My original article entitled The Invalidation of the Worker – A Study of Disability in Capitalist Society was published in October, 2013. It is logical to assume that as ‘Austerity’ has continued unabated, thousands of disabled who were alive to read it then, are nolonger with us now. The proliferation of articles that over-simplify and misrepresent ‘disability’ are common place within bourgeois society. Most miss the vital point of economic exclusion, and focus instead upon misguided notions of bourgeois individuality – making such puerile statements as ‘if only disabled people were viewed as individuals and not their disabilities’, or ‘disabled people should not be viewed as dysfunctional able-bodied’, and so on and so forth. It is not that there is no truth to statements such as these, but that this kind of narrative is entirely bourgeois in nature, and as such, does not address the central reality of economic exclusion. Why should a person with a disability be categorised as ‘disabled’, when ‘able-bodied’ people are only referred to in that manner, within a temporary discourse which distinguishes the non-disabled from the disabled (privileging the former and disempowering the latter). In reality this situation is a matter of Marxist-Leninist critique, and involves the exclusion of the disabled community not only from bourgeois society, but also from proletariat society. This discrimination manifests as economic and cultural impoverishment due to a permanent exclusion from the work-force. This has to be remedied as part of an ongoing Revolutionary struggle that rejects Trotskyism and fascism, and aims at the accomplishment of the ‘right to work’ in a suitable toiling environment. This means that the ‘right to work’ should be divorced from the immediate principle of blatant profit generation, and be redefined as an agency of psychological and physical self-development which is also a ‘Human Right’. All discrimination currently deployed by an indifferent bourgeois society should be immediately outlawed, and ‘new’ social, economic, political and cultural structures designed and put in place. Traditional unions should implement anti-discriminatory policies to tackle negative attitudes toward the disabled workers, held within the minds of their able-bodied membership. Finally, tha small number of disabled people who do work must be understood to be ‘privileged’ and something of a bourgeois ‘fetish’ that has no bearing on the experience of the majority of disabled people.
Any assessment of disability is incomplete, if it does not acknowledgement the total and permanent exclusion of people with disabilities from the job market, and therefore from the equal and fair ‘right’ to gain ‘dignity’ and ‘self-respect’ through participation in the process of earning a living and financially caring for themselves and a family, etc. The situation surrounding disability is made so opaque within the economies of the developed West, that whatever enquiry is made into the matter, it is invariably made by the able-bodied, and riddled with the very discriminative thinking that causes the problem in the first place. Many able-bodied people are so illiterate when it comes to discussing disability that they are not even aware that a problem exists, or hold prejudicial viewpoints to explain why disabled people are lacking in their particular work environments. This type of discrimination cuts through all classes and ethnic groupings, and possesses the potential to ‘unite’ disabled people of both genders, from incredibly varied backgrounds, but the problem exists of disabled people being condemned to a state of isolated individualism, where society forces them to sit outside of mainstream life, viewing themselves as somehow deficient and unworthy of inclusion. Another issue is that the term ‘disability’ includes a vast array of psychological and physical problems, that can stem from severe cognitive and behavioural issues, to an individual having poor eye-sight, or deafness in one ear, for example.
Unionization is lacking amongst disabled people in general (due to the hyper-individualism they are forced to endure), and because amongst certain strands of the disabled intelligentsia (evident online) there exists those who reject any notion of leftwing politics, and espouse a rightwing political rhetoric. This rhetoric, aligning itself with the far-right, explains the tens of thousands of disability deaths relating to the Tory (and LibDems) ‘Austerity’ measures since 2010, as arising from the presence of ‘migrants’ in the UK. This distorted and fascistic thinking imagines that benefits and medical services have been withdrawn from the disability community and re-diverted to migrant communities, and suggests that disabled people should ‘unite’ with the far-right and participate in attacks upon these migrant communities. The fact that the political far-right routinely targets the disabled community appears to be lost on these kind of mistaken individuals. Since I wrote ‘Invalidation of the Workers’ in 2013, the UK has been found Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity (2016) by the United Nations for the deaths of at least 10,000 disabled people (due to the sudden withdrawal of benefits, social services and medical treatment). The UN Report noted that the behaviour of the British press was reminiscent to that of the Hitlerite media operating in 1930’s Berlin, for its vicious rhetorical attack upon the disabled community, and for its unquestioning support of destructive Tory and LibDems policy. In a recent report, Oxford University has linked ‘Austerity’ to the deaths of 30,000 people in the UK, whilst an article in the rightwing Metro newspaper suggests the real figure is nearer 200,000.
Disabled people are in reality a ‘collective’ that has been disempowered and disenfranchised for centuries. Although they are made to exist excluded from the work-force and in a fabricated state of psychological and physical isolation, they cannot be ‘forced’ into a work-place that does not exist to accept them, as the work-place of the able-bodied is default set to treat the disabled worker as a liability to the firm, and a potential loss in earning power and profitability. It is this type of fascistic thinking that interprets a disabled human-being inhabiting a wheel-chair as being a ‘fire hazard’ and an ‘offense’ under Health and Safety legislation. This is in the same category of institutional discrimination that includes anti-discrimination legislation that is ‘voluntary’ to uphold. People with disabilities require ‘civil rights’ legislation – the kind promised by Tony Blair in 1997 prior to his reneging – and instead beginning the modern era of political attacks upon the disability community. It is only through a substantial change in the law that the permanent barriers to people with disabilities entering the work-force will be removed. Simply stopping benefits does not solve the problem, but it does lead to immense levels of poverty, starvation and suicide.