Equal and opposite

Power depends on hierarchy. But critique of power has developed the concept of equality — an idea that threatens to subvert the hierarchy. To preserve the structure, concessions have occurred: colonies have become countries, slaves have been freed, workers have received protections, women have obtained suffrage, segregation has been outlawed. But beneath the apparent progress, the power structure has remained in place. And the contradiction between the concept of equality and the entrenched reality of hierarchy has intensified, resulting in more ambitious demands for equality, as expressed in Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, Occupy Wall Street, Bernie Sanders’s campaign — generating the backlash of Trump’s election.

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