Disability rights

Labour activists demand neurodiversity policy - support the reference back!

Labour Party policy is a set of measures that the Party campaigns for in society and would implement in government to better the lives of working class and oppressed people. A good example of this would be actions to end discrimination against neurologically atypical people. So it is shocking and disappointing that despite a comprehensive and popular submission to the National Policy Forum (NPF) on this issue, the NPF report contains not a word about it. Millions of people are autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic, dyscalculic or otherwise neurodivergent. We experience systematic discrimination and...

Dinah Murray, 1946-2021

Workers’ Liberty is saddened to learn of the death of Dr Dinah Murray.

The reason I fight

I don’t watch many documentaries about autism, and on the rare occasion when I sit down to watch one, I am overwhelmed with a sense of dread. So much rubbish is said on the subject, even by people who want to be on the right side. So many patronising tropes, so much pity, not enough solidarity. In preparation for watching The Reason I Jump, I speed-read the book on which it is based. In 2007, thirteen-year-old Japanese boy Naoki Higashida wrote about how he experienced the world as a non-speaking autistic person. Particularly since its translation into English in 2013, the book has enabled...

Osime Brown: how we stopped a deportation

From Neurodivergent Labour On 15 June, the Home Office decided that it would not proceed with their barbaric intention to deport autistic, learning-disabled man Osime Brown to a place he has no knowledge of. The victory comes after more than a year of campaigning by a coalition of activists and organisations, under the instrumental guidance of Osime’s mum, Joan. When ND Labour came into the campaign about a year ago, awareness about the case was limited to a layer of autistic and neurodivergent activists and migrants’ rights groups. It was a campaign typical of the classic style: a petition...

Activist agenda: Uyghurs, health and safety, neurodivergent people and councils

The Uyghur Solidarity Campaign and the Hong Kong campaign LMSHKUK will protest on 4 June from 7 pm outside the Chinese Embassy in London: “Remember Tiananmen 1989 -Democracy, freedom, workers’ rights for China, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Uyghurs”. The Safe and Equal campaign is putting together a model Covid safety survey. It wants health and safety reps to use this period where there is a lull in the pandemic to conduct workplace inspections and a survey of the workforce. Health and safety reps have a legal right to paid time off for these duties. We don’t know if there will be future waves coming...

Tackling bias in justice

The topic of justice and in particular social justice has rightly been a big subject for discussion since the Black Lives Matter protests of last summer 2020. Vast portions of the population were newly educated as to the damage the so-called justice system does to the Black and Brown communities. What is less seen is the inherent solidarity that neurodivergent people have with the Black and Brown communities, how both communities with their respective intersections are treated in engagements with the police on the street and in the justice system itself. To understand this connection, it is...

Win on disability rights

Disabled people’s organisations have scored an important victory as the government has announced that local councils will no longer be excused from meeting their social care obligations. A year ago, the Coronavirus Act included provisions for councils to apply for “easements”, under which they would not have to provide assessment and care under the Care Act. Eight councils had used this provision, including — shamefully — two Labour councils. But campaigners had objected throughout the year and their pressure has finally been rewarded. This follows the withdrawal late last year of the...

Activist agenda: Student Uyghur solidarity; Safe and Equal budget day protest

Students at SOAS university in London passed a Uyghur solidarity motion by an 86% majority at an online union general meeting on 22 February. The Ugyhur Solidarity Campaign will be urging other student unions to do similar. ND Labour is supporting Safe and Equal’s Budget Day online protests (3 March) demanding full sick and isolation pay for all. Some neurodivergent people are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, especially those with mental ill-health and/or learning disabilities and those who live in care homes. • All links and info on these and other campaigns, and suggested words for...

Shortfall on autism training

The government is developing new plans to provide mandatory autism training to all health and social care staff. But it looks like the reality of implementation will fall below the ambitions of the original consultation. Then, it was said that “people with lived experience (of autism) should be involved in the delivery of training”. Even that was a watered down version of demands from autistic people that the training be “autistic-led”. The end result looks like a training package delivered by a litany of third sector organisations, combined with NHS trusts. Very few of those could honestly...

A win for Osime Brown

On 7 October, Osime Brown, a young man jailed under “joint enterprise” law, will return to his family home on his release from prison, rather than being taken to an immigration detention centre. This win follows many street and online protests demanding his freedom. But Osime’s fight is still on: the order to deport him to Jamaica (which he left at the age of 4, and where has no support network) still stands. No date has been announced, but Osime still has this threat looming. Campaigners are running a “Twitter storm” on 6 October, and ask supporters to keep signing and sharing the petition...

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