Sunday, April 11, 2010

Drum Corp International (DCI): A Musical Captialist System

The Drum Corp International is the serious, worldwide musical extension to high school marching bands. DCI is "Marching Music's Major League" (DCI). Every dedicated musician who commits their time, energy and dedication to one of the many DCI drum corps (composed of brass instrumentalist, percussionists, and color guard members)is enlisting themselves into a capitalist machine. This system is neither good nor bad, it simply is what it is. According to a Marxist perspective, each musician is capital to the non-profit DCI corporation. But here comes the irony of this capitalist system. The individual musicians are not paid any wages, in fact, they must pay thousands to even take part. In Marx's "Wage Labor and Capital" section of Political Critism a capitalist system looks at any employee as simply a part of the production process, another raw material if you will (Marx 660). In the case of DCI, each musician is the ultimate raw material, as they not only contribute to creating the unique and entertaining field shows DCI runs on, they buy into DCI while aiding in the creation of more capitalist products (DVDs, shirts, bumperstickers, etc.)
If DCI ran according to Marxist ideals, each member of every drum corp in the DCI would receive an equal share of the overall profits created by all of their combined labor (559). Instead of paying thousands of dollars each to march, the musicians would receive a small amount of money, equalizing them with the staff who run DCI in Indianapolis, Indiana. However, this is not how DCI runs, nor will it ever run in this fashion. Through and through, DCI is a prime example of how effective exploiting a labor force can be to a large capitalist corporation.

Works Cited

"DCI Info". Drum Corp International. 2010. 10 April 2010. Web.

"Wage Labor and Capital". Literary Theory: An Anthology. Ed. Rivkin, Julie and Ryan, Micheal. Blackwell Publishing 2004: (559-664). Print.

1 comment:

  1. actually, since the $$$ generated by DCI and the corps exceed what they spend, no one actually "makes" money. You also slide by the notion that the primary product of DCI is not the performances and events, but the experience and education aspects of participation -- there would be no DCI or drum corps if the experience itself were not the primary product. a version of drum corps where the performance were the product is Blast!.