Replying to Marta was re: Holland: the new killing fields

Doyle Saylor djsaylor at
Thu Dec 7 19:10:43 MST 2000

Greetings Comrades,
    James Farmelant writes at length to Marta's concerns and puts much of it
well.  I want to add in something about what Gary says without putting Gary
on the spot.

I also have a dear sweet friend who is over 85.  She is terrified of a life
of dependence on others.  She too should not be forced to stay on this
earth any longer than she wants to.

What I find difficult here and is part of what makes disability an important
area to get at the deepest structures that involve class is how people can
find dependence on others to be a horror.

It is a necessity for someone with paralysis to have others help them and
their life is pretty dependent upon that.  What is it about this culture
that makes this dependence a horror?  In many ways it is directly to do with
how the social system puts forward how we are part of the social networks
which are "able bodied".  Gary's point is pretty common and I am not trying
to condemn him here.  Rather what I think is important to consider is the
Marxist view of the social whole that the working class implies.  We are
fundamentally interdependent upon one and the other.  This is how we would
fundamentally see the society we want to build.  It gets lost in that for
example gays, and disabled people tend to be excluded.  And the issue is
about interdependence and how it ought to be thought about.

Many issues arise out of this, for example recently in the discussions about
homosexuality, we are again talking about the interdependence of human
relationships which until recently were not really discussed.  The person
who is not able to control their body is also in many ways doing things
quite different in the world than the able bodied norm.  If I may we tend to
think that the only way human beings ought to do things is according to the
standard view of the nuclear family.  But the fact is that many people get
into many arenas where they are in need of structures of interdependence
that a nuclear family cannot provide.  And these structures are actually
where we might build liberation for everyone.

We then might look at how these structures for gays, or disabled people
which are about the complex interdependence that is called for in the whole
capitalist system give us insight into what class structure really entails.

Where James puts forward that this is a health issue ultimately to make sure
people who have a right to die will get the right support I think he misses
the point that Marta makes that we ought not to turn over the decision to
die to health professionals, but think of the deeper issues that make people
abhor interdependence.  The decision is not something experts in health have
any more say so than do cops.  But cops are now making mental health
decisions concerning arresting mentally disabled people on the streets.  The
point is that the decision is not about one segment of society in some
profession ought to decide but that such things impact the whole system and
appear in the concept of dependence upon another person.

Class revolves around how we see deeper and deeper into what brings workers
together as a class.  Sexuality and disability directly demonstrate how it
is necessary to incorporate them into the concept of the working class to
realize the reality of what is implied.  Otherwise we cannot begin to
understand what is heterosexism, or anti-disability in common concepts of
what the working class is composed of.
Doyle Saylor

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