Sunday, 16 March 2014

Capitalism – Born in Flames / Women - Burned in Chains ~

Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici;


Caliban and the Witch challenges the widely-held belief that capitalism was at one time a progressive or necessary development. Reinstalling the excluded history of the Witch Hunt that consumed Europe with terror for more than 200 years, Federici demonstrates that capitalism has always relied on spectacular violence, particularly against women, people of color, workers, and those cultivating a more egalitarian future, to create its landless working class and to destroy communities and loyalties that existed outside of itself.
 


''A return of the most violent aspects of primitive accumulation has accompanied every phase of capitalist globalisation including the present one, demonstrating that the continuous expulsion of farmers from land, war and plunder on a world scale, and the degradation of women are necessary condition for the existence of capitalism in all times.''.

''Capitalism was the response of the feudal lords, the patrician merchants, the bishops and popes, to a centuries long social conflict...Capitalism was the counter-revolution that destroyed the possibilities that had emerged from the anti-feudal struggle -''

''The “shock therapy” of the Witch Hunt was used to terrorize rebels and visionaries, impose new discipline on the body, on female sexuality in particular, and usher in a new social system based on a landless working class and the devaluation of women’s labor.''



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The main focus of Caliban is the Witch Hunt of the 15th–17th centuries in Europe, through which “hundreds of thousands of women were tried, tortured, burned alive or hanged, accused of having sold body and soul to the devil.”

Federici argues that this repression was primarily “a war against women,” which constructed a new sexual hierarchy based on the division between male wage labor and female unpaid reproductive labor such as raising children, caring for the elderly and sick, nurturing their husbands or partners, and maintaining the home. Those accused of witchcraft were often women who lived outside this binary – as rebels, healers, midwives, sexual/gender non-conformists, or those providing forbidden knowledge of contraception or abortion.

Federici posits this systematic violence against women as one mode in the formation of capitalism when she instructs that “the witch-hunt occurred simultaneously with the colonization and extermination of the populations of the New World, the English enclosures, and the beginning of the slave trade.” Contrary to “laissez-faire” orthodoxy which holds that capitalism functions best without state intervention, Federici expands upon Marx’s proposition that it was precisely the state violence of this “primitive accumulation” that laid the foundation for capitalist economics.

Principally, capitalism could not have been formed without the creation of a landless working class. People do not readily submit themselves to wage labor unless they no longer have an autonomous ability to provide for themselves or their communities. In Marx’s oft-quoted section from Capital, “these new freedmen became sellers of themselves only after they had been robbed of all their own means of production… And the history of this, their expropriation, is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire...The witch burning was medieval “Shock and Awe.” ''

But unlike Marx, who saw the separation of humans from their traditional land-bases as a necessary evil for the expansion of “the productive forces,” Federici emphasizes the loss of the freedom we once enjoyed through connection to the land. She points out that before the Enclosures, even the lowliest of serfs had their own plot of Earth with which they could use for just about any purpose. Federici writes, “With the use of land also came the use of the ‘commons’ – meadows, forests, lakes, wild pastures – that provided crucial resources for the peasant economy (wood for fuel, timber for building, fishponds, grazing grounds for animals) and fostered community cohesion and cooperation.” [alex knight] ( ( more details look here ) )

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''This is also what is happening today, as a new global expansion of the labour market is attempting to set back the clock with respect to the anti-colonial struggle, and the struggles of other rebl subjects - students, feminists, blue collar workers (I add farmers, unemployed, disabled, elderly, single parents, children ) ...


It is not surpising then, if large scale violence and enslavement have been on the agenda, as they were in the period of 'transition' , with the difference that today the conquistadors are the officers of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, who are still preaching the worth of a penny to the same populations which the dominant world powers have for centuries robbed and pauperized.''

Serious reading for a fuller perspective of our life and times.














Recommended.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Glad Tidings of The Eighth Magpie ~



Just saw a glad tiding of Eight Magpies in our back garden tree;
A group of magpies is called a tiding.

Related to the crow the magpie is a remarkably intelligent bird and associated with Shamanic qualities. Ancient folklore associated with the magpie suggests that when two or more fly into one’s life good fortune is coming soon. Since magpies are opportunists and seldom miss a chance to get something for nothing, those with this medicine should pay attention to subtle omens that appear in their life then act accordingly so opportunities are not missed. The magpie asks us to wake up and be conscious in every area of our life.

The Magpie is associated with prophecy in the following rhyme (which has many variants)…




One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told
Eight for heaven,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten a surprise you should be careful not to miss,
Eleven for health,
Twelve for wealth,
Thirteen beware it's the devil himself.

Magpie pairs are monogamous and stay together for the entire duration of their lives. An old English tradition notes that if one magpie flies by, you should take your hat off and bow repeating this line : Morning/Afternoon Mr Magpie. How's Mrs Magpie and all the little Magpies? This will help assure your good luck throughout the day.

One seen flying or croaking around a house or sitting alone symbolises that misfortune is present. Should a flock of magpies suddenly abandon a nesting area then, like the crow and rook, death is present and hard times are ahead. To avoid bad luck it is said that taking your hat off to the passing birds will act as protection against darker forces. Perhaps these associations stem from the fact that it was the only bird that would not enter the Ark preferring to stay outside. It is one of the very birds that also has black and white plumage, a combination of the sacred or holy colour (white) and of evil (black).

To have one perch on your roof though is supposed to indicate that the house will never fall down. According to tradition it would be best to rearrange a journey if you see just one. If one is seen on the way to church it signifies that death is present, hence some believe that it is best to cross yourself to ward off evil or negative energies whilst saying 'Devil, Devil, I defy thee'.

In Somerset, England it was once thought that to carry an onion at all times would provide protection against magpies.

Legend also has it that when a magpie's mate dies it summons an assembly of other magpies at which the dead bird is honoured before a new mate is selected. In Celtic lore the bird was sacred to 'Magog.'

Related to the crow the magpie is a remarkably intelligent bird and associated with Shamanic qualities. Ancient folklore associated with the magpie suggests that when two or more fly into one’s life good fortune is coming soon. Since magpies are opportunists and seldom miss a chance to get something for nothing, those with this medicine should pay attention to subtle omens that appear in their life then act accordingly so opportunities are not missed. The Magpie asks us to wake up and be conscious in every area of our life. More Magpie info here.

Wishing you all the luck of the Eighth Magpie -



















 Caw!