The Washington Socialist Weekly Update <> Friday, February 7, 2020
By Eric Sommers
Being on the Autism spectrum is a daily struggle. Not only do you have to deal with the regular stressors of life under capitalism, but an additional range of social stressors that make meeting others and engaging in political life difficult.
Ableism, like any other form of supremacy, is rooted in the subconscious. As a result, I’ve had to deal with bullying as a child. With Autism comes difficulties in building conversation that many people do not understand. It’s difficult for me to start conversations, I am terrified of saying something wrong, and feel instant regret when I perceive I’ve done so. If comrades could make it clear that I haven’t hurt them, it would help a great deal.
Still, I don’t consider myself an introvert I do enjoy being with people, though I’m more comfortable if I’ve known you. In fact, I can certainly chew your ear off on some topic of interest of mine without realizing I’ve lost you five minutes ago.
From an organizing context within DSA, I’ve had to come out of my comfort zone when it comes to speaking with new people. New comrades I’ve never met, large social groups settings where trying to jump into a conversation can be nerve wracking. If I were to canvass, I’d want to be with someone I know who’s done it, and learn from them. It’s not just about skills, but comfort level. I’m not always good at initiating things, but can be motivated to do things. I know it’s weird to say this but inviting me to events helps with this anxiety.
I’m writing this blurb in the hopes that comrades within the chapter understand that this is a part of who I am as a person and as a comrade. That by understanding who I am as an individual on the autism spectrum, they can engage with me and others like me. I also hope that this puts the concerns of other comrades with disabilities (visible or not) on the minds of other comrades within the chapter. It is my hope that this starts a needed conversation within the Metro DC chapter, and that other comrades will feel comfortable talking about their own struggle, and how other comrades can best understand, and best accommodate.