Today, over at If I Can’t Dance Is It Still My Revolution, A.J. Withers, “a disabled anti-poverty activist living in Toronto,” posted the transcript of a speech given at the recent Toronto vs. the G20 teach-in,Â Why Resist the G20 in Toronto? In part;
“Disability is NOT the story of an individual tragedy. […]Â Disability is an identity imposed upon people as a tool of marginalizing people. It is not a biological reality or a scientific definition; it is a political definition. […]Â In a world without stairs, using a wheelchair would not be considered a disability, it may even be considered an advantage. In a world where everyone knows sign language, Deafness would not be a disability.”
“Capitalism thrives on the notion of individuality, that each of us must support ourselves, that strong communities that operate on the basis of mutual aid and support are not only bad, they are a threat. This is an especially important colonial ideology as it sets out to destroy communities and collectivity and replace them with individualism and capitalist systems.”
“This ideology, however, is a lie. All of us, under capitalism or not, are interdependent. We all rely on each other. However, the ideology of individualism says that certain kinds of relationships are good and others are bad. Those involving financial transactions are good while those without the exchange of collateral is bad, dependency and a drain not only on our economy but our society. It is these types of relationships that many disabled people seek to establish as these collective supports are what many of us need to thrive. So, disabled people pose a threat to capitalism: if interdependence takes hold as a stronger than independence, capitalism as we know it will begin to unravel. This is why disabledÂ people are particularly compromised and targeted by the policies of the G8 specifically as well as the broader G20…”
A lot of what was said wasn’t new to me, some I’ve even written about here (the bit about everyone needing each other’s help, how we’re all “interdependent”), but framing interdependence underÂ the guise of capitalism, and how it is actually contrary to the notion of individuality — capitalism’s whole schtick — is something I’ve never much thought about. Especially in relation to the G8 And G20.
But now I will, seeing how I now much better understand its implications…