There’s one huge agenda that everyone on the left agrees they want to achieve: equality. I have noticed though, that the many groups on the left have differing ideas of how to achieve it. However, there is one reason and one reason only equality can never be reached: hierarchy.
When you look back at the ancient Egyptians, or the Romans, or even during the ice-age, we had a hierarchy. Ancient tribes in Africa, South America, New Zealand, and Australia all have a leader, a chief, the ancient Romans had their Caesar, and the ancient Egyptians had their Pharaoh’s.
To quote Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto:
‘In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.’
As Marx pointed out, we’ve never really been without it, so how do we go about abolishing class or hierarchy? How do we begin to start to live in equality? How do we achieve Thomas More’s 'heaven on earth'? How do we create a place such as Utopia?
There’s an on-going theme with these ideologies for equality (Socialism, Communism and Marxism); they all have the diagnoses about the failings of hierarchy, but no clue as how to get the ball rolling, and this is another failing of the left.
Do we start a revolution? A destructive path, which normally takes lives, and would be defeating the object? Or do those who believe that equality is possible start practicing what they preach? Do they start treating those whom they disagree with as much respect with those whom they agree? Do they, if rich enough, start giving their money away to those less fortunate? Do they elect a leader who is able to get people listening? Who can turn the heads of those not sure?
But as Karl Marx points out that would also be defeating the object:
‘They [Communists] do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.’
For me, the ancient Egyptian hierarchy pyramid explains why we will never achieve equality. As can be seen, the most important part of the hierarchy pyramid is the foundation. Without a good stable foundation nothing can be built, but what Socialists and others alike want is equality, and with equality there is no foundation, therefore no stability. Even in the world of celebrity, we've naturally created a hierarchy; we have our A Listed celebs, and we have our B Listed celebs.
Let's be honest, life would be quite boring if we could actually create Utopia.There'd be nothing to debate, nothing to have an opinion on, individuality would be lost. I believe in liberty, in freedom, the ability to say, and think what you like, without being persecuted for it. But I am realistic, I do realise this means allowing those with sexist and racist opinions the ability voice them. But oppressing these opinions would be a dangerous move. Oppressing anyone with an opinion, whether it be about equality or racism, would be a dangerous move, as that would anger them, and as can be seen with the French Revolution, anger can get things moving rather swiftly.
However, there have been occasions where equality has been rightly fought for, such as in the case of the Suffragettes, who fought for votes for women. But for me, they didn't just fight for equality, they fought for freedom, and freedom of choice for women. Thanks to the Suffragettes, every woman in Britain has the choice to vote or not to vote, the choice to join political parties, the choice to stand for Parliament. Would Margaret Thatcher have had the chance to become the first female Prime Minister? (Although to many on the left, I’m sure that’s a lovely thought). Without equality coming in not just for women, but for ethnic minorities, would Diane Abbott have been able to stand in for the 2010 Labour leadership?
My idea of Utopia is freedom, for me freedom is equality, it is individuality, creativity, space to grow, and it gives us the privilege of choice. Gay couples now have the freedom and choice to marry in churches, adopt children and start families. Freedom and choice has allowed people such as actors and singers/musicians the space to perfect their natural talents, and in that allow them to show the world just how talented they are. Freedom allows us to climb the pyramid of hierarchy and be the ones at the top, to be ever so slightly self-indulgent.
As humans, we naturally want more; we want to be in the limelight, if only for a few seconds. And without freedom, we are all in equal darkness.
By Rebecca Sword