Against equality

I am sick of bigots standing in the way of liberation struggles. Whether feminism, anti-racism, advocacy for people with disabilities, queer rights, trans rights and so on, they smirk and they go “Personally, I believe in treating everyone equally, so no special treatment for you”. It’s bullshit, and anyone with a semi-formed analysis can see straight through that nonsense.

They whine and they moan when people demand to be treated like fucking human beings, eliding the fact that oppression exists by pretending that they’re that much of a shit to everyone. And maybe, just maybe, they are that much of a shit to everyone. It doesn’t stop the fact that their behaviour hits some people harder than others, a fact which has never occurred to them, as in their feeble blinkered outlook it’s impossible to understand what it’s like to be anyone else that isn’t a bellowing turd.

I’m sick of hearing about equality from governments, a bunch of self-nominated gatekeepers with no clue whatsoever of what the word actually means. They scrawl something down on a piece of paper and decry any responsibility when it turns out that people are actually shit. The same goes for any organisation with an equality policy. You say the words, and expect them to  become true. This might work in some kinds of magics: the true name of the demon is not “equal opportunities” and no matter how many times you say it, it isn’t going to be banished.

But most of all, I am absolutely fucking sick of activists banging on about equality. It betrays a devastating lack of imagination. From marriage equality to demanding better representation in boardrooms, all that is being requested is to maintain the power structures which bind us, while allowing a few more individuals to become masters.

So what if 50% of women become MPs? The system is still thoroughly broken. We still have gatekeepers, we still have masters. So what if queer people can serve in the military? We still find ourselves in a position wherein arbitrary groups are murdering each other based on an argument between some rich people in a faraway room are having. So what if people from marginalised groups get to be the CEOs? The most of us still toil, alienated from the fruits of our labour while those at the top become ever more powerful.

Fuck equality. I don’t want to be equal to people as utterly fucked as me. I want to be free. I want for us all to be free. I want us to be free from these structures which clip our wings, causing us to live hand to mouth, constraining the way we live and love, scapegoating those who are even more fucked. I want us to be free from being represented, and representing anyone else. I want us to be free to be: to exist in the way we want to without hate, without fear.

I want to be able to want, and to get.

I wonder, sometimes, what it is that people who beg for equality actually want. Do they think it some sort of transitional demand, with liberation as the actual goal? If so, they should know by now that going with cap in hand and begging something small only gets you something smaller. Or are they largely happy with the way things are, comfortable in their privilege if only one or two small tweaks were made? If so, they are complicit.

Either way, I am exasperated by this talk of equality. Don’t ask for equality. Demand liberation. Those who benefit will think us unreasonable, because they are happy profiting from our suffering. And that doesn’t matter a bit. They’ll never give us what we need, no matter how nicely we ask. Grind the fucking master’s house to dust.

Have we really declined so much that self-appointed leaders will settle for scraps and declare victory? We cannot allow this. Let us liberate ourselves from our attachment to equality.

14 thoughts on “Against equality”

  1. I admire your anger and your courage in saying this. Here on Planet Stupid, the sheeple outnumber the perceptive by a million to one. With these odds, all I can say is, ¡Viva la revolución!

  2. To play sheeple’s advocate: What happens when someone’s freedom to exist the way they want encroaches on or positively restrains another’s freedom to exist without hate? What happens if the things someone wants are at the expense of someone else?

  3. Equality is not making sure everyone has stairs. It is making sure everyone can get to the top floor.

    Of course this is moot if the top floor is full by the time you get there. It makes you wonder why all of the best stuff is on the top floor when the space is so limited.

  4. I just finished reading The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin, which so neatly rounds up this whole issue. In order to make this society work for everyone, it needs to be taken apart and put together again from the ground up, and most importantly, that needs to keep happening. It’s no good to make a society that works for everyone and then leave it to run, it’s got to keep being revolutionised. Our society is broken because hundreds and thousands of years of the wrong thing has just piled up and up into this big, miserable mess.

  5. ” I want to be free. I want for us all to be free. I want us to be free from these structures which clip our wings, causing us to live hand to mouth, constraining the way we live and love, scapegoating those who are even more fucked. I want us to be free from being represented, and representing anyone else. I want us to be free to be: to exist in the way we want to without hate, without fear.”

    It’s a lovely sentiment, but one the human race is biologically incapable of achieving without significant re-engineering. Our social wiring hit its limits a long long way back, and there’s just too many people, spread too far and too dependent on one another for us to get back to tribes under Dunbar’s number. Even then the Other was something to be shunned, to protect against.

    The sad thing is that we can reason, and observe, and some of us *know* that those impulses are wrong and struggle against them, but even the best of us will always have them.

    1. I hardly think you need to have a close social relationship with someone to respect their autonomy.

      Dunbar’s number is irrelevant to organising non-hierarchical non-coercive societies.

      You don’t need to be in the same tribe as someone to recognise their humanity and refuse to see them as the shunned Other.

      1. No, you actually do. That’s the whole point of Dunbar’s, it’s the cut off point where you stop being able to see someone as an individual and start processing them as a template concept instead.

        Individual people can recognize those tendencies and try to fight them, but even then there is an upper limit to how well you can do it.

        This is the kind of thing that causes otherwise compassionate people to reject the idea of government health care, to stereotype and dismiss whole segments of society. It’s like trying to fight uphill against a species-wide mental illness that we cannot medicate.

        Since you mention it though, can you suggest any places I could look for ideas on the kind of society you are advocating? I’d love for it to be a possibility, but I’ve never heard of someone advocating it that had a clear, sane, plan or suggested framework.

        This is definitely a subject I wish I was wrong about.

  6. Just a note, I’m most definitely a disabled person, not a person with disabilities. That language plays into medical / individual models of disability which handily disguises the structural oppressions and barriers we face by putting the disability on us.

    The disability isn’t mine, it’s what society imposes on me when it disables me.

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