Know it doesn’t just happen in the streets and work to find ways to be fully inclusive
Don’t avoid difficult conversations on issues of marginalization: class, racism, sexism, ableism, agism, Palestine, settler colonialism, indigenous rights, antisemitism, Black lives matter, Say her name……
Aren’t afraid of complexities
Understand that the role of the movement vanguard is to defend the working class, not the other way around.
Don’t use “The Party” as a vehicle for abuse, demanding obedience or ostracizing dissident voices.
Draw the circle wide
Don’t use their social capital to marginalize, abuse and assassinate people and their character, who may be inconvenient, challenging or different
Don’t snitch jacket
DON’T make accusations without a whole lot of ——EVIDENCE!
Don’t avoid evidence when it’s right in front of you, just because the guilty party is your dudbro, homie, movement star, favorite author
Invent evidence just because the innocent party said something they didn’t like, made them uncomfortable or demanded greater inclusion and consideration
Don’t accumulate people according to identity
Don’t play racism, sexism, ableism bingo
Don’t avoid class analysis
Aren’t afraid to be wrong and can take criticism
Constantly take inventory
Hold themselves and others accountable
Fight for everyone: Justice not Just us
Don’t engage in self promotion at the expense of social justice, the collective benefit and the greater good
Use their skills, abilities, entitlements, resources and access for the growth of the movement
Don’t derail the discussion with platitudes like “Not all_____”
Hold events at venues that are accessible to people with disabilities, children, elders, people without money….
Don’t make excuses for exclusions
Don’t hold themselves above scrutiny
Don’t silence dissent or attack people with new ideas
Constantly work on themselves and enhance the movement
Give other people credit for group efforts.
Make a deep commitment to a place, a time, the group, the movement
Understand we are in this for a lifetime
Don’t use their identities as an excuse for lack of accountability
Don’t disregard their elders or the new generation of activists
Don’t use their entitlement as a shield of fragility against real conversations and human lives
Don’t play cheerleader for the abusers in the community
Support those who have been bullied, abused and maligned for the political expedience of opportunists
Call out opportunistic abusive bullies
Take difficult positions within the community of activists
Engage in grassroots organizing
Meet people where they are
Put principles before personalities, power and prestige (Opportunism isn’t a principle, it is the antithesis of principle)
Build counter cultural alternatives to the state to meet human needs in health care, education, housing, food production, transportation, child care, jobs, community, spirituality
Don’t ascribe to new age platitudes and spiritual fascism to blame the victim and dismiss individual and collective narratives
Continue to define the work of real revolutionaries, knowing that our work is never done and that a shield protects us against attack and also serves as a mirror for self reflection.
If: you are starting to recognize that ableism an actual real and essential component of white supremacy, capitalism, exploitation, imperialism, colonization, patriarchy, racism, sexism, cissexism and heterosexism, and that we can’t fight injustice while insisting that access is a personal issue that is the responsibility of the “afflicted”, but is rather, a the collective responsibility of the community, the whole community, every community,
You need to start doing more than simply adding “ableism” to your list of ism, and “DISability” to your list of marginalities.
You need to stop bringing in out of town DIS-rights stars to do workshops, instead of local activists who you or the movement has pushed out for so long.
You need to stop finding ways to appropriate the work of DISabled activists,
And stop using the label “neurodivergent” to justify your abusiveness, (even if it is rooted in PTSD or any other real condition and experience).
You need to stop excluding on the basis of who isn’t “cool” enough, or pretty enough for your revolution.
You have to make way for wheelchairs and walkers, scooters and canes and give up scented products.
You have to include DISfolx in all your planning, and incorporate us into your organization as central resources.
You have to have workshops at your events, and you have to attend them!
You have to read the work of DISrights activists.
You have to give up your supremacist language and attitudes that allowed you to feel entitled toward exclusion in the first place.
You need to stop seeing DISfolx as the location of your savior image, your charity case and as central comrades in the struggle.
And you have to resurrect the characters you’ve assassinated instead of stepping over our bodies and claim DISability stardom for your sad self, adding “DISability” and “ableism” to your rhetoric.
You need to publicly make amends to everyone you DISmissed, DISassociated, DIShonored, DISparaged and DIScouraged before YOU DIScovered DISability.
You need to account for your tone policing, and your faux-pologies, and your identity baiting and every other sad excuse you had for why it was okay to tell someone their participation was derailing or decentering, or privileged or entitled.
Not just sometime.
Not just when it’s convenient.
Not just until your other REAL IN THE STREETS REVOLUTIONARIES tell you to stop or make it inconvenient.
You need to account for the lies, slander, misinformation and DIStortions you employed to silence, isolate and chastise anyone who dared attempt the dialogue,who even asked “Can I get my wheels in the door to this event?”, who commented “When you tell those who agree, to rise, you exclude us, and implicate us in the cohort of the oppressors”, who dared to suggest that strategies and protocols be developed and shared, who attempted to include you in that dialogue only to have you turn against them with your admonitions.
You need to resurrect their reputation and bring them back, hold others who maintain this exclusion, accountable.
You need to employ a methodology of inclusion and discard the tired old practice of self promotion and exclusion and movement stars that insists that inclusion means less for those who already have voice, even if it is the seemingly small voice within movements of resistance, especially if it is the seemingly small voice within the struggle.
Because we can’t win against bigotry and hegemony and oppression, if we are perpetuating it ourselves,we can’t be antifa without all the targets of fascism in the movement, and we can’t win this fight without everyone poised for battle.
Rules for crrpls: do not ever ever ever ever ever imply that DISability rights is part of the larger struggle for universal human rights, against racism, sexism, gender justice and class power.
Rules for crrpls: Don’t impose yourself on real social justice movements, attempt to infuse DISability rights into discussions of marginalization, or insist, provide suggestions or even resources that would enhance DISability access in the larger human rights struggle.
Rules for crrpls: Keep your political activism limited to organizations that focus on DISability rights and issues of access that don’t interfere with real social justice work, even if and when those organizations exclude you either because they are run by nonDISfolx, white folx, people with social and economic capital or a professionalized staff not interested in grassroots organizing.
rules for crrpls: When people try to help you, always be grateful. Never contradict them or try to explain what you really need. This will hurt their feelings (enrage them). They’re really doing their best (trying to make themselves feel good at your expense), and it’s not like you deserve to actually have a say in your agency, body autonomy or full inclusion.
rules for crrpls: Do not get offended when people make fun of your health condition or physical or emotional characteristics. Certainly don’t interrupt their fun by pointing out the arrogance, bigotry and entitlement inherent in making fun of people’s afflictions and certainly DON’T turn the tables by making fun of them, when they give you that tired excuse “we’re just kidding, lighten up.” When they say, “anything goes” that doesn’t REALLY mean that you can make THEIR entitled asses the butt of your jokes.
Rules for crrpls: Don’t ever assert that Disability rights has any place in the larger struggle for social justice and human rights. these people are working hard enough for social justice to have to find time and resources to include your sorry ass.
Rules for crrpls: Appear grateful and upbeat at all times, and if you can, provide material for the inspiration of people without DISabilities.– You know: paint with your feet, walk on your hands, sing out of your ass– stuff like that. They love that shit.
Rules for crrpls: Never appear more capable than someone without a DISability. This embarrasses them and interferes with their entitled sense of superiority. There’s nothing worse than appearing less capable than someone already labeled incapacitated.
Rules for crrpls: Do not discuss your DISability in public. Discussion of DISability is the purview of those who do not have DISabilities, so they can appear magnanimous and generous.
rules for crrpls: Do not say “excuse me” if someone is blocking your way and is deep in conversation. Wait patiently until they are finished. Also, do not attempt to go around them, because they might bump into you and this would startle them.
Rules for crrpls: Don’t ask if an event that is open to the public or that you’ve been invited to, is ACTUALLY accessible. this is rude, as it puts the host on the spot and risks causing them embarrassment.
Rules for crrpls: Don’t show up to an event that isn’t accessible. This too may lead to the embarrassment of the host. You should magically know with your other hyper sensitive enhanced sensory abilities, if an event is accessible or not.
(Work in progress. I especially need links regarding restorative justice. Also, please post your favorite links on this issue.)
Links on the ongoing exploration of cross generational trauma, something that has impacted my lineage and my life tremendously and must inform our activism and policy as we try to create systems of support and determine reparations. Some links posted for future reference. Please feel free to comment on the links and critique their premises. Some basic concepts to consider as we recognize and explore recent evidence that it’s not just socialization and psychological behavior that explains the cross generational transfer, but that the trauma actually is in our DNA.
The wisdom of our ancestors– what has been lost, stolen, forgotten and abandoned– language, customs, wisdom, healing, is also in our DNA. We embody in our cellular memory all the hurt, but also all the love and knowledge of our ancestors.
It stands to reason that it is not just victims who carry the DNA memory, but also the perpetrators. They two carry with them– entitlement, power, abusiveness, violence, guilt. Their inheritance isn’t just the monetary inheritance of centuries of theft and enslavement and exploitation, but the entitlement of and power gained from the abuses inflicted on our ancestors.
That is, power and powerless carry with us, into each subsequent generation this relationship of owner and slave, colonizer and colonized, Abuser and abused, Victimizer and Victim.
I reject the rejection of the term victim. The assertion by many that we choose to be victims, we perpetuate the systemic and cultural tendency to blame the victim, either for their victimization in the first place or in their healing and response afterward. By thinking we, individually can step outside of this history without collective work and collective healing and accountability is to side with oppression and perpetuate abuse. Blaming the victim is the religion of systemic and cross generational trauma. Another term for victim that can be used, is “target” and the term “survivor” is also acceptable, but with the understanding that there is nothing more moral about being a survivor than having not survived. It is NOT a choice. To privilege survivors over those who were massacred is to embrace essential white supremacist ideologies of fitness and worthiness.
I reject the idea that soldiers are victims. Soldiers are perpetrators. If perpetrating violence is traumatic, then that’s easy– stop perpetrating violence.
Trauma is insidious– it can make us lash out at the what triggers us, which may NOT be what caused the trauma or the flashback at all. Like the child who dives under their chair when a plane passes over head, miles from the location of the trauma of war, where passing overhead planes meant the dropping of bombs, those of us in communion, where spaces are actually safe, are not the source of the trauma, just because we are the location of the trigger. It is the work of our PTSD healing to learn to recognize the difference between danger, and the flashbacks that come up when we are safe.
I also want to point out that POST Traumatic Stress Disorder, may not be accurate. Much trauma is not only in the past, the distance past and our DNA, but is ongoing. It is exceedingly difficult to recuperate from ongoing trauma because the wounds are not only fresh, but are constantly being reopened.
Terms like “Children of the Holocaust” and “Post Traumatic Slave Disorder” are headlines here, for the much larger body of work on trauma among Jews and African Americans, respectfully. I use those terms because they also reflect the narrative within those communities, even where the issue of cross generational trauma may be greater than the scope that term may imply.
Too often because of its scope and intensity, 6000 years of who Jews are and what we’ve done and what’s been done to us gets encapsulated in the 6 years of the Shoah, and now in Israel. As if aside from 6 years of being the victims of genocide and 60some years of being the perpetrators, is the sum of all we are. (That’s not the narrative, the narrative is that there is some redemption and deliverance for the years of suffering, via Zionism).
The Shoah (Holocaust) came out of years of abuse and genocide– expulsions, crusades (where many Ashkenazi Jewish towns were massacred by the invading armies on their was to the Holy Land), pogroms, pogroms, pogroms, ghettoization, more expulsions, humiliations, incarcerations, segregation, discrimination, etc. Jewish trauma, specifically in Europe, reaches back hundreds of years. For Jews who were not in Europe, the Shoah impacted them in Northern Africa, and the trauma for non-European Jews was most experienced as colonization in the particular geographies of location. The Holocaust studies on cross generational trauma can inform the larger discussion on cross generational trauma, but it is not an isolated event. That degree of racism doesn’t just pop up like a camping tent and disappear just as quickly. The study of Holocaust survivors and their children is very important to this discussion on cross generational trauma, and it provides a very clear and distinct set of data, but there may also have been a predisposition to those genetic changes and the other changes that were passed on to children, due to the centuries of abuse and a much slower genocide, particularly for European Jews. (And by European Jews I am referring to Jews who were geographically in Europe, which would predominantly be Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, but would also include many North African Jews and Middle Eastern Jews, in Europe.)
Children of the Holocaust
(And other Jewish traumas, but this was the title of the book that started the current discussion on cross-generational trauma)
“The Truth is that disability has been with us, in us since the beginning of time. Disability has held and kept us. It is in our marrow, in our blood, our sweat and tears. Disability does not make us less than, it makes us who we are. Ableism and anti-Blackness are the enemy. Disability is our kin. While the world has convinced itself and the Black community that disability is a bad word and a bad circumstance. It is neither. Disability and Blackness is pride. Disability and Blackness is innovation. Disability and Blackness is brilliance.
Native Americans and DNA evidence
“They began to question their parents’ honesty. Unsettled, Bernarda sought therapy; the counselor suggested she was suffering from generational trauma. Her cholesterol skyrocketed. She went on medication. Then, for two years, she went blind.This may be the stuff of allegories, of parables.This may be an appropriate response to the maggoty underbelly of deception that belies North America’s modern creation story.What the sisters found after Bernarda’s vision returned, and they focused on family lineage in earnest, was no French connection. Instead, poring over birth records, marriage licenses and death certificates across five Mexican states, they uncovered a genealogy that packs the continent’s post-Columbian history of exploitation, racial violence, and shame into a tale of a hundred-plus years of cruelty and denial.”
How The Effects Of Trauma Can Be Passed Down From One Generation To The Next http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/… “Previous research has shown that the behavioral effects of trauma can be passed down to the next generation — but this research had only demonstrated that this transmission takes place with trauma’s negative effects, such as depression. Now a study on mice, recently published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that the adaptive benefits of trauma might also stay alive in families through the years.”
The Violence in Our Heads: “An unsettling question is whether the violent commands from these voices reflect our culture as much as they result from the disease process of the illness. In the past few years I have been working with some colleagues at the Schizophrenia Research Foundation in Chennai, India, to compare the voice-hearing experience of people with schizophrenia in the United States and India. The two groups of patients have much in common. Neither particularly likes hearing voices. Both report hearing mean and sometimes violent commands. But in our sample of 20 comparable cases from each country, the voices heard by patients in Chennai are considerably less violent than those heard by patients in San Mateo, Calif.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/o…
A whole new album of several fake Frida photos is out and about on facebook. All of these photos put Frida (as photographed by Imogene Cunningham) on the bodies of white actresses and models: Donnette Thayer, Madonna and Patti Smith. In the case of Smith, the photo is from the cover of the album Horses, as photographed by Maplethorpe. This gross appropriation of the bodies, faces and labor of women, women of color, dis-abled women and gay men is hugely problematic. So just stop doing it.