Equality is the Opiate of Revolution
I was chatting with a new acquaintance recently and, as they are want to do, the topics of politics and justice came up. During the conversation this young man kept using the word “equality,” each repetition of which, adding to my overall annoyance with the general mansplaining that was happening.
We’ll set aside the ill informed, if well intentioned, mansplaining for now because what I really want to talk about is that word, “equality.”
Oxford defines “equality” as “the state of being equal in status, rights, or opportunity.”
Sounds great right? Sounds like what we are all working for in social justice?
I’m not here for equality.
I’m not here for an “equal” number of female and male CEOs and billionaires operating within the same capitalistic infrastructure that exploits the environment and maintains, by it’s nature in whatever iteration, a hierarchy of labor, production and distribution.
I’m not here for “equal” demographics in the same shitty school systems that train kids to check boxes rather than educate them.
I don’t want “equal” numbers of men’s and women’s rape crisis, or domestic violence support centers or therapy groups, rather than destroying the culture, which makes them obligatory.
See, “equal” representation of anyone or anything within the current social infrastructure really does nothing to address the inherent culture of oppression and marginalization that we have constructed over the course of our entire history. Regulating “equal protection,” while definitely a “better than nothing” starting point, doesn’t change hearts and minds and so doesn’t provide for the next group that the hierarchy chooses to dehumanize. Second wave feminism is a perfect example of this. The “Lean In” generation has made it to board room, and in doing so, has done nothing to assist in the liberation of women who are not largely, white, cisgender, able bodied, middle class, and classically educated.
So no, I’m not here for “equality,” but I am sure as shit here for liberation, I am here for revolution, by any means necessary.
“Oooooh, woah, woah, woah,” you say. I can hear it now, you were with me until those four little words and then you put on the breaks, right?
(The young man I was talking to certainly did, in fact I think his exact question was “So any means? Voting or blowing up bridges?”)
Yes, by any means.
By all means.
Fight with your intellect, fight with the power of numbers, fight with the democratization of news and knowledge via the internet, fight with your vote, and try and make your pen mightier than a sword. Non violence is always the preference. But never forget that the language of oppression is violence. Human beings can only be victimized by systemic, systematic violent subjugation for so long before violence becomes their only solution. And throughout the course of human history the distinction between “revolutionary hero” and “terrorist” is often a semantic one dictated by the existing power structure in an effort to maintain the hierarchy it has fought to create.
Don’t misconstrue my meaning here, I’m not a warmonger advocating death and destruction and recruiting an army of malcontents to further my agenda, I’ll leave that to the DoD. But oppression isn’t neat, and clean, and non violent. So, sometimes the solution to it can’t be either.
The takeaway from all of this?
I don’t want an “equal” number of seats at an existing table built on millennia of patriarchal and white supremacist violence. I want to get rid of the table, and if that means setting that shit on fire?
Let it burn.
Signed – Whitesplainer In Chief