We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Friday, April 19, 2013
Will we ever reach true equality?
I could really identify with the discriminatory experiences depicted by this author. I have witnessed them in a variety of settings including, and most irritatingly, in progressive groups. Few people are conscious of it; and because of that fact, it often goes unchallenged in many activist groups. Its hidden influence retards any construction of a new counter-culture in which egalitarian forms of relationships can develop.
As suggested by this insightful author, ranking people is a cultural phenomenon. (He comes close to stating that its human nature.) We are constantly encouraged by the dominant capitalist culture to compete with each other. Although the author focuses much more on group cultures, the broader capitalist culture has an extreme emphasis on competitiveness (especially for the 99 Percent) and the ranking of people in general. This culture is diametrically opposed to an inclusive, egalitarian type of society that progressive people usually say they want.