Thanks to Doll Yoko for making us aware of Caliban and the Witch - Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici. In Caliban and the Witch, Silvia Federici looks at the transition from feudalism to capitalism from the point of view of 'women, the body and primitive accumulation'. Her key thesis is that the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th century were instrumental to establishing a new capitalist order through 'the development of a 'new sexual division of labour subjugating women's labour and women's reproductive function to the reproduction of the workforce.' Yet by telling the story also from Caliban's point of view, symbol of the 'trans-Atlantic' proleterian, Federici achieves what she claims: to transcend the dichotomy between "gender" and "class". This book is also a brilliant description of the process of primitive accumulation, in particular the enclosures of the common land starting at the end of the middle age and the various forms of resistance to that by renegade women and the 'motley crowd' of the working classes.
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