Radical media, politics and culture.

prophetic J Church

There's a punk band I quite like, called J Church. They have a song which includes the line "even my dreams these days have work related scenes". Ouch. At the last organizer job I had I started having work related dreams. Awful.

My new job is more of a 40 hour a week thing, with normal daytime hours. Less hours but still tiring, especially since I'm an insomniac used to staying up and getting up late. Anyway, I stayed up super late downloading music Friday night, and at 7:20am saturday, four or so hours after turning in, I jolted awake, convinced I had slept through my alarm. I jumped out of bed, then realized it was Saturday. Like in that one Franca Rame monologue. It's really funny, unless one thinks much about it. Then it's awful.

In the intro to Nights of Labor, Ranciere writes about some workers in 19th century France - "What they found intolerable was not exactly the poverty, the low wages, the uncomfortable housing, or the ever-present specter of hunger. It was something more basic: the anguish of time shot every day working up wood or iron, sewing clothes, or stitching footwear, for no other reason than to maintain indefinitely the forces of servitude with those of domination; the humiliating absurdity of having to go out begging, day after day, for this labor in which one's life was lost."

He goes on to talk about the workers' "nights of studying, nights of boozing", as part of "other forms of existence beyond death, which may be beginning at this very moment in the attempt to put off as long as possible the entry into sleep, which will repair the powers of the servile machine." Reminds me of a quote by US punk icon Aaron Cometbus, talking about his time in high school. Having been told that he and his friends would be the building blocks of future society, Cometbus and his punk pals decided to fuck themselves up so badly that they could be the building blocks for nothing, nothing would be built on/out of them. I'll have to remember that the next time I can't sleep, it's somatic class war.

I wonder about that, actually. My new job is a proper office job, tie and everything. I have to shave every morning, and had to buy new dress pants, dress shirt, and dress shoes (got a good deal on second hand stuff, outfitted myself completely for less than $100 including new shoes, in large part due to some creative - and time intensive - ebay searching by my partner). This is a cost of time, and of money. It means the wages are effectively less and/or it's additional unpaid work time. Housework? Maybe. Certainly reproductive labor, and makes it clear that reproductive labor is not the generic maintenance of bodies and making of new ones, but is reproduction of labor power in the specific form required for its sale in particular instances - clean shaven well groomed labor power with a tie at my newest place, labor power that is pursuing a Masters degree in education for one of my friends.

Off to bed now, have to repair the commodity for its sale tomorrow morning, and its malcontent fantasizing tomorrow evening.