Archives de Tag: Féminisme

During the rece…

During the recent years of struggle – by all women, not only prostitutes – it has become clear that the state is the prime target to attack, not the pimp or the client, who are merely secondary objectives. The state is the biggest “pimp” of all. Through fines and imprisonment it is always trying to reduce prostitute’s income to the average female level – low. The state is the true exploiter of both houseworkers and sexworkers, and all women should and must continue to unite internationally in struggle against the criminalization of prostitutes. It is every woman’s struggle.

Leopoldina Fortunati, The Arcane of Reproduction : Housework, Prostitution, Labor and Capital; Autonomedia, 1996, p. 56

Durant les récentes années de lutte – de toutes les femmes, pas seulement des prostituées- il est devenu clair que l’Etat est la première cible à attaquer, non le proxénète ou le client, qui ne sont que des objectifs secondaires. L’Etat est le plus gros “proxénète” de tous. Par les amendes et l’emprisonnement il tente sans cesse de réduire le revenu des prostituées au niveau moyen féminin ) bas. L’Etat est le véritable exploiteur tant des travailleuses ménagères que des travailleuses du sexe, et toutes les femmes devraient et doivent continuer à s’unir internationalement dans la lutte contre la criminalisation des prostituées. c’est la lutte de toutes les femmes.

Publicités

L’injonction d’…

L’injonction d’arrêter la prostitution adressée aux étrangères revient à raviver une vieille distinction que l’on espérait pourtant révolue : celle entre les pauvres (pauvresses) méritants, à qui sont compassionnellement octroyés quelques maigres subsides, et ceux qui, persévérant dans leur mauvaises inclinations, ne recueillent que ce qu’ils méritent – en l’occurrence le centre de rétention et l’expulsion. Qu’un tel mode de pensée puisse aujourd’hui se targuer du féminisme est un incontestable révélateur des régressions qu’a ces dernières années connu la pensée du social.

Lilian Mathieu, « Les pauvresses méritantes et les autres. A propos du renforcement de la lutte contre le système prostitutionnel »

Federici (en français) sur le sexwork, le stigmate, le féminisme

(question) ok, l’institutionnalisation de la prostitution, c’est quelque chose qui est permis par la constitution européenne. On ne voit pas des femmes brûlées comme au Bengladesh, mais nous voyons en revanche des bordels à la frontière de l’Autriche et de la République Tchèque, et je pense que c’est une lutte très importante, la complaisance avec la prostitution institutionnalisée

Silvia Federici : Je pense qu’il y a une continuité ici avec les années 80 et le processus de mondialisation, et, dans un sens, sa phase initiale – la période qui a vu le développement des rapports capitalistes. Ceux de vous qui ont lu Caliban and The Witch sauront que je parle de massification de la prostitution. Une des premières conséquences de l’expropriation des terres a certainement été la massification de la prostitution. Alors même que la prostitution était en effet acceptée socialement tout au long du Moyen Âge, elle est devenue criminalisée et toutefois, bien entendu, c’était une issue à laquelle les femmes recouraient, suite à la fin, notamment, de l’accès aux communs. On voit le même processus aujourd’hui. Il y a en effet une massification de la prostitution comme du travail sexuel à travers le monde.
Je pense que dans une certaine mesure, dans une certaine mesure, mais je pense dans une mesure limitée, que l’augmentation du nombre de femmes qui se tournent vers le travail sexuel a aussi à voir avec le mouvement féministe. Il a contribué à ébranler cette forme de stigmate moral attaché au travail sexuel. Je pense que le mouvement des femmes a aussi donné le pouvoir, par exemple, au prostituées, de se représenter en tant que travailleuses du sexe.
Ce n’est pas un hasard si à la suite du mouvement féministe vous avez le début d’un mouvement de travailleuses du sexe, à travers l’Europe par exemple. Avec le stigmate, les féministes ont vraiment attaqué cette hypocrisie : la mère sainte, cette vision de la femme, toute à l’auto-sacrifice, et la prostituée, qui est la femme qui réalise du travail sexuel mais pour de l’argent.
Elle se fait payer, ce qui est en effet une violation de a première règle : que tu travaillera pour rien. Et vous avez cette séparation entre la « mauvaise femme » et la « bonne femme ». Le mouvement des femmes a vraiment remis en question cette séparation et en ce sens donné aux travailleuses du sexe la force d’avancer. Ainsi, une part de l’augmentation dans le nombre de travailleuses du sexe… il y a de nombreuses femmes – des étudiantes, mais aussi des mères de famille, que je connais, aux Etats-Unis – qui exercent le travail sexuel à côté, pour compléter d’autres formes de travail salarié qui ne paient pas assez. Ou pour payer leurs études, font du travail sexuel à côté. Je connais beaucoup, beaucoup de femmes qui font ça. En particulier maintenant que vous pouvez exercer le travail sexuel en ligne, vous pouvez en effet l’exercer depuis votre chambre, vous savez ; du sexe interactif, par exemple. Je ne sais pas, si vous voyez cette forme de travail sexuel. Mais le sexe par téléphone, le sexe interactif, tous sont des moyens par lesquels vous pouvez intégrer le travail sexuel dans votre routine, pendant que vous préparez votre repas. Mais ce qui a aussi beaucoup à voir avec l’augmentation du nombre de travailleuses du sexe, c’est aussi les conditions de vie. Au final, le travail sexuel paie mieux que de travailler comme domestique. De nombreuses femmes…j’ai fait du travail, du travail de recherche, sur des femmes qui ont migré comme domestique, travailleuses de la santé…et dans de nombreux cas, après un ou deux ans, si elles peuvent elles optent pour le travail sexuel parce que qu’elles peuvent gagner dans un temps beaucoup plus court beaucoup plus.
Evidemment, au sein du travail sexuel vous avez toutes formes de coercition, toutes formes de brutalité, l’industrie du sexe est une des plus violentes industries. Mais ce n’est pas la plus violente. Si vous travaillez dans une zone de libres échanges votre vie est beaucoup plus en danger que si vous travaillez dans un bordel ou dans la rue.
Je pense qu’il y a un problème majeur – qu’il y a eu un problème majeur dans le mouvement féministe. Le mouvement féministe a été très divisé sur la question du travail du sexe. Et je ne sais pas comment c’est ici en Croatie, comment c’est dans les Balkans, mais je sais que j’ai eu de très nombreuses discussions avec des amies, et certaines féministes, qui ne veulent pas entendre parler de travail du sexe. Elles pensent que le simple fait de parler de travail du sexe revient à valider un type d’activité qui est contraire aux droits des femmes, qui est fondamentalement contraire à l’image transformatrice des femmes.
Et d’un autre côté, il y a de nombreuses autres féministes qui voient le travail du sexe comme un type légitime de travail parmi les options disponibles pour les femmes, et je me situe moi-même dans ce second groupe. Je pense que critiquer particulièrement les femmes qui optent pour le travail du sexe est une vision qui manque de perspective, parce qu’elle découle vraiment d’une position moraliste, dans la mesure où il y a de nombreuses autres formes de travail aujourd’hui qui ont vraiment… qui exposent les femmes à une situation dangereuse similaire. Et peut-être dans certains cas même plus – exposent les femmes à des situations qui les mettent vraiment dans une position de totale subordination, et c’est une position qui les rend vulnérables à la violence.
OK, je vais m’arrêter là. Et j’aimerais bien entendre, peut-être, des commentaires, venant de vous (geste vers l’audience), sur cette question
(silence)
(facilitatrice) des commentaires, s’il vous plait. N’ayez pas peur de la thématique sexuelle
(un autre silence)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enpTFJsswWM à partir de 1:10:23

transcription Ellis Suzanna Slack, traduction Morgane Merteuil.

Federici about sexwork, stigma and feminism

(question) ok, the institutionalising of prostitution. something that the European constitution is complying to…We don’t see burning women in Bangladesh but we certainly see bordellos in the border of Austria and the Czech Republic and i think this is a very important struggle with the compliance of institutionalised prostitution…

Silvia Federici: I think there is a continuity here with the 1980s and the globalisation process and, in a way, the early phase – the period that saw the development of capitalist relations. Those of you who have read ‘Caliban & the Witch’ will know that I speak of the massification of prostitution. One of the main first consequences of land expropriation was certainly the massification of prostitution. At the very moment when prostitution had actually been accepted socially throughout the Middle Ages, it became criminalised and nevertheless, of course, this was one of the avenues that women resorted to with the end of, basically, the access to the commons. We see the same processes today. In fact, there’s been a massification of prostitution as sex work across the world.

I think that to some extent, to some extent, but I think to a limited extent, that the increase in the number of women who are turning to sex work has also had to do with the feminist movement. It has given a contribution to undermining that kind of moral stigma attached to sex work. I think the women’s movement has also given power for example, to prostitute -to represent themselves a sex workers.

It’s not an accident that with on the wake of feminist movement you have the beginning of a sex worker’s movement, throughout Europe, for instance. So that the stigma, the feminists, they really attacked that hypocrisy: the holy mother, that vision of women, the whole self-sacrificial and the prostitute, which is the woman who does sexual work but for money.

And she gets paid, so she is in fact in violation of the first rule: that you work for nothing. And you have that separation of the ‘bad woman’ and the ‘good woman’. The women’s movement has really challenged that separation and in that way given power for the sex workers to move.

So part of the increase in the number of sex workers…there are many women -students, also housewives, I know, in the United States – who do sex work on the side, to complement forms of wage labour that don’t pay enough. Or to pay your tuition, to do some sex work on the side. I know many, many cases of women who do that. Particularly now that you can do sex work electronically, you can actually do it from your bedroom, you know; interactive sex for instance. I don’t know if you have this form of sex work. But sex by phone, interactive sex; these are all ways you can integrate sex work into your routine, as you’re cooking your food. But much of the increase in the number of sex workers has to do also with the conditions of living. In the end, sex work pays better than working as a maid. Many women – I’ve done work, research work, on immigrant women who migrate as a maid, as healthcare workers..and after in many cases after one or two years if they can they may opt to do sex work because what they may earn in a much shorter time is much more.

But of course as part of sex work you have all forms of coercion, all forms of brutality, the sex business is one of the most violent businesses. But it is not the most violent business. If you work in a free export zone your life is as much in danger as if you work in a brothel or on the street.

I think there is a major problem – there has been a major major problem in the feminist movement. The feminist movement has been really split on the question of sex work. And I don’t know how it is here in Croatia, how it is in The Balkans, but I know that I have many many discussions with feminist friends, and often they are on the opposite side, because I have some friends, and some feminists, who do not want to hear about sex work. They think to even speak of sex work is to validate a kind of activity that is contrary to women’s rights, that is contrary to basically the transformative image of women.

And on the other hand, there are many other feminists who see sex work as a legitimate type of work among the options that are available to women, and I place myself in that second group. I think that to particularly criticize the women who opt for sex labour is very short sighted, because it really stems from a sort of moralistic position, given that there are many many other forms of work today that have very…..expose women to the same dangerous situation. And perhaps in some cases even more – and expose women to situations that basically put them in a completely subordinate position, and it’s a position that makes them vulnerable to violence so..

OK. I will leave it at that. And i would like to hear, maybe, some comments, coming from you (gestures to audience), on this question.

(silence)

(facilitator): comments please. don’t be afraid of the sex topic.

(another silence!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enpTFJsswWM à partir de 1:10:23

transcription Ellis Suzanna Slack

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

 

The configuration of gender relations in the student movement is very different today than it was in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Female students have far more power than women of my generation ever had. They are the majority in most classes and are preparing for a life of autonomy and self-reliance, at least autonomy from men if not from capital. But relations with men are more ambiguous and confusing. Increased equality hides the fact that many of the issues the women’s movement raised have not been resolved, especially with regard to re-production. It hides the fact that we are not engaged collectively in a socially transformative project as women, and that, with the advance of neo-liberalism, there has been a re-masculinization of society. The truculent, masculinist language of “We are the Crisis,” the opening article of “After the Fall,” is an egregious example of it. I fully understand why many women feel threatened rather than empowered by it.

The decline of feminism as a social movement has also meant that the experience of collectively organizing around women’s issues is unknown to many female students and everyday life has been de-politicized. What priorities to choose, how to balance waged work and the reproduction of our families so that (learning from the experience of black women) we keep something of ourselves to give to our own, how to love and live our sexuality—these are all questions that female students now must answer individually, outside of a political framework and this is a source of weakness in their relations with men. Add that academic life, especially at the graduate level, creates a very competitive environment where those who have less time to devote to intellectual work are immediately marginalized, and eloquence and theoretical sophistication are often mistaken as a measure of political commitment.

A crucial lesson we can learn from the past is that in the presence of power inequalities, women must organize autonomously even to be able to name the problems they face and gain the strength to voice their discontent and desires. In the ‘70s, we clearly saw that we could not speak of the issues concerning us in the presence of men. As the authors of “Direct Action as Feminist Practice ” so powerfully write, you do not need to be “silenced,” the very power configurations that rob us of our voice take away our ability to name the specific working of this power.(6)

How autonomy is achieved can vary. We do not have to think of autonomy in terms of permanent separate structures. We realize now that we can create movements within movements and struggles within struggles, but calling for unity in the face of conflicts in our organizations is politically disastrous. What we can learn from the past is that by constructing temporary autonomous feminist spaces we can break with psychological dependence on men, validate our experience, build a counter discourse and set new norms—like the need to democratize language and not make of it a means of exclusion.

I am convinced that coming together as women and as feminists is a positive turn, a precondition for overcoming marginalization. Once again, women in the student movement should not let the charge of “divisiveness” intimidate them. Rather than being divisive, the creation of autonomous spaces is necessary for bringing to the surface the full range of exploitative relations by which we are imprisoned and expose power inequalities that unchallenged would doom the movement to fail.

« Political Work with Women and as Women in the Present Conditions: Interview with Silvia Federici » in Reclamations, Issue 3, December 2010

To this day the controversy continues and has in fact reached a stalemate, partly because both sides mostly base their arguments on the motivations and responsibilities of individual prostitutes, debating whether prostitution is a result of coercion or spontaneous choices. The global sex industry, however, is not the result of millions of individual choices; it is a highly structured intervention by corpora- tions (both legal and illegal) and international financial organizations. Thus, we cannot look at prostitution as presently organized as a set of individual transactions between prostitutes and their bosses or between prostitutes and their clients. It is this broader context in which pros- titution operates that decides the possibilities which sex workers have to gain more social power and the possibility for self-determination. From this viewpoint, sex-workers organizations are correct when they argue that prosti- tution is work; prohibition and criminalization can only worsens work conditions, making sex workers more vulner- able to police harassment and exposing them and indeed all migrants to the risk of deportation; commercial sexual work is not more violent or enslaving than many other jobs available in today’s global labour market. Indeed, the increased incidence of slavery and indentured servitude is not unique to prostitution and cannot be eliminated by criminalizing sex work any more than chattel slavery in the 19th could have been abolished by prohibiting cotton picking.
It is also true, however, that the decriminalization of the sex industry will not be sufficient to improve the status of sex-workers, as in a world of increasing competition for survival the market itself becomes an instrument of violence. Nevertheless the argument that prostitutes are workers is more relevant now than ever; since increasingly the exploitation and abuse they suffer is on a continuum with that of other workers – migrant or not – internation- ally. Coercion, in fact, has become a key aspect of work in the present phase of globalization, that is reminiscent in many ways of the period of “primitive accumulation” when an ex-lege proletariat was formed (Federici 2004). This implies that the situation of sex workers cannot be trans- formed by an exclusive focus on sexual domination and sexual slavery, and by differentiating sex workers from other workers, in the same way as we cannot address the question of reproductive work by focussing exclusively on care work. Precisely to the extent that sex work is often non-free labour, the sex worker is becoming the paradigm worker in the global economy, in the same way as under- paid, precarious, “informal” female labour is becoming the paradigm for all forms of exploitation. As in the ’70s, to- day as well, the question is whether this realization will become the ground for a recomposition among different sectors of the female work force. Indeed, sex work, like domestic and care work, poses one of the most significant challenge to the currently existing feminisms.

Camille BARBAGALLO et Silvia FEDERICI, “introduction”, The Commoner n.15, Winter 2012, Care Work and the Commons