The DSA Disability Caucus/Working Group has been created for several purposes, all of which are crucial to us as socialists.
Within DSA, we seek to help our comrades become more aware of, and sensitive to, the interests, concerns and needs of the disability community. We are the most inclusive protected class covered by civil rights legislation, as every individual is likely to be considered disabled at one or more points in their lives.
In this context, we seek to make DSA more accessible to disabled persons. At the 2017 DSA National Convention, Resolution 42 was passed, which reads that DSA “resolve[s] that ADA standards be considered a floor for accessibility and assert that DSA should go beyond what the ADA requires of covered institutions by fostering the full participation and development of our disabled members.” This is a wonderful start in attaining disability liberation within DSA. As a result of this resolution, the Disability Working Group, as well as DSA’s disabled members are empowered to demand full inclusion on our own terms. We hope to draw attention to the special needs of those with invisible and/or chronic illness (including mental illness), and we especially encourage the inclusion of disabled socialists in all leadership levels, from Organizing Committees to national leadership bodies.
With unemployment rates for some disabilities exceeding 85 percent despite the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), disabled individuals are often dependent on programs such as SSI and Medicaid for their survival.
Many would like to work, but a culture of ableism which relegates disabled individuals to objects of pity useful only to fundraising organizations and telethons contributes to our oppression under capitalism.
Despite legal protection under the ADA, disabled people still encounter barriers to education, employment, and full social participation in our society. Especially within our own organization, but also when seeking assistance elsewhere, we hope to serve as an accessibility resource and place to turn for support, should you find you have questions or need a friend.
Our projects include:
- Active participation in struggles around health care, housing and employment
- Monthly telephone conferences to share thoughts, suggestions, and plan actions
- Regular conferences with the DSA National Political Committee
- Developing guides for improving accessibility within chapters
- Assisting disabled comrades in receiving the accommodations they need from chapters
- Providing information about the history of the disability movement and how it relates to socialism
Email us at dsadisability[at]gmail.com