Archives de Tag: Banque Mondiale

In many cases, …

In many cases, what arms could not accomplish was achieved through “food aid,” provided by the United States, the United Nations and various NGOs to the refugees and the victims of the famines that the wars had produced. Often delivered to both sides of the conflict (as in the Sudan, Ethiopia, and Angola), food aid has become a major component of the contemporary neocolonial war-machine, and the war-economy generated by it. First, it has entitled international organizations other than the Red Cross to claim the right to intervene in areas of conflict in the name of providing relief (in 1988 the United Nations passed a resolution assert- ing the right of donors to deliver aid).17 It is on this basis that the U.S./ UN military intervention in Somalia in 1992–1993 (“Operation Restore Hope”) was justified.
But even when it is not accompanied by troops, the delivery of “food aid” in conflict situations is always a form of political and military intervention, as it prolongs the war by feeding the contending armies (often more than the civilian population), it shapes military strategy, and helps the stronger party—the one best equipped to take advantage of food distributions—to win.18 This is exactly what took place in the Sudan and Ethiopia in the 1980s, where, by providing “food aid,” the United States, the United Nations and NGOs like CARE became major protagonists in the wars fought in these countries.19
In addition, food aid contributes to the displacement and the relocation of rural communities, by setting up feeding centers organized around the needs of the NGOs; it also undermines local agriculture by causing the prices of locally marketed produce to collapse; and it introduces a new source of warfare, for the prospect of appropriating large food supplies and selling them locally or on the international market provides a new motive for conflict, creating a war-economy especially in countries that have been radically impoverished.20
So questionable has food assistance been in its effects, so dubious its ability to guarantee people’s livelihood (which would have been better served by the distribution of agricultural tools and seeds, and above all by the end of hostilities), that one has to ask whether the true purpose of this initiative was not the phasing out of subsistence farming, and the creation of a long-term dependence on imported food—both being center-pieces of World Bank reform, and conditions for the “integration” of African countries into the global economy.

Silvia Federici, « War, Globalization and Reproduction » (2000) in  Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 80


War has not onl…

War has not only been a consequence of economic change; it has also been a means to produce it. Two objectives stand out when we consider the prevailing patterns of war in Africa, and the way in which warfare intersects with globalization. First, war forces people off the land, i.e., it separates the producers from the means of production, a condition for the expansion of the global labor market. War also reclaims the land for capitalist use, boosting the production of cash crops and export- oriented agriculture. Particularly in Africa, where communal land tenure is still widespread, this has been a major goal of the World Bank, whose raison d’être as an institution has been the capitalization of agriculture. Thus, it is hard today to see millions of refugees or famine victims fleeing their localities without thinking of the satisfaction this must bring to World Bank officers as well as agribusiness companies, who surely see the hand of progress working through it.

Silvia Federici, « War, Globalization and Reproduction » (2000) in  Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 79

As the men migr…

As the men migrate, or do not have the money to support a family, and as the state lacks or is presumed not to have funds to invest in social reproduction, a new patriarchal regime comes into existence, that places women in the “Third World” under the control of the World Bank, the IMF and the many NGOs that manage “income generating projects” and “aid” programs.
These are the new supervisors and exploiters of women’s reproductive work, and this new patriarchy relies on the collaboration of European and North American women who, like new missionaries, are recruited to train women in the “colonies” to develop the attitudes necessary to become integrated in the global economy.

Silvia Federici, « Reproduction and Feminist struggle in the new international division of labor » (1999), in Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 74-75

Similar conside…

Similar considerations apply to the efforts that feminists have made to convince governments to criminalize domestic violence and the “traffic” in women. These initiatives do not go to the roots of the abuses perpetrated against women.
Can punishments remedy the situation of abject poverty that leads parents in some countries to sell their children into prostitution? And how can governments in Asia or Africa upgrade the condition of women when the World Bank and the IMF force them to cut all social spending and adopt the strictest austerity programs?47 How can these governments give women equal access to education or better health care when structural adjustment requires them to cut all subsidies to these programs? And will parents be likely to send their daughters to schools when their sons are unemployed after obtaining a diploma?
If international feminism and global sisterhood are to be possible, feminists must campaign against structural adjustment, the payment of the foreign debt, and the introduction of intellectual property laws, which are the means by which the new international division of labor is being organized, and the livelihood of the majority of the world population is undermined.

Silvia Federici, « Reproduction and Feminist struggle in the new international division of labor » (1999), in Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 73-74


It is in response to this discrimination that over the last decade, as L. Muthoni Wanyeki (2003) has documented, a women’s movement has grown in Africa to demand a land reform and land rights for women. But this movement will not succeed in a context where the women making land claims or insisting on holding on to the land they have acquired, are treated as witches. Worse yet, this movement can be used to justify the kind of land reform that the World Bank is promoting, which replaces land redistribution with land titling and legalization. For some feminists may believe that titling gives women more security or can prevent the land disputes that have so often been the source of witch-hunting and other forms of warfare in rural Africa.
This belief, however, is an illusion, since the land law reform which the World Bank and other developers (e.g. USAID, the British Government) have promoted can only benefit foreign investors, while leading to more rural debt, more land alienation and more conflicts among the dispossessed. (Manji 2006). What is needed, instead, are new forms of communalism guaranteeing an egalitarian access to land and other natural resources, one in which women are not penalized if they do not have children, if the children they have are not male, if they are old and can no longer procreate, or they are widowed and without male children coming to their defense. In other words, feminist movements, in and out of Africa, should not let the demise and/failure of a patriarchal form of communalism to be used to legitimize the privatization of communal resources. They should, instead, engage in the construction of fully egalitarian commons, learning from the example of the organizations that have taken this path, like Via Campesina, the Landless Movement in Brazil, the Zapatistas, all of which have been committed to the building of women’s power and solidarity as a fundamental condition of success.
Indeed, viewed from the viewpoint of the African village and the women who have been the victims of witch-hunting, we can say that the feminist movement too is at a crossroad and must decide “which side is it on.” Feminists have devoted much effort during the last two decades to carving a space for women in the institutions, from national governments to the United Nations. They have not, however, made an equal effort to “empower” the women who, on the ground, have borne the brunt of economic globalization, especially in rural areas. Thus, while many feminist organizations have celebrated the United Nations’ decade for women, they have not heard the cries of the women who, in the same years, were burnt as witches in Africa, nor have asked if ‘women’s power’ is not an empty word when old women can be tortured, humiliated, ridiculed and killed by the youth of their communities with total impunity.

Silvia FEDERICI, Witch-Hunting, Globalization, and Feminist Solidarity in Africa Today p. 14-15