Thesis Number: #7 (Page 4 of 8)
The Route to Equality
Clawing back the dignities of womanhood has been a long, painful and still incomplete process. In the West, the campaign began at the beginning of the 20th century with the demand for the right to vote in elections. This route to equality could not deliver its full promise because change is negotiated within the terms of the prevailing social paradigm. Thus, the dominant culture would never agree to more than changes in appearance. The private status of land, and rent, would necessarily perpetuate violence in all its forms.
Legal concessions have been made that formally recognise women as equal to men. But the violence continues, disguised. Today, the primary tool for degrading freedom is the tax regime that was incubated as the substitute for funding public services out of land rents.
Formal concessions achieved by human rights campaigners cannot be consummated while the majority of people are still deprived of their equal rights of access to land (or, to state this proposition in a way that is appropriate for current socio-economic conditions, their equal right to enjoy the benefits of the rental income from the land).
We live in a dis-eased world. All the talk is of delivering human rights, but the reality “on the ground” is of disintegration. Values and institutions – the cultural glue – are in chaos. Women and children continue to be systematically abused.
- Violence against children in Britain is organised. The trade in women across Europe is one of the growth sectors of the economy.
- In Africa, the venerated status of women disappeared when colonial intruders grabbed the land. Children are press-ganged into murderous militias.
- In America, the commodification of women to serve commerce has achieved shameless levels.
The catalogue of horrendous behaviour is heavily camouflaged by the promotion of scapegoats (Box 4).
Cruelties of “the adult world”
Children are the victims of adults, but should we blame “the adult world” (as Harvard historian Simon Schama puts it)? Or is there an underlying process, a non-gender specific cultural phenomenon that institutionalises the victimisation of large numbers of children? Schama noted in one of his TV series that “children in untold, unprecedented numbers [are] being enslaved, prostituted and conscripted into empires of horror and wretchedness while the prosperous world feebly wrings its hands”. But in the US, adults as a whole care for, and invest in, their children. And yet, as Schama notes, the 2012 cuts in child tax credits for single working mothers would send another 8m children deeper into destitution in a country where 25% of the child population is already defined as living at or below the poverty line.
Something is seriously amiss, but to project the problem in terms of a vague “adult world” does not isolate the root cause(s) of the problem for the benefit of policy-makers.