|5. Categorization – Normalization of the disabled serves to categorize the population – this dichotomy coopts any attempts to relieve oppression of the disabled
Michael Oliver, Professor of Disability Studies @ University of Greenwich, 1999, “Capitalism, Disability and Ideology: A Materialist Critique of the Normalization Principle”, http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/archiveuk/Oliver-cap-dis-ideol.pdf; AB
A materialist approach to this would suggest, as does the French philosopher Foucault (1973) , that the way we talk about the world and the way we experience it are inextricably linked -the names we give to things shapes our experience of them and our experience of things in the world influences the names we give to them. Hence our practices of normalizing people and normalizing services both constructs and maintains the normal/abnormal dichotomy. It is becoming clear that the social structures of late capitalist societies cannot be discussed in a discourse of normality/abnormality, because what characterises them is difference; differences based on gender, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation, abilities, religious beliefs, wealth, age, access or non-access to work and so on. And in societies founded on oppression, these differences cross cut and intersect each other in ways they we haven't even begun to properly understand, let alone try to resolve (Zarb and Oliver 1993). The concept of simultaneous oppression (Stuart 1993) may offer a more adequate way of understanding differences within the generic category of disability. Certainly people are beginning to talk about their experience in this way. "As a black disabled women, I cannot compartmentalise or separate aspects of my identity in this way. The collective experience of my race, disability and gender are what shape and inform my life". (Hill1994.7) Kirsten Hearn provides a poignant account of how disabled lesbians and gay men are excluded from all their potential communities. Firstly, "The severely able-bodied community and straight disabled community virtually ignored our campaign". (Hearn 1991.30) and, "Issues of equality are not fashionable for the majority of the severely able-bodied, white, middle-class lesbian and gay communities. (Hearn 1991.33) The point that I am making is that the discourse of normalization (whatever the intent of its major proponents and however badly they feel it has been misused by its disciples} can never adequately describe or explain societies characterised by difference because of its reductionist views of both humanity and society. Individual and group differences cannot be described solely in terms of the normality/abnormality dichotomy and inegalitarian social structures cannot be explained by reference only to valued and devalued social roles. Normalization can also never serve to transform peoples lives; a point to which I shall return.
6.) Single Issue Focus – The single-issue legislation the affirmative represents derails the disability movement – the alternative solves the root cause of disability oppression
Pamela Robert, PhD. Associate Professor of Sociology, Assistant Research Professor at the University at Albany, SUNY School of Public Health and a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Women and Government, Summer 2003, “Disability Oppression in the Contemporary U. S. Capitalist Workplace”, Science Society, Vol. 67, No. 2, 136-159; AB
This study of the ADA's implementation phase makes clear that employees with disabilities often are hired and retained less for their value as producers than for their value as symbols. As producers, they typically are undervalued; as symbols, they provide employers with the appearance of responsiveness to disability advocates, ad- herence to stated policies, or compliance with laws. Contemporary work organizations, as Acker (1990) famously underscored, com- monly operate with a notion of an ideal employee. Sometimes ex- plicitly but more often implicitly, this ideal is a white, able-bodied male, against which non-whites, women, and people with disabili- ties are invidiously compared. Individuals who do not fit the ideal get hired, but disproportionately in lower-level jobs and often as tokens. The concentration of employees with disabilities at the bot- tom of the occupational structure is consistently revealed by employ- ment data, and tokenism seems to account in many cases for their hiring and retention. Capital not only often undervalues the labor of employees with disabilities, but commonly treats such employees as an unreasonable drain on revenues. This can be seen most clearly in the area of accommodations. Capital, which of course admits no universal right to employment, admits no necessity to design and organize production processes to accommodate all possible employees, including employ- ees with disabilities. In this context, accommodations, even the "reasonable accommo- dations" required under the ADA, are easily viewed not 21s necessary measures for realizing the potential of the labor force but as unneces- sary costs. As a colleague and I have reported elsewhere (Harlan and Robert, 1998), employers use a variety of subterfuges to prevent em- ployees with disabilities from requesting accommodations. Ultimately the least likely type of accommodation to be granted is any that might be perceived by able-bodied employees as equally useful to them. Thus, requests for more flexible work schedules or relief from mandatory overtime routinely get denied. Granting such requests could easily snowball into numerous requests from able- bodied employees for comparable accommodations. More funda- mentally, granting such requests would threaten to expose the con- tingent character of the workplace routines that capital imposes on its employees. Ultimately, granting such requests could potentially lay bare the arbitrary nature of capitalist authority. It is thus no won- der that, as one employee with a disability explained, "They [employ- ers] don't want to set a precedent" (42). In the capitalist context of competitive labor markets and job hierarchies, of course, even undervalued and token employees can be perceived as threatening by co-workers and supervisors. If, as is known, white males can feel threatened by the prospect of minori- ties or women performing comparable or higher-level jobs, consider how easy it is for able-bodied employees to feel threatened by the prospect of employees with disabilities doing comparable work. Some alienation and harassment of employees with disabilities doubtless stems from workplace enactment of wider cultural patterns, but much is due to the competitive nature of the capitalist workplace itself. Alienating and harassing employees with disabilities is a way of effec- tively sidelining them in the competitive struggle. Still, not all employees with disabilities are harassed to the same degree. The incidence and intensity of harassment clearly varies by individual. Harassment may be episodic and mild, or continuous and severe. Many factors, from the idiosyncrasies of whether particular co-workers or supervisors seem to like or dislike a particular employee with a disability to the generalities of cultural prejudices against cer- tain types of disabilities, clearly influence this variation. But one factor emerged so frequently in the interviews for this study that it merits special mention: the degree to which co-workers or supervisors held employees with disabilities responsible for their disabilities or their symptoms. Some interviewees, especially those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction or struggling with HIV/ AIDS, reported being blamed for their disabilities by co-workers or supervisors. But even when interviewees were not explicitly blamed for their own disabilities, they frequently were blamed for making too much of them. All else equal, employees with disabilities or symp- toms for which they were perceived to be responsible experienced a higher level of harassment than employees with disabilities or symp- toms for which they were not perceived to be responsible. This reflects the hegemony of the capitalist ideology of individual responsibility. This ideology, which abstracts the qualities of individu- als from the social, political, and economic context in which they emerge, is convenient for everyone except the faulted individuals. Through this ideological lens, members of historically oppressed groups are held responsible for their own oppression; and when they seek equal treatment, they typically are accused of seeking "special treatment." By focusing attention and ire on such groups, the ideol- ogy of individual responsibility helps deflect attention from the spe- cial treatment enjoyed by capital through exploitative relations of production. At a more concrete level, this ideology shifts the onus for behavior toward employees with disabilities, and away from capi- tal and its agents. Rather than it being assumed that they are entitled to equal treatment, employees with disabilities often are expected to prove their right to such treatment. Paradoxically, this often means that they should simply accept, without complaint, whatever treatment comes their way Overall, alienation and harassment of employees with disabili- ties, regardless of how widespread and offensive, are readily tolerated by the various supervisory levels within workplaces. Partly because of their low value as token workers, little or nothing typically is done when employees with disabilities report being harassed. Those in charge commonly trivialize such reports as unimportant, dismiss them as emanating from inveterate complainers, or deflect them as con- cerning issues about which no one can do much of anything. What- ever the response, the employer tolerates the harassment and sends the message to employees with disabilities that they should tolerate it too. Throughout the implementation phase of the ADA, such toler- ance has not just prevailed within workplaces. It also has extended to the top of the political system. As Colker (1999) showed in great detail, the federal courts had by the time of her study turned the ADA into "a windfall for defendants," that is, for capital, which had pre- vailed in more than 93% of the ADA employment discrimination cases brought against it, and in 84% of those cases that were appealed. Measured by their lack of success as plaintiffs, Colker found employ- ees with disabilities comparable only to prisoners seeking protection of their rights. Tolerance of unequal treatment of employees with disabilities at the political top, of course, has facilitated continued tolerance of discrimination in workplaces. Capital's recovery of much of what it at least formally and poten- tially stood to lose under the ADA has been facilitated by the level- ing off, even downturn, of the disability rights movement since the passage of the legislation in 1991. According to one count (Barnartt, Schriner, and Scotch, 2001), the number of disability protests in the United States, which averaged almost 43 a year in the first half of the 1990s (1990-1994), dropped only slightly to 41 a year in the second half of the 1990s (1995 through July 26, 1999). Such a count, how- ever, tells us nothing about the number of participants and their level of organization and militancy. More importantly, it overlooks that the passage of the ADA robbed the disability rights movement of a light- ning rod that concentrated its forces, as never before or since, in a single, sustained, national movement.6 In any event, capital has met little resistance to its ability to mold the outcome of the ADA during the implementation phase. The pat- tern here is reminiscent of Marx's well-known discussion of the work- ing day (Capital, Volume I, Chapter X), where he described the many "small thefts of capital" during the implementation of the Ten Hour Act. There, capital's efforts to recover what it had lost from the cap- ping of hours of work were facilitated by the disintegration of the Chartist movement. These widely divergent examples underscore the critical importance of continuing social and political struggle in de- termining the outcome of social reform. Any legislative act is just that, a single event that occurs in the midst of an ongoing struggle. Overcoming disability oppression in the contemporary U. S. capitalist workplace would require a continuing, militant and national movement of disability advocates and activists. Such a movement could garner support from a wide spectrum of workers. Winning equal treatment of employees with disabilities - some of the most undervalued of all employees - would bolster all workers' demands for equal treatment. Fully accommodating employees with disabili- ties would lay bare the contingent and arbitrary nature of capital's domination of the production process. These realities give demands for equality and accommodation for people with disabilities an im- portant role in any struggle for humane and democratically con- trolled workplaces.
7.) Ideological Division – By separating ableism from class struggle, the affirmative remains entrenched within a capitalist mentality that precludes the possibility of actual change.
Oliver and Zarb 1989 (Mike and Gerry, professor of disability studies at the university of Greenwich, policy analyst at the disability rights commission in the UK, “The Politics of Disability: a new approach.”)
Both groups can also be criticised for taking a somewhat naive view of the political process in that their campaigning is based upon three assumptions: that evidence must be produced to show the chronic financial circumstances of disabled people; that proposals for a national disability income must be properly costed to show that the burden on the economy will be marginal; and that sustained pressure must be mounted to hammer these points home to the political decision-makers.' This approach has been called `the social administration approach' and has been criticised for its assumptions about consensual values, rational decision-making, its unproblematic view of the State and its failure to acknowledge, let alone consider the role of, ideology. Perhaps the only thing that can be said in its favour is that If the empiricist study of consensual solutions to defined social problems did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it: democratic welfare capitalism presupposes the social administration approach. (Taylor-Gooby &Dale, 1981, p. 15) What the income approach to disability fails to understand, therefore, is that political decisions are not made on the strength of particular cases, but in ways whereby the capitalist system itself benefits, regardless of the appearance of consensual values concerning the need for a national disability income. The establishment of such a scheme implies the paying of one group of people a sufficient income for not working to enable them to have a quality of life comparable to another group of people who do work. This, of course, has enormous implications for any system which requires its members to produce sufficient goods and services to sustain the material life of the population, and indeed for its ideological underpinnings which emphasise the value of those who do work and denigrates those who do not. In short, the fundamental question of whether a national disability income is achievable within capitalism has never been addressed. It is this failure to address fundamental issues which has brought criticism of both DIG and the Disability Alliance from the more `populist' organisation, the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS). The two major criticisms of this approach are that it concentrates on a symptom (i.e. the poverty of disabled people) rather than the cause (i.e. the oppression of disabled people by society), and that both organisations have moved away from representing disabled people and instead presenting an `expert' view of the problem. The logical conclusion to this approach, according to this analysis, is to make things worse, not better. Thus in practice the Alliance's assessment plans, developed logically from the narrow incomes approach, can be seen to increase the isolation and oppression of physically impaired people. We would be required to sit alone under observation on one side of the table, while facing us on the other side, social administrators would sit together in panels. We would be passive, nervous, deferential, careful not to upset the panel: in short, showing all the psychological attributes commonly associated with disability. It would be the social administrators who would gain strength, support and confidence from colleagues on the panel. A token number of the more privileged physically impaired people might be included, as they are in the Alliance. But the whole approach would reinforce the historical and traditional situation whereby physically impaired people are made dependent upon the thinking and decisions of others. (UPIAS, 1976, p. 18) This debate about `expert or `mass' representation in respect of pressure group activity has continued into the 1980s, with Townsend (1986) claiming that these groups can only be `representative' in certain senses. But what they can do is commit themselves unreservedly to the interests of millions of poor people, call representative injustices to public notice and exchange blow with blow in an expert struggle with the Government over the effects, implications and constitutional niceties of policy. (Townsend, 1986, p. v) But like UPIAS before it, BCODP denies the claims of such groups to be representative in any sense, suggests that expert representation can only be counter-productive and argues that the only way forward is to fully involve disabled people in their own political movement. If this analysis is correct, then it is, perhaps, fortunate that a national disability income is likely to be unachievable within capitalist society. The crucial issue from a political point of view, however, is whether the traditional, single-issue, pressure group campaign for a national disability income is, any longer, a relevant tactic for the post-capitalist world to which we are moving. The following sections will suggest that the politics of disablement can only be properly understood as part of the new social movements which are a part of post-capitalist society and that this casts severe doubt on the relevance of single-issue pressure group politics.
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