Quotes from Revolution at Point Zero, by Silvia Federici

“Beginning with ourselves as women, we know that the working day for capital does not necessarily produce a paycheck, it does not begin and end at the factory gates, and we rediscover the nature and extent of housework itself… [W]e see that while it does not result in a wage for ourselves, we nevertheless produce the most precious product to appear on the capitalist market: labor power. Housework is much more than house cleaning. it is servicing the wage earners physically, emotionally, sexually, getting them ready for work day after day. it is taking care of our children- the future workers- assisting them from birth through their school years, ensuring that they too perform in the ways expected of them under capitalism. This means that behind every factory, behind every school, behind every office or mine there is the hidden work of millions of women who have consumed their life, their labor, producing the labor power that works in those factories, schools, offices, or mines.”

“Wages for Housework means that capital will have to pay for the enormous amount of social services employers now save on our backs. Most important, to demand Wages for Housework is to refuse to accept our work as a biological destiny, which is an indispensable condition to struggle against it. 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.”

“If it is true that the remittances sent by immigrants constitute the main international monetary flow after the revenues of the oil companies, then the most important commodity that the “Third World” today exports to the “First” is labor. In other words, as in the past, today as well, capitalist accumulation is above all the accumulation of workers, a process that occurs primarily through immigration. This means that a significant part of the work necessary to reproduce the metropolitan workforce is now performed by women in Africa, Asia, Latin America or the former socialist countries, the main points of origin o the contemporary migratory movements. This is labor that is never considered in the computation of the “Third World” debt and yet directly contributes to the accumulation of wealth in the ‘advanced’ capitalist countries, as immigration serves to offset demographic decline, keep wages down and transfer surplus from the colonies to the ‘metropolis.'”

“[W]e must challenge [Marx’s] assumption of the necessity and progressivity of capitalism for at least three reasons.

First, five centuries of capitalist development have depleted the resources of the planet rather than creating the ‘material conditions’ for the transition to ‘communism’ (as Marx anticipated) through the expansion of the ‘forces of production’ in the form of large scale industrialization. They have not made ‘scarcity’- according to Marx a major obstacle to human liberation- obsolete. On the contrary, scarcity on a world scale is today directly a product of capitalist production. Second, while capitalism seems to enhance the cooperation among workers in the organization of commodity production, in reality it divides workers in many ways: through an unequal division of labor, through the use of the wage, giving the waged power against the wageless, and through the institutionalization of sexism and racism, that naturalize and mystify through the presumption of different personalities the organization of differentiated labor regimes. Third, starting with the Mexican and the Chinese Revolution, the most antisystemic struggles of the last century have not been fought only or primarily by waged industrial workers, Marx’s projected revolutionary subjects, but have been fought by rural, indigenous, anticolonial, antiapartheid, feminist movements. Today as well, they are fought by subsistence farmers, urban squatters, as well as industrial workers in Africa, India, Latin America, and China. Most important, these struggles are fought by women who, against all odds, are reproducing their families regardless of the value the market places on their lives, valorizing their existence, reproducing them for their own sake, even when the capitalist declare their uselessness as labor power.”

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