- This article is about the Equalist movement. For the junior novelization, see Revolution.
|"My followers and I will not rest until the entire city achieves equality, and once that goal is achieved we will equalize the rest of the world! The revolution has begun!"|
|— Amon announcing the beginning of the revolution to his followers.|
The Anti-bending Revolution, also called the Equalist revolution, was a period of radical social and political upheaval in the United Republic of Nations around 170 AG. For many years, the United Republic and Republic City in particular experienced increasing social conflicts between benders and nonbenders, as the latter felt oppressed by bending triads and a political system that was controlled by foreign powers. By 170 AG, the United Republic Council which was the governing body of the republic, consisted solely of benders, adding to the feelings of oppression. In this situation, a revolutionary movement called the "Equalists" initiated an insurrection, led by the mysterious Amon and secretly armed by the industrialist Hiroshi Sato.
Aided by his power to remove one's bending abilities altogether, Amon called his supporters to end the oppression of nonbenders at the hands of benders throughout Republic City, and eventually the entire world, by eradicating bending altogether. Their growing power led Chairman Tarrlok to increase the intensity of his hardline anti-Equalist politics, but this only strengthened the anti-bending movement and led to Tarrlok's eventual downfall. Over time, the Equalists became powerful enough to openly challenge both the government and the Avatar. In autumn 170 AG, Republic City fell to an open Equalist uprising, and the United Republic Council was overthrown. The movement collapsed, however, after Avatar Korra revealed that Amon was a bloodbender, effectively ending the revolution. As a result, the Equalists were greatly weakened, but not defeated. Many Equalists continue their resistance and still possess a great number of arms and heavy weapons.
The Anti-bending Revolution had a major impact on world politics, as it initiated a worldwide dialogue about the representation of nonbenders. In the United Republic, it was recognized that the non-elected foreign council was no longer fit to govern the country; as a result, it dissolved itself in favor of new native presidential government. Subsequently, the first president elected by the nonbending majority was a nonbender named Raiko.
Prelude and early stages
- See also: Bending Supremacist Uprising
Tensions between benders and nonbenders have a long tradition. For thousands of years, many benders used their powers to achieve a higher social status and exploit nonbenders who accordingly often felt marginalized. Though there was no known organized anti-bending movement before the Equalists, there existed groups such as the Kang Shen sect that attempted to empower nonbenders in the face of benders. Republic City, as well as its predecessor Cranefish Town, suffered from bending criminals and a bending supremacist movement, resulting in a growing resentment among the settlement's nonbending population. At the same time, new technologies as well as the art of chi-blocking finally allowed nonbenders to fight benders effectively, granting extremist nonbenders the hope to finally gain the upper hand in a struggle with benders.
After the death of Avatar Aang, a masked man named Amon rose to power by exploiting the absence of the Avatar and the increasing tensions between benders and nonbenders. He orchestrated a revolt, alongside his rank-and-file Equalists, against all benders alike. The Equalists' main insurrection occurred in Republic City, where they fought benders utilizing chi-blocking and an impressive array of weaponry to oppose the Metalbending Police Force and Avatar Korra. Simultaneously, Councilman Tarrlok perceived the revolution as an opportunity to win Republic City, as his father Yakone had failed to do forty-two years prior.
- Main article: The Revelation
Soon after Avatar Korra's arrival in Republic City, Amon assembled a large rally of nonbending citizens in which he explained that the spirits had granted him the ability to permanently remove bending. To prove this, the Equalist leader promptly held a demonstration in which he removed the bending of three Triple Threat Triad members. Captured by the Equalists while in the company of said gang members, Bolin was to be the last bender to have his bending stripped, but due to a distraction caused by the Avatar, Mako was able to rescue him from this fate.
A successful task force
Eventually, when 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 and declared Amon public enemy number one. After recruiting Avatar Korra to the team, the group successfully raided a chi-blocker training camp, defeating and capturing any offending Equalists.
Attack on the Pro-bending Arena
- Main article: Attack on the Pro-bending Arena
Before the Pro-bending Tournament's final match, Amon threatened the United Republic Council via radio to shut down the arena and cancel the event, or there would be "severe consequences". However, the Council decided to ignore the warning and let the match be played under the advisement of both the Avatar and Chief Lin Beifong. Metalbending police officers were subsequently ordered to patrol the area under the supervision of the police chief.
In actuality, however, it was Amon's plan that the game would continue as scheduled. This allowed the Equalists to carry out an ambush at the arena. After the conclusion of the match, several Equalists who had posed as ordinary spectators incapacitated the officers and other resisting benders with electrified gloves, creating a distraction that provided Amon and his underlings their chance to enter the ring. The raid allowed Amon to demonstrate his abilities to the public by "cleansing" the White Falls Wolfbats of their bending. The Equalist leader subsequently pronounced a speech on the revolution and its purpose, effectively declaring war on all benders. Disregarding a run-in with the Avatar and the Chief of Police on the arena's roof, they successfully escaped by an airship.
Battle at the Equalist factory
- Main article: Battle at the Equalist factory
Following the attack on the arena, the pro-bending venue was shut down and the Metalbending Police Force began an investigation on the source of the Equalists' weaponry. At first, Cabbage Corp appeared to be the supplier of the Equalists arsenal, leading to the arrest of the owner Lau Gan-Lan, but further investigation yielded evidence that Hiroshi Sato had manufactured the weapons, thanks to an informant. The police proceeded to investigate the Sato estate and discovered a hidden Equalist factory under Hiroshi's workshop. A short battle ensued and Sato's new mecha tanks proved to be successful in defeating Tenzin, Chief Beifong, Korra, and several metalbender cops. However, Mako and Bolin entered the factory to assist the group, and with the help of Asami Sato, they were able to escape.
Councilman Tarrlok's treachery
When Chief Beifong resigned from her duties, Tarrlok took advantage of this and convinced her successor Saikhan to place the Metalbending Police Force under his command to combat the Equalists. Korra and Tenzin knew that Tarrlok's manipulations gave the councilman greater power and control over Republic City and confronted him. Tarrlok asked Korra to rejoin his task force, to which she refused, receiving a warning from the former to remain out of his way. Instead, she formed a new Team Avatar with Mako, Bolin, and Asami and began patrolling Republic City. Team Avatar became involved in a skirmish with some Equalists and incapacitated them before Tarrlok's task force arrived, much to the councilman's anger.
Tarrlok implemented a law that was effectively a curfew and arrested innocent nonbenders in the Dragon Flats borough on false charges. Team Avatar attempted to release them, but all their members, except for Korra, were arrested in their place. Korra later tried to intimidate the traitorous councilman at City Hall to release her friends and the innocent nonbenders, but Tarrlok's remarks about both himself and the Avatar "going to extreme lengths to get what they want", along with Korra's rebuttal that Tarrlok was "just as bad as Amon", culminated into a fierce duel. A heavily scratched Korra managed to cut off Tarrlok's water source and prepared to defeat him until Tarrlok incapacitated the Avatar with bloodbending. Tarrlok immediately bound Korra and took her to a mountain hideout.
Capture and cleansing of Councilman Tarrlok
After kidnapping Avatar Korra and imprisoning her in a cage, Tarrlok returned to Republic City where he falsely claimed that Equalists were responsible for the Avatar's capture. The secrets of his abduction of Korra and his bloodbending abilities, however, were soon revealed. He returned to his hideout in the mountains, with the intention of making a new life for himself and taking Korra as a hostage. He returned to the main floor of the building and was greeted by Amon, the Lieutenant, and a few chi-blockers. A short battle took place in which Tarrlok bloodbent all of the chi-blockers and the Lieutenant to the ground. Amon, however, was able to use his own bloodbending to resist Tarrlok's bloodbending, albeit with some initial difficulty, and proceeded to remove Tarrlok's bending abilities. The Lieutenant and the chi-blockers were subsequently commanded to retrieve the Avatar; the Lieutenant electrocuted Korra's cage, with the goal of knocking Korra out. The plan failed and Korra used her bending to easily escape down the side of the mountain. Amon chose not to pursue her and took the rogue councilman prisoner.
Battle for Republic City
- Main article: Battle for Republic City
Soon after Korra was rescued, the Equalists launched an aerial attack on Republic City. Using a fleet of airships, the Equalists bombed many parts of the metropolis. Eventually the fleet headed toward Air Temple Island, prompting Tenzin and his family to flee on Oogi. Air Temple Island was captured, along with much of the city. It was at this point that General Iroh and the United Forces began their approach to the city, hoping to defeat the Equalists. Soon after the United Forces arrived, several biplanes came to stop the battleships and were ultimately successful in decimating the fleet. In the ensuing battle, Korra saved General Iroh after he was wounded by a bomb.
Soon after, Bolin, Asami, and Iroh set out to destroy the Equalist airfield, while Korra and Mako headed to Air Temple Island to confront Amon. The former were captured, however, upon reaching the Equalist airfield. There, Hiroshi Sato revealed to know the position of the United Forces' Second Division, and that his biplanes were about to set out to destroy it. The trio was able to escape after this revelation and attempted to stop the Equalist attack. General Iroh hijacked an Equalist biplane that was about to take off and used it to successfully destroy the remainder of the biplane armada before it was able to reach and destroy Bumi's battleship fleet.
Meanwhile, Bolin and Asami destroyed the aircraft on the ground as well as the airstrips to prevent Equalist reinforcement to take off. However, Hiroshi Sato intervened and faced his daughter. After a brief battle, Hiroshi was captured, with all biplanes as well as airstrips destroyed.
Defeat of Amon
- Main article: Equalist victory rally
Meanwhile, Korra and Mako reached Air Temple Island, where they found Tarrlok imprisoned in the attic. He revealed that he was Amon's brother and that Amon was a waterbender and a bloodbender. With this news, Mako and Korra infiltrated the Equalist victory rally and exposed Amon as a fraud. Amon, however, removed his mask, revealing his scar which he claimed to have gotten from a firebender, causing Amon's supporters to turn on Korra.
Amon kept hold of Korra's attention by revealing that he had captured Tenzin, Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo. Mako and Korra proceeded to attack Amon and the chi-blockers on stage. Korra freed the airbenders and hid with Mako elsewhere in the arena. Amon managed to locate the two and utilized bloodbending to remove the Avatar's bending abilities. In response, Mako momentarily knocked out Amon with lightning, picked up Korra, and fled down a corridor. The Equalist leader pursued them, subdued Mako, and prepared to remove his bending. Korra, however, managed to successfully stop Amon using airbending. She blasted him out a window and into the bay, where he had no choice but to waterbend to save himself, divulging his true identity to his followers. Amon's scar was fake, as it washed off in the water. He escaped and freed Tarrlok, the two proceeding to flee the city on a speedboat which Tarrlok later blew up, killing them both.
After the failure of the revolution, the Equalist remnants were scattered all over Republic City's underground and generally kept a low profile, as they had lost their credibility. However, while the Anti-bending Revolution did not achieve its ultimate goal, it did bring awareness on an international scale to the underrepresentation of nonbenders and in the United Republic of Nations; this debate led to the dissolution of its non-elected bender council in favor of democratic presidential elections, which were won by a nonbender named Raiko. Meanwhile, Avatar Korra used energybending to restore the bending of those victimized by Amon, with the exception of the triads.
Hiroshi Sato was arrested and his daughter took control over Future Industries. However, little to no companies continued business with the company due to Hiroshi's actions. The Sato family's reputation was tainted due to him and it took Asami years to restore it.
Meanwhile, the Equalist remnants reorganized and would gradually regain some of their strength. Equalists allied with Hundun rose up again in 171 AG, but were again defeated by Korra. Regardless, both violent and non-violent Equalists remain active as of 174 AG and some benders are hypervigilant in identifying and persecuting them.
List of known major engagements
- Attack on the Pro-bending Arena
- Battle at the Equalist factory
- Battle for Republic City
- Equalist victory rally
- The Anti-bending Revolution draws parallels to a number of real world political revolutions, including the Russian Revolution in 1917, the equal rights movements in the United States in the 1920s and 1960s, the Cultural Revolution in the People's Republic of China in the 1940s, and the French Revolution in the late 18th Century.