Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation – Upping the AntiCaliban and the Witch is a history of the body in the transition to capitalism. Moving from the peasant revolts of the late Middle Ages to the witch-hunts and the rise of mechanical philosophy, Federici investigates the capitalist rationalization of social reproduction. She shows how the battle against the rebel body and the conflict between body and mind are essential conditions for the development of labor power and self-ownership, two central principles of modern social organization. Purchase on Amazon. We don't run on ads. We run on donations. Click here.
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Capitalism and Feminism: Federici's Caliban and the Witch
Caliban and the Witch is both a history of the making of the European working class and a re-telling of the birth of capitalism that places women at the center of the story. It is not only instructive, but also a joy to read. Rich in anecdote, oftentimes exciting and moving, this is one of those books that makes history come alive. With mixed results, she attempts to show how this process continues to this day, especially in the neo-colonies. As she makes clear, the transition to capitalism was neither smooth nor natural, but was built upon the institutionalization of male violence against women.
To the many witches I have met in the Women's Movement, and to the other .. There are other ways in which Caliban mId tire Witch speaks to "women's history" .
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This interview was first published in Lobo Suelto! In her book Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation Autonomedia, , the Italian feminist Silvia Federici considers the killing of witches as foundational of a capitalist system that domesticates women, imposing on them the reproduction of the workforce as forced labor without any remuneration. This is not a fairytale, nor is it simply about witches. Witches expand into other female and closely related characters: the heretic, the healer, the midwife, the disobedient wife, the woman who dares to live alone, the obeah woman a practitioner of secret magic who poisoned the food of the master and inspired slaves to rebel. Capitalism, from its origins, persists and combats these women with fury and terror. In Caliban and the Witch Federici asks fundamental questions about this emblematic figure of the female: why does capitalism, since its beginning, need to wage war against these women?
Acknowledgements To the many witches I have met in the Women's Movement, and to the other witches whose stories have accompanied me for more than tweney-five years, nevertheless leaving an inexhaustible desire to tell, to let people know, to make sure that they will not be forgotten. To our brother Jonathan Cohen whose love, courage and uncompromising resistance to injustice have helped me not lose faith in the possibility of chang ing the world and in men's ability to make the struggle for women's liberation their own. To the people who have helped me to produce this volume. I thank George CafTentzis with whom J have discussed every aspect of this book; Mitchel Cohen for his excdlent comments, his editing of parts of the manuscript, and his enthusiastic support for this project; Ousscina Alidou and Maria Sari for introducing me to the work of Maryse Conde; Ferruccio Gambino for mak ing me aware of the existence of slavery in 16th- and 17th-century Italy; David Goldstein for the materials he has given me on the witches'''pharmakopeia''; Conrad Herold, for contributing to my research on witch hunting in Peru; Massimo de Angelis. I thank Michaela Brennan and Veena V isW2natha for read ing the manuscript and giving me advice and support. T heir works have been a reference point for the perspective that shapes.