Joe Booth was speaking at the “Free Osime Brown” protest on 25 September. More about the Osime Brown campaign here.
Hey everyone. My name’s Joe. Joe Booth. I’m 18. And I’m autistic. And I’m socialist, or activist, or whatever you wanna call me. And first of all, I just wanna say: whatever I say now is not said as a soundbite, or for my own popularity, but because I literally mean it… and I want Osime Brown released!
So, why am I here? Because I’m absolutely furious and appalled, so much that it’s actually a miracle I ain’t swearing. Because Osime Brown is being convicted for a crime that not only did he not do but told others not to do. What’s worse is that they accepted he didn’t commit the crime but still want him deported to Jamaica where he has nothing.
Well, I’m telling you Osime, you don’t have nothing. You have us. You’ve got friends (not just family) who won’t stop until you’re released immediately.
Now, I can definitely relate to you as an autistic teenager. Not getting the right amount of support wherever and whenever you need it, facing hostility from our ableist society, not fitting into peer groups that are too cliquey, and not to forget, how depressing and mentally unhealthy it is living in such an unsuitable and confusing world, built around hierarchy rather than every individual’s needs.
Nothing much else I can directly relate to you on other than being young, autistic and working-class.
But that’s the thing: we need people on these demos campaigning at their hardest and most united for his release, however much they can relate, whatever their race, disability, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. is.
For two major reasons: a. because we’re all humans who look out for each other as a society, and b. because when you’re in a battle against an enemy so much bigger, so much stronger than you, to find out you have a friend you never knew existed, that’s the best feeling in the world, it really is, because together we have power. And I’d love to know how it makes you feel in particular, Osime.
Now, to finalise, because of what I last said that’s so essential in winning demands like this, if we see any other protests around us, anybody else who might seem interested, or better, should be interested, now or ever, go tell them, go spread the word, get them to make noise, make noise for them.
Black Lives Matter! Autistic Lives Matter! End All Discrimination! End All Oppression! End All Harm! Social Care Not Prisons! Scrap “joint enterprise”! Brand New Justice System! Solidarity, comrades.