Archives de Tag: Femmes

le pouvoir des femmes et la subversion sociale

le pouvoir des femmes et la subversion sociale

par Mariarosa Dalla Costa et Selma James

Publicités

In the case of …

In the case of housework, the relation does not appear to be between the woman and the capital, but between the housewife and the male worker, thus it appears as a relation which is intended to satisfy reciprocal individual consumption and not the work it is – a relation of production. In prostitution, too, the relation does not appear to be between the woman and capital, but between the prostitute and the male worker. In this case too, prostitution appears to be intended to satisfy reciprocal individual consumption and not the work it is – again a relation of production. Thus both these relations posit themselves as non-directly waged relations of production which take place between woman – as houseworker or as sex-worker – and capital, through the mediation of the male worker.

Leopoldina Fortunati, The Arcane of Reproduction : Housework, Prostitution, Labor and Capital; Autonomedia, 1996, p. 23

Dans le cas du travail domestique, la relation ne semble pas être entre la femme et le capital, mais entre la ménagère et le travailleur, ce qui apparait alors comme une relation destinée à satisfaire la consommation individuelle réciproque, et non comme le travail que c’est – une relation de production. Dans la prostitution, également, la relation ne semble pas être entre la femme et le capital, mais entre la prostituée et le travailleur. Dans ce cas également, la prostitution semble destinée à satisfaire la consommation individuel réciproque, et non pour le travail qu’elle est – à nouveau, une relation de production. Ces deux relations se présentent alors comme des relations de production non-directement rémunérées, qui prennent place entre la femme – en tant que ménagère ou que travailleuse du sexe – et le capital par la médiation du travailleur. 

 

Globalization a…

Globalization aims to give corporate capital total control over labor and natural resources. Thus it must expropriate workers from any means of subsistence that may enable them to resist a more intense exploitation. As such it cannot succeed except through a systematic attack on the material conditions of social reproduction and on the main subjects of this work, which in most countries are women.
Women are also victimized because they are guilty of the two main crimes which globalization is supposed to combat. They are the ones who, with their struggles, have contributed most to “valorizing” the labor of their children and communities, challenging the sexual hierarchies on which capitalism has thrived and forcing the nation state to expand investment in the reproduction of the workforce.3 They have also been the main supporters of a noncapitalist use of natural resources (lands, waters, forests) and subsistence-oriented agriculture, and therefore have stood in the way of both the full commercialization of “nature” and the destruction of the last remaining commons.4
This is why globalization in all its capitalist forms—structural adjustment, trade liberalization, low intensity warfare—is in essence a war against women, a war that is particularly devastating for women in the “Third World,” but undermines the livelihood and autonomy of proletarian women in every region of the world, including the “advanced” capitalist countries.

Silvia Federici, « Women, Globalization, and the International Women’s Movement » (2001) in  Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 86

the formation of a multinational working class has its origins in the history of women as a section of the class. Women began, particularly since the war, to take their own direction in an increasingly homogeneous and diffuse way. Hence, the emergence of a new quality of political power, as expressed by this class, has to be attributed to, and defined in terms of the new processes of autonomy opened up within the class by its various sections and particularly by woman.
Above all by women’s refusal to procreate.
During the second half of the Sixties, all European coun- tries registered a dramatic fall in the birth rate8 that cannot be wholly attributed to the increased availability of contraceptives.9 The birth rate fell particularly steeply among those sectors that formerly had proved to be less successful in controlling their fertility10
Women were better able to reject State controls over procreation the more they resisted pressure from within the family, from the elderly, from husbands, from other children.
This rejection and resistance can be found to a greater or lesser degree in all countries irrespective of whether the number of women in waged work is high or low, whether the country is one of immigration or emigration and whether the women are “native” or immigrants themselves.
Thus the family, the centre of unpaid work and personal dependence, has emerged as the primary terrain on which women have managed to resist and to organize themselves at a mass level.
The more women succeed in freeing themselves from the constraints of the family the more they will be able to succeed in emancipating themselves from conditions that limit their ability to improve their lives.

Mariarosa DALLA COSTA, “reproduction and emigration”

– “Pas mal, pas mal du tout, dit Lénine. L’énergie, le dévouement et l’esprit de sacrifice des camarades femmes, leur courage et leur intelligence, à l’époque de l’illégalité et de la semi-légalité, ouvrent de bonnes perspectives pour le développement du travail. Ce sont des facteurs précieux pour l’extension du Parti et sa capacité à conquérir les masses et à mener des actions. Mais quelle est la situation au point de vue de la clarté théorique et de l’éducation des camarades femmes et des camarades hommes sur ce sujet ? Car c’est d’une importance fondamentale pour le travail parmi les masses. La façon de mener le travail féminin permet de savoir ce qui se passe au sein des masses, quelles sont les idées auxquelles elles sont gagnées, ce pourquoi elles s’enthousiasment. Je ne me rappelle plus qui a dit: “Pour accomplir de grandes choses, il faut de l’enthousiasme”. Nous, et les travailleurs du monde entier, avons véritablement de grandes choses à accomplir. Mais pourquoi s’enthousiasment vos camarades, les travailleuses d’Allemagne ? Où en est le développement de leur conscience de classe ? Concentrent-elles leur attention, leurs occupations sur les exigences politiques de l’heure ? Quel est le centre de leurs pensées ? “

« A ce propos, j’ai entendu raconter quelque chose de tout à fait singulier par les camarades russes et allemands. Il faut que je vous le dise. On m’a raconté qu’une camarade très douée de Hambourg édite un journal pour les prostituées, et s’efforce de les gagner à l’idée révolutionnaire. Rosa Luxembourg a agi d’une façon très humaine en défendant dans un article les prostituées, qu’une infraction quelconque contre les instructions policières sur l’exercice de leur triste profession a conduites en prison. Elles sont doublement victimes de la société bourgeoise. D’abord de son maudit régime de propriété, ensuite de sa maudite morale hypocrite. Seule, une brute stupide, peut oublier cela. Mais c’est tout de même quelque chose de différent que de considérer les prostituées – comment dois-je dire – comme une troupe professionnelle spéciale de combat révolutionnaire et d’éditer pour elles un journal corporatif. N’y a-t-il donc vraiment plus en Allemagne d’ouvrières d’industrie à organiser, pour qui éditer un journal, et capables d’être gagnées à vos luttes ? Il s’agit là d’une excroissance maladive. Cela me rappelle fortement cette mode littéraire qui tend à transformer chaque prostituée en une douce Madone. L’idée originale était saine; à savoir la sympathie sociale, la révolte contre l’hypocrisie de la « vertueuse » bourgeoisie. Mais cette idée saine a été bourgeoisement dénaturée. D’ailleurs la question de la prostitution posera pour nous également des problèmes difficiles: retour des prostituées au travail productif, incorporation dans l’économie sociale. C’est à cela qu’il faut travailler. Mais, étant donné l’état actuel de notre économie et toutes nos conditions actuelles, c’est très difficile à réaliser. Vous avez là un morceau de question féminine qui se posera largement devant nous au lendemain de la conquête du pouvoir par le prolétariat et exigera une solution pratique. Cela nous donnera encore beaucoup de travail chez nous. Mais pour en revenir à votre cas particulier, en Allemagne, le Parti ne doit pas permettre à ses membres de pareilles bêtises. Elles créent de la confusion et dispersent les forces. Vous-même, qu’avez-vous fait contre cela ?

Avant que j’eusse pu répondre, Lénine continua: “Vos péchés, Clara, ne s’arrêtent pas encore à cela. On m’a dit que dans vos réunions féminines, on discute de préférence la question sexuelle. Cette question est, paraît-il, l’objet particulier de votre attention, de votre propagande. Je ne pouvais pas en croire mes oreilles, quand on m’a dit cela. Quoi ? Le premier Etat prolétarien est en lutte avec les contre-révolutionnaires du monde entier ! La situation en Allemagne même exige la concentration extrême de toutes les forces révolutionnaires, prolétariennes, pour la lutte contre la réaction de plus en plus insolente ! Mais les militantes discutent de la question sexuelle, et des formes du mariage dans le passé, le présent et le futur. Elles considèrent que leur tâche la plus importante est d’éclairer les travailleuses sur ce point. L’écrit le plus répandu en ce moment est la brochure d’une jeune camarade de Vienne sur la question sexuelle. C’est de la foutaise ! Ce qu’il y a là-dedans, les ouvriers l’ont lu depuis longtemps dans Bebel. Cela n’est pas exprimé d’une façon aussi ennuyeuse, comme dans cette brochure, mais avec un caractère d’agitation, d’attaque contre la société bourgeoise. La discussion sur les hypothèses de Freud vous donne un air “cultivé” et même scientifique, mais ce n’est au fond qu’un vulgaire travail d’écolier. La théorie de Freud est également une “folie” à la mode. Je me méfie des théories sexuelles et de toute cette littérature spéciale qui croît abondamment sur le fumier de la société bourgeoise. Je me méfie de ceux qui ne voient que la question sexuelle, comme le prêtre hindou ne voit que son nuage. Je considère cette surabondance de théories sexuelles, qui sont pour la plupart des hypothèses, et souvent des hypothèses arbitraires, comme provenant d’un besoin personnel de justifier devant la morale bourgeoise sa propre vie anormale ou hypertrophique, ou du moins l’excuser. Ce respect déguisé de la morale bourgeoise m’est aussi antipathique que cette importance accordée aux questions sexuelles. Cela peut paraître aussi révolutionnaire que cela voudra, c’est, au fond, profondément bourgeois. C’est surtout une mode d’intellectuels. Il n’y a pas de place pour cela dans le parti, dans le prolétariat conscient.”

Clara ZETKIN, Souvenirs sur Lénine, Janvier 1924 

The witch-hunt, then, was a war against women; it was a concerted attempt to degrade them, demonize them, and destroy their social power. At the same time, it was in the torture chambers and on the stakes on which the witches perished that the bourgeois
ideals of womanhood and domesticity were forged.
In this case, too, the witch-hunt amplified contemporary social trends. There is, in fact, an unmistakable continuity between the practices targeted by the witch-hunt and those banned by the new legislation that in the same years was introduced to regulate
family life, gender and property relations. Across western Europe, as the witch-hunt was progressing, laws were passed that punished the adulteress with death (in England and Scotland by the stake, as in the case of High Treason). At the same time prostitution was
outlawed and so was birth out of wedlock, while infanticide was made a capital crime. Simultaneously, female friendships became an object of suspicion, denounced from the pulpit as subversive of the alliance between husband and wife, just as women-to-women
relations were demonized by the prosecutors of the witches who forced them to denounce each other as accomplices in crime. It was also in this period that the word “gossip,” which in the Middle Ages had meant “friend,” changed its meaning, acquiring
a derogatory connotation, a further sign of the degree to which the power of women and communal ties were undermined.
Also at the ideological level, there is a dose correspondence between the degraded image of women forged by the demonologists and the image of femininity constructed by the contemporary debates on the “nature of the sexes,” which canonized a stereo­typical woman, weak in body and mind and biologically prone to evil, that effectively served to justify male control over women and the new patriarchal order.

Silvia FEDERICI, Caliban and the Witch, p. 186

As Eli Hecksher noted, “an almost fanatical desire to increase population prevailed in all countries during the period when mercantilism was at its height, in the later of the 17,h century” (Heckscher 1 966: 158). Along with it, a new concept of human
beings also took hold, picturing them as just raw materials, workers and breeders for the state (Spengler 1965: 8). But even prior to the heyday of mercantile theory, in France and England the state adopted a set of pro-natalist measures that, combined with Public:
Relief, formed the embryo of a capitalist reproductive policy. Laws were passed that put a premium on marriage and penalized celibacy, modeled on those adopted by the Roman Empire for tills purpose. The family was given a new importance as the key institution providing for the transmission of property and the reproduction of the work-force. Simultaneously, we have the beginning of demographic recording and the intervention of the state in the supervision of sexuality, procreation, and family life.
But the main initiative that the state cook to restore the desired population was the launching of a true war against women clearly aimed at breaking the control they had exercised over their bodies and reproduction. As we will see later in this volume, this war was waged primarily through the witch-hunt that literally demonized
form of birth-control and non-procreative sexuality, while charging women with sacri­ficing children to the devil. But it also relied on the redefinition of what constitutes reproductive crime. Thus, starting in the mid-16th century. while Portuguese ships were
returning from Africa with their first human cargoes, all the European governments began to impose the severest penalties against contraception, abortion and infanticide.
This last practice had been treated with some leniency in the Middle Ages, at in the case of poor women; but now it was turned into a capital crime, and punished more harshly than the majority of male crimes.

« In sixteenth century Nuremberg, the penalty for maternal infanticide
was drowning; in 1 580, the year in which the severed heads of three
women convicted of maternal infanticide were nailed to the scaffold
for public contemplation, the penalty was changed to beheading (King 1 991: 10).60 

New forms of surveillance were also adopted to ensure that pregnant women did not terminate their pregnancies. In France, a royal edict of1556 required women to register every pregnancy, and sentenced to death those whose infants died before after a concealed delivery, whether or not proven guilty of any wrongdoing. Statutes were passed in England and Scotland in 1624 and 1690. A system of spies also created to surveil unwed mothers and deprive them of any support. Even an unmarried pregnant woman was made illegal, for fear that she might escape the public scrutiny; while those who befriended her were exposed to public criticism
1993: 51-52; Ozment 1983: 43).

Silvia FEDERICI, Caliban and the Witch, p. 88