Silvia Federici gives a conference on feminism, anti-capitalism

Silvia Federici, scholar, activist and professor emeritus at Hofstra University, gave a lecture at the ASEAN Auditorium on topics covered in her book, “Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons” (2018). The event was sponsored by several departments, including the Department of Anthropology, the Environmental Studies Program and the Consortium for Studies on Race, Colonialism and the Diaspora.

According to Alex Blanchette, assistant professor in the anthropology department, Federici grew up in Italy and obtained his doctorate. from the University of Buffalo. He added that she was co-founder of the International Feminist Collective and worked as an organizer of the Wages for Housework movement.

The presentation opened with remarks by Blanchette, who spoke about by Federici other works and biography.

Silvia federici [is] one of those generous and still indispensable feminist and ecosocialist thinkers of our time, ”he said, adding that she is the author of books such as’Caliban and the Witch ‘(2004) and ‘Wages for housework ‘(1975).

Federici opened the speech on a hopeful note, saying his goal was to try and build a new society.

“I hope I will show that despite the immense problems and negativities we face, there is also a proportionately immense amount of struggle… but also a spark to build something new, to lay the groundwork for a new one. company, ”she said.

She then explained the concept of re-enchantment as used in her book, which was born from Max Weber’s concept of disenchantment caused by capitalism.

“What Weber means by [disenchantment] is that capitalism has brought to the world a particular type of rationality, a particular type of logic where everything is valued and calculated according to its usefulness ”, Federici Explain.

She developed this concept, claiming that capitalism leads to a violent process of displacement, dispossession and destruction of community relations.

Throughout the speech, Federici advocated for the rule and societal structure of “commons” which she defined as a community doing collective work and sharing the land where they live.

Federici pointed out that although this way of life is no longer the prevailing one, there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who still practice community life. She cited the indigenous Mexican and Guatemalan communities as examples.

“The shared use of the right to land… and these disturbances that indigenous peoples and people still living in communal areas have caused have made many aware of the importance, the importance of community relations,” he said. she declared. “The existence of these commons, by their very existence, in a way, shows us that an alternative is possible which is not capitalism. “

Federici then reviewed the history of capitalism, starting with the commodification of land before moving on to the industrial revolution.

According to Federici, a renewed global interest in the commons has been built since the 1990 with the collapse of communism. She said that this interest was the result of the expansion of globalization and capitalism that the world was experiencing at that time.

Federici linked these contexts to feminism during her talk, arguing that reproductive labor is traditionally seen as one of the earliest forms of labor exploited. She then added that women can play an important role in the production and reproduction of the commons.

“I realized more and more, both through contact with people in community relations or women involved in struggles to build commons or discussion with women in various social movements have a very important role that women invented, ”she said, citing one example. of India where women tried to fight to preserve common lands.

Federici closed on a note of hope, citing that women have played a crucial role in modern movements such as protests in Standing Rock which started in 2016. The event was followed by a question-and-answer session.

Boston resident Emet Ezell who was interested in another of by Federici books, said they were glad the event happened.

“I am truly grateful that someone is talking about enchantment because everywhere I look I see death, destruction, grief and pain,” they said. “This conference helps me understand what is at stake right now and the importance of connecting to each other and to the earth.”

They added that they hoped that Tufts learns to help build communities from this discourse.

Jesse Ryan, a sophomore, also attended the event and echoed the statement made by Ezell.

“I think the idea of ​​the commons is so interesting, exciting and hopeful for me because I like to think about different imaginaries of what the world can look like and what communities can look like,” Ryan noted.

Ryan agree with Federici, saying that the gender system means that “the weight of the work of creating the commons and producing the commons has fallen on women.”

Ryan also said the event was relevant to the larger Tufts community connection by Federici work with the Tufts Dining worker contract negotiations and control over people’s bodies.

“I think bringing her here… and talking about ways we can build worlds and communities that exist beyond this violence seems really relevant.”


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Estelle D. Eden

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