Class Theory and History: Capitalism and Communism in the USSR

Class Theory and History: Capitalism and Communism in the USSR

Stephen A. Resnick

Language: English

Pages: 368

ISBN: 0415933188

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


First Published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

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both domestic and foreign. The czarist state designed and enforced tariff laws to protect private Russian capitalists from foreign competition, labor laws to prevent unionization, various regulations facilitating capital accumulation and investment, and so on. The czar promoted ideologies upholding the sanctity of private property, private enter­ prise, and market contracts. The state also made massive purchases of the com­ modities produced by private capitalists. All these state activities

alternative for those class structures currently prevalent in United States society. It is not limited to small units nor does it necessarily entail centralization. To demonstrate these points, we shall consider how different social conditions can y ield different kinds of communist class structures. Although communism is defined by an identity between the collectivities of sur­ plus labor producers and appropriators, their geographic locations may differ, depending on the specific social and

as the inability of laborers to A General Class Theory 27 appropriate the fruits of their own surplus labor or to collectivize productive prop­ erty without compensation, help to secure the freedom of capitalists to appropriate others' surplus labor. These are some political conditions of the exploitation of some individuals by other individuals. In contrast to this, the inability to alienate property and labor power (via market exchange) in communism helps to under­ mine the freedom to

private forms of capitalism, the state has taken on a more powerful role by raising taxes on capitalist surpluses and intervening directly in markets. National emergencies have even elevated state power to determining both the sizes of capitalists' surpluses (via wage and profit limitations) and how much of capitalists' appropriated surpluses should be des­ tined to capital accumulation or managers' salaries. In particularly revolutionary coajunctures (as we shall show in the following chapters),

valuable light on the distribution of and strug­ gles over power as constituents of Soviet development. Second, his disregard of surplus labor rendered his work unable to remedy what he had recognized, with Hindess, as so important an absence in analyses of the Soviet experience. Kuron and Modzelewski ( 1972) merited special consideration here because they were among the very few who did focus explicit attention on the distribution of the sur­ plus product (the fruit of the workers' surplus

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