|“||Are you tired of living under the tyranny of benders? Then join the Equalists! For too long, the bending elite of this city have forced nonbenders to live as lower class citizens! Join Amon and together we will tear down the bending establishment!||„|
|~ A protester addressing a crowd.|
|“||The era of bending is over! A new era of equality has begun!||„|
|~ Amon giving a speech during the "Revelation" rally.|
The Equalists are a revolutionary and terrorist organization in the animated series The Legend of Korra serving as the main antagonistic faction of Book 1: Air and the video game of the same name. They are directed against the art of bending and as a direct result, against benders themselves. They serve as one of the main conflicts in the series.
The Equalists utilize chi blocking as a means to counteract bending and its advantages. They also utilize long-range weapons, which they use to tie together and hold down the arms and legs of their enemies, similar to a meteor hammer. Other tools and equipment that the Equalists use include smoke grenades, motorcycles, electrified gauntlets, and mechanical suits.
They were lead by the masked revolutionary, Amon, whose main goal was to ultimately rid the world of bending. Through difficult training, the chi-blocking Equalists were skilled enough to defeat both Korra and Mako in combat, avoiding their bending strikes and successfully subduing both expert benders. They also share the same belief and intentions as that of their leader.
However, after Amon was exposed as a waterbender and a bloodbender, the Equalist lost their belief in "equality". It's implied that Amon's true goal wasn't equality for non-benders, but rather conquering Republic City.
In order to fulfill their goal, the leader, Amon, decided to accelerate the plans after the early arrival of the Avatar to the city, a reason why an Equalist assembly called "The Revelation" was scheduled to be carried out. For this purpose, they kidnapped some Triple Threat Triad members and Bolin. Mako and Korra witnessed the Equalist ride away in a truck with their hostages. The duo gave chase on Naga, and the Equalists were forced to evade some firebending and earthbending attacking. Eventually, two Equalists on motorcycles, stayed behind to face their pursuers. With a well-aimed throw, one Equalist fighter tripped the polar bear dog by tying her legs together with a rope. As the animal's riders were thrown free, the two Equalists prepared for a hand-to-hand combat with the two benders. With their superior agility, the two Equalist fighters were able to immobilize Korra and Mako with chi blocking, but they retreated when Naga untangled herself and came to the rescue of her friends.
Later, at the rally, Amon gave a speech, telling the audience about his life story and his motivation to lead the revolution. He blamed the benders of the world to be the cause of every war that has ever been and showcased his plans for all the benders in the world on the prisoners by demonstrating an ability the spirits had granted him, the ability to take away a person's bending permanently. Unknown to the attendees at the time, however, Korra and Mako had infiltrated the rally, and just before Amon could remove Bolin's bending, Korra released vast amounts of steam from the water boilers, creating enough of a distraction and cover for Mako to overpower an Equalist fighter, grab Bolin and get out before anyone could react.
Amon's second-in-command, the Lieutenant, defeated the two brothers rather easily with his electrified kali sticks while they were trying to escape, however, Korra arrived and earthbent him into a wall before he could do more damage. As the trio escaped on Naga, the Equalists wanted to give chase, but Amon gave the order to let them go, stating that the Avatar was the best person to spread the word of his power.
The Equalists and their leader has made a profound impression on the Avatar, as Korra had nightmares about being attacked by them after witnessing their skill at the rally. When Korra later aided a special task force led by Councilmen Tarrlok to raid a secret underground training facility in the Dragon Flats district, an Equalist ambushed her when she was in pursuit of two trainees. However, Korra managed to evade his attack and immobilize him by bending a rock straight into his stomach. A second Equalist member was frozen to the wall when Tarrlok came to Korra's rescue. The raid resulted in the defeat and capture of four Equalist members.
At the ensuing press conference, Korra challenged Amon to a duel on Aang Memorial Island at midnight, without the presence of the task force or the chi blockers. However, Amon didn't hold up on his end of the deal, and as Korra was heading home, believing he didn't turn up, several Equalists engaged in a fight with the Avatar and quickly overpowered and immobilized her. It was only then that Amon emerged from the shadows and explained part of his plan to eradicate all benders. Knocking Korra out cold, but without doing further damage, the Equalists left her in the island's museum.
Amon later demanded a shutdown of the pro-bending arena via radio, prompting the Council to abide and cancel the championship tournament in order to avoid conflict. However, Chief Lin Beifong arrived, offering the arena extra security during the match, which the Council agreed to. The Equalists somehow managed to enter the arena, regardless, disguised as arena spectators. After the match, they sprang into action, having hidden electrified gauntlets in their various belongings, and began using them on numerous spectators, including the police sent to secure the arena. Amon and several Equalists quickly evaded and subdued the White Falls Wolfbats (who were still present on the playing field), while the Fire Ferrets (Korra, Mako, and Bolin) were seized by the Lieutenant and tied together. The Wolfbats were then flung into the surrounding water after having their bending removed. Amon then gave a speech to the arena's audience, declaring war on all benders, while several Equalists used the gauntlets to keep the spectators in place.
Advocates of the Equalist revolt have seized Republic City in the thousands. This is particularly noticeable when Korra first enters Republic City and later when she and Mako infiltrate The Revelation lead by Amon, where thousands of anti-benders are seen gathering to hear Amon's speech, much to the surprise of Mako.
The first sign of anti-bending propaganda appears with a man who was attempting to persuade passersby in a park in Republic City to join Amon in his Equalist revolt, when Avatar Korra and her polar bear dog, Naga, passed by as well. She challenged his bold remarks about bending being "tyrannical" and that those who practiced it forced the non-benders of the city to become "lower-class citizens, because of which the protester focused his attention on her. Quickly singling her out to be a bender herself, he used Korra's hotheaded attitude to his advantage, and gained the support of the passersby when he alleged that benders like her "only use their power to oppress [non-benders]". Unable to come up with a better response to refute these accusations, Korra claimed that he was "oppressing [himself]", a statement that didn't make sense according to the man, and rode away under loud protest of the crowd.
He later encountered Korra a second time, this time with Mako by her side. When he announced an event regarding a revelation, Korra forced him to reveal when and where it was.
Rising threat of Equalist revolution
When Amon got his chance to rise to power, he, together with his rank-and-file of Equalists, orchestrated a revolt against all benders alike. They fought benders with chi blocking to counter-act bending and held resentment towards the current Avatar, Korra. The Equalists' main revolt was in Republic City, a large metropolis populated with people from all four nations.
Eventually, when the news of Amon's ability to remove bending surfaced in the city, Councilman Tarrlok set up a task force in order to combat the Equalist threat. After recruiting Avatar Korra to the team, the force raided a chi blocking training school, defeating and capturing all the Equalists there and sent them to jail.
Fall of Republic City
The next day after Tarrlok was captured by the Equalists, an emergency meeting was to be held and was orchestrated by councilman Tenzin. On the eve of the meeting, however, the Equalists sent in their operatives who infiltrated Republic City and eventually found and captured almost all members of the United Republic Council except for Tenzin, leaving him as the sole leader of both Republic City and the United Republic as a whole. Short afterward, the Equalists launched their attack and began their assault in Republic City, bombing various buildings and sending in ground troops supported by Mecha-Tanks. As a result of the bombardments from their airships and their army, the Metalbending police was unable to protect the city and was eventually overrun and defeated.
During the invasion, an airship was sent to Air Temple Island and began assaulting the island and the air temple where Tenzin and his family resided their as well as Avatar Korra. Since Tenzin and his family were the last known air benders still alive at the time, the island held great significance and was invaded. Despite the best efforts of Lyn Beifong and the White Lotus Sentries, Air Temple Island had fallen and was used by Amon as his own personal base of operations. Tarrlok was imprisoned there and Republic City had fallen to the Equalists. Prior to the fall of the city, however, Tenzin managed to contact the United Forces, the armed forces of the United Republic of Nations, and they sent in a naval division lead by General Iroh to retake the city. The division, however, was attacked and bombed to ruins by Equalist biplanes lead by Hiroshi Sato and they wiped out the fleet, killing many of the crew members, and capturing General Iroh, leaving Republic City in Equalist hands once again.
Equalist Victory Rally
Following their victory over the United Republic and by extensions benders, the Equalists had begun to celebrate their victory as they've conquered the capital of the United Republic and were preparing for the next counter-attack. To celebrate, Amon and the Equalists held a victory rally at the Pro-Bending Arena and all known members of the movement and their supporters had gathered inside the arena to celebrate. The rally was protected by Mecha-Tanks and other Equalist troops while the arena was decorated with Equalist banners both inside and out. On the eve of the rally, Korra and Mako managed to steal Equalist uniforms and sneak onto Air Temple Island where they found out about the rally as well as where Tarrlok was imprisoned at and that Amon himself is actually his brother, Noatak, and is actually a bloodbender. Korra and Mako went to the arena and infiltrated the rally where they saw Amon take center stage and give a speech about his life and the victory he and his fellow Equalists had over the oppressive benders of the world. Korra however, revealed herself and interrupted Amon's speech where she revealed the information about Amon being a bloodbender as revealed by Tarrlok in an attempt to discredit him.
Amon however, took off his mask and revealed a large scar on his face as evidence that he's correct. Korra was taken by surprise but was later interrupted when she saw Tenzin and his family captured and ready to have their bending taken away as part of the revolution. Korra and Mako intervened however and saved the remaining airbenders. Amon and Korra fought across the stadium and when they were left alone, Amon used his bloodbending revealing that Tarrlok was right all along. Mako and Korra fought Amon where the latter took away the former's bending and supposedly eliminate the Avatar for good, but she had mastered airbending and threw Amon out the window. His followers saw his mask and thought that he was dead, but he used waterbending to fly up to the surface and his scar wore off as it was really makeup. With the truth out, Noatak fled and freed his brother where the two of them fled to start a new life, but Tarrlok ended up electrocuting the engine of the speedboat they were in, killing both of them in the process.
Hundun's arrival and revenge
After Amon's true identity was exposed, most members ended up returning to their former lives while some more radical members refused to and continued the equalist plan of bringing equality to the world through the elimination of bending despite the revelation of Amon's true identity. All remaining equalists now occupied abandoned quarters. After a year of Equalist Revolution and few weeks after Unalaq Crisis a mysterious man named Hundun bribes remaining Equalists to get revenge on Korra for bringing "Inequality" to the world since Unalaq Crisis.
For most of the rest of game have Korra and Naga fight with this group again with Triple Raid Triad that Hundun. Until end that they back out as Hundun was purified from Korra's Waterbending. This is seemly the very last time we see this group afterward.
Aftermath and Legacy
The Equalists never appear again after their second defeat at the hands of Avatar Korra, but it's implied that they're still alive and remaining members remain active throughout Republic City. After the Spirit wilds had re-emerged, the remnants of the Equalists fled into the forests and used it as their new base where they remain in hiding attempting to rebuild and continue their quest for equality despite Amon's revelations. While damage had been done to Republic City, the Equalists were not completely forgotten as their goals of equality were actually achieved, but in a different way. The United Republic Council had been dissolved in the aftermath of the Anti-Bending Revolution and was instead replaced by the office of the President who was democratically elected by the people. Raiko became the first president of the United Republic and since he was a non-bender, he became a symbol for equality between both benders and non-benders, effectively achieving the ideas of equality espoused by the Equalists, but to a less extreme route instead. 3 years later, Toph Beifong mentioned the Equalist revolution when lecturing Avatar Korra about how Amon, Unalaq, and Zaheer all had the intention of improving the world despite their radical measures and despicable actions.
|“||Amon is the solution||„|
|~ Typical Equalist slogan|
The Equalists originally followed the teachings of Amon, who originally received them allegedly from a spirit in a vision which stated that the Avatar had failed humanity and that bending was a curse that needed to be eradicated. According to the teachings of Amon, bending is the main cause of imbalance in the world and was the sole source of all conflicts and wars in the world as well as bending only being used as a means of oppressing non-benders due to their genetic differences. In order to fully achieve equality, bending must be eradicated with all bending abilities taken away from benders, who he believed was used to oppress the non-bending majority, and for the "bending elite" to be overthrown in a large-scale social, political, and military revolution. By eliminating bending, the divide between the two groups would be eliminated and equality would finally be restored with no one having an inherent advantage over another person and a free society would be created.
As noted by Tarrlok, a large amount of the Equalist ideology was a facade made by Amon in order to obtain supporters, as Noatak's true goal was to destroy the Avatar and conquer Republic City where his father had previously failed. Nonetheless Amon did geniunely believe that bending was the cause of every major conflict in history and the world would be more peaceful if bending were to become extinct. Likewise Amon's followers genuinely believed in the goal of ending oppression towards non-benders, a goal that would ultimately be acheived albeit not through force as Amon intended.
- Equalist are mostly strongly tendencies from Fascist/Nazi ideology basing their ideology on ethnic antagonisms between different societal groups and blaming said groups for societal ills. For instance, equalists often attempt to incite violence between benders and non-benders in order to achieve social and political power, much like Adolf Hitler targetted particular ethnic and political groups in Nazi Germany in order to consolidate the Nazi regime. Furthermore, it is interesting to note how the equalists, much like real-life fascist groups, were supported by active members of the Republic City elite, such as businessman Hiroshi Sato, which resembles how German and Italian elites would actively support fascist leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini. In sum, the equalists are made to resemble authoritarian xenophobic groups due to their active role in promoting systematic ethnic cleansing.
- At the Equalist rally seen in the trailers, the symbols in the red circle banners visible in the background area Chinese character meaning "equal", "even" or "peaceful".
- The Equalists are not the first organization to harbor resentment towards benders. However, they are the first formal canonical example.
- The Equalists have no relation to energybending, which has been described by Mike and Bryan as "anti-bending", as well as "unbending".
- The Equalists were originally named the 'anti-benders', until the name change was announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2011.
- The Equalist revolt seems to represent the political revolutions set during the 1920s, mainly the Russian Revolution. It also seems similar to the equal rights movements during the 1920s and the 1960s.
- This is fitting as the civilization presented in the series is loosely based on the 1920s era.
- The Equalists' appearance and goals are similar to the Mutant Response Division.
- They also seem a bit like HYDRA in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if what the two organizations want is considered.
- The Equalists' views towards benders bear strong similarities to Lian's views from the first Avatar: The Last Airbender video game.