The video below was my contribution to the 2nd Annual Engaging with Eco-Ability Conference that recently took place on July 26, 2014. The abstract for the presentation appears below the video (which will be properly oriented when playing).
ABSTRACT: Anarcho-primitivism is frequently described by its critics as being incapable of providing sufficient accommodation for people with disabilities; it purportedly “requires a non-disabled body for its ideal society” and is thus viewed as an inherently ableist position. I will argue, on the contrary, that anarcho-primitivism advocates a society that would provide the fullest flourishing for people with a diverse range of abilities and that civilization itself is a disablizing force. It is civilization that effectively stunts our growth and renders many of us disabled; it is civilization that narrows the range of our senses, shrinks our world and our horizons, and denies us the opportunity to experience the full use of our bodies. The standardization of mass society necessarily defines an increasing number of people as “disabled” if they do not fit a narrowly prescribed form. The “normal range” of human variation is being shrunk and those outside of this range are stigmatized, pathologized, medicated, and manipulated. The civilized solution to living with people of different abilities is to treat large segments of people like broken clocks in need of new parts or regular servicing. This approach is in accordance with the standard operating procedure of civilization to understand every human problem as a technical problem; it allows us to discharge our responsibility to care for those around us by developing new products, offering new services, and building new infrastructure. The need for relationship is erased. In this way, civilization allows us not to care for others who may need assistance, which is to say, it allows others not to care for us when we need assistance. The civilized solution to accommodating people with a diverse range of abilities is worse than the perceived problem. The solution is runaway technological escalation and all of the consequences that come with that.
Videos of the other presentations from the conference can be found here at the website for the Institute for Critical Animal Studies.