Livable Cabins – Individual Cells

Ludwig Windstosser

“Wages against Housework” – Silvia Federici

« They say it is love. We say it is unwaged work. »

« It is important to recognize that when we speak of housework we are not speaking of a job like other jobs, but we are speaking of the most pervasive manipulation, and the subtlest violence that capitalism has ever perpetrated against any section of the working class. True, under capitalism every worker is manipulated and exploited and his or her relation to capital is totally mystified. The wage gives the impression of a fair deal: you work and you get paid, hence you and your boss each get what’s owed; while in reality the wage, rather than paying for the work you do, hides all the unpaid work that goes into profit. »

« The difference with housework lies in the fact that not only has it been imposed on women, but it has been transformed into a natural attribute of our female physique and personality, an internal need, an aspiration, supposedly coming from the depth of our female character. »

« If we start from this analysis we can see the revolutionary implications of the demand for wages for housework. It is the demand by which our nature ends and our struggle begins because just to want wages for housework means to refuse that work as the expression of our nature, and therefore to refuse precisely the female role that capital has invented for us. »

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“Precarious Labor and Reproductive Work” – Silvia Federici

Pour Silvia Federici, le capitalisme repose sur le travail immatériel et non rémunéré accompli par les femmes reléguées aux taches domestiques à l’intérieur de la maison, qu’elle qualifie, en conséquence, d’esclavage. Bien qu’il ne soit pas reconnu comme tel, elle affirme qu’il contribue à l’accumulation du capital et constitue une condition nécessaire pour le maintien du capitalisme. Pour l’auteure, l’exclusion des femmes, hors de la sphère productive donc valorisée au profit de la sphère dite « reproductive » – le foyer – est le point de départ du capitalisme. En outre, elle ajoute que ce travail domestique, non reconnu, permet de faire baisser le coût de la force de travail car il n’est pas nécessaire de faire appel à des services tiers plus onéreux (restauration, laverie) dans le cas où ces tâches sont effectuées gratuitement et à moindre frais par une femme. Silvia Federici distingue deux catégories mais précise que le travail dit « affectif » est inclus dans le travail immatériel, comme producteur non pas de biens matériels mais de sentiments.

« […] One of the most important contributions of feminist theory and struggle, which is the redefinition of work, and the recognition of women’s unpaid reproductive labor as a key source of capitalist accumulation. In redefining housework as WORK, as not a personal service but the work that produces and reproduces labor power, feminists have uncovered a new crucial ground of exploitation that Marx and Marxist theory completely ignored. »                                                                                           

« The feminist analysis of the function of the sexual division of labor, the function of gender hierarchies, the analysis of the way capitalism has used the wage to mobilize women’s work in the reproduction of the labor force–all of this is lost under the label of « affective labor. » »                                                                         

« […] It was a major breakthrough that women would begin to understand unpaid labor and the production that goes on in the home as well as outside of the home as the reproduction of the work force. This has allowed a re-thinking of every aspect of everyday life — child-raising, relationships between men and women, homosexual relationships, sexuality in general– in relation to capitalist exploitation and accumulation. »