Archives de Tag: Salaires

Nothing, in fac…

Nothing, in fact, has been so powerful in institutionalizing our work, the family, and our dependence on men, as the fact that not a wage but “love” has always paid for this work.

Silvia Federici, « counterplanning from the kitchen” (1975), in Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 37

Capital’s use o…

Capital’s use of the wage also obscures who is the working class and keeps workers divided. Through the wage relation, capital organizes different labor markets (a labor market for blacks, youth, women and white males), and opposes a “working class” to a “non-working” proletariat, supposedly parasitic on the work of the former. Thus, as welfare recipients we are told we live off the taxes of the “working class,” as housewives we are pictured as the bottomless pits of our husbands’ paychecks.
But ultimately the social weakness of the wageless has been and is the weakness of the entire working class with respect to capital. As the history of the “runaway shop” demonstrates, the availability of unwaged labor, both in the “underdeveloped” countries and in the metropolis, has allowed capital to leave those areas where labor had made itself too expensive, thus undermining the power that workers there had reached. Whenever capital could not run to the “Third World,” it opened the gates of the factories to women, blacks, and youth in the metropolis or to mi-grants from the “Third World.” Thus it is no accident that while capitalism is presumably based on waged labor, more than half of the world’s population is unwaged. Wagelessness and underdevelopment are essential elements of capitalist planning, nationally and internationally. They are powerful means to make workers compete on the national and international labor market, and make us believe that our interests are different and contradictory.23
Here are the roots of sexism, racism and welfarism (contempt for the workers who have succeeded in getting some money from the State), which are the expressions of different labor markets and thus different ways of regulating and dividing the working class. If we ignore this use of capitalist ideology and its roots in the wage relation, we not only end up considering racism, sexism and welfarism as moral diseases, products of “false consciousness,” but we are confined to a strategy of “education” that leaves us with nothing but “moral imperatives to bolster our side.”24
[…] As the struggles of black people in the 1960s showed, it was not by good words, but by the organization of their power that they made their needs “understood.” In the case of women, trying to educate men has always meant that our struggle was privatized and fought in the solitude of our kitchens and bedrooms. Power educates. First men will fear, then they will learn because capital will fear. For we are not struggling for a more equal redistribution of the same work. We are struggling to put an end to this work and the first step is to put a price tag on it.

Silvia Federici, “counterplanning from the kitchen” (1975), in Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 36-37

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
 

Wages for house…

Wages for housework is only the beginning, but its message is clear: from now on, they have to pay us because as women we do not guarantee anything any longer. We want to call work what is work so that eventually we might rediscover what is love and create our sexuality, which we have never known. And from the viewpoint of work, we can ask not only one wage but many wages, because we have been forced into many jobs at once. We are housemaids, prostitutes, nurses, shrinks; this is the essence of the “heroic” spouse who is celebrated on “Mother’s Day.” We say: stop celebrating our exploitation, our supposed heroism. From now on we want money for each moment of it, so that we can refuse some of it and eventually all of it. In this respect nothing can be more effective than to show that our female virtues have already a calculable money value: until today only for capital, increased in the measure that we were defeated, from now on, against capital, for us, in the measure that we organize our power.

Silvia Federici, « Wages for Housework » (1975) in  Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 20

Nothing, in fact, has been so powerful in institutionalizing our work, the family, and our dependence on men, as the fact that not a wage but “love” has always paid for this work.

Silvia Federici, “counterplanning from the kitchen”, in Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 37

Capital’s use of the wage also obscures who is the working class and keeps workers divided. Through the wage relation, capital organizes different labor markets (a labor market for blacks, youth, women and white males), and opposes a “working class” to a “non-working” proletariat, supposedly parasitic on the work of the former. Thus, as welfare recipients we are told we live off the taxes of the “working class,” as housewives we are pictured as the bottomless pits of our husbands’ paychecks.
But ultimately the social weakness of the wageless has been and is the weakness of the entire working class with respect to capital. As the history of the “runaway shop” demonstrates, the availability of unwaged labor, both in the “underdeveloped” countries and in the metropolis, has allowed capital to leave those areas where labor had made itself too expensive, thus undermining the power that workers there had reached. Whenever capital could not run to the “Third World,” it opened the gates of the factories to women, blacks, and youth in the metropolis or to mi-grants from the “Third World.” Thus it is no accident that while capitalism is presumably based on waged labor, more than half of the world’s population is unwaged. Wagelessness and underdevelopment are essential elements of capitalist planning, nationally and internationally. They are powerful means to make workers compete on the national and international labor market, and make us believe that our interests are different and contradictory.23
Here are the roots of sexism, racism and welfarism (contempt for the workers who have succeeded in getting some money from the State), which are the expressions of different labor markets and thus different ways of regulating and dividing the working class. If we ignore this use of capitalist ideology and its roots in the wage relation, we not only end up considering racism, sexism and welfarism as moral diseases, products of “false consciousness,” but we are confined to a strategy of “education” that leaves us with nothing but “moral imperatives to bolster our side.”24
[…] As the struggles of black people in the 1960s showed, it was not by good words, but by the organization of their power that they made their needs “understood.” In the case of women, trying to educate men has always meant that our struggle was privatized and fought in the solitude of our kitchens and bedrooms. Power educates. First men will fear, then they will learn because capital will fear. For we are not struggling for a more equal redistribution of the same work. We are struggling to put an end to this work and the first step is to put a price tag on it.

Silvia Federici, “counterplanning from the kitchen”, in Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 36-37

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

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