No Respect for the Poor, Working or Not

Nonetheless, I found it necessary for some reason to hint that there might be a “silver lining” to the vicious policy in question. Maybe, I suggested, poor people would be treated with more respect in the U.S. since it would now be clearer than ever that most of the nation’s worst-off citizens were employed. I was thinking of opinion surveys I’d seen showing that the working poor were held in much higher regard than “the welfare poor” by the public and by policy makers.

Surrendering Basic Rights

Who was I trying to kid? In the late 1990s, at the peak of the “Clinton boom,” the brilliant left author Barbara Ehrenreich began the participant-observatory research for what became her bestselling 2001 book Nickeled and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America – a harrowing account of her attempts to pay her bills and maintain her dignity while working at the bottom of the American occupational structure. Ehrenreich wanted to know how anyone could make it on $6 an hour without benefits as a hotel maid, house cleaner, waitress, and Wal-Mart sales “associate,” working in the precarious region between fading public benefits eligibility and good jobs?  She found that the nation’s lowest-status jobs were both physically and mentally exhausting and that one such job was not enough to pay for decent food, clothing, and shelter.

But what most particularly struck Ehrenreich about life at the low-wage end of the “Fabulous Nineties” was the remarkable extent to which working people were “required to surrender…basic civil rights…and self-respect” thanks to employer practices that helped “mak[e] ours not just an economy but a culture of extreme inequality.”  The humiliations she witnessed and experienced included routine mandatory drug testing, intrusive pre-employment tests full of demeaning questions, rules against “talking” and “gossip” (against organizing, often enough), restrictions on trips to the bathroom, abusive rants by over-bearing supervisors, petty disciplinary measures, stolen labor time, and the constant threat of being fired for “stepping out of line.”  She learned as a waitress that management had the right to search her purse at any time.

So much for the notion that Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich’s welfare “reform” (elimination) might restore some dignity and honor to the poor by moving more of them off the dole and into the paid workplace.

Two Cruel Jokes: The Minimum Wage and Poverty Level

Things have gotten worse for low-wage U.S. workers since Nickeled and Dimed hit the bookshelves. Real hourly wages for those at the middle of the wage distribution have stagnated since 2000, consistent with deeper trends across the long neoliberal era. But no group of workers has suffered more than those at the very bottom. Americans with only a high school degree or less have actually seen their wages fall since the turn of the millennium.

One part of the problem is that the U.S. minimum wage is a bad joke. If it had kept pace with increases in U.S. labor productivity since the 1970s, it would be $18 an hour today.  Instead it sits at a pathetic $7.25, which translates (assuming full-time year round work) into $14,500 per year, well below the notoriously inadequate federal poverty level for a three-person family ($19,790).

The most that “liberal” Democrats in Washington seem ready to pretend to fight for is an increase of the minimum wage to $10 an hour, that is, to a mere $20,000 a year for low-wage workers fortunate enough to work 40 hours a week 50 weeks in a year.

Which brings us to another bad joke: the U.S. poverty level. According to the Economic Policy Institute’s heroically researched Family Budget Calculator, the real cost of a minimally adequate no-frills standard of living for one parent with one kid in Iowa City, Iowa, is $48,235.  That sounds high until you add up the monthly expenses: housing ($853), food ($369), child care ($684), transportation ($459), health care ($891), other necessities ($313), and taxes ($450), for a total monthly outlay of $4,020. Go to the San Francisco metropolitan area and the cost of a basic family budget for one parent with one kid is $70,929. In the Chicago area, it’s $53,168. Make it two parents and two kids in Iowa City and the cost is $66,667.

It is absurd not only that the US federal poverty level (based on a hopelessly antiquated 1950s formula that multiplies a minimum food budget three times) is so low but also that it is not adjusted for significant geographic variations in the cost of living across US metro areas.

The EPI’s figures are worth keeping in mind the next time you hear the Chamber of Commerce or the American Enterprise Institute express horror at the notion that the minimum wage should go as “astronomically” high as $15 an hour.  Even such a dramatically increased minimum wage translates into just $30,000 a year for a full time worker fortunate to stay employed full time.

With most Americans’ wages stagnating for more than a decade and with the lowest paid workers’ wages shrinking, it is no wonder that half of the more than 24 million Americans who rely on food banks for basic nutrition are employed.  The cost of living just keeps going up.

“Put a Bullet Through Your Head”

Psychological abuse from employers remains very much a problem for the working poor. As the working class activist and journalist Bob Simpson reported from Chicago last year, a McDonald’s worker named Carmen Navarrette was “told that she ‘should put a bullet through her head,’ because she had requested permission to go home after becoming very ill at work. She is a diabetic and had just been released from the hospital.”  The daughter of a different Chicago fast food worker spoke “about how her mom comes home crying because ‘the manager would scream at her and yell mean things. And right now she is pregnant and he makes her carry more than she is supposed to and that’s not good for her. But he says he doesn’t care.’….On top of …[the] economic burden” that goes with working poverty in the U.S.,  Simpson noted, “comes the stress of cruel verbal abuse and the threat of arbitrary discipline without fair hearing.”

Dickensian Facts

Back to “welfare reform.” How’s that forgotten experiment in neoliberal “tough love” doing these days? As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) reported to Congress three weeks ago, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, the program that replaced AFDC, Aid for Families with Dependent Children under the 1996 welfare “reform”) provides cash assistance to very few needy families and lifts far few children out of “deep poverty” (incomes below half the federal poverty line) than did its predecessor, AFDC – this while poverty has risen in the current century. CBPP Vice President Ladonna Pavetti’s testimony to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee reads like something out of Charles Dickens:

“The national TANF average monthly caseload has fallen by almost two-thirds — from 4.7 million families in 1996 to 1.7 million families in 2013 — even as poverty and deep poverty have worsened. The number of families with children in poverty hit a low of 5.2 million in 2000, but has since increased to more than 7 million. Similarly, the number of families with children in deep poverty hit a low of about 2 million in 2000, but is now above 3 million. These opposing trends — TANF caseloads going down while poverty is going up — mean that TANF reaches a much smaller share of poor families than AFDC did. When TANF was enacted, nationally, 68 families received assistance for every 100 families in poverty; that number has since fallen to just 26 families receiving assistance for every 100 families in poverty…In ten states, fewer than 10 families receive cash assistance for every 100 families in poverty.”

On the eve of its elimination in 1995, AFDC raised 62% of children who would have otherwise been in deep poverty.  It saved 2,210,000 children from life at less than half the poverty level.  Fifteen years later, TANF did the same for a mere 629,000 children, lifting just 24% of children who would have otherwise been deeply poor. U.S. welfare payments were in fact never high enough to permit poor mothers to escape the necessity of participation in the job market, but, as the Public Broadcasting System recently reported, “welfare checks have shrunk so much that the very poorest single-parent families [now] receive…35 percent less than they did before welfare-to-work began.”

That is disgraceful in and of itself.  It is doubly shameful in a time when poverty has expanded while wealth and income have concentrated in ever fewer hands (the top 1% garnered 95% of the nation’s income gains during Obama’s first administration), bringing the nation to an openly acknowledged New Gilded Age of savage inequality and transparent plutocracy.

Welfare to Work?

Welfare to work? As Pavetti told Congress, most of the early employment gains among single mothers that were seen after TANF’s creation in 1997 have vanished thanks to the disappearance (after 2000) of the briefly favorable labor market for lesser skilled workers that emerged in the late 1990s.  The success of “work first” programs, which emphasize getting participants into the labor market quickly during the late 1990s, is vastly overstated. Although employment increased, the vast majority of former welfare recipients pushed into the job market did not attain stable employment even at the height of the unsustainable, debt-leveraged Clinton expansion. And today, after two predictable (and predicted) capitalist recessions (one epic in nature) and with another recession looming, U.S. states “spend little of their TANF funds to help improve recipients’ employability.”  TANF recipients report that TANF “welfare to work” programs typically involve little more than direction to short-lived, commonly seasonal low-wage jobs and that serious training and placement programs are unavailable and without funds.

“Welfare to work” is a scam to cover the slashing of government’s responsibility for the nation’s most vulnerable citizens in a society whose “free market” system offers ever fewer real opportunities for stability and upward mobility through employment while conferring vast government subsidies and protections and on the wealthy corporate and financial Few.

Welfare Kings: The Big Banks

To be sure, government welfare is alive and well – for the corporate and financial Few. As Bloomberg noted two years ago, reporting on research from the International Monetary Fund:

“the largest U.S. banks aren’t really profitable at all…the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders [are] almost entirely a gift from taxpayers…The top five banks – JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co,. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc…,the banks occupying the commanding heights of the U.S. financial industry – with almost $9 trillion in assets, more than half the size of the U.S. economy – would just about break even in the absence of corporate welfare. In large part, the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.”

By “corporate welfare,” Bloomberg meant not just the massive bailouts the big banks received after helping crash the economy in 2008 and 2009, but also and above all the reduction of their borrowing costs by the federal government’s policy of loaning them money at low to zero interest rates.

It isn’t just in the financial sector, of course, where big, politically influential corporations receive giant government subsidies and protection, all free from the “tough-love” “free market discipline” of “welfare reform.”

Fight for 15 and for Dignity

The U.S. working class struggle for a Living Wage that has emerged in recent years in connection with the Fight for Fifteen – for a minimum wage of $15 an hour (still below basic family budgets in all U.S. metropolitan areas) – is more than an economic struggle. It is also a political and moral struggle for basic decency, for self-respect, and for dignity.

Connecting economic oppression to psychological mistreatment in her widely read book, Barbara Ehrenreich guessed in Nickeled and Dimed “that the indignities imposed on so many low-wage workers – the drug tests, the constant surveillance, being ‘reamed out’ by managers – are part of what keep wages low.  If you’re made to feel unworthy enough,” Ehrenreich wrote, “you may come to think that what you’re paid is what you’re worth.”  It was an important point. Debilitating shame and the related psychological battering of working people in the all-too unprotected, de-unionized, and hidden abode of the workplace is part of how the employer class rules over low-wage workers in “the land of freedom.”

Inspiringly enough, however, tens of thousands of those workers in the U.S. have in the last two years stood up to tell their bosses and the nation that they not only need but also deserve more than miserable wages and denigration on the job.  “The [workers] of the Fight for 15 campaign,” Simpson noted last year, “want a world where a decent standard of living and respect for all is the norm.”

The fight for 15 is also a fight for dignity. Respect for workers, the struggle’s participants know, will only be won from the bottom up, through collective and militant action.  It will never granted from the top-down by elites who have little more respect for a Walmart or McDonald’s worker than they do for a TANF recipient or for one of the nation’s more than 2 million prisoners.

Paul Street is an author in Iowa City, IA. His latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014).

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Chinese Bike Light Strikers Occupy Factory, Face Firings and Arrests

Workers at a bike light factory in Shenzhen, China, have been on strike since April 30. They stayed overnight in the factory for two weeks, stopping production and delivery, until police evicted them and arrested leaders.

Workers who make bike lights at a factory in Shenzhen, China, have been on strike since April 30, demanding that the company pay up what it legally owes them.

The strikers stayed overnight in the factory, stopping production and delivery for two weeks, until police came to evict them and arrest worker leaders on May 13.

New An Lun Lamp, a Taiwanese-owned factory, produces bicycle lights for brands including the German Messingschlager and Buchel and the Dutch AXA.

There are about 100 workers in the factory, mostly middle-aged women, with some nearing retirement.

Though their actions have been peaceful, thus far 13 workers have been fired and nine arrested by police for “disrupting public order.”

Seven out of the nine detained workers were released within 24 hours. The other two—including one of the workers’ elected representatives—were held by police for seven days. During the police raid on May 13 these two clutched the legs of the general manager and his son, crying and begging them not to remove the finish goods.

Last year, according to a conservative estimate by China Labour Bulletin, there were 1,379 strikes and labor protests in China, up from just 185 in 2011. One of the biggest was a strike by 48,000 workers at the Yue Yuen shoe factory, the world’s largest manufacturer of athletic shoes, whose customers include Nike and Adidas.


New An Lun Lamp has broken China’s labor laws and social insurance policies by failing to contribute to both the workers’ pension fund and a housing fund aimed at helping workers buy or rent apartments.

The workers also haven’t been paid for the sick leave, maternity leave, work injury leave, and marriage leave to which they are legally entitled. And they have been requested to report for duty 10 minutes earlier in the morning and after lunch every day, without being paid overtime. In addition, the company has failed to pay a legally-required high temperature allowance.

Access to bathrooms is another major grievance. Bathrooms are locked during working hours—leaving the more than 70 women to use the eight female stalls during the break.

The company has adopted dictatorial managerial practices, including penalizing workers who fail to meet the production targets or are seen as troublemakers by locking them in solitary confinement. The strike was partly triggered by an incident in which one female worker fainted and was hospitalized after being put into solitary confinement for a whole day.

In April, workers sent a petition demanding that the factory correct these problems. In response, the company asked them to elect representatives, with whom it held one negotiating session.

When workers didn’t get a satisfactory response, they went on strike on April 28 and began an occupation of the factory the next day.


Once the strike began, the company, together with various government representatives at the district level, asked the workers for further negotiations. But so far it has refused to fully address their demands.

For instance, while many workers are owed seven to 12 years of pension fund contributions, the company is only offering to pay for two years, claiming this is in line with government policies.

Factory management has deployed dirty tactics. It sent a gang of thugs on May 11 to attack the workers and try to remove finished bike lights from the worker-occupied factory. Workers successfully stopped the thugs from removing boxes of products, but some workers were injured in the conflict.

On May 13, the factory fired six of the worker representatives without following the procedures dictated by national and provincial labor laws, which state that companies must notify trade unions of any dismissals and promptly consider any objections from the unions. Moreover, management has turned a blind eye to the new Guangdong Provincial Regulations on Collective Contracts for Enterprises, which state that enterprises cannot fire worker representatives while they are performing their duties of negotiation.

But new regulations in Guangdong (where the New An Lun factory is located) also make it illegal to strike during negotiations—the first such law officially prohibiting strikes. Worker advocates fear that this law will be used to crack down on the growing number of strikes and sentence worker leaders to long prison terms—something the Chinese government has thus far hesitated to do in most cases.


Even worse, the same day the workers were fired, the local police station sent 100 police officers to the factory to help the company transport the finished bike lights.

Police arrested nine workers, including four of the fired strike representatives. They accused the nine of disrupting “public security,” despite the fact that the strike has been entirely peaceful. In China the government seldom arrests workers on the grounds of striking. Instead, workers are arrested under various charges of disrupting public order when they march outside of factories or prevent the delivery of finished products.

On May 18 the company fired another seven workers for not performing their duties. One was a worker representative, while five others were among those arrested by the police.

Labor groups and trade unions from Taiwan have launched a petition to urge the Taiwanese boss to respect the rights of the New An Lun Lamp workers. In a May 15 press conference they condemned the company’s illegal actions.

The same day, labor groups and trade unions visited the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and the Taiwan Business Association in Hong Kong, to urge them both to more seriously monitor Taiwanese firms in China.

Inside China, 14 organizations have signed a joint letter to New An Lun Lamp and its major European customers. Labor groups supporting the strikers are also seeking solidarity from trade unions in Germany and the Netherlands.

Elaine Hui is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the City University of Hong Kong.

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Launching A Faculty Union at UW: A Conversation with Union Leaders from Other Campuses

Wednesday, May 27

UW AAUP Annual Meeting: Launching A Faculty Union at UW: A Conversation with Union Leaders from Other Campuses

3:00pm – 6:00pm. Intellectual House, UW Seattle. Free.

This year’s annual meeting of the University of Washington (UW) chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is organized on the topic of “Launching A Faculty Union at UW: A Conversation with Union Leaders from Other Campuses.”

The event will feature the AAUP‘s annual awards, as well as a program that will include Bill Lyne, President, United Faculty of Washington State (representing Central, Western, Eastern and Evergreen State Colleges, AFT Washington, AFL-CIO); Louisa Edgerly, Organizing Committee Member, Seattle University Adjuncts and Contingents Together; David Parsons, the President of UAW Local 4121 (representing academic student employees at the University of Washington); as well as leaders of faculty unions at the University of Oregon and University of Minnesota.

The meeting will be take place at the Intellectual House on the UW Seattle campus from 3:00-5:00pm, followed by a reception with hors d’oeuvres and wine at 5:00pm. For more information, please contact the UW chapter of the AAUP at

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Exhibit Opening Reception: Job Fair? A MayWorks Art Exhibition

Wednesday, May 20

Exhibit Opening Reception: Job Fair? A MayWorks Art Exhibition

4:00pm – 6:00pm. Social Work Building, First Floor Gallery, UW Seattle. Free.

In conjunction with the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, MayWorks festival, the Job Fair? art exhibit at the UW School of Social Work (UWSSW) is open to the public at 4101 15th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA (first floor Gallery, 8 AM 6 PM).

This exciting MayWorks art exhibit features the work of UW Tacoma interdisciplinary students who have taken the Labor, Globalization, and Art course with artist/professor Beverly Naidus. Most students began the course as visual art novices. They explored their job experiences, frustrations with their employment possibilities, and other labor issues they have encountered, especially in relation to the human cost of corporate globalization.

The students’ art was created over six weeks, during which time they were introduced to poster art from the labor movement, the fundamentals of design, digital photography and Photoshop, and how art can be a tool for raising questions and telling stories.

Initially the exhibition includes the work of students from 2012, 2013, and 2014. Current student work will be installed on May 18th. Reception for the exhibition will be on May 20th from 4-6 pm.

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The Plot Against Trains


The horrific Amtrak derailment outside Philadelphia this week set off some predictable uncertainty about what exactly had happened—a reckless motorman? An inadequate track? A missing mechanical device? Some combination of them all?—and an even more vibrant set of arguments about the failure of Americans to build any longer for the common good. Everyone agrees that our rail system is frail and accident-prone: one tragedy can end the service up and down the entire path from Boston to Washington, and beyond, for days on end. And everyone knows that American infrastructure—what used to be called our public works, or just our bridges and railways, once the envy of the world—has now been stripped bare, and is being stripped ever barer.

What is less apparent, perhaps, is that the will to abandon the public way is not some failure of understanding, or some nearsighted omission by shortsighted politicians. It is part of a coherent ideological project. As I wrote a few years ago, in a piece on the literature of American declinism, “The reason we don’t have beautiful new airports and efficient bullet trains is not that we have inadvertently stumbled upon stumbling blocks; it’s that there are considerable numbers of Americans for whom these things are simply symbols of a feared central government, and who would, when they travel, rather sweat in squalor than surrender the money to build a better terminal.” The ideological rigor of this idea, as absolute in its way as the ancient Soviet conviction that any entering wedge of free enterprise would lead to the destruction of the Soviet state, is as instructive as it is astonishing. And it is part of the folly of American “centrism” not to recognize that the failure to run trains where we need them is made from conviction, not from ignorance.

There is a popular notion at large, part of a sort of phantom “bi-partisan” centrist conviction, that the degradation of American infrastructure, exemplified by the backwardness of our trains and airports, too, is a failure of the American political system. We all should know that it is bad to have our trains crowded and wildly inefficient—as Michael Tomasky points out, fifty years ago, the train from New York to Washington was much faster than it is now—but we lack the political means or will to cure the problem. In fact, this is a triumph of our political system, for what is politics but a way of enforcing ideological values over merely rational ones? If we all agreed on common economic welfare and pursued it logically, we would not need politics at all: we could outsource our problems to a sort of Saint-Simonian managerial class, which would do the job for us.

What an ideology does is give you reasons not to pursue your own apparent rational interest—and this cuts both ways, including both wealthy people in New York who, out of social conviction, vote for politicians who are more likely to raise their taxes, and poor people in the South who vote for those devoted to cutting taxes on incomes they can never hope to earn. There is no such thing as false consciousness. There are simply beliefs that make us sacrifice one piece of self-evident interest for some other, larger principle.

What we have, uniquely in America, is a political class, and an entire political party, devoted to the idea that any money spent on public goods is money misplaced, not because the state goods might not be good but because they would distract us from the larger principle that no ultimate good can be found in the state. Ride a fast train to Washington today and you’ll start thinking about national health insurance tomorrow.

The ideology of individual autonomy is, for good or ill, so powerful that it demands cars where trains would save lives, just as it places assault weapons in private hands, despite the toll they take in human lives. Trains have to be resisted, even if it means more pollution and massive inefficiency and falling ever further behind in the amenities of life—what Olmsted called our “commonplace civilization.”

Part of this, of course, is the ancient—and yet, for most Americans, oddly beclouded—reality that the constitutional system is rigged for rural interests over urban ones. The Senate was designed to make this happen, even before we had big cities, and no matter how many people they contain or what efficient engines of prosperity they are. Mass transit goes begging while farm subsidies flourish.

But the bias against the common good goes deeper, into the very cortex of the imagination. This was exemplified by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision, a few short years ago, to cancel the planned train tunnel under the Hudson. No good reason could be found for this—most of the money would have been supplied by the federal government, it was obviously in the long-term interests of the people of New Jersey, and it was exactly the kind of wise thing that, a hundred years ago, allowed the region to blossom. Christie was making what was purely a gesture toward the national Republican Party, in the same spirit as supporting a right-to-life amendment. We won’t build a tunnel for trains we obviously need because, if we did, people would use it and then think better of the people who built it. That is the logic in a nutshell, and logic it seems to be, until you get to its end, when it becomes an absurdity. As Paul Krugman wrote, correctly, about the rail-tunnel follies, “in general, the politicians who make the loudest noise about taking care of future generations, taking the long view, etc., are the ones who are in fact most irresponsible about public investments.”

This week’s tragedy also, perhaps, put a stop for a moment to the license for mocking those who use the train—mocking Amtrak’s northeast “corridor” was a standard subject not just for satire, which everyone deserves, but also for sneering, which no one does. For the prejudice against trains is not a prejudice against an élite but against a commonality. The late Tony Judt, who was hardly anyone’s idea of a leftist softy, devoted much of his last, heroic work, written in conditions of near-impossible personal suffering, to the subject of … trains: trains as symbols of the public good, trains as a triumph of the liberal imagination, trains as the “symbol and symptom of modernity,” and modernity at its best. “The railways were the necessary and natural accompaniment to the emergence of civil society,” he wrote. “They are a collective project for individual benefit … something that the market cannot accomplish, except, on its own account of itself, by happy inadvertence. … If we lose the railways we shall not just have lost a valuable practical asset. We shall have acknowledged that we have forgotten how to live collectively.”

Trains take us places together. (You can read good books on them, too.) Every time you ride one, you look outside, and you look inside, and you can’t help but think about the private and the public in a new way. As Judt wrote, the railroad represents neither the fearsome state nor the free individual. A train is a small society, headed somewhere more or less on time, more or less together, more or less sharing the same window, with a common view and a singular destination.

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Pacific and Western Disability Studies Symposium! Connecting Disability Studies, Disability Justice, and Disability Arts.

University of Washington Seattle on May 21-23, 2015

Info about accessibility, content, sponsors:

Questions? Email to

Featured activists, scholars, and artists are Patty Berne of Sins Invalid, musician Mindie Lind, Susan Schweik, and Elizabeth Wheeler.  The symposium aims to enhance collaborations in the field of disability studies in the region and to explore the relationship between the disability justice framework and disability studies.

Thursday, May 21, 4-6:30pm, Disability Arts and Culture (refreshments 4pm)
Kane Hall, Room 225
4:15 Mindie Lind, music performance
5:00 Film “Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty”
5:30 Q&A with Mindie Lind, Patty Berne, and ET Russian

Friday, May 22, 9am-4pm, Critical Collaborations

William H. Gates School of Law, Room 138
9:15 Welcome
9:30 Susan Schweik (UC Berkeley) keynote, “Disability Research and the Politics of Storytelling”
10:45 Elizabeth Wheeler (U of Oregon), Susan Schweik, Sara Goering (UW), Sushil Oswal (UW Tacoma), “Cultivating and Connecting Resources”
12:30 Lunch
2:00 Patty Berne with ET Russian and Seema Bahl, “Exploring Divergences and Convergences of Disability Studies, Disability Rights, and Disability Justice”

Saturday, May 23, 2-4pm, Disability Justice
Husky Union Building (HUB), Room 250
Sins Invalid, featuring co-founder and director Patty Berne, “Re-envisioning the Revolutionary Body: Centering Disability and Embodiment within Social Justice.” Patty will talk about the role of embodiment in movement-building work and lead a screening and discussion of films on disability and sexuality as part of transformative cultural work.

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