As the capitalist system developed, causing the steady decline of the independent handworker and the replacement of manual labour by machinery, the effects on those who worked for a living were so severe that their struggles inevitably centred around wages and conditions. Battles with the employers resulted in the formation of trade unions, while struggles for political elbow-room culminated in political reform movements such as Chartism. The working class were joined by disaffected groups such as small traders and producers, who were sinking to ruin. Some workers may have hankered for a return to the handicraft production of the past, others harboured vague co-operative “socialist" notions, but there was little conscious recognition of the need to bring the powerful new forces of production into the common 'ownership of all society. Workers’ fierce struggles were rooted in the antagonism of interest between capital and labour.