“Better that the whole world should be destroyed and perish utterly than that a free man should refrain from one act to which his nature moves him.” – Karl Marx
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all developed a common repulsion towards the idea of “work” as it is expounded today. No number of “Monster.com” advertisements or “value of hard work” lectures can succeed in disguising the acute stench of management lurking just behind this vapid sloganeering. Fuck the generally accepted notion that “hard work pays off”; deep down only the biggest of imbeciles actually believes that putting in a few hours of overtime each week will actually remedy the existential doom he faces daily from the moment he (finally) manages to rise out of bed up to the last hours of “free” time he struggles to enjoy before the cycle of boredom comes full circle and begins once anew. The cold truth is that the division of labor has come to full fruition. Productivity is the only rule, all passion has been stamped out by the cold calculation of the commodity-economy, and desire has been swapped for manufactured leisure-for-sale. Aside from survival, for what---nay, more importantly for whom---are we working?
Regardless of the assurances of all the art critics and culture advocates, I still can’t swallow the notion that art or music can remain autonomous from the impositions of commodity production and exchange-value. Yes, Dope Jams is first and foremost a labor of Truth…but it is still labor nevertheless. We can’t pretend that the bill-collector has ceased to exist, that this world isn’t based on the power of money, or that the pursuit of profit and its corrosive and corruptive influence has not begun to rot away at every aspect of music, art and culture. But then again, that’s why Dope Jams was established in the first place: to create a space in which the music could be played freely, where boundaries were for once established within false culture, that at least some small microcosm of space could be made autonomous from cultural-capital accumulation posing as art. For if we fail to muster the energy to refute all of the empty gestures of the normal routine, music really could become the empty husk of what it once was, an institution of petty self-posturing rather than one of real expression and true cathartic release.