Archives de Tag: Division du travail

It is the essen…

It is the essence of capitalist ideology to glorify the family as a “private world,” the last frontier where men and women “keep [their] souls alive,” and it is no wonder that this ideology is enjoying a renewed popularity with capitalist planners in our present times of “crisis” and “austerity” and “hardship.”20 As Russell Baker recently stated in the New York Times, love kept us warm during the Depression and we had better bring it with us on our present excursion into hard times.21 This ideology that opposes the family (or the community) to the factory, the personal to the social, the private to the public, productive to unproductive work, is functional to our enslavement to the home, which, in the absence of a wage, has always appeared as an act of love. This ideology is deeply rooted in the capitalist division of labor that finds one of its clearest expressions in the organization of the nuclear family.
The way in which the wage relation has mystified the social func- tion of the family is an extension of the way capital has mystified waged labor and the subordination of our social relations to the “cash nexus.” We have learned from Marx that the wage hides the unpaid labor that goes into profit. But measuring work by the wage also hides the extent to which our family and social relations have been subordinated to the relations of production—they have become relations of production—so that every moment of our lives functions for the accumulation of capital. The wage and the lack of it have allowed capital to obscure the real length of our working day. Work appears as just one compartment of our lives, taking place only in certain times and spaces. The time we consume in the “social factory,” preparing ourselves for work or going to work, restoring our “muscles, nerves, bones and brains”22 with quick snacks, quick sex, movies, all this appears as leisure, free time, individual choice.

Silvia Federici, « counterplanning from the kitchen » (1975), in Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 35-36
 
Publicités

It is the essence of capitalist ideology to glorify the family as a “private world,” the last frontier where men and women “keep [their] souls alive,” and it is no wonder that this ideology is enjoying a renewed popularity with capitalist planners in our present times of “crisis” and “austerity” and “hardship.”20 As Russell Baker recently stated in the New York Times, love kept us warm during the Depression and we had better bring it with us on our present excursion into hard times.21 This ideology that opposes the family (or the community) to the factory, the personal to the social, the private to the public, productive to unproductive work, is functional to our enslavement to the home, which, in the absence of a wage, has always appeared as an act of love. This ideology is deeply rooted in the capitalist division of labor that finds one of its clearest expressions in the organization of the nuclear family.
The way in which the wage relation has mystified the social function of the family is an extension of the way capital has mystified waged labor and the subordination of our social relations to the “cash nexus.” We have learned from Marx that the wage hides the unpaid labor that goes into profit. But measuring work by the wage also hides the extent to which our family and social relations have been subordinated to the relations of production—they have become relations of production—so that every moment of our lives functions for the accumulation of capital. The wage and the lack of it have allowed capital to obscure the real length of our working day. Work appears as just one compartment of our lives, taking place only in certain times and spaces. The time we consume in the “social factory,” preparing ourselves for work or going to work, restoring our “muscles, nerves, bones and brains”22 with quick snacks, quick sex, movies, all this appears as leisure, free time, individual choice.

Silvia Federici, “counterplanning from the kitchen”, in Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 35-36

Crucial issues like the need for childcare, male violence against women, women’s broader responsibility for reproductive work, what constitutes knowledge and the conditions of its production, are still not a significant part of radical discourse. This is the material basis of sexist attitudes. We need a radical movement that programmatically places at the center of its struggle the eradication of social inequalities and the eradication of the divisions between production and reproduction, school and home, school and community, inherent to the capitalist division of labor. I hope I will not be charged with gender bias if I say that it is above all the task of women to ensure that this will occur. Liberation begins at home, when those who are oppressed take their destiny into their hands. Challenging sexism and racism cannot be expected from those who benefit from them at least in the short term, although men should not be exonerated from the responsibility of opposing inequitable relations. In other words, we should not expect that, because we are in a radical setting, the forces that shape relations between men and women in the broader society will have no effect on our politics. This is why despite the leap in the number of female students in the classrooms, the terms of women’s presence on the campuses and in radical groups has not qualitatively changed. What has prevailed, instead, has been the neo-liberal ideology of equal opportunity that has validated gender and racial hierarchies in the name of merit and valorized the social qualities needed for competition in the labor market. These are all essentially the traditional attributed of masculinity: self-promotion, aggressiveness, capacity to hide one’s vulnerability. I cannot stress enough that radical politics cannot succeed unless we challenge the existence of these attitudes in our midst. It is time, then, that the broader transformative vision which feminism promoted at least in its initial radical phase, before it was subsumed under a neo-liberal/institutional agenda, be revitalized. This time, however, we must fight for the eradication of not only gender hierarchies but all unequal power relations in our schools, in this process also redefining what is knowledge, who is a knowledge producer, and how can intellectual work support a liberation struggle rather functioning as an instrument of social division.

The criminalization of women’s control over procreation is a phenomenon whose importance cannot be overemphasized, both from the viewpoint or its effects on women and its consequences for the capitalist organization of work. As is well documented through the Middle Ages women had possessed many means of contraception, mostly consisting of herbs which turned into potions and “pessaries” (suppositories) were used to quicken a woman’s period, provoke an abortion, or create a condition of sterility. In Eve’s herbs : A History of contraception in the West (1997), the American historian John Riddle has given us an extensive catalogue of the substances that were most used and the effects expected of them or most likely to occur. The criminalization of contraception expropriated women from this knowledge that had been transmitted from generation to generation, giving them some autonomy with respect to child-birth. It appears that, in some cases, this knowledge was not lost but was only driven underground; yet when birth control again made its appearance on the social scene, contraceptive methods were no longer of the type that women could use, but were specifically created for use by men. What demographic consequences followed from this shift is a question that for the moment I will not pursue, though f refer to Riddle’s work for a discussion oft this matter. Here I only want to stress that by denying women control over their bodies, the
state deprived them of the most fundamental condition for physical and psychological integrity and degraded maternity to the status of forced labor, in addiction to confining women to reproductive work in a way unknown in previous societies. Nevertheless, forc­ing women to procreate against their will or (as a feminist song from the 1970. had it) forcing them to ” produce children for the state,”62 only in part defined women’s function in the new sexual division of labor. A complementary aspect was the definition of women as non-workers, a process much studied by feminist historians, which by the enf of the 17th century was nearly completed.

Silvia FEDERICI, Caliban and the Witch, p. 92

Marx nous est encore utile pour expliquer aujourd’hui ce qui se passe dans le développement du capitalisme, mais son œuvre repose sur l’idée que le travailleur salarié serait le sujet révolutionnaire et que c’est sur le terrain du travail salarié qu’aurait lieu la lutte pour la transformation du monde et pour la transition au communisme.
Mais Marx n’a pas approfondi la connaissance du processus de production de la force de travail dans le capitalisme. Si nous lisons le premier livre du Capital sur la théorie de la plus-value, où il décrit la production de la force de travail, nous constatons que la manière dont il le fait est extrêmement réduite et limitée. Pour Marx, la production de la force de travail est totalement insérée dans la production de marchandises. Le travailleur a un salaire, avec ce dernier il achète des marchandises qu’il utilise et qui lui permettent de se reproduire, mais en aucun cas il ne sort du cercle de la marchandise. En conséquence, tout le domaine du travail reproductif, qui a une importance tellement vitale pour les sociétés capitalistes, toute la question de la division sexuelle du travail est totalement absente.
[…]
Je dis toujours que ce que j’ai tenté de faire ce n’est pas d’écrire l’histoire des femmes dans le capitalisme, mais l’histoire du capitalisme à partir du point de vue des femmes et de la reproduction, ce qui est différent. Si tu écris l’histoire des femmes dans le capitalisme, c’est comme s’il y avait des choses parallèles : d’un côté l’histoire des hommes et maintenant l’histoire des femmes.
Par contre, écrire l’histoire du capitalisme et de ses origines à partir du point de vue de ce qui arrive aux femmes, de ce qui se passe avec la reproduction — qui sont étroitement connectées l’une à l’autre — permet de repenser l’ensemble à partir d’une autre perspective. Le travail salarié contractuel dans le capitalisme s’est accompagné d’une immense quantité de travail non libre, non salarié et non contractuel. C’est en tenant compte de cet élément qu’on comprend pourquoi, à travers toute l’histoire du capitalisme, existent des formes continues de colonisation, tout comme des formes différentes d’esclavage.
Analyser et comprendre que le travail non libre et non salarié est fondamental, et qu’il n’a pas seulement comme objectif d’extraire de la richesse des travailleurs, mais qu’il s’agit aussi d’une façon d’organiser la société, est très important. La survivance des rapports non libres est quelque chose de fondamental et fait partie du code génétique des sociétés capitalistes. Analyser le capitalisme du point de vue de la reproduction, ce que j’appelle la reproduction de la force de travail, a été très important pour parvenir à comprendre le capitalisme, et cela on ne le trouve pas chez Marx.
[…]
Marx a répété que, quand on parle de l’accumulation primitive, ce dont on parle réellement c’est de l’accumulation du travail. Ce que fait le capital dans sa première phase de développement, c’est l’accumulation de la classe ouvrière. Un autre aspect de l’accumulation primitive est la division, l’accumulation de la division, qui constitue un moment fondateur du racisme et du sexisme.
J’ai toujours insisté sur l’importance de ces questions. Le fait que le capitalisme puisse organiser différents régimes de travail (salarié, non salarié, libre, esclavagiste…) a été l’une des armes les plus puissantes qu’il a utilisées pour contenir les processus révolutionnaires. Premièrement, parce que cela divise les gens, ensuite parce qu’il peut utiliser certains groupes à qui il délègue du pouvoir, par exemple en déléguant du pouvoir aux hommes afin de contrôler le travail des femmes.
À travers le salariat, le capitalisme a pu occulter de nombreux domaines d’exploitation, comme le travail domestique, et les faire paraître comme « naturels ». La construction idéologique des différences est étroitement liée à la production matérielle. Ainsi se créent différentes formes d’invisibilités, divisant les gens, pour pouvoir les utiliser les unes contre les autres. L’habileté du capitalisme à externaliser et à diviser le travail a été très grande. Si nous prenons, par exemple, un ordinateur, on ne sait pas exactement quelle quantité de travail et quel type de travail a été nécessaire pour le construire. Dans un ordinateur, il y a beaucoup de travail manuel réalisé au Congo pour creuser dans les mines, pour extraire le lithium, etc. Telle est la division du travail, la construction des différences.

Entretien avec Silvia Federici : “la chaîne de montage commence à la cuisine, au lavabo, dans nos corps”, à lire en intégralité ici