Zine, A.J. Withers, firstname.lastname@example.org, $2
The fifth (and perhaps final?) installment of Wither’s IICDIISMR? is a refreshing piece of literature. I had previously read a piece they wrote about disability, mass incarceration, and white supremacy. Their writing is easy-to-read and down-to-earth, touching on important and hard topics. This comes through in every text in this collection, which consists of four articles and a comic.
Withers’ work generally addresses the politics of disability and its connection with other oppressions, often in the shadow of the 2010 G20 summit/countersummit in Toronto. The first piece talks about the author’s choice of the word “disablism” versus “ableism”. It skillfully and clearly demonstrates the hidden implications of using the word “ability,” implying an individualized and (falsely) normalizing condition instead of “disability” as being socially constructed and structurally enforced through oppressive policies and practices.
The three other texts are from a panel and two speeches. The panel discusses the eugenicist origins of white feminism and is another welcome contribution to the critique of the latter. The speeches add an “on-the-ground” context for the whole zine. They show how for Withers, a commitment to justice includes getting involved in the local struggles which affect the people around you. Austerity affects disabled, racialized, and/or queer people first and hardest. Withers shows how communal solidarity and action poses a threat to this program.
It should go without saying that everyone will have a different take-away from reading this. There is a generosity in these pages that says to me: regardless of where you’re coming from, we can strengthen each other and fight together. Sounds cheesy, I know. But when Withers takes you there, you’ll be glad. (Check out another review of a zine by A.J. Withers, Transformative Justice And/As Harm, on page TK.) (Stéphane Doucet)