What follows is an email that a comrade wrote to members of a political listserv that he is a part of. We offer it here due to the timely nature of the intervention around the way that we talk about Thatcher and her death.
Witch Side Are You On?
I dont intend to attack anyone for their word choice, but would like to raise a little bit of consciousness on this word choice of calling Thatcher a “witch” as a form of insult.
Margaret thatcher was the opposite of a witch. By referring to thatcher as a witch, one denigrates the real witches of the late middle ages (and other women whose independence was slandered by patriarchy as witchcraft) whose genocide (witch hunts) was intimately bound up with the subjugation of the new proletariat and colonizing missions.
The witch hunts culminated in a triumph for the bourgeoisie, in the form of a division of labor at the heart of which was a stark divide between productive labor and reproductive (domestic) labor. Workers outside of the home (predominantly men, but women too) were waged slaves whose productivity was under-valued through the fetishism of commodities (money hiding the unequal exchange of equivalents). Workers inside the home (exclusively women) were not paid at all, the most extreme fetish (illusion) this new capitalist order would produce. At the heart of this illusion that women’s domestic/reproductive work did not merit a wage, was the false belief that women are genetically prone to do this work for free as loving mothers and loyal wives. Male wage earners were given a position, imposed on them and enforced by law, of domestic overseer with all the tools of coercion they might need, from the right to rape to the right to beat “their” wives who regarded as dependents on the man. Thus the male proletariat was coopted by the bourgeoisie in a scheme to keep the total wage bill of that class half of what it should have been. In this sense, all of us male proletarians have a duty to honor our sisters as pillars of the class at every available opportunity. Part of that is learning the history of women as workers inside and outside the home. That history includes the heroic chapter of witches’ resistance to capitalism at the very dawn of its existence. [the book Caliban and the Witch is a good place to start – click here here here here and here for links to that courtesy of some good people in Seattle.]
Margaret thatcher was a traitor to her gender. Witches were the most loyal members not only of their gender but also of a far reaching pan-european anti-capitalist/anti-patriarchy movement from the 1300s-1700s, that is, during the period of capitalism’s maturation as a world system.
Death to Thatcherism!
Long live women’s liberation and proletarian revolution!