Autism in the workplace

Writing, training, speaking, campaigning ...

Marxism and Autism: matters arising

Some notes from recent discussions on Marxism and autism (two meetings and some online exchanges):

  • There is a capitalist market in products aimed at autistic people and their families. These range from useful resources through to fake and even abusive 'treatments' and 'cures'. As well as commodifying autistic people's needs, this also exploits the fears felt by autistic people and particularly by parents of autistic kids.
  • The mass production brought about by capitalism has had the effect of 'standardising' human beings, pushing us into a narrowly-defined 'normal', in contrast with the more individual, craft-based systems of production that preceded it. On the other hand, mass production has brought major advances and increased living standards. Can socialism combine the advantages of mass production and a renewed scope for individuality and diversity?

Union blog - Autism: raising awareness and winning acceptance

I wrote this blog for the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which published it on 3 April 2017.

At the start of Autism Awareness Month, campaigner Janine Booth says autistic people's involvement in our trade unions is essential to winning acceptance and raising awareness.

Do you have any autistic workmates? Perhaps you do. Perhaps you do but you don’t realise it. Perhaps you are autistic yourself. Maybe you have an autistic dependant – child or adult – or you know a workmate who does.

Report: RMT Disabled Members' Conference

Yesterday saw RMT's first ever Disabled Members' Conference, held in London.

Although quite small (9 delegates, plus union officials), the important thing was that it took place at all, especially as rank-and-file members had pushed for its creation against the wishes of the union's national leadership. Now it is established, it will grow from year to year, as the union's other equalities conferences have done.

 

Speaking on Autistic Workers, Trade Unions and Solidarity

This is the sound recording of my talk about Autistic Workers, Trade Unions and Solidarity at the AutSpeak event on Thursday 12 January in London. The overall theme of the event was Building an Autistic Community. It was well-attended, and after the four panellists had finished speaking, a lively question-and-answer session took place.

Autism and Marxism

A 20-minute PowerPoint presentation discussing whether Marxism can help us to understand autistic experience in modern capitalism, and how it might inform our struggles for liberation.

Ode to SuBo

The media is reporting that Susan Boyle may never perform live again, and that this is because of her Asperger Syndrome - implying that it is her autism that is the problem rather than the barriers that the entertainment industry puts in the way of autistic artists.

From struggling years her star had come to rise
When those judgemental judges were surprised
A frump like her could have a splendid voice
The admen and accountants full rejoiced
But putting on that mask was such a drain
Now Susan may not sing on stage again

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