Silvia Federici: kapitalisme draait op onbetaalde reproductieve arbeid van vrouwen

“Theoretically, my feminism has been an amalgam of themes coming as much from the movement of workers’ autonomy in Italy and the movements of the unemployed, as from the anticolonial movement and the civil rights movements and the Black Power movement in the United States. In the ‘70s I was also influenced by the National Welfare Rights Movement, which was a movement of women, mostly black, who fought to obtain state subsidies for their children. For us this was a feminist movement because these women wanted to show that domestic work and taking care of children is social labor from which all employers benefit, and also that the State had obligations in social reproduction. Our primary aim was to show that domestic work is not a personal service but real work, because it is the work that sustains all other forms of work, insofar as it is the work that produces the workforce. We organized conferences, events, demonstrations, always with the idea of making domestic labor be seen in a broad sense: in its implication with sexuality, in relation to children, and always highlighting the underlying factors and the need to change the concept of reproduction and to place this question at the center of political work.” What about the conflict between fighting for the wage and fighting against the wage? “In our view, when women fight for the wage for domestic work, they are also fighting against this work, as domestic work can continue as such so long as and when it is not paid. It is like slavery. The demand for a domestic wage denaturalized female slavery. Thus, the wage is not the ultimate goal, but an instrument, a strategy, to achieve a change in the power relations between women and capital. The aim of our struggle was to convert exploitative slave labor that was naturalized because of it’s unpaid character into socially recognized work; it was to subvert a sexual division of labor based on the power of the masculine wage to command the reproductive labor of women, which in Caliban and the Witch I call ’the patriarchy of the wage’. At the same time, we proposed to move beyond all of the blame generated by the fact that it was always considered as a female obligation, as a female vocation.”

Silvia Federici en Verónica Gago in Witchtales: An Interview with Silvia Federici (Viewpoint)