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Revisiting the Domestic-Labour Debate: An Indian Perspective

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image of Historical Materialism

The class-struggle under capitalism is shaped by the fact that for capital, labour-power is merely a factor of production and source of profit, whereas for workers it is an element of their own lives. Given the centrality of labour-power to the accumulation of capital, it is surprising that Marx nowhere describes or analyses its production. The domestic-labour debate of the 1970s was a useful attempt to fill this gap, but left many issues unresolved. This article attempts to carry forward this theoretical task, using examples mainly from India, and to draw practical conclusions for the working-class struggle.

Affiliations: 1: Union Research Group Bombay, Email:


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