Class revolt, together with sexual transgression, was a central element in the descriptions of the Sabbat. which was portrayed both as a monstrous sexual orgy and as a subversive political gathering, culminating wIth an account of the crimes which the participants had commited, and with the devil instructing the witches to rebel against
their masters. It is also significant that the pact between the witch and the Devil was calleded conjuratio, like the pacts often made by slaves and workers in struggle (Dockes 1982: 222; Tigar and Levy 1977: 136), and that in the eyes of the prosecutors, the Devil represented a promise of love, power, and riches for whose sake a person was willing to sell her (or his) soul, that is, to infrige every natural and social law.
The subversive, utopian dimension of the witches’ Sabbat is also stressed, from a difFerent angle, by Luciano Parinetto who. in Streghe e Potere (1998), has insisted on the need to give a modern interpretation of this gathering, reading its transgressive features
from the viewpoint of the developing capitalist discipline of work. Parinetto points out that the nocturnal dimension of the Sabbat was a violation of the contemporary capi­talist regularization of work-time, and a challenge to private property and sexual ortho­doxy, as the night shadows blurred the distinctions between the sexes and between “mine and thine”. Parinetto also argues that the flight, the travel, an important element in the charges against the witches, should be interpreted as an attack on the mobility of immigrant and itinerant workers, a new phenomenon, reflected in the fear of vagabonds, that much preoccupied the authorities in this period. Parinetto concludes that, viewed in its historical specificity, the nocturnal Sabbat appears as a demonization of the utopia embodied in the rebellion against the masters and the break-down of sexual roles, and it also represents a use of space and time contrary to the new capitalist work-discipline.

Silvia FEDERICI, Caliban and the Witch, p. 177

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