8 August 2014

Quote of the day, yay!

'By killing the "angel in the house," the feminist movements destabilized the welfare state and revived the political figure of the witch. Who were the witches? The archetype of rebellion in every framework, witches were sages, doctors, practitioners of other knowledges who could no longer find a place in the redistribution of knowledge that scientific positivism brought about. Witches were women without husbands who refused marriage, figures of a sexuality that resisted normalization, a sexuality that did not find its goal in procreation, but in a non-productive, deviant sexuality.

Witches were also figures of homosexuality, of nomadic sexuality. As Michela Zucca has noted, they also represented "the cardinal element of continuity, the charismatic leaders and spokespeople of a society and culture that were essentially anti-productive, in the capitalist sense of the term". The persecution of witches, as Starhawk demonstrates, is linked to three interlocking processes: "the expropriation of land and natural resources; the expropriation of knowledge, and the war against the consciousness of immanence". She adds, "Western culture bases its ethics and its justice on the stories of estrangement ... The ethics of immanence encourage diversity rather than sameness in human endeavors, and within the biological community".

If the enclosure of communal land compels those who had lost their source of independent living to submit to wage relations and thus to construct the history of western economy over the past several centuries, then the persecution of the witches is a war on immanence. "If twentieth-century barbarism is not the same as the barbarism of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries," writes Esther Cohen, "their common origin is beyond doubt: both cases involve a 'violent' allergic reaction to radical alterity, a negation of the other as absolutely other, who is called Jew, witch, woman, black, or native".'

-- Antonella Corsani, 'Beyond the Myth of Woman: The Becoming-Transfeminist of (Post-)Marxism', Substance, Vol. 36, No. 1, Issue 112: Italian Post-Workerist Thought (2007), University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 122-23 (trans. Timothy S. Murphy)


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