The Crisis of Disability Is Violence: Ableism, Torture, and Murder

Andre McCollins was eighteen years old in 2002 when he was a student at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts. Like many of the students at the center, a residential institution for people with disabilities, Andre is autistic and has other mental disabilities. One day in October 2002, a staff member told McCollins to take off his jacket. He said no. That was direct defiance and disobedience to directions from staff.

Dream-Wizardry: A Collaboration Between Rodger Kamenetz and Michael Hafftka

Jacob and Joseph begat Freud who begat Jung, who begat the poet Rodger Kamenetz and the visual artist Michael Hafftka. Their collaborative wizardry, published in the book To Die Next To You, is stunning. The poems and drawings (always paired) create vivid, waking dreams on psychological and spiritual subjects—dreams that are as resistant and open to interpretation as Pharaoh’s.

Resisting Post-Oppression Narratives

Class exploitation and racial discrimination has diminished in popularity as an explanation for our society’s continuing social inequalities. In its stead, a “post-oppression” ideology and rhetoric has developed, which leaves “distortions” (such as race-based disparities) to the market alone to resolve.

Subverting the Mass Media

I almost always write for the people who don’t agree with me, and I would like to see more writer-activists reach out. For me, that practice began at the old Village Voice when my editor became increasingly conservative. In discussions with him I tried to understand his objections and fears. My story was then shaped to answer his concerns.

Getting with the Program

The old social movements were based on deep connections between activists who knew each other for a long time and thought long and hard about the issues before jumping into the fray. It took guts to confront authority and one’s opponents. We need to recapture some element of that discipline.