Guru Pasha training his disabled students Bharatnayam on Wheels (2008) by Pasha Syed Sallauddin
In their article "Critical Disability Studies" in The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Social Psychology(2017), Dan Goodley, Rebecca Lawthom, Kirsty Liddiard, and Katherine Cole write, "Disability is normatively understood in late capitalist societies as a deficient problem with(in) the person." In their formulation, disability is discounted even in radical movements aiming to dismantle oppressive social and legal structures. Rather than operating as a model to work against the theorized connections between bodily worth, labor, and dignity, disabled people are instead mostly excluded from critical analysis and activism. The article states that revolutionary thinking is often undergirded by the assumption "that the human being is physically able and mentally capable of emancipation once we have broken down class barriers, heteronormative discourses, and racialised cultural imaginaries." While the writers here argue that disabled people can also fulfill the radical ambition of consciousness liberation when their social conditions go beyond "the limiting practices of apolitical curricula and hierarchical models of teacher–learner," their more fundamental critique is about what constitutes the revolutionary "ideal." They argue the rhetorical and symbolic image of the revolutionary hero is an able-bodied "solitary freedom fighter," who is "physiologically and psychologically tooled up for action."
This is an interesting thought. How much are our ideals about the ideal leader/revolutionary connected to a romanticized aesthetic? What makes the able-bodied freedom fighter necessarily the best, most innovative, creative, and effective revolutionary? Why do we depend on these romanticized figures to carry our dreams for the future while ignoring people who don't embody bodily autonomy? What would a revolution look and sound like led by somebody who wasn't able-bodied? How would experience shape their leadership?