Everybody Knows

The main characteristic features of a capitalist economy are the presence of a market that serves as the main mediator of relations of economic exchange in a society built of classes of private owners of the means of production and the proletariat, that is, the army of (potential) workers who have to sell their labour force to the owners of the means of production in exchange for the means of survival, that is, wages. It is precisely this unevenness in terms of ownership and control over the means of production of goods and services that separates classes from one another and puts them into an endemically antagonistic position of class war dictated by their contradicting interests in that relationship. Thus, the owners will want to extract as much value out of workers as possible, while the workers aim to earn a higher wage and effectively have a higher share of the final surplus value generated in the process of production. This antagonism underlies what is known as the ‘class war’ and is typically mediated by the institution of the state via formalised rules, that is, laws, negotiated by and through trade unions, CSOs, lobbies and other forms of civil society organisations. The USSR, however, was a particular type of state, where organised civil society groups have not enjoyed the autonomy necessary for effective bargaining but instead were controlled by the state…

—Yuliya Yurchenko, Ukraine and the Empire of Capital: From Marketisation to Armed Conflict, (London: Pluto Press, 2018).

Effective bargaining by autonomous organised civil society groups?

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