We envision living in a world where everyone is healthy, understood, educated, and safe. Some call this idealistic. We call it justice.
When conversations of justice crop up, newcomers tend to have one of three reactions: this is just the way the world is, life has always been unfair, and/or there’s nothing you can do about it. These are head-spinners, for sure, so let’s take a moment to pursue each tangent, before we get into what global justice might look like, and how we can get there. We’ll call this a prologue.
This isn’t “just the way the world is.” A lot of people conflate injustice with strife, confuse inequity with “sometimes life is hard.” Yes, by all means, life can be, has been, and often is hard. But hard and unjust are different. Hard is playing a game of chess and winning. Unjust is playing a game of chess and winning when all of your opponents pieces have been swapped for queens.
The world is hard, yes. But the world is also remarkably just. If there’s an apple on a tree, the world doesn’t create rules that govern which members of which species are able to pick the apple; the world doesn’t force some organisms to pick the apple so that other organisms can eat it; and the world won’t punish any organism for eating the apple, withhold ripe apples to create a false sense of scarcity, or convince organisms not to eat the free apple but to eat instead a SuperApple+®. Organisms, byproducts of the world, organized into social groups — with different social agreements, rules, laws, and beliefs — are responsible for saying those things about eating apples. Then some organisms in particular, not to point fingers (but they do have fingers), look at those social agreements, rules, laws, and beliefs they created, see how unfair they are, and have the audacity to blame it all on The World. A queen is better than a pawn because we say so (And can we just, for a second, recognize the rights of the apple?).
Life hasn’t “always been unfair.” If you want to pinpoint exactly when we humans started to create unfair, it would be difficult. We weren’t always human, and humans aren’t the only species who create unfair. A lot of social organisms arrange themselves in unjust ways, often interpreted as necessary for survival. The social utility of unfair has merits, but those have long since expired in our species. Our social utility of unfair diminished when we replaced types of unfair that protect us from outside forces for unfair that divides us from within.
The unfair we experience now — where we create groups for humans to be born into and then set outcomes based on that grouping, prioritizing a slanted perception of human prosperity above the prosperity of all other organisms, and the prosperity for the Earth itself — can be traced back to one particular moment: when we stopped moving to where our food went, and started producing our food (i.e., the dawn of agriculture). In that moment, humans invented what would eventually become what we now know as labor, economy, and wealth, three things that, now, are at the core of every social injustice. They are the “unfair” we equate with life, and with the world, and misrepresent as immutable, natural, and ever present. We made those rules, and we can remake them.
There’s plenty we can do about it.
hues – the org, the site, and all of our initiatives – is a forever work-in-progress with a commitment to transparency. This essay will develop throughout 2016, as hues continues to grow. Check back in periodically, or subscribe for updates to get an email.