Social Mobility or Social Wreckability? A Closer Look at Zero Gravity and the 93% Club"

A critical look at social mobility groups, Zero Gravity and the 93% Club, calling for a more profound, systemic change that truly challenges the status quo rather than merely shifting pieces within the existing framework.

7/5/20233 min read

As a product of the state school system, I often find myself contemplating, maybe even dreaming about, the "other". This "other", making up 7% of the population, fills 70% of top judicial roles, occupies half the seats of FTSE 100 CEOs, possesses an undetermined portion of the wealth, and enjoys better life outcomes, health, wellbeing and all the trimmings! They are the 40,000 annually private-school educated individuals who transition into the university system and evoke a torrent of emotions among the state-educated students fortunate enough to cross their paths. Why do we harbor such resentment for them? Is it because they were born with a silver spoon in their mouths and have an air of “I’m better than you”? Is it their puffer North Face jackets and their ritzy lingo “rah where’s my baccie” or their serious lack of awareness on real-world issues?

In essence, none of these are the cause for my feelings. Let me clarify - many of the points above are products of environment. Hatred of a culture simply for its differences is unjustifiable. There are good ones and bad ones, or, in my own words, the less informed and the more informed. However, I've noticed a troubling trend among my peers - a tendency to divide rather than unite. Whether we're retreating into echo chambers to assuage our sense of deprivation or declaring war in the spirit of Robin Hood, we're creating divisions when unity is most needed.

This point brings me to groups like Zero Gravity and the 93% Club, who position themselves as progressive champions of social mobility and annihilators of inequality. They harbor honorable intentions, but I fear their strategies might only provide temporary relief and potentially inflict greater harm.

In the tale of Robin Hood, the protagonist eventually meets his demise, not through valor in battle, but from excessive bloodletting, a common medical treatment of his time. This story serves as a metaphor for these organizations - by removing too much from one place and reintroducing it elsewhere, they risk causing more harm than good.

Zero Gravity and the 93% Club, much like Robin Hood, offer temporary fixes without addressing the structural disparities. They operate under the assumption that the current system is sufficient, which I contest. Their mission to "power you into universities and careers" or use a "rival club to tackle a centuries-old system" raises important questions. What's the purpose? To pack the top ranks with more people who will reaffirm the same dogma? To simply have more in the top 20, to mimic the other?

Their strategies presume that university education is the golden ticket to social mobility and that trickle-down effects will bring prosperity. They extract the best from deprived situations and channel them into a flawed system, depriving these areas of potential growth and perpetuating inequality. Haven't we heard this story before? The top two kids from a primary school earning scholarships to a prestigious private school?

My central issue with these clubs is their envy. They aspire to the same materialistic rewards that they criticize the "other" for possessing. The self-congratulatory ceremonies, luxurious apartments, and cars. This envy-fueled ambition is more than obnoxious; it's harmful. They strive to maintain the same structures, desiring only to be the ones benefiting. The only change they want is who holds the wealth and fame, a truly repugnant objective.

When they reach the top, they'll label it "social mobility", not the "Social Wreckability" it truly is. We've seen similar issues arise with calls for more representation from women and BAME communities. Success isn't about merely populating top positions with a more diverse group (Liz Truss' top 3 cabinet positions were all from BAME backgrounds), but about achieving systemic change. We should only term it "social mobility" if the victory is collective and not just a boon for a select few.

We should all remind ourselves that social mobility is not the acquisition of elitist goods but eradicating the concept of elitist goods. These goods are deemed "elitist" due to unequal access to their production and consumption.

So, to Zero Gravity and the 93% Club, I say: don't become what you set out to destroy. These clubs and their members have the opportunity to create something new, something that challenges the system and not just reciprocate it. Don't meet the same fate as Robin Hood.