When unpacking the dynamics of class struggle, one can easily despair at the success of the owner class’s strategies. Nurturing hope requires that one also study strategies the working class can use to turn the tide. The owner class maintains its position by dividing the working class against itself. As the working class closes those divides in order to retake its power, they have many ways to exert power they already possess.

All social institutions play a part in upholding class divisions or funneling value from the working class to the owner class. Workers contribute to their own exploitation because incentives are arranged to motivate it. Capitalism crowds out imagination of alternate worlds, so one may have no idea how any individual action can overcome these entrenched dynamics.

To transition from diagnosis to treatment, one must study the mechanics of social change. A student of history has the advantage in this pursuit, but the insights of psychology, sociology, and anthropology provide abstract models that avoid getting lost in the nuances of complex events. At minimum, one should understand how incentives influence motivation, how social bonds form, and how to communicate with empathy.

Distributed power structures sometimes appear slow to act because effort and direction spread evenly through the organization. Individuals must recognize a consensus, agree to align with it, and invest effort accordingly. Every individual’s decision has equal weight in such a dynamic. Hierarchical power structures appear to act more efficiently because direction concentrates at the top while effort spreads through the base. One person’s decision guides the effort of many people. The hierarchical dynamic works as long as everyone recognizes the leader’s decision as have more weight than their own.

Hierarchies collapse when the base ceases to recognize the authority of the peak. When the leader’s decision no longer outweighs the worker, the workers return to a distributed power structure that organically arises in communities of equals. Consensus becomes the basis for decisions, so the former leaders must accept their share of both effort and influence alongside everyone else. They have no choice other than to participate because their ability to exercise power depended only on the voluntary surrender of the workers will.

Hierarchies purchase control at the cost of action. The leader directs the effort of others but spends their own effort only in the directing. If the workers cease cooperating, the leaders give orders to a void. Only the lack of trust and established social bonds among the workers prevent organizing strategic work stoppages to halt the capitalist economic engine. In such a general strike, workers would need to be confident that their networks of mutual aid can adequately fulfill their needs. They would need to be willing to give what they can to their networks to maintain reciprocity. The actions to take once trust is established are very simple and would be led and coordinated by the workers themselves. Building the networks of trust and mutual aid is the first and last strategy; it is required for all subsequent ventures, and it must be maintained through regular sharing and exchange.