[Tribute to] The work of Mariarosa Dalla Costa

Mariarosa Dalla Costa is an influential Italian Marxist feminist and activist. She is the coauthor of the classic feminist text The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, with Selma James.

This text launched the “domestic labor debate” in the early 1970s by redefining housework as reproductive labor necessary to the functioning of capitalism and as work that has been rendered invisible by its removal from the wage-relation. Her research has been translated into multiple languages and published in journals, edited collections, and monographs.

Mariarosa has published a number of (important) texts in The Commoner over the years. Her work features in several issues and the relevance of her perspectives and the urgency of the necessity for change in that vision grow day by day.


Pandemic proof subsistence now!


  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa (1972): Women and the Subversion of the Community [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa (1974): On The General Strike [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa (1977): Reproduction and Emigration [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa: Women’s Autonomy & Renumeration of Care Work [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa: Development and Reproduction [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Dario De Bortoli: For Another Agriculture and Another Food Policy in Italy [PDF]
    • from: Issue 10: Spring/Summer 2005: ‘The Carnival of Values and The Exchange Value of Carnival’
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa: Fishermen and women for food sovereignty [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa: Food sovereignty, peasants and women [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa: So that Fish May Flop in Vegetable Gardens: Biodiversity and health in movements for peasant-based agriculture and artisan fishing [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa: The war on subsistence / Report to the assembly of students against war, Department of Political Science in Padua, Aula Magna, December 12, 2001 [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa: The attack on the Earth / Article published in Manifesto Alias on Saturday, December 29, 2001 [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa: Workerism, Feminism and Some Efforts of the United Nations [PDF]
    • a diverse collection of texts and talks from The Commoner’s blog here preserved for posterity – enjoy!
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James: The power of women and the subversion of the community

This collection brings together key texts and previously unavailable essays of the influential Italian feminist author and activist Mariarosa Dalla Costa. In recent years there has been both a renewed interest in theories of social reproduction and an explosion of women’s struggles and strikes across the world. The collection offers both historical and contemporary Marxist feminist analysis of how the reproduction of labour and life functions under capitalism.

Dalla Costa’s essays, speeches, and political interventions provide insight into the vibrant and combative women’s movement that emerged in Italy and across the world in the early 1970s. Since the publication of Women and the Subversion of the Community (1972), Dalla Costa has been a central figure in the development of autonomist thought in a wide range of anticapitalist and feminist social movements. Her detailed research and provocative thinking deepens our understanding of the role of women’s struggles for autonomy and control over their bodies and labour. These essays provide critical and relevant ideas for anticapitalists, antiracists, and feminists who are attempting to build counterpower in the age of austerity.

Women and the Subversion of the Community: A Mariarosa Dalla Costa Reader

SKU: 9781629635705
Author: Mariarosa Dalla Costa • Preface by Harry Cleaver • Edited by Camille Barbagallo • Translated by Richard Braude
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 9781629635705
Published: 3/2019
Format: Paperback
Size: 6 x 9
Page count: 288


“This book is a further testimony to the great contribution Mariarosa Dalla Costa has made to feminist thought. It will be read for years to come.”
—Silvia Federici, author of Revolution at Point Zero

“This publication is a major step in the constitution of a subversive feminist historiography. Mariarosa Dalla Costa’s contribution has been at the vanguard of the theorization of the relation between the oppression of women and capitalism.”
—Morgane Merteuil, researcher, coeditor of Pour un féminisme de la totalité

“That capitalism organizes society to be divided into a ‘private’ sphere of the home and a ‘public’ sphere of the workplace is commonly acknowledged by all. What is not recognized is how capital consistently tries to depoliticize the ‘private.’ Even revolutionaries have sometimes been in thrall of this particular obfuscation, limiting their anticapitalist strategizing to the workplace alone. Mariarosa Dalla Costa’s works, since the 1970s, have unfailingly pierced this veil. By theorizing the reproduction of labour power to be the precondition for capitalism’s functioning, Dalla Costa has always illuminated for us the immense political potential of the private. Connecting unpaid labour in the home to the paid work of the wage worker, and by linking the naturalization of women’s work to the capitalization of nature, Dalla Costa, in her scholarship and on the streets, continues to model for us an insurgent, irrepressible, anticapitalist feminism.”
—Tithi Bhattacharya, editor of Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression; national organizer for the International Women’s Strike

“The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community by Mariarosa Della Costa is a small but mighty read. I carry it in my purse and love to read people passages about the capitalist function of the uterus.”
—Lyz Lenz

Mariarosa Dalla Costa is an Italian feminist, a former member of Lotta Femminista, and cofounder of the International Feminist Collective. She is an associate professor emerita at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Padua, and devotes her theoretical and practical activity to understanding the condition of women through an updated reading of capitalist development. Among many other works, she is the author of The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, with Selma James – from: Introduction to the Archive of Feminist Struggle for wages for housework. Donation by Mariarosa Dalla Costa