Nothing About Us Without Us
"Nothing About Us Without Us!" (Latin: "Nihil de nobis, sine nobis") is a slogan used to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members the group(s) affected by that policy. This involves national, ethnic, disability-based, or other groups that are often thought to be marginalized from political, social, and economic opportunities.
The saying has its origins in Central European political traditions. It was the political motto that helped establish—and, loosely translated into Latin, provided the name for—Poland's 1505 constitutional legislation, Nihil novi, which first transferred governing authority from the monarch to the parliament. It subsequently became a byword for democratic norms. In this use, it is closely analogous to one of the most familiar slogans of the American Revolutionary War, ‘No taxation without representation’. It is also a long standing principle of Hungarian law and foreign policy, and was a cornerstone of the foreign policy of interwar Poland.
The term in its English form came into use in disability activism during the 1990s. James Charlton relates that he first heard the term used in talks by South African disability activists Michael Masutha and William Rowland, who had in turn heard the phrase used by an unnamed East European activist at an earlier international disability rights conference. In 1998, Charlton used the saying as title for a book on disability rights.
In 1991, Edis Bevan (who at that time was working on a disability movement research project for the Open University in the United Kingdom) added this phrase as the tagline of the BALT-L listserv messages. BALT-L@UBVM was an electronic resource intended to facilitate practical projects and social networking among scholars and other individuals interested in peace and security in the newly independent republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
- Nihil novi
- Independent living movement
- Self-determination theory
- Human rights
- Disability studies
- Davies, Norman (1984). Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland's Present. Oxford University Press.
- Bentley, R (1860). Hungary, from 1848 to 1860.
- Smogorzewski, Kazimierz (1938). "Poland's Foreign Relations". The Slavonic and East European Review 16 (48): 558–571. JSTOR 4203420.
- Kornat, Marek; J Micgiel (2007). "The Policy of Equilibrium and Polish Bilateralism". In P Wandycz (ed.). Reflections on Polish Foreign Policy. pp. 47–88. ISBN 0-9654520-7-7.
- Charlton, James I (1998). Nothing About Us Without Us. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-22481-7. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- "Nothing about us without us: Greater, meaningful involvement of people who use illegal drugs". Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "Nothing About Us Without Us: The Shared Goals of the Harm Reduction and Sex Worker Rights Movements". August 2, 2010.
- Directory of Electronic Journals, Newsletters and Discussion Lists. Association of Research Libraries.
- 'Nothing About Us Without Us' - Recognizing the Rights of People with Disabilities - UN Chronicle[dead link]
- Nothing About Us Without Us: Human Rights and Disability Zmag[dead link]
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