I have so much swilling round my head now on this all.
Because of a system that sees people primarily as money making objects millions of people are dehumanised, cast as burdens, forced to live in poverty, to undertake humiliating assessments designed to fail as many people as possible to access even basic sustenance. Millions are forced to seek work in a system that does not want to employ them and will not make adjustments for basic needs and access. We are punished for not ‘doing enough’ to manage our conditions when we are often offered no help in the first place and often have to fight to get what we little we do have. We are expected to compete in a system where we have been denied equal access (or any access) to education, training and employment, a system that in addition to denying us this access then says we are not good enough as we don’t have the education or training! Furthermore this is marketed as being ‘positive’ about disability and accessing the support we need to even attempt to participate as ‘equals’ is writing us off as ‘hopeless’ charity cases. This all casts disability and illness as a personal issue for the individual to overcome whilst ignoring the structural barriers we face in addition to illness and disability. It puts all the responsibility on the oppressed and none on the oppressor. This is neo liberal capitalist BULLSHIT. I can honestly say it is ruining my life and I am one of the ‘lucky’ ones.
In an interview with the Daily Mirror a former ATOS worker states “The system is set up as if disabled people are trying to steal something from the Government”. It is this level of mistrust, the practice of seeing people as criminal and asking them to prove otherwise that is so damaging. It hurts psychologically, indeed I would say it’s a form of psychological violence, it leaves people without the ability to meet their basic needs; food, shelter, medical care. It kills people. This goes far beyond saving money and deep into the realms of social cleansing, creating a society where people have to prove their humanity and that humanity depends on their ability to make money and succeed in a world where they face many barriers, yet those barriers are deliberately cast as personal failings as opposed to the structural oppressions they are. The rise of the biopyscho social model (another link here)with regards to disability and illness mirrors the rise of ‘bootstraps’ rhetoric that poverty is the fault of the individual and absolves wider society of any responsibility. In short, it’s bollocks.
This is, one reason out of many, why I am not a reformist. I cannot in good conciencse advocate reform of a system that thrives on oppression, a system that NEEDS oppression to survive, when reforms can only ever hope to mitigate suffering and oppression as opposed to eradicating it. I’m not about asking anyone nicely to maybe give me a little bit of agency or power or to recognise my basic right to sustenance. They say you get more right wing as you get older, but I get more revolutionary. The more I see, the more I try to carve out a life in a system that sees me a nuisance and waste of money, the more I want to smash it. I can’t and don’t want to ‘lean in’ or some such bullshit, I cannot advocate for ‘equality’ within the existing social structures and systems because they are fundamentally unequal.