, third album-length release, and first compilation by American hardcore punk band the Minutemen.
Released in between their Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat 12" EP and Double Nickels on the Dime double album on their own New Alliance Records label, the album compiles seven tracks meant for a non-SST Minutemen studio album that never materialized, a variety of live tracks of varying recording quality (most done with ordinary cassette machines), and a recording by the Minutemen's predecessor band The Reactionaries.
Part of the sleeve note on the back cover facetiously asks listeners to "note the quality of the recording" on the live version of "Fanatics" (from The Punch Line). While the recording is an almost undiscernable mess, the cut is apparently included for its historical importance as according to Henry Rollins in his book Get In The Van, on this night at the end of the song, D. Boon had jumped into the audience with his guitar on, hollering the title word of the song while "knock[ing] those skinheads [in the audience] over like bowling pins".
Also of note is a live recording of "Futurism Restated", which had earlier appeared on the 7" EP Bean-Spill. The version that appears on this album contains a full extra verse of lyrics not found in the other version (although the lyrics are almost completely undiscernable and the album lacks a lyric sheet.)
The Politics of Time would later end up as a song title on Double Nickels on the Dime.
SST Records, after buying New Alliance from Mike Watt and Martin Tamburovich in 1987, reissued The Politics of Time on SST in 1987 on vinyl and cassette, as part of the Post-Mersh Vol. 3 CD in 1989, and as its own CD in 1991.
- Base King – 1:12 (Boon/Watt)
- Working Men are Pissed – 1:17 (Watt)
- I Shook Hands – 0:58 (Watt)
- Below the Belt – 0:56 (Hurley/Watt)
- Shit You Hear at Parties – 1:06 (Boon/Watt)
- The Big Lounge Scene – 1:23 (Watt)
- Maternal Rite – 1:13 (Boon)
- These seven tracks recorded November 1981 at Casbah Studio, Fullerton, CA. Remixed July 1983 by Ethan James
- Tune for Wind God – 3:05 (Baiza/Boon/Hurley/Watt)
- Recorded April 24, 1983 at a dried riverbed in the Mojave Desert near Victorville, CA by Bruce Licher.
- Party With Me Punker – 0:54 (Watt)
- Recorded July 12, 1983 at the Minutemen's practice place in Long Beach, CA by Richard Derrick and James Ellis
- The Process – 1:17 (Boon/Watt)
- Joy Jam – 4:46 (Spot/Boon/Hurley/Watt)
- These two tracks recorded live November 27, 1982 at KPFK in Studio City, CA by Andrea 'Enthal.
- Tony Gets Wasted in Pedro – 2:10 (Lazaroff/Watt)
- Recorded January 1979 in the shed behind George Hurley's house as The Reactionaries.
- Swing to the Right – 0:41 (Watt)
- ¡Raza Si! – 0:58 (Watt)
- Recorded September 1980 in George Hurley's shed.
- Times – 0:45 (Watt)
- Badges – 0:35 (Watt)
- Fodder – 0:42 (Boon/Watt)
- Futurism Restated – 1:30 (Joe Boon/Watt)
- Hollering – 0:58 (Watt)
- Suburban Dialectic – 0:42 (Watt)
- Contained – 0:57 (Hurley/Watt)
- On Trial – 0:39 (Watt)
- Spraycan Wars – 0:55 (Watt)
- These seven songs recorded live December 26, 1980 at the Bla Bla Cafe in Studio City, CA by Joe Baiza.
- My Part – 1:35 (Boon)
- Recorded live February 28, 1983 in Copenhagen, Denmark by Black Flag roadie Mugger.
- Fanatics – 0:32 (Watt)
- Recorded live March 4, 1983 in Brixton, England by The Soldier Dolls.
- Ack Ack Ack – 0:41 (Talley-Jones/Johansen)
- Recorded live March 1, 1983 in Arhus, Denmark by Johnny Concrete. A cover of The Urinals song.
- The Big Blast for Youth – 1:20 (Tamburovich/Vandenberg/Boon/Hurley/Watt)
- Recorded live September 24, 1983 at the Longshormen's Ball in Wilmington, CA.
- D. Boon - vocals, guitar
- Mike Watt - vocals, bass
- George Hurley - drums
- Joe Baiza - second guitar on "Tune For Wind God"
- Spot - clarinet on "Joy Jam"
- Martin Tamburovich - lead vocals on "Tony Gets Wasted In Pedro", saxophone on "The Big Blast For Youth"
- Dirk Vandenberg - trumpet on "The Big Blast For Youth"