S. Federici, CALIBAN AND THE WITCH

“Although influenced by Eastern religions brought to Europe by merchants and
crusaders, popular heresy was less a deviation from the orthodox doctrine than a protest
movement, aspiring to a radical democratization of social life. Heresy was the equivalent
of “liberation theology” for the medieval proletariat. It gave a frame to peoples’
demands for spiritual renewal and social justice, challenging both the Church and secular
authority by appeal to a higher truth. It denounced social hierarchies, private property
and the accumulation of wealth, and it disseminated among the people a new, revolutionary
conception of society that, for the first time in the Middle Ages, redefined
every aspect of daily life (work, property, sexual reproduction, and the position of
women), posing the question of emancipation in truly universal terms. “- p. 33

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S. Federici, CALIBAN AND THE WITCH

“A history of women an reproduction in the “transition to capitalism” must begin with the struggles that the European medieval proletariat-small peasants, artisans, day laborers- waged against feudal power in all its forms. Only if we evoke these struggles, with their rich cargo of demands, social and political aspirations, and antagonistic practices, can we understand the role that women had in the crisis of feudalism, and why their power had to be destroyed for capitalism to develop, as it was by the 3 century long persecution of the witches. From the vantage point of this struggle, we can also see that capitalism was not the product of an evolutionary development bringing forth economic forces that were maturing in the womb of the old order. Capitalism was the response of the feudal lords, the patrician merchants, the bishops and popes, to a centuries long social conflict that, in the end, shook their power, and truly gave “all the world a big jolt”. Capitalism was the counter-revolution that destroyed the possibilities that had emerged from the anti-feudal struggle—-possibilities which, if realized, might have spared us the immense destruction of lives and the natural environment that has marked the advance of capitalist relations worldwide. That much must be stressed, for the belief that capitalism “evolved” from feudalism and represents a higher form of social life has not yet been dispelled.” -P. 21-22

S. Federici, CALIBAN AND THE WITCH

“Indeed, the political lesson that we can learn from Caliban the Witch is that· capitalism, as a social-economic system, is necessarily committed to racism and sexism. For capitalism must justify and mystify the contradictions built into its social relations -the promise of freedom vs. the reality of widespread coercion, and the promise of prosperity vs. the reality of widespread penury -by denigrating the “nature” of those it exploits: women, colonial subjects. the descendants of African slaves, the immigrants displaced by globalization.

At the core of capitalism there is not only the symbiotic relation between waged contractual labor and enslavement but, together with it, the dialectics of accumulation and destruction of labor-power, for which women have paid the highest cost, with their bodies, their work, their lives.

It is impossible therefore to associate capitalism with any form of liberation or attribute the longevity of the system to its capacity to satisfy human needs. If capitalism has been able to reproduce itself it is only because of the web of inequalities that it has built into the body of the world proletariat, and because of its capacity to globalize exploitation. This process is still unfolding under our eyes. as it has for the last 500 years.

The difference is that today the resistance to it has also achieved a global dimension.”  -p.17

Aveces me gusta jugar con pinturas

this is so bad and i was so lazy but I did it anyway.

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  At the bottom:

“And this life activity [the worker] sells to another person in order to secure the necessary means of life. … He works that he may keep alive. He does not count the labor itself as a part of his life; it is rather a sacrifice of his life. It is a commodity that he has auctioned off to another.”-Marx. Wage, Labor, and Capital

The Battle for Chile, Part I: The Insurrection of the Bourgeiosie

It’s September 11th and I watched  the first part of Patricio Guzman’s documentary masterpiece about the coup that overthrew Chilean’s elected president Salvador Allende with my partner, my kid,  some friends, and others I hadn’t seen or heard from in a very long time.

Although I knew what would ultimately be the outcome of the election and Allende’s short-lived reforms, the entire time I was watching the film I couldn’t help but think how the eventual successful coup was not inevitable.

From the beginning, the U.S. government funded right wing groups and other organizations that would ensure a defeat for Allende in the democratic election of 1970. Allende won anyway, with ~34% of the vote. Something else that’s interesting although not surprising-the U.S. government spent more money per capita in 1964 (the preceding election which Allende ran in) in the Chilean elections than was spent by both candidates in the U.S.’ own election in that same year.

Yay, democracy.
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So what did Allende do exactly that had obviously posed such a threat to the hegemony of the ruling class in the United States?
-Called for a minor distribution of wealth
-Instated a milk program for very poor, marginalized kids
-Called for nationalization of major industries like copper mining (a resource previously monopolized by U.S. copper company Anaconda)

Cuando Allende gano la eleccion, Nixon held a meeting with top officials like Kissinger and the director of the CIA. Acordaron hacer dos cosas: quebrar la economia y  overthrow Allende through a military coup.
“Make the economy scream.”-Nixon.

Otra cosa que necesitamos recordar, after the military took power the U.S. sent economic aid back to the dictatorship of Pinochet whose government was very grateful but also very busy torturing, imprisoning,  and slaughtering thousands of Chilean people.

Kissinger was indifferent ,or in his own words:”We don’t care about torture-we care about the important things.” The important things are profits for multinational corporations like Anaconda copper company and in Chomsky’s words: “the threat of a good example.”
The example of a successful revolution led by unions, workers, and peasants on the ground who produce to provide necessities and the good things in life for the people, not the blood-sucking ruling class.
————————————–
Allende was not a radical revolutionary. Allende was overly concerned about doing things the “proper” way and using the “legitimate” channels of a state apparatus that had always served the wealthy and the elite.

One of my favorite scenes in the film is a debate between a rank and file union member and a union top official, which all supported Allende. The workers had just taken over a factory and the union official was telling them to slow down and that change would come gradually (typical position of those in leadership when they’re threatened by working class independent action). One worker responded by saying the occupations are actually not happening fast enough or as widespread as they need to be, that the workers need to challenge the bureaucracy within their own class, and that the Allende government needs to start putting faith in the workers’ power rather than applying resistance to it.

The real problem is that we’ll never know the outcome of the revolutionary process Chile had been undergoing in the 70’s.

Estas son parte de las ultimas palabras de Salvador Allende, barricaded inside La Moneda:

“Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seed which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever.

They have strength and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested neither by crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.”