I came across two very contrasting articles on equality this week. In the Guardian on 26th.Jan it was reported that the UK Equalities and Human rights Commision was downsizing. The budget would be reduced from 70m. to around 17m. This is hardly suprising given the present political climate in the UK. But it is also a stark reminder to us all that under Capitalism equality issues are essentially seen as a block to business, a tiresome curb on profit, simply a nuisance to be endured. For all the rhetoric of the democrats in the US and left leaning politicians everywhere, economic growth is still the all important goal and the god of the market is still very much in charge.

Meanwhile over in  the Mexican jungle the Zapatistas are putting equality at the very centre of their latest statement. Titled THEM and US in the 6th Declaration of the Lacamden Jungle, it it is profoundly thoughtful about equality and the need to destroy ALL hierarchical structures of above and below. This includes anything ‘that makes it possible that someone can be ABOVE at the expense of someone BELOW.’ Then they look at different groups of oppressed people from a more sophisticated understanding of these basic structures.

We all have particular inequalities we struggle against. As a woman, one of mine has of course been gender inequality, and we still have have a very long way to go. My first book was ‘Feminist Counselling in Action. ‘But the Zapatistas write that ‘A woman ABOVE is very different from a woman BELOW.’ I certainly didn’t struggle for 30 years to get women onto boards in the City of London. Equalising is a complex and many layered process. But the basic value is around the immorality of extreme inequality of any kind. The Occupy movement has played a big part in raising awareness of the links between economic and other inequalities with it’s slogan of 99% that appeals to a wide range of people. The Zapatista statement was on line on the IOPS web site, representaing another umbrella activist organisation moving in the direction of making links between disparate groups. Many are tired of the old left sectarian divisions.

But I also wonder whether equality or rather the process of equalising be more than just a shared value but go deeper to being a ‘spiritual’ force in nature that we honour??? This would connect with the massive issue of climate change. Mother Earth has got horribly out of balance. Equalising and balancing are similar processes. Indigenous people all over the world have carried out rituals and ceremonies to rebalance the natural forces in their environments. And now we have science as well showing us ever more clearly where those imbalnces are. But the facts alone may not be enough for us to really chnge at the level needed. A spirituality with equalising at its heart may be needed too.