On ‘Class Process’ and ‘Surplus’ in the Work of Richard D. Wolff and Stephen A. Resnick: A Critique and A Clarification
Throughout their work, Richard D. Wolff and Stephen A. Resnick, in order to explicitly emphasise the production process in their Marxian analysis, redefine ‘class’ so as to refer to the production process qua mode of production as ‘class process’. As such, all forms of the production process are referred to as ‘class processes’ and, in turn, ‘primitive communism’ and ‘communism’ as modes of production are redefined as particular (non-exploitative) ‘class processes’ rather than non-class or classless modes of production. Now, despite the fact that their analysis more often than not contribute something of value to Marxist theory and despite the fact that I share their same perspective on the emphasis on modes of production in terms of its importance to Marxism, I believe this notion of ‘class’ is in error. In the following schematic, structural exposition, I aim to demonstrate why this is an error via a presentation of the logic inherent to the determination of a mode of production, in relation to the production of ‘value’ and ‘surplus value’ as functional terms, as having the quality of a ‘class relation’. With this demonstration, I will then show why this error occurs; I will show that within Wolff and Resnick, in order to arrive at the term ‘class process’ qua production process itself, there is a conflation and equivocation between ‘value’ and ‘surplus value’. And similarly, I will show that this conflation and equivocation also produces, in their analyses, inconsistency. In order to present the logic involved as clearly as possible, I will focus on ‘primitive communism’ as an exemplar and I my explications will be intentionally reductive and schematic; as such, it should be noted that my analyses are not intended to be exhaustive—far from it—and do not capture significant elements and the like of the modes of production being discussed or aspects of the terms that are significant beyond the way they are presented. I am simply attempting to refine key aspects of the logic applicable to the specificity of Wolff and Resnick’s conception of ‘class process’.
Taking ‘primitive communism’ as our point of departure, this is how Wolff and Resnick deal with it as a form: ‘In this form, the direct laborers themselves collectively discuss and decide upon their working conditions, how much surplus they will perform, and how they will dispose of the fruits of their surplus labor.’ This is, in terms of the mode of production which determines where the surplus is being generated, the fundamental ‘class process’; subsumed class processes in relation to this require the distribution (some portion of it) of the surplus to them—the agents who produce the surplus ‘appropriate’ and make decisions about its distribution. This conception relies on their definition of a ‘class’ as a term denoting the production process as such, where the production process inherently involves the production of surplus value. For example:
By class we mean . . . a process in society where individuals perform labor above and beyond (“surplus” to) that which society deems necessary for their reproduction as laborers. . . . In simplest terms, one part of the population does such necessary and surplus labor and receives back the fruits of the necessary labor for their own reproduction. These laborers deliver the fruits of their surplus labor—the “surplus”—to another part of the population that then distributes it to still another part.
Hence, according to this model, an exploitative form would be: agents of surplus production produce surplus → appropriation of surplus by agents other than agents of surplus production → distribution of surplus by appropriators to appropriators and other groups in society; a non-exploitative form would be: agents of surplus production produce surplus → ‘appropriation’ of surplus by the agents of surplus production (same agents) → distribution of surplus to agents of surplus production and other groups in society.
Now, in order to examine how the term class is being used in this manner and why their generalisation of ‘surplus’ as pertaining to all production as such is the result of a conflation and equivocation, let us schematically and in basic terms return to ‘primitive communism’ as a mode of production.
In general, ‘primitive communism’ has the following characteristics and conditions: basic agriculture (and perhaps ‘hunting and gathering’ activities) as means; communal ownership of land and resources (in relation to the means), hence: ‘common ownership’ and, in turn, ‘common ownership’ of production; no class differentiation; and, (typically) a rudimentary division of labour pertaining to sex or based on sexual difference (say, the total production encompasses x and y; men do x, women do y). One can make a comment about the limitations of primitive communism and state something along the lines of ‘one remains a slave to nature’ in this mode of production, but to form and elaborate such a judgement of this sort is not the task here.
So with these characteristic and conditions, lets turn to how the ‘surplus’, as a term, can be derived and its relation to ‘class’.
The term ‘surplus value’ corresponds to a production process wherein a division or distinction between necessary labour time and labour time beyond necessary labour time can be derived (though in itself it does not have to be explicitly expressed in temporal form, which will be demonstrated); the appropriation of what is produced in surplus to necessary labour time by an agent other than the agent who produces the ‘surplus’ determines the ‘quality’ of the appropriation, qua ‘exploitation’. Hence, the determination of whether it is an ‘exploitative mode of production’. The appropriation then gives the function of distribution—that is, distribution is bound to the appropriation as a function, though they are logically and structurally distinguishable terms. So, if the mode of production is exploitative in the character as stated, then: ‘class’.
To apply the structure to ‘primitive communism’ and determine its quality, let’s first schematically and simply illustrate the structur of the feudal mode of production and then illustrate via comparison.
Let’s say an ‘agent of the labour process’ produces. What he produces has value in that it embodies human labour (leaving aside other sources of value). Over some period of time, call it t, the total value produced that is definable as necessary labour is: 10 units of value. The total value produced over t is not 10 units of value, however; the total value produced is 25 units of value. The necessary labour as a portion of the total value produced is situated, literally, on a piece of land, and it is situated according to the following property: it is ‘owned’ by the agent of the labour process. Everything produced on this piece of land is immediately ‘appropriated’ by the agent of the labour process and its distribution follows from this ‘appropriation’ (e.g., he feeds himself and, let’s say, he also feeds his wife and children).
—Now let’s pause here for a moment before continuing in order to state: if the agent of the labour process goes home with his 10 units of value that he has produced and distributes 5 units to himself and 5 units to his wife and children (where his wife has, in the household also produced some value and the agent of the labour process immediately appropriates that value), it cannot necessarily be the case that now the agent of the labour process’ necessary labour is actually divided into necessary labour for himself for value for himself and surplus labour for surplus value that is distributed to others which is in a non-exploitative relation because the labour agent is also the agent of appropriation and distribution, which would follow from Wolff and Resnick’s conception. The mode of production determines the exploitative quality and the surplus value as such, not how the value is distributed; hence, ‘agency’ in the production process is integral to the analysis and, hence, at least minimally, ‘power relations’ qua the agent position and how this determines a class relation is too integral to the economic analysis and the focus on the production process (something which Wolff and Resnick minimise). This is, in part, where Wolff and Resnick’s problem lies. Without having a clear conceptual distinction of the determination of surplus value from the production process, how a class relation is derived from the structural organisation of the determination of the surplus value, and the production process as such, coupled with the conflation I explicate below, the difference between surplus production and the distribution of non-surplus value cannot be adequately expressed. (Following what was stated above regarding the wife and children, it would also entail, following the same logic, that the wife and children are appropriating the agent of the labour process’ ‘surplus value’ where value is distributed. This would collapse the entire model. And this simultaneously with the agent appropriating the value the wife produces in the household; a kind of equilibrium of value appropriation. . .)
Now, the total value produced is 25. This means that 15 units of value were produced beyond what was (immediately) ‘appropriated’ by the agent of the labour process, and appropriated by some other agent, one other than the agent of the labour process, with the means of this ‘appropriation’-appropriation differential being the division of land (the agent of the labour process produces 10 on the piece of land he ‘owns’; the 15 units is produced by the same agent on a different piece of land ‘owned’ by the agent of appropriation). This 15 units corresponds to labour which is not ‘necessary labour’ since it is value produced beyond the agent of the labour process’ ‘needs’; it is in surplus to the 10 units produced directly for the agent who is doing the producing and that is in (immediate) relation to its ‘ownership’ (its appropriation and distribution). This 15 units of value is produced by the same agent but on another piece of land (‘owned’ by someone else), for the appropriation and distribution of another agent. The means of this is in the mode of production, explicity; e.g., the division of land (and land ‘ownership’). Though thus far it has been expressed ‘spatially’, we can qualify it with temporal form (or spatio-temporal form): t = seven days. The agent of the labour process spends, let’s say, two days producing the 10 units of value on his own piece of land, and four days are spent on the other agent’s land, the agent of appropriation’s land, producing the 15 units of value. (One day is spent not working, a ‘day of rest’.) Whatever is produced on the other agent’s land is immediately appropriated by the other agent (here we see that the property relation as such determines the quality of appropriation and exploitation). As such, of the 25 units of value, 15 units of value are produced for appropriation; 15 units of value are produced for the other agent. Namely, the serf produces that which is appropriated by the lord. Hence, the total value is divided into necessary labour and surplus labour; the surplus labour produces surplus value in contrast to the necessary labour that satisfied value for the agent of labour. With this structural composition, we have derived the term surplus value. Further: that the surplus value is appropriated by an agent other than the one who produces it in the production process, we can now define this form as an exploitative mode of production. And given that it is an exploitative mode of production, we can characterise it as a class relation; that is, its quality of exploitation determines that it ha the quality of being a class relation. To express this in logical form: If exploitation, then class; exploitation, therefore: class. And, in turn, if not exploitation, not class; not exploitation, therefore: not class.
If the above is taken into account, then, we can see that, unlike Wolff and Resnick, a production process as such is not necessarily a ‘class process’ since it is logically possible to have a production process and a mode of production that does not have the attribute of being an exploitative production process.
But let’s stay with the (simple and schematic) description of the feudal mode of production, its structure, for the moment. There are equivalences between this and the capitalist mode of production. For the sake of expression, I’ve given the feudal mode of production a fundamentally ‘spatial’ form; if in the schema we replace the spatial with a fundamentally ‘temporal’ one (though I do not mean to strictly define one in terms of spatial characteristics and one in terms of temporal characteristics—all modes of production have relations to time and space and time and space are compositional elements in all forms of production, the significance of which is something that is, in general, absent from non-Marxist economics), and state that the determinate of surplus value encompasses that the production satisfies the conditions of exchange value over use value (subordinates use value where production is for exchange value, hence: production of commodities for market distribution or, perhaps, some other form of distribution serving the same basic function), etc. With this, you likewise have a class relation given that it is an exploitative mode of production. Here, over some time period, t, let’s say eight hours, the value produced that corresponds to the way the production process determines the production of value is divided up between necessary labour time and surplus labour time. The agent of the labour process (here a wage-labourer rather than a serf) produces, let’s say, for the sake of consistency, 25 units of value in those eight hours. 10 units of value, produced in three hours of the eight hours in the working day, are given back to the agent of the labour process, satisfying the portion of value that corresponds to necessary labour time for the agent of the labour process; the remaining 15 units of value are produced in the other five hours of the workday and are not given back but are appropriated by another agent. Hence, surplus is produced, the quality of the appropriation in the production process means that it is an exploitative mode of production; hence, the capitalist mode of production entails a class relation. The class relation as a term is derived from the exploitative nature of the appropriation in the production process.
We can clearly see then what the quality of exploitation is, what the term denotes, in terms of the production process and how class is derived from the particular way in which a mode of production is compositionally an exploitative one: the term ‘class’ refers to and describes an exploitative mode of production. Now, does ‘primitive communism’ satisfy any of the conditions that have been outlined such that it could be described, as a mode of production, as a ‘class process’ in accordance with Resnick and Wolff?
Let’s start at the beginning. To express Wolff and Resnick’s view: the production process entails that a surplus (value) is produced as such; where the production process entails surplus, it is a ‘class process.’ Hence, production process is equivalent in terms with ‘class process’. So, is surplus (value) produced in ‘primitive communism’?
I will now very simply demonstrate, along similar postulates as in the above analysis, that ‘primitive communism’ is communist because it is not an exploitative mode of production, it is not in terms of a production process equivalent in form, for example, to the feudal or capitalist exploitative modes of production; as such, it is not a class process but a classless mode of production; this will enable us, in turn, to explicate the fundamental difference between the ‘primitive communist mode of production’ and the ‘communist mode of production’ as production processes: no surplus value is produced in one, surplus is produced in the other.
Let as schematically describe the ‘primitive communist’ mode of production as encompassing the following or having the following characteristics: all agents share ‘common ownership’ of the means of production and all agents participate in the total value produced by the labour process, i.e., everyone is involved in the production process in that all members of the community are in some way involved in transforming raw materials into useful items for that community, which possess value since they embody human labour the human labour of that transformation process (again, ignoring other sources of value for the sake of clarity). To be absolutely clear and consistent, let’s say that over some time-period t, 10 units of value are produced by the agents of the labour process (all members of the community) and all agents are then the ‘immediate’ ‘appropriators’ or ‘owners’ of that value produced. 10 units of value is produced by all agents, ten units of value is ‘appropriated’ by all agents. And the distribution of that 10 units is too decided by all agents (or they decide to give it to one member of the community who has some special status, and this single agent has the role of making decisions pertaining to the distribution—it doesn’t matter). Nothing in this arrangement entails that a ‘surplus’ has been created since there is no value being produced beyond that which is ‘appropriated’ by the agents doing the value producing, the agents of the labour process, there is no relationship of value beyond necessary labour in relation to the form of the production process and the appropriation of labour since there is simple relationship between production for use and reflexive ‘appropriation’. There is no value beyond that which ‘belongs to’ the agents of the labour process which is being appropriated as ‘surplus’—the term ‘surplus (value)’ cannot be derived from the production process as a functional term of appropriation. As such, there is no exploitation (as I hope is obvious) since it is not an exploitative mode of production; this entails that the production process is not a ‘class process’ since it is not exploitative: it is a non-exploitative mode of production and hence a classless mode of production.
But let’s now modify this schema. Let’s say similar conditions and characteristics exist as in the above example, ‘common ownership’, etc., but in this community, the 10 units of value over t are produced not by all the members of the community—let’s say the community is made up of one hundred people—but only half the population of the community—fifty people—are agents of the labour process, the people who produce this 10 units of value. The other fifty people have roles in the community that are integral and valuable to the community, to its existence (more specifically, the existence of the mode of production) and, perhaps, in their own right, and are given a certain status in the community, but they are roles that, nonetheless, do not contribute directly to the value that the entire community needs and benefits from, they do not contribute directy to the production of those 10 units of value (over t). That is, they are dependent on those other fifty members who are the agents of the labour process, those who do produce those 10 units of value (over t). Let’s say those 10 units of value are not appropriated by the fifty who are not agents of the labour process, but they are ‘appropriated’ by the fifty members of the community who are the agents of the labour process. These agents determine the production, ‘appropriation’ and distribution of what they produce beyond what they produce for themselves, that is, the 5 units of value that is beyond, in surplus of, the 5 units of value they require for themselves alone. And in order to do so, they consult the other members of the community so as to make sure the distribution process is undertaken via good decisions rather than bad decisions—they even give specific non-production, distributive roles to certain members of the community composed of people from the non-productive fifty, so that the distribution process involves both agents of the labour process and non-agents of the labour process. To put it simply: the production process here entails that the value being produced is divisible into: value that corresponds to necessary labour in relation to the agents of the labour process; and, value being produced in addition to that which corresponds to necessary labour, i.e., surplus value produced by surplus labour. This surplus is not appropriated, but rather, it is ‘appropriated’ by the same agents of the labour process. And it is then distributed where distribution is a function of the ‘appropriation’ (as opposed to being a function of the appropriation). Hence, it is a non-exploitative mode of production and, as such, it is a classless mode of production. An example of such a production process can be found in Wolff and Resnick:
Evidence of communist [production processes] on many collective farms [in the Soviet Union] . . . [appear] in personal reports on collective farm operations. Belov (1955) worked on a collective farm (reorganized in 1930 as an artel), became chairman of a collective in his own village, and eventually published a book based on his diaries. In explaining the structure of a collective, he writes: “. . . during and immediately after the harvest, before deliveries to the state have been made (the ‘First Commandment’) and before the seed, insurance and fodder funds have been replenished (the ‘Second Commandment’), all the crops are kolkhoz property, and woe betide the peasant who is caught making off with a kilogram of grain. . .” (Belov 1955, 32). Belov here captures the importance of state pressures (‘Commandments’) on farm collectives. The state applied pressure because the entire crop belonged first to the collective that produced it, not to any subset of its members nor to any set of state officials. This precisely differentiated collective farms from state industrial workers (and from state farm workers). Having supported and even organized farmers into communist [production processes] on many collective farms, the state then found itself compelled to use pressure and eventually force to acquire the surplus distributions it wanted from the communist surplus that the collective itself appropriated. The Soviet state intervened to order the collective farm to distribute some of its surplus in certain ways, but ordering how others distribute their surplus is different from appropriating and distributing surplus. The state exerted power, while the collective produced, appropriated, and distributed a surplus. [fn. Based on the evidence, we rejected the counterthesis that state officials were surplus appropriators on collective farms. No discourse recognized nor did existing laws empower a centralized board of ministers or decentralized local officials to allocate labor power and means of production or to appropriate the crops harvested (or the proceeds from their sale). As explained in the text, the statutes passed, the culture produced, and the local collective economy combined to create something very different. The workers of collective farms collectively possessed the means of production, set in motion their own labor power, and had the first command over the produced crops and values. They distributed their surpluses to secure the survival of the collective. Paradoxically, it was the communist fundamental . . . position held by these agricultural workers that necessitated the extensive power used by communist state officials to try to influence those workers’ activities. State power aimed to acquire resources from a communist [production process] structure outside the state.]
It is not my intention to discuss the production processes within the Soviet Union, the merits or otherwise of the Soviet Union as a state and whether they fulfilled their role as a state capitalist or socialist formation. All that I intend to demonstrate is that a communist mode of production is differentiated from a primitive communist mode of production in a fundamental way. That is, a fundamental difference between ‘primitive communism’ and ‘communism’ pertains to the determination of the production of surplus value. Communism in any form, however, is fundamentally characterised by the fact, arising from the structure of its mode of production, that is it non-exploitative and hence classless.
Finally, let us turn to how Resnick and Wolff are able to term the production process as such a ‘class process’. I will demonstrate a conflation inherent to Wolff and Resnick which will account for this term. The conflation is as follows.
In a production process in general, there is the following equation: raw materials (or some form of materials) + human labour = product with (use) value (where the product embodies the human labour put to work in the production of the product; this labour is the source of the value embodied in the product). This in itself accounts for value as such (in terms of value produced by human labour). The addition of human labour which transforms the raw materials into a product of human labour does not account for ‘surplus value’—the term and function of ‘surplus value’ requires derivation from a specific operation which is derived from a specific organisational structure of the production process. As stipulated in the preceding, this surplus is derived from some relationship between agents of production and appropriation (or ‘appropriation’), how value is being produced, and the structural organisation of that production process in relation to the appropriation and distribution of the that value. One needs, for instance, a division of the total value (determined in some parameter) in relation to the organisational structure of production which generates the term surplus in relation to the agents of the labour process. The addition in the equation raw material + human labour does not equate to a surplus value being produced; the surplus pertains to the addition of labour which determines value beyond the value that ‘satisfies’ the direct agents of the agents of the labour process, as evident in the above distinction between primitive communism and other forms of production. Raw materials + human labour is a general (and abstracted) description of the production process itself (and does not include any other factors involved). To illustrate this in a very simple way: if I make a meal for myself, with my labour power alone, I turn the raw materials that go into the meal into a product for my own consumption. That product embodies the human labour that transformed those raw materials into what it now is. As such, it ‘possesses’ value; it does not possess surplus value since no factors in this production process determined the function of the term ‘surplus’ as operational in this process. On the other hand, if I make two meals, where I transform raw materials into a product with human labour and as such these two meals ‘possess’ value as the embodiment of my human labour, and I make these two meals for myself and someone else such that I made those two meals solely with my own labour power and produced more than what was simply necessary for my consumption (one meal), and I then take one of the two meals and give it to myself and take the other of the two meals and give it to someone else, here there is a surplus whereas in the former case there was no surplus. The nature of the determination of the surplus, its appropriation and distribution, and whether or not it is an exploitative mode aside, this demonstrates that one cannot equate the general process of production and the transformation of material with human labour into products—we can express this as: RM+HL=V—with surplus production—which can be expressed: (RM+HL)=V+S. This is precisely what Wolff and Resnick do. If we indicate this in terms of the second equation (i.e., [RM+HL]=V+S), this is to conflate this second ‘+’ with the first parentheticised ‘+’; in doing so, the second ‘+’ is equated with the first ‘+’ so that, wherever there RM+HL, there is always already S. And the confusion of these two forms of addition accounts for the conflation which generates the term ‘class process’ as being equivalent to ‘production process’ or ‘mode of production,’ for, as I have just demonstrated, following the conflation of these two forms of addition, all forms of labour process produce a surplus value. And this leads to inconsistency.
Why inconsistency? To illustrate: on the one hand, ‘surplus’ for Wolff and Resnick fundamentally refers to the labour process as such (as outlined above). In their examination of, for instance, the household, the following claim, roughly sketched, is made: let’s say a husband and a wife share a household together. The husband goes to work and is exploited in a capitalist mode of production; the wife’s ‘role’ is to be the agent of the domestic mode of production. Part of this role involves, for example, making the meals. She does not make meals for herself alone, she makes meals for two. Hence, she produces a surplus. Since she produces a surplus and it is appropriated by the husband, this is an exploitative production process. Now in these terms, the exploitative form of appropriation is derived from the distribution of the surplus, and the surplus is being derived from the fact that more value is being produced by the agent of the labour process (in the household) than that agent receives back in the form of what they consume (two meals are made by one person for the consumption of two people). So surplus as a functional term is being derived in relation to the appropriation-distribution process of that which is produced (and that which is being produced is determined by the appropriation-distribution process it is structurally bound to). If so, this is an entirely different determination of surplus value where surplus value is taken to be inherent to all forms of production (which then allows Wolff and Resnick to refer to all production processes as ‘class processes’). Such a determination relies on the conflation of the two forms of addition previously mentioned; applying the determination of ‘surplus’ in this manner to the above example would grant the following claim: if the wife does not produce two meals for herself and her husband, but only one meal for herself (let’s say her husband died from being worked to death outside of the household), she has produced a surplus in so far as she has produced something involving the transformation of raw materials with human labour giving her the product embodying that human labour used. But this notion of ‘surplus’ doesn’t produce the analysis that pertains to surplus qua its function in their definition of an exploitative appropriation and distribution of surplus. That is, the nomination of surplus production in the household was derived at via the bringing into relief of appropriation in relation to the requirement of surplus labour beyond necessary labour in order to determine surplus value in addition to value (that met the requirements of the agent of the labour process), or, as I’ve notated it, (RM+HL)=V+S. However, since their analysis, at least in the manner they have expressed it, requires the embedded ‘+’, that is, the initial, parentheticised ‘+’, to be the determination of S, this would collapse their ability to determine surplus in the manner which allows them to produce their analysis of the household, since (i) RM+HL=V in distinction to the process of surplus production, (ii) (RM+HL)=V+S, is required in order produce such an analysis, in order to perform the operation RM+HL=V→(RM+HL)=V+S; if the production process as such is defined as surplus production such that (i) and (ii) are both defined as surplus production, where there is an equivocation of two different additions, in order to refer to all production processes (including ‘primitive communism’) as ‘class processes’, this then means that the distinction between (i) as a process which does not produce surplus and (ii) where surplus is produced and analysed in terms of its appropriation-distribution cannot follow from their fundamental conflation of (i) and (ii). If their analysis of the household holds, their definition of ‘class process’ collapses; if their definition of class process holds, then (ii) collapses into (i) and their analysis is no longer possible since it requires the active distinction of (i) and (ii). Their analysis collapses in on itself.
But if surplus value production is adequately distinguished from the production of value in general and ‘class’ is derived from the way in which a mode of production organises appropriation in exploitative form, both of which I have attempted to logically express in this paper, one avoids this error. The cost of avoiding this error is no longer conflating ‘production process’ as such with ‘class process’—since, as I have illustrated, a mode of production is not necessarily exploitative and as such a mode of production can be classless. If this is the cost of avoiding this error, it is hardly a high price to pay for theoretical and conceptual clarity.
As I have shown, this clarification allows us to highlight a fundamental difference pertaining to ‘primitive communism’ and ‘communism’: one is a non-exploitative mode of production where no surplus is produced and one is a non-exploitative mode of production where surplus is produced. Given Wolff and Resnick’s terms, they are unable to account for this difference (amongst other things). For instance, their differentiation between ‘primitive communism’ and ‘communism’ is that in the former, those who produce the surplus are the same as those who appropriate the surplus and make decisions about its distribution; whereas in the latter: ‘a communist form of the class process . . . is thought to necessarily [include] the collective ownership of all the means of production, the allocation of labor power . . . by collectively designed economic planning, and the collectively determined disposition of the surplus.’ But if such a distinction does actually function as a meaningful distinction capable of differentiating ‘primitive communism’ from ‘communism’ in terms of the process of production, it can only do so not by reference to anything to do with the structure of the mode of production as such, but ultimately by a dialectical relation to a dominant mode of production that historically preceded it; but then the way in which the terms are systematically being used has shifted from a structural account to an account relying on a historicist mode of analysis, e.g., ‘it is primitive communism in a historically developed mode’. Without the theoretical analysis that grants the distinction on the basis of surplus—one does not have surplus value being produced, one does—there can be no differential definition in relation to the mode of production as such.
To conclude: I have aimed to demonstrate that the term ‘class process’ used by Wolff and Resnick to refer to the production process as such is in error. Taking ‘primitive communism’ as the point of departure, I have logically demonstrated the way in which ‘class’ refers to a specific exploitative structure of the mode of production and demonstrated that a mode of production that is not exploitative entails that it is classless; as such, a classless mode of production (communist) is possible and ‘class process’ cannot then encompass all modes of production. Additionally, I have attempted to exposit the way in which, via conflation and equivocation, the error is determined and I have briefly indicated the way in which this leads them into error in description as well as inconsistency in analysis. With this critique, I have attempted to clarify their focus on the production process and I have attempted to exposit the logical determination of the key terms pertaining to the analysis: ‘production process’, ‘labour process’, ‘appropriation’, ‘class’ and ‘class relation’ (or ‘class structure’), ‘value’, and, perhaps most importantly, ‘surplus value’.
 See, for example: Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (International Publishers: New York, 2009).
 Richard D. Wolff and Stephen A. Resnick, Economics: Marxian versus Neoclassical (John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore & London, 1987), p. 151.
 I use the term ‘appropriation’ via analogy to the exploitative productive process and to clearly indicate the different elements involved in the production process; where the appropriation occurs in an exploitative mode of production, I will use the term appropriation without inverted commas; where the agents responsible for the production are also the agents who ‘appropriate’—meaning that it isn’t really an act of ‘appropriation’ but the function of the term is still explanatorily useful—I will put the term appropriation in inverted commas.
 Stephen A. Resnick and Richard D. Wolff, Class Theory and History: Capitalism and Communism in the U.S.S.R. (Routledge: New York & London, 2002), p. 8.
 Why it has no class relations and what it means to be classless will, of course, become clear in the proceeding.
 In the following, I will fictionally express ‘value’ in numerical units in order to simply and easily make the expression of value accountable. This has nothing to do with price or any type of expression of value that takes place in accordance with any modes of production.
 See: Resnick and Wolff 2002.
 For the purposes of this discussion and for the sake of simplicity, I will bracket the money form and the difference between value and price here.
 In the following quotation, I have used square brackets to alter the term ‘class process’ to ‘production process’ so as to be in accordance with the main text.
 Resnick and Wolff 2002, p. 246. The ‘Belov 1955’ citation in this quotation is the following: Fedor Belov, The History of a Soviet Collective Farm (Frederick A. Preger: New York, 1955). One can also add that the key to the apparent ‘paradox’ is to be found, perhaps, in the relation of the subsumed communist production process to the dominant state capitalist mode of production.
 Again, bracketing other sources of value.
 For an extended analysis of the household, see:: Harriet Fraad, Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff, Bringing It All Back Home: Class, Gender and Power in the Modern Household (Pluto Press: London & Boulder, 1994). In general, this example that I am playing off of is expressed by Richard Wolff in various places; for instance: Wolff and Resnick 1987, pp. 218–22, and in particular: ‘Fundamental and subsumed class processes can and typically do occur in . . . households. . . . Household labour produces goods and services: raw food materials are transformed into finished meals, cleaning equipment is utilized to transform disorderly and dirty rooms into clean and orderly ones, and clothing is repaired, to cite but a few examples. These production processes rarely result in commodities. . . . However, the absence of commodity production is not equivalent to the absence of class processes.
‘The production processes of these meals, cleaning services, and repair services involves not only the natural transformation of physical substances through labor but also the fundamental and subsumed class process. To identify whether and how class processes occur in households, we must distinguish between necessary and surplus labor. Can we identify in households some people who are direct laborers, who not only perform labor that is needed to produce the goods and services they require to keep laboring in the household, but also do some surplus labor beyond their necessary labor? Marxian theory replies affirmatively.
Many housewives have traditionally performed the labor required to make meals, clean rooms, and repair clothing. Such women also perform surplus labor—that is, they produce a quantity of meals, cleaned rooms, and repaired clothing that exceeds their own personal requirements for or consumption of these products. Their husbands, cotenants of these households, typically appropriate the surplus labor embodied in these surplus products.’ (pp. 219–20)
 See: fn. 13.
 Wolff and Resnick 1987, p. 151.
 Ibid., pp. 152–3.