[Marxism] Re: The Disability Gulag

David Quarter davidquarter at sympatico.ca
Fri Nov 21 16:43:28 MST 2003


 thanks for posting the article. These types of 'human rights 
abuses' ( I don't like the term, but I'll use it here) are pervasive in 
NA and Europe (and I would suspect in other parts of the world as 
well). For example, I just received an article from a friend, which I 
will post to Marx mail, discussing how persons in the UK labeled 
with 'learning disabilities' have been locked up indefinitely in 
asylums, some of them for their whole lives. I also know of 
someone who writes for disability rights magazine in the U.S. that 
spent over 20 years locked up in state and privately run so-called 
mental insitutions., where she was beaten and raped repeatedly by 
personel. These type of crimes are something marxists and others 
on the left SHOULD be speaking out against, let alone trying to put 
an end to. Yet, aside from disability rights activists and former 
psychiatric patients who identify as anti psychiatry (and their 
there has been little discussion of such matters. Which is a type of 
crime in itself.  

 I would also take issue with the author's characterization of these 
people as 'feebleminded and physically defective'.  These are 
eugenic terms. When you here them, the first thing that  should 
come to mind is: Nazis policies of extermination. They imply that 
there is something defective about the people in question. Yet, 
what is really in fact defective is a society which refuses to 
accomodate those of us who require particular supports to get on 
with our business.


 Grandmother lost her mother in the early 1900's to what was 
> progressive policy. To protect society from the insane, 
feebleminded and
> physically defective, states invested enormous public capital in
> institutions, often scattered in remote areas. Into this state-
> disability gulag people disappeared, one by one.
> Today, more than 1.7 million mothers and fathers, daughters and 
> are lost in America's disability gulag. Today's gulag characterizes
> isolation and control as care and protection, and the 
disappearances are
> often called voluntary placements. However, you don't vanish 
> that's what you want or need. You vanish because that's what 
the state
> offers. You make your choice from an array of one.
> But now the gulag faces a challenge from people who know the 
> firsthand. . . .
> Hariett McBryde Johnson last wrote for the magazine about her 
> with Peter Singer.

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