The Anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was still in full swing. To anyone who had been there since the beginning it probably seemed even in December or January that the revolutionary period was ending; but when one came straight from England the aspect of Barcelona was something startling and overwhelming. It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle. Practically every building of any size had been seized by the workers and was draped with red flags or with the red and black flag of the Anarchists; every wall was scrawled with the hammer and sickle and with the initials of the revolutionary parties; almost every church had been gutted and its images burnt. Churches here and there were being systematically demolished by gangs of workman. Every shop and cafe had an inscription saying that it had been collectivised; even the bootblacks had been collectivised and their boxes painted red and black. Waiters and shop-walkers looked you in the face and treated you as an equal. Servile and even ceremonial forms of speech had temporarily disappeared. Nobody said ‘Señor’ or ‘Don’ or even ‘Usted’; everyone called everyone else ‘Comrade’ or ‘Thou’, and said ‘Salud!’ instead of ‘Buenos dias’. . . Above all, there was a belief in the revolution and the future, a feeling of having suddenly emerged into an era of equality and freedom. Human beings were trying to behave as human beings and not as cogs in the capitalist machine.
This article speaks on the failures of the anarchist movement to grow, despite numerous social movements, and how models of anarchist political organization point the way forward to overcome these pitfalls. This piece originally appeared inPerspectives on Anarchist Theory No. 27 (2014) published by the Institute for Anarchist Studies.
By Colin O’Malley
This is an excellent talk to listen to in conjunction with the book. While Marx didn’t completely praise capitalism, there was indeed an element of the impossibility for the foundation for socialism to be built without the productive powers of capitalism. Federici turns this around by illuminating the experiences of women, outcasts, peasants, and their revolts against capitalism’s development to show that there were, in fact, alternative paths and that capitalism was not in any way a “progressive” force for the majority of people living in feudal times (and even in these times, owing to the fact that so-called primitive accumulation is not a thing of the past). Highly recommended.:
“This show presents an audiobook-ish experience, based on a talk by Silvia Federici about her book ‘Caliban and the Witch’. This book talks about how the development of capitalism is deeply entwined with processes of accumulation which needs to mold and domesticate the bodies of women in specific ways. The politics of reproduction at stake in this historical study is still very much at work today, and this book provides an invaluable background to developing struggles around reproduction and care today.
A must for anyone interested in the connections between capitalism, gender and colonialism.
We recorded this in May 2013 in Vienna at the launch of the german translation of this book, published by Mandelbaum Verlag.”
“What do you think?” shouted Razumihin, louder than ever, “you think I am attacking them for talking nonsense? Not a bit! That’s man’s one privilege over all creation. Through error you come to the truth! I am a man because I err! You never reach any truth without making fourteen mistakes and very likely a hundred and fourteen. And a fine thing, too, in its way; but we can’t even make mistakes on our own account! Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I’ll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s. In the first case you are a man, in the second, you’re no better than a bird. Truth won’t escape you, but life can be cramped. There have been examples. And what are we doing now? In science, development, thought,invention, ideals, aims, liberalism, judgement, experience and everything, everything, everything, we are still in the preparatory class at school. We prefer to live on other people’s ideas, it’s what we are used to!”