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About the Author

Silvia Federici is a feminist writer, teacher, and militant. In 1972, she cofounded the International Feminist Collective, which launched the Wages for Housework campaign. Her books include Caliban and the Witch; Re-enchanting the World; Beyond the Periphery of the Skin; and Witches, Witch-Hunting, show more and Women. She is a professor emerita at Hofstra University, where she taught social sciences. She worked as a teacher in Nigeria for many years and was also the cofounder of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. show less

Includes the name: Silvia Federici

Image credit: Federici bei einem Interview (2014)

Works by Silvia Federici

Le capitalisme patriarcal (2019) 14 copies
Wages for Housework (2017) 13 copies
Wages Against Housework (1975) 11 copies

Associated Works

Birth Work As Care Work: Stories from Activist Birth Communities (2016) — Introduction, some editions — 28 copies
Reading "Capital" Today: Marx after 150 Years (2017) — Contributor — 7 copies
A Beautiful Resistance: Left Sacred (2017) — Contributor — 3 copies
A Beautiful Resistance: Everything We Already Are (2015) — Contributor — 3 copies


Common Knowledge



Makes a compelling case for the Witch Hunt as key to the destruction of social solidarity and resistance to development of capitalism. Places women front and centre and redresses the weaknesses in Marx’s account.
P1g5purt | 15 other reviews | Mar 26, 2024 |
Fascinating and incredibly important book. Covers the history of the end of feudalism, the rise of capitalism, the rise of current patriarchal forms, colonialism, witch hunts and more. Makes it clear that capitalism was founded on the oppression of women and with massive resistance every step of the way. Shows the importance of reproductive control. Talks about the oppressive elements of philosophy from the time. Covers so much that it skips some historical detail but it doesn't matter. An essential book for correcting the male centred perspectives of today as well as linking social rebellion of now to the past. Read this if you're at all interested in feminism or anti-capitalism.

edit: i feel obliged to somewhat temper what i said above 18 months later. I've read fragments about problems with historiography in the book, particularly http://libcom.org/blog/witch-hunts-transition-capitalism-20122011 and reading bits and pieces people who've immersed themselves in the witchhunt literature have said. from what i understand, much of the problem is that a lot more information and research has come out in the last 30-40 years that gives a very different understanding of the political, sociological and legal aspects of it - see http://www.kersplebedeb.com/mystuff/feminist/gibbons_witch.html. the problem is this book focuses on older sources (and has the problem of not always citing properly) which means it uses some inaccurate information and has only a limited perspective simply because the information wasn't widely available or understood at the time the book was written (probably). as someone who's not read other witch hunt stuff i can't comment in detail and I've not seen a more comprehensive criticism, i just think it's important to note and to make sure you don't take all the history as gospel. that's not to smear the book and i still stand by it being a very interesting and important book politically and it's still full of useful history. just wanted to put up some new information
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1 vote
tombomp | 15 other reviews | Oct 31, 2023 |
An essay collection containing essays going from 1974 to its present - the key subjects are
- housework and wages for housework; changing how women's work in the household is viewed and showing that it's an important arena for revolutionary struggle and part of capitalism
- the way anti-capitalist struggle is key to feminism, capitalist advances hurt women most and women are at the forefront of the struggle in many places
- thoughts on anti-capitalist struggle in general; ideas about the commons and what can interrupt the flow of capital

Generally interesting and hits on important topics that groups today need to address. The importance of reproduction is something that needs to be stressed a lot more and it's good to see someone bringing stuff dismissed to the forefront of struggle. The ideas about wages for housework and criticising institutional feminism are the sort of things that should be talked about much more. However, it can be frustratingly shallow because it's a serious of essays and they sometimes cover the same areas, leaving you with the same concept talked about 3 times but always at the same level when you desperately want more. The reproduction stuff is clearly a book-length topic but what it means exactly is kind of vague - she mentions other books in the text but I wish we got more of her own concept of these things. My 3 star rating is reflective of the lack of depth and the repetition involved - some great insights that get a bit buried and can't develop into really movement defining ideas.

To me, the first part focusing on housework and ideas of "women's work" as actual work, resistance, etc was the most interesting and valuable part. The second part, focusing on global feminism and reproduction, was interesting but suffered from lack of detail and repetition - it'd probably be worthwhile reading one of the essays here though. The third part was ok - it had some good information on struggles worldwide and I appreciated her talking about how the elderly need to be considered much more - but it had nothing particularly insightful/unique in my opinion. So probably like 4, 3, 2 stars respectively.

I do think if there was a book covering these topics by her I'd rate it 5 stars. Her theory and approach is generally spot on although I sometimes disagree with her ideas of praxis (too much faith in non-capitalist spaces on their own) and I'm certain she'd do an excellent job. As is, it's a useful but limited primer on some important ideas but not earth shattering.

One last note: "On the one side, there has been the demise of the statist model of revolution that for decades has sapped the efforts of radical movements to build an alternative to capitalism." NO. Ugh. Disappointing to see inaccurate statements about "statism" in a book. In general it's somewhat critical of Marx but sympathetically and seriously.
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tombomp | 2 other reviews | Oct 31, 2023 |
A fantastic read that shows that the subjugation of women via the witch trial was part of a process of 'capitalismisation' that started with enclosures and continues via slavery and colonisation to the globalised world of today.
elahrairah | 15 other reviews | Oct 18, 2023 |



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Associated Authors

Museum im Kulturspeicher Würzburg Corporate Author and Host Institute
Luisa Hesse Editor, Author, Curator
Astrid Wege Translator
Sascha Fronczek Translator
Ester Klein Project Management
Giotti di Bondone Cover artist
Sally Ann Harkey Cover designer


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