"What has not been recognized is that the witch-hunt was one of the most important events in the development of capitalist society and the formation of the modern proletariat. For the unleashing of a campaign of terror against women, unmatched by any other persecution, weakened the resistance of the European peasantry to the assault launched on it by the gentry and the state, at a time when the peasant community was already disintegrating under the combined impact of land privatisation, increased taxation, and the extension of state control over every aspect of social life. The witch-hunt deepened the division between women and men, teaching men to fear the power of women, and destroyed a universe of practices, beliefs, and social subjects whose existence was incompatible with the capitalist work discipline, thus redefining the main elements of social reproduction. In this sense, like the contemporary attacks on “popular culture”, and the “Great Confinement” of paupers and vagabonds in work-houses and correction houses, the witch-hunt was an essential aspect of primitive accumulation and the “transition” to capitalism."
Sylvia Federici, “Caliban and the Witch” (via amodernmanifesto)