I will add to this more soon, but basically it is a combination of years of research on, organizing around and thinking about disability.
Soon, there will be a plain language guide to make it even more accessible, although it is written in a pretty accessible way. And, because there are copy editors at Fernwood, even my spelling is good.
To pick up a copy go to your independent book store or pick it up online
I have been incredibly frustrated for a while about the trite, lazy attacks on Rob Ford because he is fat. There are so many good reasons to attack Rob Ford: his austerity measures, his fucked up neo-liberal ideology, his attacks on marginalized communities (p.s. this does not include cyclists), his jerk of a brother, his love of the rich and hatred of the poor, his despicable calls to make Toronto refugee free, his love of cops, his anti-unionism or his overall threat to the few good things that we have in this city (parks, libraries, daycare, graffiti, public housing, youth programs and lunch programs, etc.); rather, I am writing it about his body. That people focus on his body really pisses me off.
A recent Huffington Post article "Why Rob Ford's Weight Is a Political Issue" by Ben Johnson argues that Ford's size is relevant to critiques of his politics. In this post, I argue that this position is sizist, disablist and dangerous.
I used to use the term "ablism" to describe oppression against people who are labeled as disabled and/or the idea that disabled people are not as good as to non-disabled people. Within the past year or so, however, I have begun using the word "disablism" instead. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the primary one is the fact that ableism implies that this oppression is somehow related to ability – which it is not. Disability is a social category and its label is imposed on certain groups of people because of their perceived characteristics as un(der)productive.
This site is under construction so please be patient as more content is on its way.
The website title is a riff on "if I can't dance it ain't my revolution" which is a common radical phrase coined by Emma Goldman. A far less common statement of Goldman's was when she commended Helen Keller for "overcom[ing] the most appalling disability." Goldman viewed Keller as a novelty but never a political ally, even though like Goldman, Keller was actively anti-capitalist and feminist.
Disabled people are actively excluded from radical politics. We are ignored and, on occasion, tokenized. Some people on the left consider us lumpen proletariat, some give us a seat at the table in a building with a broken elevator, but rarely are we included, valued, and respected.
"If I can't dance it ain't my revolution" is as true today as it ever was. If you can't dance, you aren't allowed to participate equally in revolutionary struggle. If you dance cautiously because you are in pain, or "strangely" it isn't your revolution. If you aren't dancing because you have been forcibly restrained it isn't your revolution. If you dance alone because you have been excluded from society because you have an intellectual disability, are psychiatrised, deaf or physically disabled it isn't your revolution. If you don't dance you aren't allowed to participate equally in the struggle, it isn't your revolution. If you don't fight, if you don't organize, it won't be your revolution and changes implemented will not reflect the diverse needs and perspectives of disabled people.
We all dance in our own ways. We all fight in our own ways. We need to create the space for that to be recognized and we need to fight for change together.