Feminist Socialism and the Commons

Hilary Wainwright, of the Transnational Institute and co-editor of Red Pepper magazine, made a lasting impression on the Commons Transition/P2P Foundation team with her panel presentation at the recent Commons Collaborative Economies event in Barcelona. During her presentation, Wainwright shared her insights on the hidden commons of care. “Women have been creating a Commons for a long time: the domestic labor and economy is, de facto, an invisible economy”. She argues that to integrate feminism we need to overcome the gender-based division of labor in the domestic economy, and to make that Commons visible. “It’s a bit strange that the Commons and P2P movements are male dominated. I think it is because this gendered commons, the economy of domestic labor, is completely hidden in the Commons and P2P movements, as in society in general”. She offers that there’s something else to learn from the women’s movement; that the sharing of knowledge or information is not just the sharing of data. “It’s the sharing of understanding, of knowledge that’s embedded in emotion, or even gossip; all those things that are not treated as relevant to knowledge”.

With this in mind, when we read following article, (originally published in Jacobin Magazine under the title “Why I Became a Feminist Socialist”), we were struck at how many of the observations and criticisms she derived from her experience during the late sixties — and beyond — are relevant to the P2P Commons movement. We consulted with Hilary Wainwright and have agreed on republishing the article here (albeit with a different title) to nourish this much-needed debate on the invisible economy, affective labor, and the Commons.

Read the rest at Commons Transition


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