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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL Septembre - Interview, Silvia Federici (feminist): "Capitalism separates and isolates women" (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:23:44 +0300

How is capitalism possible? In Marxist question Marx's answer: by the unpaid labor. The worker of the labor force is exploited, and the wealth it produces is extorted by the capitalist. How is the work of the workman possible? In feminist issue, Silvia Federici answer: by the work of women that allows the worker to reproduce his daily labor. In an interview with Hourya Bentouhami, philosopher and activist U, Silvia Federici returns to the specificity of patriarchy within capitalist societies. ---- AL: Is it that you can explain your background that goes from the study of witch hunt (in "Caliban and the Witch") as having contributed by you to the first form of primitive accumulation with enclosures[1]women, on reflection you lead today on domestic work and capitalism on a global scale in what amounts to a form of neo-colonialism?

Silvia Federici: In the 1970s, we started to analyze the reproduction work, domestic work, as a very important field of exploitation of women and struggle in capitalist societies. This led us to think that women have to lead an independent struggle not only provide support function of the struggles of men. From this perspective, I began to think the history of the construction of domestic work, and this led me to rethink the history of primitive accumulation. I realized early on that it was important to understand what capitalism is, how it developed and how turned the job is called in modern reproductive labor society - especially the housework. So I interested in pre-capitalist societies to understand how this work has been transformed, especially in Europe. I then studied the Middle Ages. And I realized that in feudal society which was a very oppressive society because of slavery (which was a strong operating system), the serf in many cases had as a pay access to land, so reproducing means[2]. In most cases, they worked the land of a community way. Land owners (the lords) gave them a plot of land to breed. I studied this Community reproductive system and I found that it was the land of great solidarity, where strong links are built. I especially as women in this system were less isolated and less dependent on men that in the capitalist system. Less dependent than the housewife of modern life, separated, isolated in his house, often destitute, while the wife of the medieval village is a woman who is always with other women. This research thereby permit me also seize the role of women in pre-capitalist struggles against feudal power. It is leaning on the struggles involved women and that developed against the feudal system that I started to understand the development of capitalism: it was not an internal change factor system social, but operated in the manner of an against-revolution.

AL: Although there have always been social violence, you insist on the specificity of capitalist exploitation.

Silvia Federici: Yes, I do not want to idealize the Middle Ages, nor between men and women at that time. I'm always afraid to make big generalizations because of a feudal society to another there are also many differences. However, what made me think lies in this fact: in a community where goods are in the labor share in a Community regime, the way women and men worked was a stronger character of cooperation. Community schemes have established relationships and opportunities: in the late Middle Ages, before the great growth and the religious heresies, which were in fact social heresies, there was an alternative to the feudal system and the beginning of a market society. We observe peasant wars in the late fifteenth century, they brought thousands of people. For example, in Spain, farmers went from one village to another to recruit during the uprisings. They had a great experience weapons.

I also found that there was a difference in women's position in relation to the capitalist situation that I noticed later studying pre-capitalist societies, pre-colonial Africa, where there was a sexual division work. Women cultivated, were a particular type of culture, they had their own harvest; and men had theirs on their side. So there was a sexual differentiation, but did not put women in a position of weakness because this differentiation was accompanied by a greater cooperation between the women themselves, especially in agriculture. To give you an example, in 1929 in Nigeria, in the city where I was near the Niger Delta, which became famous because of the "war on women" that took place there, the British who had colonized the region already taxed harvest of men. But this year, they decided to also tax the women harvest, which had the effect of seeing women lift. They began to organize in the entire region, 10 000 women converged on Aba, released prisoners, organized an office of the administrative city. Taken by surprise, the British had to retreat. It is this struggle which dates the entry of African women in British anthropology. We realized that from this form of community agricultural work, women were highly organized. This was described in this beautiful book of Wole Soyinka (Ake - The years of childhood), his mother was engaged in the movement at the time when he himself was still a little boy. Fela's mother had also taken part. It is an extraordinary episode.

AL: That reminds analyzes the Nigerian feminist, Oyeronke Oyewumi, author of The Invention of Women. She worked on the Yoruba. She explains in her book that imported a certain way of seeing the kind from Western countries, and it does not match the Namibian reality: there are sex differences but they do not necessarily work in a matrix exploitation and domination.

Silvia Federici: From the moment of sexual difference becomes exclusion, hierarchy, then it must be fought. Sexual difference in itself does not mean oppression: at least when one is in a non-capitalist society. For example, Nigerian feminists have spoken of this institution in the family in which the infertile woman could find a form of social compensation to her infertility. If she could not procreate, she could marry another woman, which could have a child with a "servant".

However, capitalism produces the difference, including sexual difference. What capitalism does is separate, isolate. The witch hunt has not only meant the subjugation of women, but also the separation of women among them. She made women rally, friendship between women a dangerous thing. There was a period in capitalism in which a woman was afraid to be seen with other women, because she could be suspected of participating in a cult of witches. This was accompanied by legislation that has gradually forbidden for women to get together with other women to walk alone in the street, to accompany their friends. And also to have strong relationships with their families after marriage. In England, for example, it was thought that women, once married, had to build a new loyalty to the husband. The witch hunt has been fundamental to restructure the relationships within the family in three directions: the woman's relationship with the family, with other women and with children. Solidarity among women is attacked: solidarity must focus on the nuclear family around the figure of the husband. The woman must devote all his energy to it. Intense female sociality that existed in the Middle Ages is attacked. Then, solidarity with the parents and family or you just also attacked. You have to be in solidarity with your children.

This is also reflected in the reproductive policy. In the Middle Ages, when the life of the mother was in danger, the mother is saved. From industrialization, the opposite is true: the mother is sacrificed. With the professionalization of medicine, priority is given to the child. This can be explained from the labor market: the child, the new life is the new productive worker, older people can be abandoned because they are not productive; relations with friend-es are not productive, relations with the husband are productive because they allow the husband to break free of domestic work. That's what I see in the transition from a pre-capitalist society to a capitalist society. Of course there are many differences between the pre-capitalist societies, this is a generalization but women community relations tissue is a common element that is found in Africa, in Europe, but also in Latin America, despite the contrasts between these different historical models and experiences.

About recuillis by Hourya Bentouhami

When global capitalism set women together

Silvia Federici has also made a valuable contribution to feminist reflections on the international division of labor at work since the 1970s This has broadly weakened the status of women by subjecting them to specific forms of exploitation - solidarity and pre livelihood activities being eaten away by the extension of capitalist relations and neoliberal restructuring - but it also helped establish or strengthen neo-colonial relations between women themselves, because if production is redistributed internationally reproductive work is also. First, as she recalled, the emigrants massive use of the Third World in the North American metropolises of Western Europe and the rich countries of the Middle East has allowed bring a colonial solution to the problem of housework for women of middle and upper classes. This leaves unchanged the status quo between the sexes in the distribution of household tasks and relationships "maids-madams" arising preclude any feminist solidarity. Next, it should be noted that the important international babies flows to these same rich countries (via the adoption and surrogacy) exchange which sometimes tends toward commodification, reports the weight of procreation (the consequences for work or risks health) on women in the third world instead of to assume the community. Finally, through sex tourism or prostitution of immigrant women is the sexual dimension of reproductive work that is redistributed. Thus, the new international division of labor "accentuates division in women by specialization and fixing tasks that reduce our possibilities of life and introduce us to new hierarchies and stratifications, endangering the possibility of a fight common " [3].

Marco (AL 92)

[1]The enclosure (fencing, in French) at the end of the Middle Ages in England corresponded to the expropriation of peasants out of communal lands. The term "enclosures women" is the dispossession of women to control their bodies and their knowledge.

[2]The reproduction means designates Marx all necessary means not only sexual reproduction of workers, but also for their own survival, reproduction of their cells, muscles, etc. (it can go through the means of production as among the serfs - land, tools, livestock - or access to consumer goods necessary through wages as in the proletariat - food, clothing, heating, housing).

[3]"Reproduction and feminist struggle in the new international division of labor" (1999).

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