is the name of a book I'm reading and in it I ran across something that struck me. Here the author is writing about desiring social change that is in the service of equality and justice.
“....social change implicitly demands an end to ideologies of hierarchy, such as racism and sexism. Without the abolition of sexism, none of the other hierarchical concepts and systems can be successfully ended. No matter how changed economic and social relations may became, as long as sexism constantly re-creates the inequality in the family and in the consciousness of men and women, hierarchy will be reborn......…...the goals of feminism cannot be achieved without a vast cultural revolution, involving every institution of society, in particular, the family. The magnitude of the social change needed presupposes the diffusion of the forces of change into every aspect of society. No other oppressed group except women is so located as to be able to effect such changes.”
pg 109 Why History Matters, Gerda Lerner.
She goes on to point out why women aren't in the same relationship to those who dominate them as are other groups. Women are too numerous and widely distributed to be wiped out or ghettoized and because of their intimate connections with the group members of those who dominate (fathers, brothers, sons, husbands) women can't use violence to reach their emancipation. She argues they must use tactics of social pressure and persuasion that result in a new consciousness in men and women....not an overthrowing but a transformation.
Reviewing what she argues makes it readily apparent that speciesism must be included in the idea of re-creating hierarchies. If we view other living beings as unequal then the idea of hierarchy will forever persist. In fact, if you think about it, devaluing other species and/or members of other species makes inequality among our own species almost guaranteed. Because that devaluing of beings who differ from ourselves teaches us that "difference" implies unequal which then can be used to identify human animals belonging to groups ripe for oppression because they are not our equals.
Difference is easy to identify between species...there is a major training ground for viewing different as being not equal...not equal meaning it is ok to oppress or harm because of their "differentness". Speciesism then is part and parcel of the "original sin" that leads to the notion that some living beings can be conceived of hierarchically and that such conceptualization is acceptable.
Or so it seems to me. Obviously, the only way you or I can participate in bringing about the transformation needed is by living vegan. There's where it all starts.