preface to the 2009 edition
A challenge to single-issue politics: reflections from a decade later
in the deca de since
the initial release of Exile and Pride, I’ve
often been asked, “What do you want readers to take away from
your book?” The answer has become one of my activist mantras:
“I want nondisabled progressive activists to add disability to their
political agenda. And at the same time I want disability activists
to abandon their single-issue politics and strategies.” My answer
remains as true in 2009 as it was in 1999.
It’s only been ten years, but I must say I’m impatient for my
mantra to lose its relevancy. How long must we wait, for instance,
before ADAPT and Critical Resistance join forces? As an identity-
based, disability rights organization, ADAPT organizes direct-
action protests to shut down nursing homes and stop the institu-
tionalization of disabled people. In the last two decades, hundreds,
if not thousands, of disability activists have been arrested while
blockading doors, occupying offices, and stopping traffic. During
the same period of time, Critical Resistance has organized grass-
roots opposition to the prison-industrial complex, rejecting prison
reform as a viable strategy and building support for prison abo-
lition. How would a vision of liberation be reshaped if these two
groups understood and acted upon the connections between
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