When a baby is born, they are assigned a gender, a generation, an ethnicity, a citizenship and a health rating. They are assigned a class by the neighbourhood, professions and income bracket of their parents. As children, they are sent to educational institutions where professionals examine and categorize them every day. Instead of providing sufficient teachers and adequate training and options to manage diversity in schools, many governments now provide extra funding only after schools have classified educational difficulties in the students. The underfunded schools are motivated in this way to classify as many students as possible with the preferred learning disabilities so they can be streamed into special programs and used as product by the pharmaceutical industry. Students who escape this are streamed into narrower and narrower paths towards their future assigned roles.
The sectarianism initiated at birth intensifies throughout adolescence until teenagers are expected to spend all of their time worried about what they will become. When they finally attain adulthood, they will be confident in their assertion of what they are: professional, unemployed, educated, ignorant, married, single, a success or a failure. These classifications are added to the ones they received at birth, and then still more. They will become liberal, conservative or apolitical, gay, straight, or asexual, criminal or law abiding, addicted or not. They may belong to churches or fraternities or professional groups. Simply losing a physical object can cause them to drop into the bottom class, and become part of the homeless. They are not simply the same people without homes, the loss of an object changes their class identity and who and what the world sees them as.
Pundits of media and academia will all scramble to classify them further, to be the first to coin a new category. They will become hippies or yuppies or NEETs, emos or hipsters or millenials. They will be set against each other as proletariat and bourgeosie then further excluded as lumpenproles and petit-bourgeousie. They will submit to divisions as binary as black and white, to subdivisions so detailed they require acronyms like WOC, to gender and sexual orientation coalitions that include half the alphabet and an asterisk. They will probably enter online thought bubbles of gaming or social media. They will begin to classify themselves and others by opinion, as SJWs and MRAs, as fascists and anti-fascists and as every hyphenated ideology imaginable. In the obsession over group affiliation, actions and ideas are completely lost. People are accepted or shunned by entire category, not individual actions and ideas.
Societal institutions relate to each person by their assigned category. Legal systems and media will call some people in countries they weren’t born into expats and others immigrants or illegals leading to vastly different treatment for the same situation. The same actions are crimes or not depending on social standing and whether or not the perpetrator is an agent of the state. Murder is unlawful killing. The law only objects when the lower classes kill, so killing is not murder if it is by police, militaries, judges and presidents. Taking property is only stealing for the lower classes who don’t write property laws and disobeying the rules is only a problem for those not making them. Credit cards, banking institutions and so many others pay the wealthy and charge the poor for the same services. People can be forbidden freedom of movement based on citizenship or refused the right to survival income based on education. These class based differences which result in everything from lifelong misery to death are far more easily accepted if they can be abstracted by categorization.
The historical creation of difference between religions from the same culture, coloured by the same ancient myths, who accept the same texts as authority, pray to the same god and preach the same morality, helped to divide international populations for exploitation by the trade economy. The idea that these are three or more different religions instead of three sects of the same religion is a stretch. When compared with religions from completely different regions, it is apparent that these three ought to be considered one. It is only through a history written from the perspective of practitioners of these/this religion(s) that the differences were inflated to justify separate labels. Language was eventually used to separate the religion(s), with Hebrew common for Jewish texts, Latin for Christian and Arabic for Islam but all texts were still available in all the regional languages and the name of god is the same and prayers are very similar in the same languages. The inflated differences under this religion were combined with academic depiction of all other religions on earth as cults or in some way not real religions. The definition of a religion (vs a cult) usually includes qualifiers that limit religions to only sects of this one religion. Common qualifiers for a religion are a belief in God, a formalized hierarchical structure and written religious texts. This has left most of the world under the moral directive of one religion, that of the Silk Road.
Left to right: Christian woman, Jewish women, Muslim woman
Even the surface differences pointed to today in different practices of the trade route religion are really not different. The fashion of the time and place where all of these religions were born dictated very similar dress and that regional dress became encoded in the religious texts as the proper form of dress. Islamic, Christian and Jewish faiths all dictated that women should cover their hair and women in the devout sects of all three major religions still cover their heads in a very similar manner. As well as the more traditional sects of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the most permissive Christian churches still required women to wear hats in the 1960s, Christians still veil at religiously significant events like funerals and weddings and both traditional nuns and Mary are always depicted in head coverings. Despite this, and the fact that many Muslim women, especially in the west, do not cover their heads and many Christians and Jews, especially in the Middle East, still do, popular sentiment has decided to associate head covering with Islam. An idea that most people’s grandmothers or any but the most narrow experience could tell them was certainly not unique to Islam has been used to persecute Muslim women. Predictably, head covering in the United States then became a cultural property of only Muslims, which would ignite a fury of Medium blogs if worn by anyone else.
The Indo-European trade route religion(s) followed prophets who looked at the same culture in roughly the same era and provided guidance for how to make that culture more humane. Instead of taking the spirit of those prophets and applying their same humanitarian impulses to our societies today, some people use these religious texts to demand a return to the same societies these prophets were trying to lead people out of. The message of all of the prophets was one of evolution, not regression or violent restriction of evolution. After two millennia or so, either the spirit must be followed ahead of the texts or this religion(s) is no longer useful. This religion(s) gained huge followings along the trade routes because of the hope it gave of something better than the life that was experienced there. Demands that all societies return to the same patriarchal trade cultures that these prophets provided guidance away from is in opposition to the religions these demands emanate from.
The patriarchal model itself was a symptom of the trade routes. International trade created a very dangerous time and place where strangers were more likely to be a slave raid than potential friends. A patriarchal structure provided an outer shell to protect the weaker members of society even while it also gave the patriarch ownership over those weaker members. A patriarch could sell a wife or child to pay off debt, but he was also responsible for the survival of the entire extended clan. Women and men had extremely defined roles. Women could not usually make leadership decisions but women were also not expected to risk danger by meeting with strangers and the men arranged all travel, alliances, war and other dangerous social activity. Women were frequently sold or stolen as slaves or in marriage, but so were men and boys and the boys were often castrated, a horrific and barbarous practice with a survival rate of possibly ten percent. To depict such a system as simply one in which men oppressed women is incorrect, as is any suggestion that it proves men are superior to women.
Patriarchy was a horrific structure, necessitated by the world created by the trade routes. Gender was invented as a set of social norms divided between the classes of men and women. The primary features of gender supported the roles assigned to men and women. Men were to be brave, powerful, and in control. Women were to be loving, giving and submissive. Women were constrained by a gender designed for lifegivers and caregivers and men were coerced into a gender designed for killers and protectors. Today, women are as able to be protectors as men, men are have as much right to be caregivers as women, and any justification of a patriarchal structure is obsolete. The trade route prophets were using the culture that existed in their time and place as reference. Patriarchy is a cultural phenomenon, not a moral or religious ideal. The part of patriarchy that remains morally relevant is the fact that society needs lifegivers, caregivers and protectors. In these days of less dangerous societies, birth control and weapons which do not rely on strength, the roles remain but are no longer gendered or exclusive. In times and places not on the major trade routes, men and women shared these roles. That is our human impulse in societies not being violently coerced.
The scientific obsession with human categorization attempted to justify a stratified society without religion. Categorization imposes an abstract construct based on perspective. It is not scientific fact. Archaeology and DNA continue to find almost no differences between nations. Both knowledge exchange and genetic mixing are shown more clearly with every archaeological find around the world. The ancient mixing of migrant Homo Sapiens with Neandertals and Denisovans is still used as an excuse for racism despite the fact that “the greatest genetic diversity is still found within sub-Saharan Africa” where this mixing would indicate the least.i The caucasian Tarim mummies in China, dating from as early as 1800 BCE, have caused discomfort both in China and outside. The Chinese state, like many other nations that have current land claims to establish, prefers a history of an isolated empire which developed entirely by itself to a history of near constant global trade and migration. A simple archaeological find is also made politically complex by the idea of citizenship. The Chinese Uyghers have taken to calling themselves the caucasian Chinese in a fight against the Chinese state’s policy of considering them recent immigrants. Evidence that Polynesians and others may have landed in the Americas long ago is also politically distasteful to some who feel threatened by a more complex view of history and are trying to establish national land claims. Rights which depend on defective categorization of humans are put in jeopardy by more accurate information. Those rights should never have been dependent on these categories in the first place.
While differences between sexes are being denied and attempts are made to eradicate them, differences between ethnicities are being exaggerated and attempts are made to manufacture them. With no scientific basis for race and no correlating national identities, there is not much to go on. People around the world look extremely similar. Ethnicity is not separated along lines of physical appearance and neither is it any longer separated by location or even ancestry which is too mixed to divide neatly. Neither is there any kind of a rational spectrum in appearance. Melanesian blondes have blonde hair with very dark skin and black Irish have black hair with very pale skin and the curliest hair is found at both ends of the skin tone spectrum. Claiming different cultures for people frequently raised in the same neighbourhoods or even families is beyond ridiculous. Claiming a similar heritage based on appearance is factually incorrect. While race was created for class segregation, that is no longer a reliable grouping either. Religious groupings created systems of beliefs which turned into laws which separated each other but race has not even that to go on. Groupings by so-called race are solely political.
Race was created primarily as a way to easily assign ingroup or outgroup status by class within societies. In the earliest stratified societies, it was customary to wear distinguishing clothing, jewelery or tattoos to easily identify class. With the spread of the international slave trade, ethnic appearance was used instead. The Dutch East India company and many others transported slaves back and forth from India, Southeast Asia and Africa, resulting in slave populations which had no community ties to defend them and were a highly visible class. Not only were the traders and purchasers able to dehumanize these slaves as an ethnic outgroup, the local populations saw them as an outgroup as well. The imposition of class barriers was far easier when a class could not hide from their own physical appearance, whether that was sexual or ethnic appearance.
The imposition of ingroups and outgroups by class is a powerful construct with multi-generational effects. In most of Africa, the word racism is usually replaced by tribalism but it frequently relates to class as well. Former slave and slave owner classes are as divided in Africa as they are in the rest of the world, whether the cause is depicted as racism or tribalism. Some people descended from the Incan empire still treat those descended from former slave tribes as an inferior outgroup and they are also still relatively economically disadvantaged. The Dominican Republic deports its low income workers by deporting Dominicans of Haitian descent. Once race and gender have been established, their use becomes a shorthand meme to remind people of who their outgroups are, even when no one remembers the reason. Race and gender have become a hereditary slave collar.
Despite the endless classifying of people, ostensibly and paradoxically in order to combat sectarianism, bigotry by class is not only tolerated, it is inherent in every institution. Every institution from education to the economy would collapse without classism. It is the height of hypocrisy for legal systems to claim to have laws against bigotry and hate crimes when the entire legal system is institutionalized bigotry and hate by class. Legal systems which deny the poor the basic essentials of life and condemn people of all ages to misery based on class are built on hate. Any laws which pretend to protect people based on gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity are a distraction from this foundational sectarianism.
Gender and race have a correlation with class, they are not a cause of class. Removing gender and race will have no impact on class divisions. Promoting gender and race will strengthen both sectarian and class divisions.
If women as lifegivers and social caregivers are under threat and indigenous people as ecosystem caregivers are also under threat, the most persecuted people on earth are indigenous women. In Canada, 1200 to 4232 aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered since 1980ii. Canada’s former Prime Minister told the media “it isn’t really high on our radar.” Particularly in formerly matriarchal nations, the degradation of indigenous women and their social invisibility is necessary to ensure they do not regain or remember their former power. In most nations, from Central America’s Caravan of Missing Migrants to Argentina’s Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo, to Nigeria’s Bring Back Our Girls, it is the mothers and grandmothers who have formed the resistance movements against the ongoing genocides.
Violence against women has little to do with gender relationships or sex and everything to do with class. When someone destroys another human’s intestines with a metal rod and throws them from a moving bus with their intestines falling out, as in the The 2012 Delhi gang rape case, it is not because the male to female ratio in India is out of balance or because Bollywood encourages men to think of sex. This is murder, brutality and sadism, and it is the kind of violence applied to outgroups. The same violence has been seen around the world towards ethnic groups who have had roles forced upon them that the trade economy teaches contempt for.
The reason women were and are persecuted is their ability to give birth and their assigned role as the essential but unpaid labour in society ruled by trade economy. The reason indigenous people were and are persecuted is their occupation of land and resistance to exploitation of that land. Solutions that simply offer compensation to persecuted groups within the paradigm of their persecution do nothing to shift the balance of power away from the merchant class and back to society. Solutions based on ethnicity and gender do nothing to protect the roles which were the actual reason for persecution.
In the fight to regain their power, women and indigenous nations have lost themselves. The personal stories and professional pride of women have been erased, their own bodies have been used to enslave them and their economic and social relationships are removed from the structure we live in. The only current path to autonomy for women is to join the trade economy and the primary path to the trade economy is through mind and body altering pharmaceuticals, politicized access to health services and rejection of lifegiving and caregiving roles. Indigenous nations have been made to prove their history and genetic purity in international courts in order to qualify for indigenous legal rights such as free, prior, informed consent to exploitation of their land. The path to autonomy for indigenous nations is through racism, exaggerated and purified history and permission to exist accorded by ancient history and forbidden evolution.
Allowing women and indigenous people media attention only when they accept corporate ideology ensures their messages in other roles are not heard. Lifegiving and caregiving are social roles, not genders or races. Diverting attention to how many female or ethnically indigenous people are represented in corporate roles distracts from all the lifegivers and caregivers who are not being heard and replaces the urgent conversations we are not having about the caregiving roles being vacated by women and indigenous people. Demanding roles for women and formerly indigenous people in the ponzi schemes of power supports and upholds those ponzi schemes and drains resistance movements.
Gender and race are social constructs and exist on a spectrum. Until we can be partly pregnant, the roles we fulfill do not. The founder of Y-combinator, the source of the most funding and influential advice for tech startups, did not tell startup founders to not hire people wearing dresses and makeup. He told them they would be crazy to hire anyone capable of giving birth.iii He did not specify a point on the spectrum of relative maleness called male to female or man to woman, he specified lifegivers, those with uteruses who may one day use them, those with bodies potentially capable of growing a second autonomous human body inside of them, giving birth to it and then nursing it and those who society expects may do that. All the neo-pronouns and non-binary genders in the world are not going to change this bigotry against role.
Alongside the antipathy to real diversity, fake or surface diversity has become a lucrative corporate product. Corporations which refuse to respect the earth or allow the safe and supportive communities required for caregiving, congratulate themselves for hiring women and people whose ancestors are from diverse regions. Indigenous people who run their own mining corporations and are hailed as a great success in gaining indigenous rights are equivalent to women who work for corporations as a strike for feminism. Replacing a culture that respected the land with a culture reduced to blankets, beads and suspect DNA is like replacing lifegiving and caregiving with the birth control pill and calling it a success for maternal rights. If autonomy is solely used to give more people the ability to act exactly like the merchant class, it does not support the diversity of roles we need. A destructive mine is a destructive mine no matter who profits from it and there is no community support for lifegiving and caregiving whether some women are able to opt out of it or not. Instead of begging legal and economic permission to act as ecosystem and community caregivers based on DNA, the roles of ecosystem and community caregivers and protectors must be recognized and empowered. Instead of standing outside begging for admittance to power, lifegivers, caregivers and protectors need to reclaim their own power, on their own terms. Instead of fighting for all to join an economy rewarding those who serve the powerful, we need to design one rewarding those who serve society and our ecosystems.
The solution to the class war is not to be found in some binary division between proletariat and bourgeoisie and a revolution which flips the two. The proletariat and the bourgeoisie were never as clear cut as depicted and they long ago transformed into new social roles. Instead of a subordinate or dominant peasantry, we need interlocking nations of ecosystem and community caregivers and protectors. Instead of a class of powerful scientists, we need open and transparent epistemic communities. Instead of gatekeeping and hoarding of knowledge by academia, we need an organic ecosystem of auditers, knowledge bridges and amplifiers of information from epistemic communities. Instead of roles assigned and protected by ethnicity or gender, we need free choice to seek the work most fulfilling to each of us. Instead of a hierarchical valuation of those roles, we need equivalence.
Identity politics requires an acceptance of a very simplistic history where group affiliation is pure and all of history has good guys on one side and bad guys on the other. Identitarians teach that if humanity can be divided and we compensate the good guys, our conflicts will be over because we will have equality. We don’t need equality. We need diversity, supported by equivalence. Our diversity is necessary, not in a variety of shades and genders performing the same roles but in a great diversity of roles, each open to all regardless of skin tone or gender. We also need equivalence for diversity of ability, where the great spectrum of aptitude encompassed by humanity results in a great diversity of roles, not a stratified system of valuation.
The violence against both women and indigenous people is caused by society’s contempt for the roles they are cast in or perceived to represent. The answer to this violence is not to demand equality for all performing the same destructive roles for the trade economy. The answer is to demand respect and widespread acceptance of the lifegiving and caregiving roles so desperately needed and encourage these roles for all. The violence directed against people for the social constructs of gender and race are not even in the same world as the violence directed at them as caregivers and protectors, no matter how much identity politics wants to conflate the two. Genocides have been committed the world over to clear populations off of land for industry or competing groups. The violence against people based on role will stop when the roles of lifegiving and caregiving are recognized and accorded the approval of the whole society. Violence against people based on the social constructs of race and gender will only be resolved by abolishing race and gender, which will never happen while people are still profiting from these divisions.
Diversity is not attained solely by allowing broader spectrums of social constructs such as gender or race in the same corporate roles. Diversity must also allow equivalent social acceptance for the variety of roles required in a healthy society.
Excerpted from Autonomy, Diversity, Society. Citations will be transferred when I get a minute.