The Future Is Disabled
Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs
In The Future Is Disabled, Leah Laksmi Piepzna-Samarasinha asks some provocative questions: What if, in the near future, the majority of people will be disabled - and what if that's not a bad thing? And what if disability justice and disabled wisdom are crucial to creating a future in which it's possible to survive fascism, climate change, and pandemics and to bring about liberation?
Building on the work of their game-changing book Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Piepzna-Samarasinha writes about disability justice at the end of the world, documenting the many ways disabled people kept and are keeping each other - and the rest of the world - alive during Trump, fascism and the COVID-19 pandemic. Other subjects include crip interdependence, care and mutual aid in real life, disabled community building, and disabled art practice as survival and joy.
Written over the course of two years of disabled isolation during the pandemic, this is a book of love letters to other disabled QTBIPOC (and those concerned about disability justice, the care crisis, and surviving the apocalypse); honour songs for kin who are gone; recipes for survival; questions and real talk about care, organizing, disabled families, and kin networks and communities; and wild brown disabled femme joy in the face of death. With passion and power, The Future Is Disabled remembers our dead and insists on our future.
This updated edition includes a new chapter and afterword by the author.
The Future Is Disabled is a timely and necessary collection of essays about what disability justice is, has been, and could be. It contains the disabled stories, secrets, knowledge, humor, and creativity that we need now and what we will need to create the just futures we deserve. The brown cripqueer femme love and hope and rage and grief contained in these pages is astounding and necessary - a gift to us all. It's the kind of book you dog-ear, write in, quote from memory, and pass along to every disabled-even-if-they-donât-use-that-word friend, lover, comrade, and fellow artist you hope to make a better world with. It's a community building tool and a personal balm for anyone invested in collective liberation, especially disabled people of color. Buy it. Read it. Pass it on. -Sami Schalk, author of Black Disability Politics
The Future is Disabled is the kind of world-making that has until now been reserved for science fiction. This book is committed to community, blazingly experimental, and embedded in the practical work of everyday disability justice. It speaks in a multitude of voices from words of wisdom, interludes, herbal remedies, recipes, 'autistic longform' and access riders to provide clear instructions on how disabled people can get free. Throughout this groundbreaking work, Piepzna-Samarasinha finds meaning in recent history, and leaves readers with no doubt that the disabled future is now. They have provided us with a primer, a language, a lucid image, and a guide to disability justice, one of the most vital and rapidly expanding movements of our time. With reverence for the work of their contemporaries, elders, and the next generation of disability justice thinkers, Piepzna-Samarasinha sets out to honor, elegize, and create 'disabled and chronically ill citizen scientists.' The Future is Disabled will leave any crip saying, 'I could be disabled like that.' -Cyree Jarelle Johnson, author of Slingshot
The Future is Disabled moves us past disability as an identity category, or awareness of disability justice as an anti-oppression check mark. By addressing her beloved community on her own terms, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha teaches us that disability justice is a possible world that already exists, full of the love we deserve and the complexity we already embody.
-Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author of Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals
Groundbreaking, hilarious, and brilliantly written, this book is a vital manual for navigating disabled grief, joy, and survival in pandemic times. If you need advice on how to crip mutual aid, how to make revolutionary disabled art, or how to make some really good chicken soup, this book has you covered. The Future is Disabled cements Piepzna-Samarasinha's status as one of the most important disability thinkers of our generation. They make the disabled future absolutely irresistible. -Jina B. Kim, assistant professor of English and of the Study of Women and Gender, Smith College
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna Samarasinha has created a guidebook for Deaf, Mad and disabled activists and artists everywhere - a love letter to all of us in these times of change and speculative futures turned into lived realities. The Future Is Disabled dares to dream of a different kind of future- and asks us to consider how we will show up for each other in these new realities. There are stories about our newly passed on kin, and strategies for building mutual aid and DJ groups from scratch. This book is everything we need in a moment of profound change, and at a time when the disabled and Mad futures described by Octavia Butler are settling in around us. Thank you, Leah, for helping us to dream, and helping us to consider what we need to do to survive into the future. -Syrus Marcus Ware, co-editor of Until We Are Free: Black Lives Matter in Canada
In this searing essay collection, Piepzna-Samarasinha presents a hopeful glimpse into the future through examining the present from a disability justice lens ... It's a thought-provoking read. -Buzzfeed
The Future is Disabled is full of passion, compassion and fire. Its 18 chapters blur the lines between memoir, political essay, rant and eulogy, all of them united by the conviction that every body, mind, race and gender matter. -Ms. Magazine
In its entirety, The Future Is Disabled dares disabled folks to exist outside the bounds set by our ableist society by using disability justice to survive and combat 'climate change, the rise of white fascism and white supremacy, and unending pandemics.' -Jezebel
After reading The Future is Disabled, I feel more hopeful, and I think you will, too. I want to shout through a megaphone that everyone needs to read this book, because this text is one of the tools we can use to make it through the next several decades. -Autostraddle
Unflinching and confrontational, The Future is Disabled doesn't pull any punches. It is both an instructional guide and a critical, eye-opening manifesto ... Piepzna-Samarasinha, a contributor to Alice Wong's Disability Visibility Project, is one of the strongest contemporary voices in the fields of disability and transformative justice. -Booklist
This collection of disability justice essays focuses on how the pandemic has affected disabled people, especially QTBIPOC disabled people. Piepzna-Samarasinha argues that we're on track for disabled people to become the majority in the future and asks, "Have we ever imagined this not just as a cautionary tale or scary story, but as a dream?" They show how disabled ways of thinking and working are crucial in addressing the problems we face right now. This book faces the deadly ableism of the world head-on while imagining a hopeful future. This is such a thought-provoking collection, and I can't wait to reread it. -Book Riot ("Best Books of the Year")
Piepzna-Samarasinha is one of the strongest contemporary voices in the fields of disability and transformative justice ... Unflinching and confrontational, The Future is Disabled doesn't pull any punches. It is both an instructional guide and a critical, eyeopening manifesto that will help nondisabled readers engage with the subject matter. -Booklist