What Federici Takes to Be the Relationship between the Witch Hunts in Europe and the Colonization of the “New World”.
The history of women and the replica in transition to capitalism started with struggles that occurred at the European medieval proletariat. The struggles entailed small peasants, artisans, and common day laborers against the feudal power. The struggle was a direct relationship between the witch-hunts in Europe and the colonization of the new world. Such struggles were significant in the history of world liberation (22).
For Silvia Federici, it was not coincidental that the witch-hunts occurred concurrently with the colonization and execution of the populations of the New World, the English enclosures. The author instructs herself that the same European ruling elite instigated all such unrelated misfortunes during the formation of capitalism. Throughout the late 15th to the 17th centuries, there was a great fear of witches in Europe and Colonial America.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, several women across Europe were deemed to be witches and were burnt. Witch trials started in the mid-15th century in a period filled with revolts, population decline from plagues, and imminent crisis in an era of feudalism. During that period, there were also mass struggles by the working class and farmers in organized extensive heretical networks, for instance, the Cathars networks. Federici acknowledges that such actions led to the inception of the first international fight for freedom from feudal duties. Through such actions, the working class, often led by women, gained control of numerous cities in the late 14th century, creating the first workers’ democracies, ages earlier than the Paris Commune or the Russian Revolution. During the 16th century, Germany and parts of what is currently referred to as the Czech Republic experienced massive revolutions by most of the entire employed population. Most of the insurgencies were violent and were put down brutally, even though others were outsmarted by a new approach of the ruling classes to avoid their upheaval.
The history of the witch-hunts was also based on the need to conquer the continuity of populations of the new world and those in Europe. “In both cases, we have the forcible removal of entire communities from their land, large-scale impoverishment, the launching of Christianizing campaigns destroying people’s autonomy and communal relations” (219). This form of repression was aimed at weakening the communities that were leading the liberation struggles, specifically women.
Because of such actions, the ruling classes of Europe, under siege, were obligated to achieve several objectives. They were to find extra employees to compensate for the defiant workforces, apart from privatizing land by impounding it from the village controls. It was because the villages were the main causes of the uprisings, and changed the way people thought about manual work and used their bodies with the intention of implementing a new kind of steady work-discipline that would drive capitalism to fit into the needs of feudal lords (21). The history of women overlaps with that of capitalist development, which shaped classic territories of class struggle in terms of labor services, wage rates, rents and tithes. This however, “ignores the new visions of social life and the transformation of gender relations which these conflicts produced (22).
The ruling class attained its first objective through the subjugation of the Americans and the enslavement of Africans, as well as the indigenous people of the New World. Such an approach gave rise to a plantation economy which enhanced the world market for capitalist commodities like silver, gold, sugar, and later, cotton. The second mission of the elite class was attained through what is famously known as the Enclosures Movement, particularly in medieval Europe. Initially, most of the land was owned communally, and managed legitimately by associations of peasants in the villages. However, the ruling class introduced legislative acts privatizing communal lands, which constituted Marx’s idea based on primitive accumulation that ignored colonialism, slavery, and patriarchy. Furthermore, to eradicate the commons, it was essential to split the unity of men and women, and villagers and urban artificers who played a significant role in the crisis of the ruling classes. Therefore, witch trials and the horrific burning of several women deemed as witches in towns across Europe for two centuries attained this objective by weakening the power of women, who frequently, were collective leaders of the revolutions, thus enforcing capitalism on women’s procreative work.
Generally, most of the origins of such stereotypes of witches arose from the women-led struggles. Therefore, the destruction of women was an essential part of the process of changing the concept of the human body from a sacred fount for the soul, or an animalistic body with abilities of pleasure, to a work machine open for capitalism. Philosophers like Descartes and Hobbes also explained such notions. Therefore, burning witches and raping poor women, among other evil activities, increased the evil practice of human bodies to encourage the creation of a capitalistic mindset of colonialism. Moreover, the rise of the workers during that period necessitated a war against women. It caused the witch-hunts that led to the torturing and burning of tens of thousands of women across Europe. The immense state-backed fight against the European farmers destroyed communal associations and property. It was done alongside seizure and destruction of the land, and popular culture, and was otherwise referred to as the genocide in the New World and the beginning of the African slave trade.
A major element of such witch-hunt crusades in the new world of colonization was the use of so-called shock and awe strategies to intimidate the populace with great displays of force, which facilitated the concurrence of the opposition towards implementation of far-reaching and unpopular reforms. Federici upholds that an act of classic witch burning was a significant public event where all the community members had to be present. The children of the witches, particularly their daughters, were not spared, and in some instances, they would be thrashed in front of other people and forced to see their mother burn alive. Federici argues that such horrific executions not only castigated the witches, but also explicitly showcased the consequences of any act of defiance towards the clergy or superiority.
In conclusion, it is apparent that the witch burnings were aimed at frightening the women into compliance with new male-controlled directives. It involved the exploitation of women’s bodies, their labor, as well as sexual and reproductive powers, which were put under the control of the state and converted into economic resources in the new world of colonization.
What Spinoza Takes to Be the Role of the Freedom of Expression in A State. Does Freedom of Expression Strengthen or Weaken a State in Spinoza’s Opinion?
Every ruler would be glad to govern the minds and the tongues of all men. It is because everyone would then lead their lives as per the ruler’s wishes, besides being obedient to the judgments of the kings, whether bad, good or evil (156). Nonetheless, in any free states, freedom of expression is mandatory, with a right to think freely or express one’s opinion without restraints.
Spinoza raised convincing arguments regarding the freedom of expression. The author insisted on the significance of the natural right of the citizens to express their opinions and the ostensible fact that it would be self-conquering for a state to restrain that freedom. In spite of the kinds of edicts that are ratified against speech and other means of expression, people will not shy away from saying what they believe in, only that this will happen in secret.“They’ll never be able to stop men from forming their own opinions about everything on the basis of their state of mind, and from having whatever emotions arise from those opinions”(157). Therefore, the freedom of expression is an individual power that strengthens a nation because suppression of freedom makes citizens resent a state, hence, weakens the bond that unites them to their government. In Spinoza’s assessment, biased laws that hamper the freedom of expression eventually lead to anger, requite, and agitation. The effort to impose them is a great danger to the state, for instance, the Dutch revolt, which was triggered by suppressive measures from the Spanish crown. Furthermore, infringing the power of the sovereign authority involves actions that go against a decision attained, but one does not infringe anything by thinking or judging what he or she thinks is fit (158).
Furthermore, Spinoza also debates the freedom of expression based on practical grounds, meaning that it is essential for exposing certainty, economic progress, and the development of creativity. The freedom of expression enhances the marketplace of notions, knowledge, beliefs, and other disciplines that are significant in people’s development. Spinoza states that such freedom is significant in nurturing science and arts because it is only those who are impartial and whose judgment is at liberty can succeed in such fields. According to the author, the freedom of expression or ideas should not be criminalized in a well-organized state. Libertas philosophandi, which means the freedom of theorizing, must be advocated because it is significant for a healthy, safe and pacific state, and promotes material and intellectual development. Nonetheless, Spinoza does not fully support the freedom of expression. He openly states that the expression of rebellious philosophies should not be accepted by the state. Additionally, regulations must be imposed against any speech or expression that promotes the upheaval of the government, allows non-compliance to its laws or hurts other citizens. Such forms of freedom of expression, if allowed, can weaken a nation. According to Spinoza, citizens are free to argue for the abolishment of edicts that they find them irrational and repressive, but it must be done peacefully. In fact, “the harder the authorities try to take away this freedom of speech, the more stubbornly men will resist” (159).Therefore, the governments should allow citizens to reason freely and positively to ensure a strong nation prevails. In case their squabble fails to influence the state to adjust the law, then that should be the end of the concern. If such action is not undertaken, a popular hatred can emerge against states, thus, weakening the nation.
Many philosophers have argued against the freedom of speech as presented by Spinoza. According to their thinking, it is difficult to decide what kind of expression amounts to treason. The government, in some instances, might declare a speech seditious simply because it disagrees with the speech or finds the expressions against its policies in addressing such concerns. Nonetheless, Spinoza insists that the significant element is having a distinctive line between concepts and actions. He maintains that the government is mandated to criminalize certain kinds of actions. Since the government is responsible for maintaining public welfare, the state must have complete and exclusive powers to check, and lawfully control, what people may or may not do. Nevertheless, Spinoza does not take account of ideas and the expression of ideas as part of the action.
Spinoza affirms that unconstrained freedom of expression is in the state’s own best interest. For instance, in the post-9/11 world, there was a certain notion that homeland security was well protected through the suppression of some liberties. It consisted of a trend by justice systems to infer existing laws in restraining ways and efforts by policy makers of coming up with new limitations and disposition among the populace to enhance peace and security to comply in this. The author asserts that the population seems ready to take part in a higher degree of self-suppression and agree to relaxing legal fortifications. Such form of dangerous thinking was acknowledged by Spinoza, which affected individuals and the society. Spinoza argued that there was a need to have a consensus between political and social welfare and the freedom of expression, since the former depended on the latter.
Therefore, it is significant for the state to encourage freedom of expression since many people get offended by being regarded as offenders because of their sincerely held beliefs, for instance, their thoughts that submissively lean towards God and men (159). These results in revolt to the laws, and men can go to any extent possible to oppose the legal system.
Describe The “State ofNature” For Locke. What Is the Difference Between The “State ofNature” And The “State ofWar” For Locke? Why Does He Take It That People Leave The “State ofNature”? What Is the Relationship betweenthe “State ofNature,” Property, And Government forLocke?
It is significant to consider the natural state of all men in order to understand political power effectively and stem it from its proper source. Such states provide that men need to have a free will to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and themselves in any manner they want, “without asking anyone’s permission—subject only to limits set by the law of nature” (3).It is a state of equality, with everyone having same powers and authority. According to Locke, there is a direct relationship between the state of nature and the state of war.
From Locke’ exposition, it is apparent that he dwells much on the state of nature. The state of nature refers to the circumstance where there is a state of perfect freedom for men to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and people as they think fit. It occurs within the confines of the Law of Nature without asking for leave or depending upon the will of any other man (3). According to the statement, it is obvious that Locke abides by the Natural Law of tradition, which provides that men characteristically have a moral sense that prohibits them from taking part in certain acts. Because they are children of God, people know what is right and wrong, and to some extent what is legitimate. Hence, they can resolve conflicts impartiallyand consistently.
According to the author, the state of nature is not a state of warrant since man is not at free will to destroy himself for any Creature within his or her reach, but where some nobler use, than its bare Preservation calls for it”(3).Rationally, people are not supposed to harm one another in terms of life, health, liberty, or properties and they have an active responsibility to the welfare of others. Simultaneously, individuals also have a right to reprimand the offenders of the Law of Nature since it is the main basic-essence of law.
Nevertheless, human beings are likely to be partial in their own cases and consequently act as subjective judges. It presents one of the great inadequacies in Locke’s law of the state of nature. Other two shortcomings of Locke’s state of nature laws involve the lack of protection of property rights and the insertion of irrationals. However, it is significant that man needs to be united even in the non-existence of government. Ultimately, such a government is inopportune for man, but not completely ethical. It is regarded by its open-mindedness, purpose, and parity.
Locke argues that man runs away from the state of nature in pursuit of a fair mediator to apply the laws of nature and protect one’s properties. Thus, in moving towards the political society, man loses only his executive power of the law of nature, but not his life, freedom or property. Therefore, human beings need to agree with each other to unite into a community for a contented, safe, and amiable living. Since human beings are able to unite their own wills, they do not need a supreme Sovereign to be their mediator. Instead, human beings require someone who can uphold, not establish the law. The law is simply the implementation of the law of nature and human beings, as members of the society must support them. Lock maintains that civil rights originate from laws, whereas responsibilities emanate from nature (6). It generates a fiduciary power answerable to human beings, which rests on the common agreement. Therefore, law, instead of force, is the foundation of the government, which enhances peaceful co-existence and averts a state of war. Furthermore, Locke explains that upheaval is allowed when the government undermines the objectives for which it is created and points out that is it likely that someone is better off declining a given civil government and going back to the state of nature before electing a fresh government.
As an additional protection to the people, Locke supports the separation of powers. The author states that a complete sovereign that can intrude upon the law of nature is not in a position to raise people above the state of nature. Such assertion implies that the author supports a simple form of government with the utmost activity that takes place among the common people. According to Locke, a societal supporting man with the full understanding of the law of nature does not require an authoritative government to instruct and watch over him. Such a man needs a consistent administrative mechanism to apply the law sensibly in conformity with popular determination. The state of war brings about enmity and destruction. Therefore, the difference between the two is that a state of nature, correctly understood, “involves men living together according to reason, with no-one on earth who stands above them both and has authority to judge between them”(8). On the other hand,in a state of war, “a man uses or declares his intention to use force against another man, with no-one on earth to whom the other can appeal for relief” (8).
In conclusion, Locke considers that the arrangement of man’s governance needs to guard people and make them submissive to it. Additionally, Locke maintains that the functions of the law must be limited to the fundamentals because they need to be avenues of enforcing contacts through the government, which to him is a vehicle for maintaining human nature.