(1) Man's history has long involved a struggle between the forces of capital and those of labor. There have been ebbs and flows, with some periods a win for labor and others for capital. It is right and good and just for labor and capital to seek a dynamic homeostatic position that fairly compensates everyone involved for their respective time, efforts, and contributions, intellectual, physical, and otherwise: "each such function, whatever may be its nature or its form, is essentially the expenditure of human brain, nerves, muscles, and sense organs." (Marx, Das Kapital)
Over the past three or so decades, however, the homeostatic balance has been completely lost. The situation is not unique to the fortunes of capital and labor; a very similar loss of homeostasis can be seen in MAN VS. ENVIRONMENT wherein man's "need to survive" has generated the exploitation and wide-scale destruction of Earth's biosphere. The wins have been so decisive for capital over labor that the mercy rule may need to be imposed and capital given the decisive victory for as far as the eye can see: (a) "heaped-up wealth confronting the worker grows apace and confronts him as capital, as wealth that controls him. The world of wealth expands and faces him as an alien world dominating him..." & (b) "having tired one set of hands by working them throughout the day, they had another set ready to go on working throughout the night..." (both from Marx, Kapital)
(2) From whatever perspective one considers the issue, capital has grown in strength and might and influence while labor has been absolutely pulverized. In the US, CEOs often make 300-400 TIMES what the average worker in the same company makes. Large shareholders of those same companies can and do earn many multiples of what the CEO makes through capital appreciation and dividends. Today, capital calls all the shots, makes all the rules, takes none of the physical or health risk, assumes almost no financial risk...AND MEANWHILE GETS ALMOST ALL OF THE REWARD when things turn out well.
This reality would be far less bad if the CAPITAL group of persons far exceeded the LABOR group of persons. Here, too, reality has been catastrophic. The situation today is that those with access to CAPITAL represent a very elite segment of the population while the ranks of LABOR teem with EVERYBODY. If one is in the LABOR group it is next to impossible- as in POWERBALL lottery winning impossible- to join the CAPITAL group. Facebook, Google, and Snapchat founders are token exceptions to the overwhelmingly dominant rule. Another exception exists for exceptionally attractive women in their 20s who have yet to marry. They can marry into CAPITAL but to do so they must usually be stunningly attractive, winning the genetic beauty lottery many times over.
(3) Examples of CAPITAL's domination are too numerous too list and need not delay our attention here. One statistic tells nearly the entire story: in 2014 the percentage of US GDP going to corporate profits hit an all-time high while simultaneously the percentage going to working men and women as wages hit an all-time low. What statistic captures the reality of capitalism better than this? None. What statistic better refutes Adam Smith's idea that capitalism- through an "invisible hand"- will deliver the most public good and benefit of all competing economic systems? Simply put, the reality of economic life on planet Earth is one in which CAPITAL has assumed a position of complete and total domination of LABOR.
(4) CAPITAL has been armed- all the way through- with every intellectual and legal advantage the system affords to those with the financial resources to pay the fees of lawyers, financial and business consultants, real estate agents, accountants and tax gurus, etc. Which means that CAPITAL has essentially FROZEN its dominant status into governing law in the form of all manner of complex and complicated contracts, statutes, treaties, laws, court decisions, property rights, and all the other legal infrastructure that modernity permits CAPITAL to enjoy. Even if it wanted to compete, LABOR hardly has a chance anymore.
Furthermore, CAPITAL has access to limitless advertising and has non-stop promoted its interests in this area too. By impressing upon youth and impressionable young adults over and over and over again- in arenas as diverse as TV, internet, billboards, radio, and celebrity advertising- that one's dignity and worth and value is tied to the nature and quality of material possessions one can purchase and maintain, capital has been able to keep LABOR addicted to status-driven consumption which keeps business profits booming year after year.
In sum, CAPITAL has looked after its interests and dominant position VERY very well. But it did overlook one BIG thing that could retilt the balance toward a just state of affairs, toward the interests of LABOR.
(5) Capital was never able to fully insulate itself from the power of the consumer. US GDP remains largely (estimates range as high as 70%) tied to the spending decisions of the consumer. Here, at last, one finds a crumb of freedom remaining in the hands of LABOR. And crumb it certainly is when considered on the individual level. No single consumer can do anything to CAPITAL even if he/she were to cut personal spending to zero overnight: "each individual...is puny, weak, and contemptible." (Marx) Indeed, even many hundreds- perhaps even many thousands- of consumers would do little to CAPITAL were they to drastically curtail their spending.
But what if 5% of LABOR did this? What if 10%? 25%? 50%? What if members of LABOR took turns doing this for months on end?
(6) The path to peaceful change of the System is now in view. CAPITAL has effectively taken control of politics, and- by extension- the military. CAPITAL is legally in possession of all of its property and so even the non-violent taking of this property would be criminal. BUT CAPITAL cannot force LABOR to spend its money in any particular way. Labor can make a true stand with how it allocates its money and, for example, withhold all business from those companies that have particularly egregious histories of poor worker compensation, consumer fraud and scams, outrageous income inequalities between management and workers, a history of violating various labor laws, and so on. LABOR still has freedom and with freedom comes power.
LABOR's power is, indeed, so potent in this regard that it could cause a total RESET of any industry any time it wishes. LABOR could, for example, cause the bankruptcy of nearly the entire restaurant industry by making the overnight decision to eat all meals at home for the next two months. These may seem like extreme measures, plagued by their own unique risks and discomforts. But LABOR may one day simply be "fed up" with the status quo and be more than willing to "have a go" at "roughing it out." Maybe, just maybe, LABOR will be able to rise above its habitual pedestrian comforts and likes for a brief period in the service of a grand old ideal known as JUSTICE.
(7) Comrade consumers...