Haymarket Books – 212 pages
This volume is both a useful introduction and an expansive resource for understanding the modern phenomenon of disability through a Marxist lens. In these accessible essays, Russell dives into everything from the theoretical to the topical, shedding light on what the category of „disability„ means and how it emerged, as well as discussing the history of social movements launched by people with disabilities against their oppression.
Other key essays provide a critique of the shortcomings of a purely „civil rights approach„ to addressing the persistence of disability oppression in the economic sphere (with a particular focus on the legacy of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990); examine the changing position of disabled people under capitalism, using the Marxist concept of the „reserve army of the unemployed„; and discuss the labor theory of value, the effects of neoliberal policies on the living conditions and social position of disabled people, imperialsim and war as a factor in the further oppression and immiseration of disabled people within the United States and globally, and the need to build unity in the face of these attacks in the fight for the liberation of all disabled people.
Marta Russell (1951-2013) was an American writer and disability rights activist. She was involved with disability rights organizations such as ADAPT and Not Dead Yet. She was the producer of the award-winning documentary Disabled and the Cost of Saying ‚I Do‚ and the author of Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract.
Keith Rosenthal is a socialist writer and activist. He is a frequent contributor to the International Socialist Review on the topics of disability, capitalism, and revolution.