Margot Beavon-Collin, Charlotte Lim and Stedd Lenasars

Week 11, Semester 1, 2020

Late-stage capitalism has made a habit of ‘saying the quiet part loud’. This has maybe never been more true for the disability community than in our current time. Governments all over the world, desperate for economic activity to begin again, have been loudly and enthusiastically promoting eugenics, imploring the people they represent to ask how much we should really value the lives of the elderly and disabled in the face of a fall in GDP. Nationally, we are not immune from this. The Australian Financial Times in particular has enjoyed publishing article after article quantifying exactly how much a human life is worth, often in monetary terms (the answer is apparently roughly $3 million each, give or take, and depending on productive capacity). As conversations intensify over reopening the economy, it has never been more important to think critically about the ways we have all been forced to internalise narratives labelling disabled people as unproductive leeches, only as worthwhile as their capacities to contribute to economic activity. No matter what any economics journalist will tell you, and no matter what any triage nurse will try to defend, every person, disabled or otherwise, is important and worthwhile. We all miss going to the pub. The people who will die from a second, likely much bigger pandemic wave ravaging this country will be missed far more.

We have begun preparing for this year’s Disabled Honi. Keep an eye on the Disabilities Collective facebook group and page if you want to contribute. DIsabled voices are always invaluable, but have maybe never been more invaluable or important than right now.

Love and solidarity.