Italian autonomist Marxist Silvia Federici on wages and housework.
They say it is love. We say it is unwaged work.
They call it frigidity. We call it absenteeism.
Every miscarriage is a work accident.
Homosexuality and heterosexuality are both working conditions…but homosexuality is workers’ control of production, not the end of work.
More smiles? More money. Nothing will be so powerful in destroying the healing virtues of a smile.
I remember when I first Silvia Federici's Caliban and the Witch I liked its synthesis of autonomist Marxist emphasis on class struggle and Foucauldian 'politics of the body', situating the womens struggles as a site of class conflict. But I also had some nagging doubts about elements of the historical narrative.
Since the book makes the explicit claim that patriarchal histories have written out women, I put this down to a dissonance between received patriarchal 'common sense' and the book, and gave the book the benefit of the doubt. Anyhow, I just got into a conversation about the scale of the witch hunts, and looked up Federici. Here's what she has to say:
An interview with Italian Marxist feminist, Silvia Federici which centers around austerity measures in the universities, the response from students in California and women's place and experience within these movements.
Maya Gonzalez and Caitlin Manning1: You have written about university struggles in the context of neo-liberal restructuring. Those struggles responded to attempts to enclose the knowledge commons.
- 1. With contributions from Aaron Benanav, Amanda Armstrong, Chris Chen, and Zhivka Valiavicharska
Caliban and the Witch is a history of the body in the transition to capitalism. Moving from the peasant revolts of the late Middle Ages to the witch-hunts and the rise of mechanical philosophy, Federici investigates the capitalist rationalization of social reproduction. She shows how the battle against the rebel body and the conflict between body and mind are essential conditions for the development of labor power and self-ownership, two central principles of modern social organization.
Originally published in Midnight Notes, #10,1990 and republished by The Commoner www.thecommoner.org
Warfare has significantly changed in the last thirty years. From 1945 until about 1975 most wars were
part of the worldwide movement of decolonisation that saw the formation of dozens of new states in
Africa and Asia. Since then most wars have been civil wars within the decolonised countries, sometimes
WAR, GLOBALIZATION AND REPRODUCTION