“Disability justice is the art and the practice of honouring the body” An interview with Lydia X.Z. Brown

In this interview Lydia X.Z Brown  talks about disability justice as a praxis which honours the body and the whole person. Disability justice is a radical framework which requires understanding the interconnected nature of oppression and that we must tackle all forms of oppression in order to change the system we live in. We also talk about differences in language,  tensions within disability movements and the importance of using a variety of tactics amongst other things….

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Thinking Through Borders

Farzana Khan wrote this piece back in December 2015. It is long but really worth the read. I particularly like her emphasis on building infrastructures of justice; if the infrastructure of justice is not there then infrastructures of injustice are reproduced. Using the framework of borders Khan talks about the politics of solidarity, collective liberation, self-care and more.  With reference to her own work in the UK context, the article explores personal and collective borders, national and international borders and how they interact with each other. She talks about the hard work of being committed to each other and of building interdependence. 

The emphasis on communities comes from the realization that we can’t continue letting our own spaces uphold power structures in the guise of solidarity, that we can’t shy away from hard dynamics, but instead be committed to each other. Real deep-rooted change requires ALL of us. So, in the absence of borders, if we are still committed to their removal, how do we hold ourselves together? Mia Mingus reminds us:

Interdependency is both ‘you and I’ and ‘we’. It is solidarity, in the best sense of the word. It is inscribing community on our skin over and over and over again. It is truly moving together in an oppressive world towards liberation and refusing to let the personal be a scapegoat for the political. It is knowing that one organization, one student or community group is not a movement. It is working in coalition and collaboration. Because the truth is: we need each other. We need each other. And every time we turn away from each other, we turn away from ourselves. We know this. Let us not go around, but instead, courageously through.

As we organize in solidarity, our own borders need to be examined: how are they maintained, and do they work towards holding on to power and privilege?

In the making of movements, how we sustain our movements and ourselves is key. This means doing the internal work, the heart-work, the unearthing of our selves and our organizing spaces. I recognize that the space and capacity to reflect on praxis is tied to privilege, where often the most directly affected within structures of oppression are in the business of survival/resistance/responding without the luxury of thinking deeply about this very work. However, I maintain that this is worthwhile, because it calls us in on our selves. We have to do the work to be better humans for the better world we want to live in, and all the while continue to learn how to do this. Right now is exactly the time to do this, as we sit under the weight of failing state infrastructures, we also sit on the cusp of reimagining what is possible outside of the state.

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Conversation with Eleanor Lisney on Disability, Intersectionality and more

Eleanor Lisney is a founding member of Sisters of Frida, has lived in 4 countries, has 2 children, is an active member of the National Union of Journalists, and tweets at @e_lisney.

Eleanor has been involved with disability movement(s) in the UK since the 1980s. In this podcast she talks about some of what she’s learned from her involvement and why Sisters of Frida’s work is important. We also explore Eleanor’s current thinking about the differences between disability rights and disability justice, the importance of intersectionality, and the meaning of feminism.

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Transcript below.

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