The Commoner

Issue 03: January 2002

‘Reclaiming the Body’

There is a common thread running through the diverse articles collected in this issue of The Commoner. What ties them together is what we may refer to as the struggle over the body. The body is the centre of human power, the material powerhouse of humanity. The control over the body is the control over the entire fabric of social life.

  • Introduction by the Editors: Reclaiming the Body [PDF]
  • Silvia Federici: The Great Caliban: The Struggle Against the Rebel Body. [PDF]
  • Cyril Smith: Marx, Hegel, the Enlightenment and Magic. [PDF]
  • Nick Dyer-Witheford: Global Body, Global Brain/Global Factory, Global War: Revolt of the Value-Subjects. [PDF]
  • Les Levidow: Marketizing Higher Education: Neoliberal Strategies and Counter-Strategies. [PDF]

Life is but a motion of limbs…. For what is the heart, but a spring; and the nerves, but somany strings; and the joints but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body….(Hobbes, Leviathan).

Yet I will be a more noble creature,
and at the very time when my natural necessities debase me
into the condition of the Beast,
my Spirit shall rise and soar and fly up towards the employment of the angels.
(Cotton Mather, Diary)

….take some Pity on me… for my Friends is very Poor, and my Mother is very sick, and Iam to die next Wednesday morning, so I hope you will be so good as to give my Friends a small Trifill of Money to pay for a Coffin and a Sroud, for to take my body a way from the Tree in that I am to die on… and don’t be faint Hearted… so I hope you will take it into Consideration of my poor Body, and consedar if it was your own Race,
you would be willing to have your Body saved from the Surgeons
(Letter of Richard Tobin, condemned to death in London in 1739)