Today’s post is a shameless plug of punk band ‘Autistic Death Squad‘, whose members, all AS/ASD, sing about preist scandals, women’s self-defense, the environment, and, of course, autistic self-advocacy.
‘Shut Down the JRC’
Andre was just eighteen
hooked into a cruel machine
a device that was designed
to torture and to train his mind
on his waist the plastic box
sends a blinding blast of shocks
with a crash he hits the floor
strapped down gets thirty more
Nothing’s gonna stop it unless we do
we could stop the torture if we want to
Nobody’s gonna set it right
It’s time for us to fight
Let’s shut down the JRC tonight!
Andre sat upon the bed
staring straight and blank ahead
as his mother held his hand
and she tried to understand
for a decade while she wept
secrets told and secrets kept
dragged by law to light of day
see what they kept locked away
No way to stop the scream,
the dystopian dreams
wretched rage and writhing on the floor
see the trigger fingers itch,
see the tortured bodies twitch
somebody flips the switch- how many more?
how many more, how many more must cry before
MLK Jr‘s thoughts on being ‘maladjusted’
Liberal Ableism from Disabled Feminists- a great site that should be read by all.
Spectrum Ensemble is putting on ‘Weird Beard, the Asperger’s Pirate’, with shows coming up on the 14th in Springfield, MO.
NDRN uncovers use of federal funds to exploit disabled workers in the US.
Note: This is the opinion of a member of the Front; it has not been endorsed as any policy of the Front.
One of the fundamental demands, often the most basic demand, of freak rights has been ‘inclusion’- inclusion by accommodation. We have demanded interpreters, braile, academic and sensory accomodations, wheelchair access, and so much more- and these are important things to demand. We should keep demanding them. However, no matter what we demand, the world we are asking to be included in, is still a world designed from a ‘typical perspective; the day when our needs are made central from the beginning, and not added on later, is still a long ways off- and some of our needs might never be central or fully accommodated by the neurotypical/physical-typical society.
Mindful of the knowledge, that to live in the world of the ‘typicals means to navigate the spaces and institutions of their world, it is time to discuss, in earnest, the idea of freak separatism.
It must be clarified- we are not discussing a ‘freak homeland’ of any sort here. There is like to be no nation-state ruled by and for freaks. The logistics of such a project, the settling of people into the area, the rarely-peaceful struggles for political independence, the question of prior inhabitants are all too vast; we have learned from the last half-century of struggle over that strip of land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean that attempts to create a new homeland for any people can raise terrible issues. A nation-state is unlikely. Nor are we discussing the so-called ‘intentional communities’ that are in reality glorified asylums run by neurotypicals and the medical profession.
What we should discuss, and what is being discussed, is a form of ‘limited’ separatism. By this we mean, the creating and maintaining of spaces, communities, and institutions, defined and controlled by and for freaks- either certain freak communities or pan-freak spaces. Freak separatism means signed theater and poetry written for and by deaf people. It means social clubs and safe spaces run for and by freaks. It means wheelchair-positive architecture, peer-support mental health care, para-athletic teams, sensory-friendly study and social space, and freak-run intentional communities. Separatism exists within, or ‘near to’, the hegemonic and ableist society, but separates itself from the fundamental assumptions and norms underlying that society. Freak separatism means creating freak-centric spaces, both physically and socially, in which our needs and perspectives are not simply accommodated, but affirmed and made the normative standard.
This is the freak separatism that we must build; inclusion is an important demand, but it cannot be our only one. We must demand inclusion, but also the right to our own spaces.