In Pursuit of Genocide

A war is being waged on the autistic community. This war is, like any war, not existing outside of the realm of politics and not existing within a vacuum, but rather is one informed by politics and affecting politics. The war on the autistic community is but one front of the larger scale cultural conflict between the white supremacist, cis-hetero, capitalist paradigm against all that do not conform or, otherwise, let their non-conformity be commodified and exploited. The primary difference between the war on the developmentally disabled, however, and the war on other such groups is in the tone of the propaganda insofar as the vitriol towards the developmentally disabled is wrapped in a false pity and a performative pretense of caring for their well being. The goal of the belligerents is not to kill or displace those with autism, but, rather to “cure” them (such euphemistic language is popular among eugenicists and authoritarians of all stripes). But what, one might ask, is so wrong with searching for a cure? A great many things, the bulk of which will comprise the body of this essay.


First, to understand the wolf in sheep’s clothing that is the cure advocacy community, one must examine the context of cures. Cures, generally speaking, are an anathema to disease. One seeks cures for cancer, influenza, polio, chicken pox. Disease is broadly defined as a condition of the body that is not externally caused which impairs normal functioning. Initially, one could be forgiven for assuming based on this definition that autism is a disease: after all, what of those autists who can’t use the restroom without assistance and who have meltdowns at any sound of a firetruck? Surely that can’t be normal functioning.


However, this logic falls apart when one examines whether these variables are part of normal existence. Lions do not drive fire trucks, nor does one normally observe the latrine in nature. These are all social additions by civilization. Were the “severely autistic”  individual to have been born in nature, free of any civilized influence, one could scarcely even notice that they are autistic. No normal functioning of the body is impaired in the case of “severe autism” (the phrase is in quotation marks, as autism is not a binary spectrum and viewing those with more autistic traits as having “severe autism” is problematic for a number of reasons that would make up their own essay; however, I use it as this is the language of the uninitiated and of the enemy) as is the case with polio or chicken pox. If one contracts chicken pox and it is not cured, one will almost certainly not survive in nature. However, one cannot transmit autism nor die of it. Furthermore, those that qualify as “severely autistic” are a statistically small percentage of the autistic community. The rest may not even have those impairments listed as examples, or, if so, may be capable of coping with them in ways considered to be normal. The average autistic person may simply be bad at social communication (something humans are uniquely advanced in) but otherwise perfectly well functioning bodily, or may stim to relieve stress and avoid eye contact but otherwise perfectly healthy. Is this, then, a disease? Is the inability to make eye contact or the necessity of stimming for some individuals a transmittable symptom worthy of eradication? Certainly the verbose but sometimes poorly worded and somewhat insensitive rant is a menace to society, one that requires immediate attention. Against even the slightest intellectual scrutiny, the notion that autism is a disease and, therefore, necessitates a cure falls apart.


So what, then, is autism classifiable as? This much is a hazy subject. Compelling arguments can be made for autism as a social disorder and for autism as a variation of naturally occuring neurotypes, but this is the subject of another essay. I am personally of the opinion that autism is a naturally occuring divergence in typical neurocognitive development and behavior with recurring interests and shared experiences and, that, consequently, it is more useful to view autism as a sort of neurological cultural group than as a social disorder or a disability. Nonetheless, the generally accepted opinion regarding autism is that it is a developmental disability that is genetically transmitted. Even if one makes the argument that, in the natural world, an autistic individual would have similar survivability to a non-autistic individual, the existence of a society that autistic individuals react to negatively and vice versa grants them a disability on a material level (this too deserves its own essay). However, even when viewed as a disability, one sees in autism recurring patterns of interest, of ways of speaking or otherwise communicating, of thinking. Ask a room full of autistic individuals who among them has at one point had an obsession with one of the following: dinosaurs, trains, fantasy or science fiction, politics, history, bridges, or botany. See how many hands shoot up into the air. Consider the language with which autistic individuals use to describe themselves and their autism, with such jargon as “stimming,” “neurotypical,” “special interest,” and the adoption of spoon theory from the larger disabled culture. Consider ways of thinking, even, common tendencies within those with autism to feel uncomfortable lying or tendency towards prescriptivism and our proclivity for categorizing and compiling information compulsively. In other words, one sees in autism a culture. Regardless, one should note, then, that, generally speaking, one doesn’t seeks cures for disabilities and for those with genetic disorders and for cultures not native to one’s land, but, rather, accommodations. So who searches for a cure for those disabled by genetics? Who advocates for the purging of culture?


And here, we encounter the question of eugenics, or the engineering of human genetics by eliminating “undesirable” traits from the genetic structures of people or simply by preventing individuals with certain traits from being born. Why do we speak of eugenics in an essay about curing autism, one might ask. The immediate answer is simple: as the only way to “cure” autism presently available is to prevent autistic individuals from being born, any talk of curing autism will inevitably turn towards eugenics. The very act of preventing the birth of an autistic child on account of their autism and their autism alone is a form of manipulation of the human gene pool at large, and, therefore, eugenics. Much cure research is focused on isolating “the autistic gene” and eliminating it, a more blatant form of eugenics. What’s wrong with eugenics, one asks? Simply that the very act of picking and choosing which of the human genome to include and modify in an unborn baby, in addition to being unnatural, also will inevitably lead to selection of certain arbitrary traits and the elimination of traits deemed societally unfavorable. If we view autism as a culture, as I pointed out may be apt, and accept the premise that autism is not viewed favorably by society (and no other premise can be accepted by those who examine such pesky things as facts), then this entails, in essence, the elimination of a whole subset of the population. If the elimination of entire populations of people known as undesirable doesn’t immediately set off claxons in one’s head, I advise them to reread any history book on the events of the early 20th century and the actors in such events, namely fascists.


But certainly fascistic eugenics is not the position of cure advocacy groups like Autism Speaks, one might retort. How could groups purportedly representing the best interests of the autistic community be fascists? To this, I’d point out that they don’t need to be fascists to be dangerous nor to advance the rhetoric or ideas of fascists. Even the introduction of the ideas of eugenics into the conversation surrounding autism is a victory for the far-right, and this conversation, if allowed to be influenced further, will affect individuals that aren’t autistic as well. But beyond the realm of conversation, more concerning and telling of Autism Speaks’ and other cure advocacy groups’ true allegiances is the former’s willingness to allow a chapter of the Soldiers of Odin, a known white supremacist and anti-immigrant biker gang, to march with them. When called on it, Autism Speaks dragged their feet on “researching” the Soldiers of Odin and eventually uninviting them. Consider also that the President, who as we know is at the very least friendly towards the fascist right, has publically suggested the latest in dangerous autism cures in a speech: drinking turpentine. Consider that, according to donation statements released to the public, donations to Autism Speaks from Trump’s party (which after 2016 has become openly far-right in policy) spiked dramatically, even setting new records ( To call these combined facts a coincidence would be to insist that one is crying wolf when the wolf is already gnawing at one’s leg. These are merely examples available on public record; digging into the bowels of reddit forums for “autism parents”, fascists, or cure advocacy will find a disturbing amount of overlap and even a burgeoning shared community that shares misinformation and hate speech towards autistic individuals. The fault lies not just in large organizations, however, but even in individuals. The neurotypical author of To Siri With Love, Judith Newman, publicly admitted in an interview that, as soon as her son turns 18, she plans on securing legal rights to give him a vasectomy without his consent. Putting aside the blatant abuse of both the child and his civil rights, this is a clearly eugenically motivated statement. In other words, cure advocacy, even if one gives their intentions the greatest possible benefit of a doubt, necessarily make common cause with eugenicists, and, consequently, fascists.  


The unfortunate existing connection between cure advocacy and eugenicists aside, surely one can’t enjoy being autistic, one might say. Surely it is difficult being autistic. If one could take a pill to stop being autistic, wouldn’t they? Putting aside that a pill to cure autism doesn’t exist and likely never will, consider the following: do those “afflicted” with autism want a cure for themselves if they are in such great suffering? According to one study and countless blog posts from the autistic community on Tumblr, overwhelmingly not. But the opponents of a cure are “high functioning,” one might retort, they don’t represent the interests of those truly suffering. Once again, one is wrong; in one post, a “low functioning” individual, speaking on behalf of her fellow low functioning comrades, stated:


“When you claim I need to be “cured”, I do not call you out and say mean things about you because being confrontational hurts me, not because you are right. You are not speaking for me in my silence, you are speaking over me…..The “high functioning” autistics that argue for rights for me DO speak for me…..You, who are not autistic, do not stand for me.”


And why should the autistic community wish for a “cure?” Autism is all we have ever known. It is an integral part of our identity, if not the majority of what one might call an identity. Putting aside my previous arguments for autism as a culture, autism has shaped every aspect of the autistic community’s experience. Autism colors our thoughts with particular ways of thinking, interests, cognitive inflexibility. Autism may color our actions as well and our reactions to the environment certainly. To wish for a cure is to wish for an annihilation of everything we have ever known. For many individuals with autism, their autism is not a matter of suffering either, nor even a barrier to success, as evidenced by Dan Harmon, Daryl Hannah, Albert Einstein, and the other long list of massively successful and influential individuals who either are confirmed as having autism or suspected of it.


What about the parents, who know their child best and who struggle with their upbringing? I won’t even merit this narcissism on the part of privileged able-bodied autism parents with an extended response (note: I use the term autism parent not to describe all parents of autistic children as a whole, but specifically those who pontificate over their suffering and center their struggle with their child as a central part of their public identity). Other parents manage to struggle with their autistic children without wishing to “cure” them or to prevent them from reproducing as is the case with Judith Newman. There isn’t even a consensus among parents on the issue of a cure, and, even if there were, the very fact that their children have made it overwhelmingly clear that they neither want nor in some cases need a cure would mean that choosing a parent’s right to “cure” their child means superseding the child’s right to self determination and autonomy. In polite society, these are called oppression and violations of civil rights. If there is a legitimate material inability to provide for the child, this is an issue of the parent and, depending on context, the lack of comprehensiveness and liberality of disability legislation and benefits, not the child. Any parent not prepared to do anything for an able bodied child (or even a child with a different disability) and love them unconditionally is called a bad parent, and one that wishes the elimination of certain aspects of a child’s identity that the child has no control over is called, depending on the nature of their behaviors, either hateful or even downright abusive. Why then do we not apply the same logic to autism parents? Why aren’t the rhetoric of eugenics and the breathless confessions of parents on message boards to wishing they could kill their autistic child treated as hate speech? Simply because, in the view of able bodied and minded society, the autistic community is not worthy of the same respect as neurotypical individuals.


So, suppose one were to violate the civil liberties of 1 in 59 members of the United States and mandate a cure in the interest of public safety, or, more likely, suppose that such a cure would become commercially available and prescribed by doctors or sold over the counter. What would a cure mean then? Assuming that a pill were invented to cure autism in those already living, it would, at the very least, mean the death of the individual as their acquaintances have come to know them. The individual would still be alive functionally, but the rest of what one might call their essence or personality would be either gone or irreparably changed. Charitably speaking, a pill would lead to confusion as a neurodivergent individual tries to adjust to being neurotypical for the first time in their lives and tries to reconcile memories of another way of life and thinking and interests with the current living. More likely, however, all unique aspects of the autistic person’s social personality (in other words, all areas autism actually affects and is observable through behaviors) would be gone, leaving, in essence, a social automaton, remembering only the niceties. But such conjecture is useless because such a pill does not and will not exist. Autism is discovered to be a genetic disorder, so to cure autism is to prevent an autistic child from being born in the first place. In other words, a cure for autism, realistically, is not only socially, but also functionally inseparable from eugenics, and, thus, genocide.


But surely an exception can be made in this case, or, at the very least, given the facts, the option for a cure should at least be made available, one might say if somehow the violation of civil liberties and the inherent moral repugnance of genocide was not enough to convince the uninitiated. To this I ask, what facts? What crisis is being prevented by the effective genocide of autistic individuals? Is it school shootings? Only one of the shooters was diagnosed or could be diagnosed with autism, Elliot Rodger, and, on average, people with disabilities including autism are three times more likely to be the victims of crime than those without disabilities. Is it crime? No statistical correlation between autism and crime has been established by any reputable studies and the studies that exist on correlation between autism and crime only show variations on the nature of crime, not the rate of crime (although autistic individuals are more likely to be arrested and charged with a crime regardless of actual innocence than neurotypical individuals). Autism is, as mentioned, not transmittable either, so autism is no pandemic, and nobody with any level of intellectual honesty would give any merit to the argument that autism is caused by vaccines (even studies funded by and conducted by those trying to make a connection between autistic individuals and vaccines showed no correlation, making this a uniquely unanimous conclusion to those who put any weight in such things as facts; this is without getting into the chemistry of thimerosal [a variant of harmless ethylmercury that used to be in vaccines but was removed from all but a variety of the flu vaccine that people said causes autism] or the utter nonsense that is the justification for the conspiracy of vaccines). It follows, then, that the crisis of autism is an entirely fabricated one, and its need to get eradicated stems not from any genuine concern for society, but from hatred and distrust on the part of the neurotypicals.


In summary, a cure for autism is not a cure for anything other than autistic individuals, and, thus, advocating for their extermination from society. The opposing side has made their commitment to this clear, with the overwhelming majority of both government and NGO funding towards autism related research being directed towards a cure and with even groups purporting to be advocates like Autism Speaks including the search for that cure in their mission statements and their budget statements (only 3% of money raised by Autism Speaks went to autistic families; 63% went towards advertising, fundraising, and lobbying and 32% towards cure related research).


This is not a matter of benevolence: the cure advocacy groups have made their focus on curism, and, thus, their commitment to the impossibility of societal acceptance and lack of regard for autistic individuals and their safety known. This is not a matter of medicine: there is no cure but prevention. This is not a matter of necessity: no need exists for a cure for autism. This is not a matter of choice: most autistic individuals overwhelmingly don’t want a cure and those that would “cure” them would do so without their legal consent anyhow as demonstrated with the author of To Siri With Love. This is not an apolitical issue: curists often are sympathetic towards other arguments for eugenics and, thus, have some fascistic leanings, and, as mentioned earlier, Autism Speaks has made common cause with Neo-Nazis before. The question of curing autism is not really a question of curing autism, but a question of whether or not one believes autistic individuals have a right to exist or not. Either you support that right, or you don’t. Either you are in favor of eugenics, or you are in favor of the civil and human rights of autistic individuals. There is no in between. The path forward is not that of a cure, but that of acceptance by society and, consequently, that of the vanquishing of those opposed to that acceptance. This path mustn’t be taken because there are many great individuals who had autism who may not have existed had a cure been known: the rights of autistic folks to their existence should not be dependant on their ability to prove themselves exploitable. What justification must there be to oppose genocide and eugenics, to oppose fascists and to defend the victims of fascism? This path towards acceptance, and, necessarily, the path to war against those who oppose it, must be undertaken simply because it is the right thing to do.


Death to all eugenicists! Down with Autism Speaks and other curists! Victory to autistic folks!

-Peter Rekavin

What Is Dissociation?

Here are a few definitions you’ll need while reading this:

  1. maladaptive – not providing appropriate adjustment to the environment or situation
  2. adaptive – conforming, conversion
  3. trauma – a deeply distressing or disturbing experience
  4. dysregulation – abnormality or impairment in the regulation of a metabolic, physiological, or psychological process
  5. amnesia – recurrent memory problems, often described as “losing time”, these gaps in memory can vary from several minutes to years

The medical and official definition of dissociation is “a word that is used to describe the disconnection or lack of connection between things usually associated with each other.” In this sense, it could mean a disconnect from reality, identity, emotions, or even actions. This is also my personal definition/view on dissociation.

Dissociative disorders are caused only by some form of trauma, usually repetitive sexual or physical abuse, but emotional abuse is definitely a cause (depending on the disorder) . With that frame of reference in mind, childhood dissociation can be considered adaptive to help the child deal with the stressful situation, but when it continues into adulthood or if there is no longer any abuse, it becomes maladaptive. People with maladaptive dissociation tend to space out randomly, even when there isn’t any danger, or in a situation without immediate danger. This can cause the sufferer to end up in places they don’t remember going to, doing things they don’t remember, and saying things they wouldn’t usually because of how the conscious brain “shuts down” temporarily.

People with these symptoms are often misdiagnosed as schizophrenic due to similarities in the criteria. This can cause incorrect medicines to be prescribed and the wrong therapy techniques to be used.

There are four main types of dissociative disorders: DID, OSDD, Depersonalization/Derealization, and Dissociative Amnesia. I have a post written on this as well. Here’s the tumblr link:

So, what is it like to dissociate? It differs for everyone, but for me personally, it’s like being out of my own body. I’ll look at my hands or my feet and I don’t even realize they’re mine. I disconnect from my environment and disconnect from both my physical and mental self. It’s almost as if my brain has turned off. Sometimes, this trance-like state lasts for minutes, hours, or even days. I have lots of days where I don’t remember what I ate for breakfast or I’ll find myself in a room I don’t remember walking into.

Dissociation is a scary thing, and it’s something to take seriously. If you experience this, please talk to someone you trust, and a therapist that you have access to.

Free Speech vs Free Will


Drawing from my ex-co-blogger of an image that I created on the computer, shows my core values of love, unity, truth, knowledge, and free will

I already wrote my opinion on this issue in No, you don’t have the right to your opinion: on tolerance for bigotry as “free speech”, and its reactions were…argumentative as I desired (a friend taught me that the best way to provoke people was to say that they don’t have the right to do something, and my goal was to provoke conversations and opinions).

But we can write article after article on opinions for or against “freedom of speech”, but it doesn’t get to what the essence of this conflict for those like myself actually is.

In my view, this fight is between two concepts: free speech and free will.

My problem with my opponents is that they believe that people should be able to say anything no matter the consequences of their words, but don’t think about what that actually means and the effects it has. It’s a conflict of priorities: the right for the oppressor to spread fear, hatred, and stigma vs the right of the oppressed not to be stigmatized, hated, or live in fear.

The instance that inspired this article happened today in an argument with a classmate in class regarding Milo not being allowed to speak at Berkeley by the protesters, an incident which I touched on briefly in the introduction in my article on the ableist notion of slacktivism. She stuck to her guns even as I mentioned how he was planning on outing undocumented students on a live stream, saying that they could file lawsuits…against a rich celebrity guy that would probably fail while being afraid for their lives and at risk of harm or worse because their names were released to people who have already shown that they’re more likely to harm undocumented people in the wake of Trump’s increasing anti-latinx rhetoric.

Our conflict essentially comes down to this: which is more important:

Milo’s right to say whatever he wants?

Or the right of the people he targets not to be hurt or afraid for their lives?

In my article Tell Me I’m Exaggerating where I called Nazis Nazis, I described how someone told me that autistics are horror shows will be aborted in the future and my friend was told by someone who he thought was interested in him and her friends on a phone call that the world is too good for us autistic fucks to live in.

Which is more important, their rights to tell us that the world is literally not meant for us to exist in or my friend to not be driven to the edge of suicide by that 45 dehumanizing hate speech?

People will claim “well, the first amendment,” but…personally, the words on a paper written hundreds of years ago by racist sexist rich white men, many of them slave owners, are less important to me than the safety of my fellow humans today.

I believe that humans deserve to be free of hatred, fear, and stigma based on things intrinsic to their nature like orientation/disability/gender/mental illness/etc, and that we should be protected and protect others from degradation and dehumanization.

I believe it is right and just to protect people from harm from those who seek to cause them harm.

I believe that we should choose the freedom of the oppressed over believing in free speech of their oppressors, enabling them to incite violence and fear.

When given the choice between first amendment rights and something that I consider a basic human right, I’m choosing the latter, and honestly feel like the morals of those who choose to love the hateful and enable them in their tyranny instead of caring about those they hate and seek to bring harm to are fucked up. My morals aren’t based on the Constitution (which really only protects people from the government not from the court of public opinion) but on the belief that humans deserve to be happy and free from hatred. I refuse the notion that I should consider speech that hurts my fellow Outcast sacred and deserving of my defense just because old dead people said so. I seek to unite those who are fighting against that oppression in The Outcast Army Facebook group because I see so many who are determined to enable those who hate us to cause us harm. The choice between the oppressor and the oppressed should be an easy one, but to people I honestly consider immoral in their defense of hatred, it somehow is. To them all I can say is that we see you, and know who we can trust.

-Laoch Onórach

Sick of This Story

The picture I use for the blog and the FB group The Outcast Army for minority activists representing feelings of minorities after Trump with anger rising out of despair (merch here). However, the first time I had this image in mind was after an autistic child was killed by his mother, one in a far too long list

The picture I use for the blog and the FB group The Outcast Army for minority activists representing feelings of minorities after Trump with anger rising out of despair. However, the first time I had this image in mind was after an autistic child was killed by his mother, one in a far too long list

“And how many lives have been wasted?
How many bodies laid to rest?
Sick of the lies, the same old story
All over and over and over and over
Over and over and over and over again”

How Many Walls, Rise Against

A couple days ago, the worst month of the year for autistics began. Autism Awareness Month, the global hatefest where people support the eugenicist hate group known as Autism $peaks. I’ve already written an autism acceptance #RedInstead article, (well, technically two but the older one was too nice), made a masterpost of articles from different sources and perspectives, written an essay for class and a poem about the puzzle piece, and created this toolkit to help people debunk talking points they might encounter (that includes all those 5 things) and a guide on how to take action to get people to not support them (that has the toolkit linked).

After writing seven things on them of different forms and purposes, I want to make clear that in reality…they aren’t the real problem.

They’re a symptom of something that is larger and more pervasive and has existed since autism was first diagnosed in the US when it was said autism was caused by “refrigerator parents”. (though the effects of hating us for how we appear differently could arguably be considered to have had signs in faerie tales.

The reality is, people have always hated us, and will long after A$ is gone. They’re a juggernaut that perpetuates and profits off of it, but I could name ten other people/organizations that do the same thing (though not as successfully), and there will always be more (a rather horrifying [because it revealed just how much people hated us] example of hatred becoming far too popular was the New York Times bestselling book To Siri With Love, ableist screed where she talks about sterilizing her son, misgenders and insults an autistic activist and other horrible things, here’s a chapter-by-chapter analysis, review, and screenshots of an engagement between the author and the nonbinary activist who she called a “manic pixie dream girl” in the book).

That’s because this fight isn’t against a corporation but against a narrative that is ingrained in society, the narrative of autism being a tragedy.

The effects of this narrative go beyond just the ads and propaganda (though A$ ads like Autism Every Day and I Am Autism [don’t read these if you’re autistic the first one made me cry and ask why they hate us so much] definitely have a huge effect); they hurt and kill us.

The main therapy in the US is ABA, (here’s a masterpost of links), a “therapy” that has the goal to train us out of looking like autistics. Therapy is in quotes because it’s abuse, as these accounts from someone who went through it and someone who used to do it should make clear. This idea of autism being a disease needing a cure like A$ says leads to horrible “cures” like MMS which is bleach that parents are forcing kids to swallow. It’s the real reason for anti-vaxxers because it’s much less about being anti-science than trying to find a cause for the damage to their kids (one of them wrote a book called “I Wish My Kids Had Cancer: A Family Surviving the Autism Epidemic”). It’s the justification for shocking people at the Judge Rotenberg Center which is still happening even after it killed someone. It’s also the fuel for the endless cycle of parents killing their autistic kids, with the sympathy and justification for the murderer leading to yet another death.

This hatred is everywhere, all the time, but most of the time I’m allowed to ignore it. This month is like a magnifying glass taking the hatred and focusing it into a single blue beam that pierces like a spear in my skull.

I’m sick of this story that leads to so much death and suffering. How many bodies of innocent children need to be laid to rest for people to stop believing this lie. We’re human just like you, but nobody would justify shocking/poisoning/murdering allistic kids as often as it’s done to us.

If A$ disappeared, all of this would still be here year-round. Don’t let your fight alongside us be any less when May 1st comes around just because it’s returned to where you aren’t forced to think about it.

I don’t have that luxury.

-Laoch Onórach

Anti-Anti-Vaxxer Toolkit to Debunk and Explain Their Arguments

Proud member of the Autism Epidemic

[Note: since I made this 2 years ago a lot of people have said that this wouldn’t convince the anti-vaxxers.  I want to make clear that the goal I have when fighting them isn’t to convince them, it’s too far gone. However when you’re fighting a vocal anti-vaxxer chances are there’s a lot of people less strong in their convictions that will be able to be swayed that are watching and if you show how that side is full of dangerous liars you will change their mind and you will have a chance of saving lives.]

(Before anything else, a point: the main thing that separated me from the skeptic community, and led to the creation of Autistics Against Anti-Vaxxers was that often the skeptic community would just stop at saying vaccines don’t cause autism. Well, as the title says Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not The Point. Stop Being Ableist. I fight anti-vaxxers not because I’m a scientist but because they hate me and think I’m broken. Please when you hear us being mentioned go the extra mile and actually say that being autistic isn’t horrible. The root of this movement sticking is them believing that and it’s hell. Also, as this took 6 hours to make if you appreciate the work donations to my PayPal would be greatly appreciated, I’m broke and jobless [not for lack of trying] so any help would be great.)

After my Autism Speaks Resource Toolkit went so well I thought I’d do the same treatment for another bane of autistic people, anti-vaxxers…one of which is currently the President of the United States (his election turned me from fighting them for fun to becoming highly political which will be a different article). This one is a lot longer because they have a lot of arguments so I’ll first have a guide to what each one is then the in-depth explanation to make it so you can easily find each claim that I’m debunking (it also took hours to put together so sharing around would be really appreciated). I chose the picture because if you’re going to be called a plague by these people you might as well have fun with it…anyways, here we go:

First: Table of Contents

  1. Progenitor of the autism-vaccine connection and the issues with him
  2. Explanation of being nonverbal/head banging the two things that are oft pointed out as signs of vaccine damage
  3. Correlation between rise of autism diagnoses and vaccine usage
  4. “Where are all the old autistics?” argument for proof of “autism epidemic” (cw:suicide)
  5. “High functioning” autistics can’t speak for “low functioning” autistics
  6. Chemicals in vaccines
  7. Spacing out vaccines
  8. Package inserts/VAERS
  9. Vaccines all about the money
  10. Vaccine injury compensation
  11. “My child, my choice.” Herd immunity, why the vaccinated can get measles, and the lives lost.

  1. The origin of the vaccines causing autism myth was this ex-doctor named Andrew Wakefield. Andrew Wakefield wrote a paper saying that the MMR vaccine causes autism, one which has been repeatedly debunked (link to 107 studies debunking the link here, anti-vaxxers accidentally funded a study debunking themselves), condemned by multiple other science organizations (here and here), and retracted from the medical journal. He also lost his license. This was not because of a secret Big Pharma conspiracy, it was because he was paid by lawyers the equivalent of $535,832.00, and had his own version of the vaccine. He also took blood samples from children without their parents’ consent at his son’s birthday party, charming individual. He wasn’t originally an anti-vaxxer at all, just a terrible human out for profit who didn’t care if he caused measles epidemics and started a movement that is based on hatred of me and mine. He migrated over to the US and somewhat recently made a hate film called Vaxxed, which was an hour and a half long movie of bad effects and horrible parents often calling their kids vaccine damaged in front of them.
  2. The main things that anti-vaxxer “autism moms” point to often as signs of “vaccine injuries” are kids not being able to speak or banging their heads against the wall. Well to the former, as I mentioned in Why Is How You Communicate So Special? our focus on spoken communication as a society is harmful, and there are many ways of communication either by simple behavior (because behavior is communication) or multiple variants of alternative forms of communicating. A parent just needs to actually care about their kid in order to look for these ways. And headbanging or other self-injurious behavior is often a form of stimming, a way of dealing with overload (read this for more information about what stimming is and if you or someone you’re caring for has a stim like this check out The Dark Side of the Stim for more help). Pain drains other things out, I’m a master at appearing “high-functioning” (please read this on my personal experience of the hell of that label) and I still do that when everything gets too much.
  3. They like to point that the rise of autism diagnoses correlates to the rise in vaccine usage. First off, correlation doesn’t equal causation, as this fun site allows you to show by creating your own random correlations, because by their same logic sunlight in California causes people to go to Seaworld in Florida, people visiting California Adventure causes dogs to kill people, and Nicolas Cage making movies causes people to drown in swimming pools (an unrealistic reaction to his movies no matter their quality). But besides that easily debunkable fallacy, I always make sure to correct people by saying rise of autism diagnoses not the rise of autism itself. That’s because this is a huge point, as their fearmongering and statistic charts are based around saying that the amount of people being autistic is growing when in reality our understanding of what autism is and how broad of a spectrum it is is growing which is awesome and needs to grow more as I explained here. When autism was first diagnosed in the US psychiatrists would only diagnose a very very small amount of people with an even more limiting criteria than we have today, and there’s major issues when it comes to diagnosing people who aren’t white or aren’t guys. It’s also hard and often unnecessary to get a diagnosis as an adult (there aren’t many services for autistic adults so unless you need it for validation it’s a large amount of money for no point) so if you were born when the diagnostic criteria were exclusive then unless you fork out the money you won’t be counted under that number and even if they do a lot of psychiatrists will base their decision on whether or not to diagnose us on how we present when we’ve learned to look NT…there are a lot of self-diagnosed people also not under that umbrella, long story short, we have ages to go to make the diagnosis number match the number of actual autistic people.
  4. Where are all the old people with autism? Most of them are dead. Can we stop denying their existence and start trying to make a difference? Article title is both a talking point in addition to an explanation, one of the things they mention is if autism isn’t caused by vaccines then where are the old autistics, as the article says those of us that have a learning disability and are autistic (like myself) have an average lifespan of 40 years and those who don’t have an LD are 9 times as likely to commit suicide (and the diagnosis thing in the previous point) . As opposed to wondering where the old autistic people are please change yourselves and the world to make it a place that doesn’t make us die younger/want to kill ourselves more/has more accurate diagnoses so there are more of us alive.
  5. Sometimes people will tell us “high-functioning” autistics we don’t speak for “low-functioning” autistics because we’re not autistic or “less autistic”. Well, there’s no such thing as more or less autistic, “low-functioning” autistics have said we do speak for them, and being put in this high-functioning” box literally (not being melodramatic read this) kills us, forcing us to internalize everything until we can’t be ourselves (caused myself a meltdown explaining that here) this is an erasive tactic designed to invalidate our experiences and deny our voices.
  6. Another scare tactic is to point out the dangerous chemicals, especially aluminum formaldehyde and thimerosal (variant of mercury). Everything has chemicals, the amount of them is what matters (the dose makes the poison, even drinking too much water can kill you), anything can sound scary if you list out the chemicals in it (like your blood), aluminum is the most common elementthere’s much more formaldehyde in a pear than a vaccine, thimerosal is ethylmercury which goes through your system unlike the deadly methylmercury found in tuna, and despite its harmlessness thimerosal has been removed from every vaccine other than the multi-dose flu vaccine. This is a good breakdown of the Toxic myths about vaccines.
  7. A common middle ground approach is to get all the vaccines just spaced out. The vaccine schedule is planned out, and spacing them out is actually harmful.
  8. Anti-vaxxers think the government is evil and lying about everything…except in package inserts and this site called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System or VAERS for short, in which case because they can be used for fearmongering they are telling the absolute truth. Ignoring the doublethink, both of those things are easily misunderstood. VAERS allows you to put any event like the one time someone said vaccines made them the Incredible Hulk (this is a list that breaks down deaths attributed to the HPV vaccine) and vaccine inserts have many different categories with different meanings including the adverse reactions section which doesn’t require any evidence of causation to be mentioned. which is why the adverse reaction section for Aspirin looks like this.
  9. Vaccines are all about the money…except there are layers and layers of why that’s wrong, and it’s a bit disingenuous to talk about the profit margin of “Big Pharma” when “Big Placebo” makes so much more.
  10. Big numbers are scary, so they mention that the US has spent $2 billion in vaccine injury compensation paying out to 3000 claims (as of 2012 in the articles). These are big numbers, but not for a program that has been around since 1988. Broken down one person estimates that $0.99 cents have been rewarded for every vaccine administered and that the percentage of compensations to actual vaccines administered is 0.003%, both of which look a lot less intimidating.
  11. “My child, my choice. If your kids are vaccinated, why do you care?” This sounds like a just argument, but it isn’t. There’s this thing called “herd immunity.” Essentially, the most vulnerable of us can’t vaccinate, so when a large enough population vaccinates it prevents epidemics from spreading and hurting those who are vulnerable. The lack of it is what led to the 4-month-long Disneyland outbreak that had a total of 159 measles cases from 18 states and DC (and yes some vaccinated people got it, there’s a reason for that, and those who were vaccinated bounced back quicker and didn’t spread it). That didn’t cause deaths despite infecting almost half the country thankfully, but others aren’t so lucky. And if you don’t want to listen to me, listen to the parents of a child with cancer who got measles and the parents of this 32 day old baby who died of the whooping cough. It’s not just their kids, and people die from their choices.

If there are more claims that you run into let me know and I’ll edit this to add more data and please share there are literally 57 links in here that I hunted down as backing for arguments because they need to be fought.

-Laoch Onórach

Autism Speaks Resource Toolkit (updated for 2019)

One of the main aspects of my activism has been spreading awareness (to steal their term) of how horrible Autism Speaks is as they are the main organization that people think of when it comes to autism and also a hate group. As I’ve been doing this for three years now I have amassed multiple resources including my own writing to cover the problems with them.

I asked on my page An Articulate Autistic if people would be interested in resources to also become better activists and advocates against the organization which has been screwing us over for the past twelve years and the answer was a resounding yes so I thought I would make it…and then completely blanked on it for probably months.

This collection isn’t just a dump of links (though I do have an aggregate of many links in here), but organized in argumentative points to better equip you to articulate issues.

Better much late than never, here they are:

  • You See A Puzzle Piece was a poem-esque thing that I wrote before I started on the old blog was originally a Facebook note/mental allergic reaction to seeing a plaque in an old job, it’s what comes to my mind when I see the symbol
  • You Have The Choice was my nice Autism Acceptance article from last April asking people to choose acceptance.
  • A Red Rage #RedInstead was my article this year demanding people to accept us because acceptance of our humanity shouldn’t be a choice but a moral obligation (note on language: Autism Awareness Month is what A$ calls April it’s pretty much their main fundraiser. In response autistics have created multiple Autism Acceptance Month movements, including #RedInstead. I started wearing red shirts and shoes for Acceptance the whole of last April [2016] and it’s become my aesthetic).
  • Please Don’t Support Autism $peaks was a letter I wrote to a sorority that has become an aggregate for links. While it has the stuff that I’m linking in here its main design was to overwhelm with a total of 20 links from various sources (autistics, autistic mothers of autistic children, allistic mothers of autistic children, and The Daily Beast along with various others), it wasn’t really meant to be read as much as show there’s a lot of people, I’m putting my favorite ones in here.
  • Why You Should Not Support Autism Speaks is a persuasive essay I did for my class for teaching writing, I linked the sources of information within the essay like I would with an article in the doc, it’s definitely more professional and it does do something others don’t, give a fair mention of the arguments that the opposition would make. I don’t usually do that because thinking about the arguments people make to support a hate group kinda hurts and they’re wrong and don’t deserve my time in articles (some of the info is now outdated).

Now for the other useful tools:

  • Honestly, this is one that shouldn’t be arguable, their horrific I Am Autism ad. I share the transcript because I have sensory processing issues and I couldn’t handle the stalkerish voice from the perspective of autism saying horrible stuff about us. Read at your own risk, it’s…really bad.
  • If that doesn’t work here’s a much worse ad…Autism Every Day, this is so bad it made me break down crying wondering why they hate us so much. The only one still in my head is a mom talked about wanting to drive her autistic daughter off of a bridge with said daughter in her lap and saying the only thing stopping her was having an allistic (non-autistic) daughter.
  • The main therapy that A$ supports is Applied Behavioral Analysis or ABA. It’s also child abuse, designed to make us look allistic by forcing us to suppress behaviors that are coping mechanisms. Julia Bascom wrote her perspective from going through it in Quiet Hands (with the haunting line “And when you’re autistic, it’s not abuse. It’s therapy) and my friend at Ink & Daggers Illustration wrote this view from the perspective of an ABA therapist which I call by the first line “First time I hurt a child”. It’s also the main therapy which is why you’ll get “Not my ABA” apologists. The thing is, as this article Screams, Slaps, and Love shows, it’s the original form (the article is as bad as you would think an article with slaps and love regarding autism would be, but it’s about the creator of it). There’s a form of it that many have called “diet ABA” which only has positive reinforcement but as this picture shows it’s still dog training (edit: here’s a dog trainer saying it’s worse than dog training) if you just use treats to reinforce behaviors that might harm us (stimming is a coping mechanism and eye contact takes focus away from me and hurts others) instead of using a spray bottle and treats (spray bottle is actually used and the treats are skittles when it’s humans). This is an autistic reading of The ME Book which is the original manual…this is real ABA. One place, the Judge Rotenberg Center, uses electric shock in order to do this, a fellow activist made this masterpost on that horrible place. (edit: awesome masterpost on ABA resources
  • They use a blue puzzle piece as their symbol, they weren’t the original to use it for autism so Why you need to stop using the puzzle piece to represent autistic people is useful for the history and why it’s a problem and their blue is because blue is for boys and only boys get autism, which isn’t true at all. According to this, the diagnosis rate is currently 1 in 45 and 75% of the diagnoses are male, which is solely due to diagnostic criteria problems and societal misconceptions, the latter of which isn’t helped by the fact that the main organization reinforces this myth with their color scheme. You See A Puzzle Piece was my mental allergic reaction to seeing it in the break room at Sprouts (one of the 24 corporations that donate yearly to A$)
  • This is a handy printable flyer showing their financials (as I said in the article about those, “This year, they spent 39% of their funding on advertising and lobbying for more money, 24% on fundraising, and 3% on family services. This is 21 times as much trying to get money by ads, fundraising, and lobbying than how much they spend on actually helping people”). (new flyer in the link, they 1.6% on family services and a total of 58% on lobbying, advertising, and fundraising, 36 times as much) It also shows that they spend the next large amount (it used to be the most but they switched to spending the most on advertising when they went from 4% to 3% [now 1.6%] on family services)  on research for the cause and cure (their mission statement now says solutions but they found a thesaurus after the co-founder died) for autism…a point my teacher said was too much but still accurate is that another organization that looks for the cause and cure of something they consider to be horrible is the American Cancer Society…and the reason for they’re looking for a cause is to prevent it from existing in the first place…and when it comes to trying to prevent a neurology from existing that’s eugenics. 
  • From other bloggers, the Caffeinated Autistic made this bulleted masterpost and Radical Neurodivergence Speaking wrote this beautiful Autism Awareness piece I’m aware of your hate.
  • Most people have major issues with Nazis and would regard organizations as suspect if they would allow them at their fundraisers…which isn’t a common situation, but was the case with an A$ fundraiser in Canada which was going to let the Soldiers of Odin walk until multiple people called them out on it. They responded saying they would look into it, which honestly considering the first article that pops up is this Wikipedia article calling them an “anti-immigrant street patrol group” it should have been rather easy to look it up beforehand. However, no autistic activist I know was surprised…Nazis and A$ both hate autistic/disabled people, so they’re natural allies.

They have the advantage in every single way, but something we do have is our voices. So please boost ours and speak against them.

  • If you like this and want to support me this is my PayPalI wouldn’t ask this here if my car, phone, computer, and bike weren’t all taking a dive and I don’t have a job or source of income to pay for them.

-Laoch Onórach


From The Ashes: Week 2 update

Original article: please read and share, will have links to updates as they’re posted

Update One

Important information:

There are currently 12 active fires in California (the main one affecting my area is 94% contained and 36,807 acres)

There are now 42 people dead from the fires, 23 of which are from my area

6768 structures have been destroyed

Important fundraisers if you can help: My friend’s farm could still use helpthe city of Santa Rosa has a fundraisermy old school (which the pheonix is mascot for) could use donations on their page, and a reservation has opened its doors to many evacuees and is trying to build tiny houses purchase camping equipment and other things to be a better shelter

Blue Phoenix (Anova's mascot is now going to be a phoenix and their color is blue, however they are getting a logo designed by someone connected to Disney not this from Google

Blue Phoenix (Anova’s mascot is now going to be a phoenix and their color is blue, however they are getting a logo designed by someone connected to Disney not this from Google)

“The school was lost in the fire but the ‘real school’ is alive and well.”

Words from a teacher’s email the day of the fire when I asked if they were ok


Last update I focused on the negatives of my old school being destroyed.

This last week has changed my perceptions of everything regarding it and its future though.

On Tuesday night I attended a meeting about the future of the school where all the parents, students, and staff attended to hear the administration team tell us where the school was going from here on. I was somewhat proud to hear that the administration team was already looking for places to start classes up until the old campus is rebuilt. They also said that donations to the Gofundme or on their site (Gofundme takes a cut, direct donations won’t) will be used not for insurance but things you can see, like a library, a playground (which they were working on), a gym (something we’ve never had), all the things that normal schools have that Anova never did.

However, the thing that made me realize that what my teacher said was true wasn’t the meeting but a dance. Friday night was a dance which was the first time the teachers and students got together since the fire and seeing what was happening made my heart soar. All of the people who made the school great were there, dancing and celebrating being together. It was as if nothing had happened, the people not affected by the fires which destroyed the school and so many lives.

My old teacher was right. The campus was just a building, a container for people to be in. What made Anova Anova is still here, the people who made it a wonderful place that helps us. As long as the people exist, nothing will stop the school from rising from the ashes.

-Laoch Onórach

Adaptability and Uncertainty: 1st update on the Santa Rosa fires, 1 week after

(I’ve decided that I would do weekly updates on the fire’s effects so people know what’s going on from a personal perspective not just the news one, both providing data and my own experiences. If you’re interested in following you can subscribe to the blog by putting your email in the sidebar on the left)


Original article: please read and share, will have links to updates as they’re posted

Important information:

Total fires in California as of now: 28, 16 of which are 100% contained (none of the ones near me are yet, the main one affecting the people I care about, the Tubbs fire, is now 36,432 acres and 75% contained)

Death toll is now 41 in Northern California, with 88 people still missing.

As of 4 days ago, Santa Rosa (city that has been destroyed) has lost 2,834 homes and 400,010 square feet of commercial space.

Important fundraisers if you can help: My friend’s farm could still use help, the city of Santa Rosa has a fundraiser, my old school (the picture) has a fundraiser to help rebuild, and a reservation has opened its doors to many evacuees and is trying to build tiny houses purchase camping equipment and other things to be a better shelter


The school for autistics that I went to and plan on teaching at with a picture of students in front next to what the school looks like now.

“We all fall down and we get right back up again”

Broken English, Rise Against

Life in my city has altered radically in large and small ways.

The small ways are things like how small talk now includes “is your family ok” as a common question, more common emergency vehicles, and now only smoke in the distance if you look hard.

The large ways are how there are multiple places that have converted to shelters (4 that I know of, I’ve volunteered at three), and seeing the places which I knew and was familiar with converted into temporary homes and donation centers for survivors.

In the original This is our time: Thoughts on How People Respond to Disasters, I said that after natural disasters is when the best and worst of humanity is shown, when people can show who they truly are.

In the wake of the fires, my county has shown to be downright amazing.

Multiple donation centers are at full capacity, unable to hold anything else because so many people donated. At the Elks Lodge where I used to have Scout meetings, there was a huge dinner for people after we volunteered, with food that my mom recognized as coming from a family owned restaurant locally. When I volunteered at the fairgrounds (a weird experience in itself, a place that I’m used to having rides and animals becoming a massive center where trucks full of donations and many people are located), I helped unload a truck full of donated food (including far too much bread). There were bagged lunches that people had put together for survivors, many of which had messages drawn on them telling survivors to “stay strong” and many other things on the bags that were telling the evacuees they were cared about. It’s amazing how my county has adapted everything to fit the need of supporting those in need. I saw people I haven’t seen in ages volunteering, people from my Scout Troop (I got my Eagle Scout 8 years ago and turned 18 [when you can’t be a Scout any longer] 6 years ago) and old classes. The people here have fallen in a lot of ways but managed to come right back up in a new form designed to help each other.

It hasn’t been just the best of humanity here though…9 people have been arrested for trying to start new fires (5 individuals and a group of 4 teens) in the areas where the fires in North California (thank the Gods not just in my county), and I heard that some houses have jacked up in price to take advantage of the people who need homes.

However, with all this help…it’s all temporary. Eventually the fires will be out, and people will no longer be at the shelters, people have already gone back and seen their destroyed homes in places where the evacuation orders have lifted. As the picture shows, the school I went to is utterly destroyed, and tomorrow I’ll be going to a meeting about its future (which will be mentioned in the next update). It’s awesome seeing what is happening now but in the long term that’s when we’ll need you more. There’s a lot that’s still up in the air, we don’t know the exact damage, people don’t know if their homes are still here or not because they aren’t allowed to look yet, and it’s too soon to know what we’ll need. It’s only after the fires are out when we’ll know, and that’s when the news coverage will stop…please don’t stop paying attention then. We need you. I’m going to keep writing these updates so please subscribe, if enough people do I might ask others to share their stories of what they’re going through.

The struggle is going to go on for quite a while, whether or not you’re paying attention. For all those who have lost so much, I beg you to keep doing so.

This is Our Time…Again: Thoughts/a plea From Someone Going Through A Natural Disaster (with updates)

(With the goal of making it so people can follow what is happening, I’m going to make weekly updates with data about the fires and my own personal notes and put them at the end of this article, please subscribe on the left if you want to get them, if enough people do subscribe I’ll ask other people who were actually affected to give their stories as time goes on)

(The picture is of my friend’s and his family’s farm, their animals were evacuated but they need help so please click this, donate, and share along with/instead of the article [if you don’t want to share this, I want people to know what we’re dealing with but it’s not as important] , they need it)

My friend’s destroyed farm

“Neutrality means that you don’t really care

Cause the struggle goes on even when you’re not there

Blind and unaware.”

Collapse (Post-Amerika), Rise Against

When I started this article a couple of weeks ago, it was going to be very different.

It was going to be about Trump’s response to Puerto Rico, how he demeaned its leaders, said it wasn’t a “real tragedy” like Hurricane Katrina (the response to which inspired the rage in the first time I wrote on how people respond to natural disasters, This is Our Time, thought I would rewrite it after so many others were happening) because there were only 13 confirmed deaths (confirmed because death certificates take labor to do that a destroyed island can’t really do), and capped it off with saying he had fun, how he donated $1 million to help Texas in the wake of Harvey which is nothing to him and how he paid 5 times as much to find Obama’s birth certificate which was basically just a racist dogwhistle.

That was before Monday, when I learned that a fire had started during the night that was ravaging the main city in my area, burning down a friend’s farm and another’s mom’s home that has all their stuff in it while they’re in Los Angeles and forced many people I care about including my godparents to evacuate.

There are now 22 fires ravaging California and 21 dead statewide, and the fire here is 29,800 acres, has destroyed 576 buildings and threatens 29,192 others, and has caused 5,000 people to evacuate from 20 shelters as of Tuesday night. While the fire itself is about 19 miles away, thanks to going to a school for autistics in the area (which was also destroyed) a lot of my old classmates, friends, and people I care about are in danger if not already affected.

From going to volunteer and seeing the devastation in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina for 6 years I have always felt connected to survivors of natural disasters.

I have watched as the country constantly fails them, with government programs consistently being terrible to the people who need it most and people as a whole sinking into apathy when the fires go out or the floods recede when they’re actually needed the most.

I became jaded and bitter as the same betrayal happened after each disaster, the Valley Fire in the county north of me, Katrina, Irma, Harvey, Maria…but now it’s my home and the people I care about.

I look out my window and see yellow light because the sun is being filtered through smoke that is said to be as far as San Francisco which is 47.6 miles away.

I’ve been breaking down crying off and on through the past three days, am now as I write this.

So instead of asking you to not forget flooding in Baton Rouge I’m asking (rather selfishly as other places are going through worse), to not forget us. We’re human beings as well that deserve your care even after the fires are out, especially because these are going to leave a scar on my state for many years to come. Part of me is expecting people to do what they always do and stop caring after the flames go out when we need people to help because that’s when we’ll actually be able to do anything, when the news decides that the fire was the pretty thing that was what actually mattered and moves on from us.

However, I’m begging you not to, to actually think of us as people who need and deserve help not just some spectacle to look at and turn away from like has happened over and over because we actually need you. Donate to my friend if you can there’s also this for the city of Santa Rosa, share articles about us and let people know, life is hell right now and the feeling that it’s going to go on with people ignoring it all like it they have in the past is only part of it.

CalFire for the fire here is this link, this is the fires in general throughout the state, and my friend has been updating this for information for locals.

I’m begging you not for myself because I’m safe for now but for those I care about don’t forget that we’re here and need help, the whole state pretty much, and that’s going to be the case for a while.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

“Now I know we’re gonna be alright”

Parts Per Million, Rise Against

One thing that you don’t realize happens when you’re watching from afar is what your community becomes. Yesterday I saw something amazing as I worked at shelters…donations from everywhere, people rallying together for those who need it, and it was beautiful. It’s not enough for the long term, but if it’s hell to see the suffering of people at least it’s awesome to see what people do to help those going through it. I’ve never been more proud of my city until now, as we’re not affected directly but have rallied around supporting people who have evacuated here…if that same spirit spreads to others, and everyone rallies around those in need, maybe we will in fact be alright.


Update 1: Adaptability and Uncertainty

Update 2: From the Ashes

Redefining Revolution: Fighting as a Marginalized Person in a Trump Presidency

“Are you going to wait here for a sign to let you know now?
Are you going to sit there paralyzed by what you’ve seen?
Or are you going to finally grip the wheel?
(I think you know how)
Is this more than you expected it to be?
Don’t wait for a miracle to tumble from the sky
To part the seas around you or turn water into wine
Don’t wait for a miracle, the world is passing by
The walls that all surround you are only in your mind”

Miracle, Rise Against

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Audre Lorde

Revolution is a word I see a lot recently as I get more involved with the leftist side of Facebook.

People talk about the various systems they’d replace the current system with after we overthrow it, hearkening to successful rebellions of other places and eras.

That being said, our fight is different, and in the interest of better fighting this system, I think it’s time we redefine what we consider a revolution.

One of the greatest problems I have with how we perceive revolutions is that we view it as solely a violent battle. Of course my issue isn’t with the violent aspect, right after the #DisruptJ20 protests I wrote On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise as a war call.

My issue is that the reality is that, especially if you’re marginalized, this isn’t the only form of rebellion, and that focus is both harmful and counterproductive.

It’s harmful because it leads to a prioritization of tactics that many people, especially disabled people, can’t do (check out my article on the ableist notion of slacktivism for more talk of this issue). While I can write articles telling others that other tactics should matter, it doesn’t change that my internalized ableism makes me, and others, feel utterly useless when we look at things like Charlottesville (which was the center of my most recent article Why aren’t you upset?). In reality as a marginalized person, in the face of a system that hates you, Audre Lorde in the picture I chose is completely right, taking care of oneself, living, being happy, is in itself an act of revolution. It also ignores the fact that, especially with Cville, being obviously of a minority might be more likely to get you targeted (it shouldn’t be too hard to connect the dots that it would be much more dangerous to be a black person protesting a KKK rally than if you’re white…a good rule is to not criticize how a different minority does activism especially against their oppressors, there is almost definitely context you are missing that makes their fight different).

It’s counterproductive because there’s a lot more to a revolution than fighting especially in this era, and usually the physical war happens after a lot of work in other avenues, all of which are just as important when brought into a united whole. People decry Facebook activism but used well the internet is the best way to spread information and call people worldwide to action (I do agree it’s an issue when those who can do more choose not to, the ones who do token activism to make themselves feel good like an online equivalent of the safety pin [so glad those are gone], that being said the internet has been the way the autistic community exists, how I’m reaching you, and has been a key component in other activist movements such as the Arab Spring). Outreach, organizing rallies of our own, having social programs to help people so they can see who we are and will hopefully join our cause, even just tactically directed conversations around the dinner table urging discussion into radicalizing people are all important methods for fighting the system.

The other issue is that we depict the revolution as this mythical future event. People say the revolution will be intersectional for instance (intersectionality is an important activist principle which I wrote about here). A particular brand of leftist that I hate, class reductionists, say that the only fight that matters is class war and after the revolution they’ll care about the concerns of minorities (sure, we’ll be dying until then but it’s great to know that eventually our lives will matter).

The revolution won’t be anything because our fight is now, the constant struggle against the oppressive forces that are controlling us is the revolution, the fight against the system of oppression that has always existed

The system is something that we need to fight now. We need to move not wait for some sign to let us know now is the time to fight. Get active, get involved, speak out. There’s never going to be a sign that let’s us know that the revolution against the forces controlling us has started because the long war with its wins and losses, alliances and enemies, has never stopped.

The revolution shouldn’t be considered a future bloody battle but the multifaceted war against oppression that has been a background in our nation’s history. It’s the combination of tactics and ideologies that we’ve had moving us forward through history, fought not by soldiers but by MLK and the trans women of color who threw bricks at Stonewall and the disability rights movement and anyone who has said that this system is wrong and we need to do something about it. It’s not something to be solely fought with guns but also speeches and blogs and thrown bricks and counterprotests and food drives and any action done in the spirit of seeking to bring change to the many intersecting injustices that have harmed people for so long.

The time is now to participate in this fight, to learn from our victories and losses and move forward despite the rising forces that are paralyzing us.

The fight is ours to take part in. Will you rise to the battle?

-Laoch Onórach