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Silvia Federici


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Silvia Federici is a feminist activist, writer, and a teacher. In 1972 she was one of the co-founders of the International Feminist Collective, the organization that launched the international campaign for Wages For Housework (WFH). In the 1990s, after a period of teaching and research in Nigeria, she was active in the anti-globalization movement and the U.S. anti-death penalty movement. She is one of the co-founders of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa, an organization dedicated to generating support for the struggles of students and teachers in Africa against the structural adjustment of African economies and educational systems. From 1987 to 2005 she taught international studies, women studies, and political philosophy courses at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. All through these years she has written books and essays on philosophy and feminist theory, women’s history, education and culture, and more recently the worldwide struggle against capitalist globalization and for a feminist reconstruction of the commons.

Check out Silvia Federici speaking at the Historical Materialism Conference in London, 2012.

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Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle
Author: Silvia Federici
Publisher: PM Press/Common Notions
ISBN: 978-1-60486-333-8
Published August 2012
Format: Paperback
Size: 8 by 5
Page count: 208 Pages
Subjects: Women's Studies/Politics/Sociology
$15.95

Written between 1975 and the present, the essays collected in this volume represent thirty years of research and theorizing on questions of social reproduction and the transformations which the globalization process has produced. Originally inspired by Federici’s organizational work in the Wages For Housework movement, topics discussed include the international restructuring of reproductive work and its effects on the sexual division of labor, the globalization of care work and sex work, the crisis of elder care, and the development of affective labor. Though theoretical in style, the book is written in an explanatory manner that makes it both accessible to a broad public and ideal for classroom use.

Praise:

“Finally we have a volume that collects the many essays that over a period of four decades Silvia Federici has written on the question of social reproduction and women’s struggles on this terrain. While providing a powerful history of the changes in the organization of reproductive labor, Revolution at Point Zero documents the development of Federici’s thought on some of the most important questions of our time: globalization, gender relations, the construction of new commons.”
—Mariarosa Dalla Costa

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revolutionRevolution at Point Zero: A Review
by Emma Dowling
Feminist Review
(2014) 106

Revolutions do not simply result from changes at the top of a regime, from the replacement of one leader for another. Real transformations occur when the social relations that make up everyday life change, when there is a revolution within and across the stratifications of the social body. In Revolution at Point Zero, feminist scholar and activist Silvia Federici offers the kind of revolutionary perspective that is capable of revealing the obstacles that stand in the way of such change.

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revolutionRefusing the Planetary Work Machine: A Review of Revolution at Point Zero and In Letterts of Blood and Fire
by Kevin Van Meter
Perspectives Journal

"Revolution at Point Zero8 opens with Federici’s 1975 essay “Wages against Housework.” Challenging the notion that the wages for housework demand was simply about the figure of the housewife and wages due, she argues that “[w]ages for housework [...] is a revolutionary demand not because by itself it destroys capital, but because it forces capital to restructure social relations in terms more favorable to us and consequently more favorable to the unity of the class.”9 Put clearly, the demand is for the unwaged work of social reproduction – that is, the reproduction of a particularly important commodity for capital: the workers’ ability to work– to be recognized as such through its refusal. Hence the refusal of gendered, unwaged work is part of class struggle and a class project beyond capital’s imposition of such work. Earlier in the chapter she notes, “women have always found ways of fighting back, or getting back at them, but always in an isolated and privatized way. .."

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revolutionMore Smiles? More Money: Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle: A Review
By Dayna Tortorici
n +1
August 19th, 2013

This shift in style and focus coincides with a gap in Revolution at Point Zero, between 1984 and 1999. For two of those years Federici taught in Nigeria — years she described as “a turning point” for that country, as international pressures forced a program of “economic recovery” that would leave most Nigerians impoverished and destabilized. Witnessing this process firsthand influenced Federici’s later work, and her urgency to communicate what she saw trims the fat from her prose, if also the flair. When she writes about the effects of structural adjustment in 1999 — describing how new economic policies “solved” the housework crisis in Europe, the US, and Canada by “incentivizing migration,” pulling women from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the former socialist countries to do the domestic work middle-class women in the West no longer would — facts argue for themselves. Similarly, in an essay about how humanitarian intervention and food aid are anything but — creating unstable governments and food dependency, clearing the ground for multinational industry — she turns to research and journalism when invective and critical introspection no longer suffice. Federici calls on feminists to take action: to support the cancellation of “third world debt”; to demand an end to structural adjustment; to “organize against the recolonization attempt of which NIDL [the new international division of labor] is a vehicle.” It isn’t new for her to tell readers what to do, but it is new for her to tell them what to know.

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revolutionRevolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle: A Review
by Joshua Eichen
Mute Magazine
22 November 2012

In 2012, we all pay at least lip service to the entanglements of class, gender, and race when not also struggling to incorporate other threads into our explanatory frameworks and actions. So when you come across clarity of vision that precisely explains those relations, one can only marvel that it was written 37 years ago and try not to be too dismayed that it isn’t more widely known. Hopefully this new collection of work by Silvia Federici will change that.

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revolutionRevolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle: Book of the Year
by Sean McGovern
Books of the Year — As Chosen by Verso
December 19th, 2012

It’s been an absurd length of time since Silvia Federici has published and her plenary talk at this year’s HM conference in London shows why her perspective has been so influential. So it was great to see a new collection of her essays.

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revolutionRevolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle: A Review
by Seth Sandronsky
Z Magazine
December 2012

As Federici shows with examples from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, women are on the front lines of commoning. She unveils how and why they resist the corporate takeover of subsistence farming, explaining the land question as central to women’s lives. Mutual aid and solidarity of oppressed women are more than symbolic. We see here transforming acts of solidarity against the logic of capitalist relations that rely upon sever ing people’s access to land. Reading Federici em powers us to reconnect with what is at the core of human development, women’s labor-intensive caregiving—a radical rethinking of how we live.

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revolutionRevolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle: A Review
by Nicholas Beuret
Red Pepper Magazine
October/November 2012

In this edited collection several key analytical highlights stand out. The first is the insight that unwaged work – in the home and the colonies – is the foundation of capitalism. A campaign against unwaged labour, like the fight against colonial rule, was (and still is) crucial to ‘break the processes of capital accumulation’.

The second is the denaturalisation of gender roles: the fact that housework is not ‘naturally’ women’s work but emerged as a naturalised social role at the same time as (male) waged work. Both the housewife and the waged worker are capitalist social roles.

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