Originally, we had planned to hold an event with the Antiuniversity, Disability in Our Learning Spaces, on 16 September 2022.
And no, it wasn’t because the Queen died.
This topic is incredibly important to us, and it’s especially important to us that an event about disability in anarchist learning spaces is made more accessible for everyone who wants to participate. However, we realised that it would be difficult to make it properly accessible for participants, particularly any Deaf people who needed sign language interpreters. And this isn’t something that we wanted to do halfway.
After all, what’s the point of “nothing about us without us” if we’re not able to meet basic accommodations that people ask for? It felt hollow, especially when we already knew that many of the AI tools available (like built-in live transcriptions on Zoom) can actually make things more unclear because they’re notoriously awful for a range of accents.
So because we wanted to be able to properly meet the needs of people who were there and actually doing what we hoped the workshop could do—and it wasn’t possible—we decided to go ahead and cancel. Part of this is because we’re an international collective, and exactly none of us live in the UK. What this means for us is that we don’t have connections to people who would be willing to work with us to make it as accessible as it should be.
We’ll still be putting up part of a presentation that we’d planned (at a later date), and we’re going to go ahead with putting together the zine that would’ve been part of the event. And we very much want to have a range of conversations with people to talk about all kinds of disabilities, the impacts of how our spaces continue to exclude people when we should be open and inclusive, and how we can ensure that this happens in our radical spaces.
But that’s not all!
With this, we want to extend an invitation for people who want to help build a resource to meet the accessibility needs for our comrades: tools, people, and knowledge. This can include something as simple as helping to build a directory of sign language interpreters who want and are able to help during events to something as difficult as finding others with whom you can work directly to help build things that people need.
We talk a lot about accessibility, but it’s worth remembering: We cannot actively engage in anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and decolonial politics without ensuring that things are truly accessible. And to be truly accessible? These tools and services need to be free, otherwise they’re only available to those with the most resources.
So please reach out, share widely, and help us ensure that everything is as accessible and inclusive as possible. We either support everyone’s liberation or we continue reproducing the same oppression all over again.