Saturday, July 31, 2021

Dinah Murray, North London activist, campaigner around autism: May 1946 - July 2021

Guardian obituary by Penny Warren:    

Dinah's own website:

In it she describes herself as 'a human rights campaigner in the realm of learning disabilities as well as autism. Implications extend well beyond autism to an egalitarian understanding of humans of every sort.'

~Janine Booth  

A poem by Dinah, some advice to the young:

Prefer the grimmest truth to glittering fake
Forget it! No-one else thinks so.
Exclusively what pleases you.
Unless it's turned to deeds by effort spent.
If something's to be done, then do it now
Why not go off and have a little treat?

Dinah was keen to leave a better world for future generations. She presented, with Janine Booth, on Marxism and Autism, followed all the news about Universal Basic Income, and participated in climate actions. Dinah was a fervent proponent of technology, working on proposals to develop software to have on tablets that could be distributed to Autists in care so that they can communicate outside and raise any issue affecting their care. Dinah often wrote letters to compliment or complain so that organizations could improve. Of course, Dinah was also very supportive of Autistic artists and Autistic Pride events; she regularly attended the Hyde Park Autistic Pride picnics and proudly sported a homemade "weird pride" badge as well as her "productive irritant" one.

Since realising I was part of the autism world some fifteen years ago, I have met many inspiring, clever, and kind autistic people – but none quite as inspiring, clever, and kind as Dinah Murray. A warm and cultured friend, Dinah would insist on serious, political conversations taking place over a delicious lunch or a pleasant walk. We presented alongside each other on several occasions, on capitalism, socialism, Marxism, autism, and neurodiversity. The general pattern was that I would give a flashy slideshow, then Dinah would follow up with some softly-spoken, brilliant insights. She knew very well that academic efforts alone would not liberate autistic people, so was active in campaigns and political initiatives to fight injustice and improve autistic lives, including attending the launch of Neurodivergent Labour in 2019 and support its work since then. Dinah was thoroughly non-judgemental and always encouraging. When the history of how we won autistic liberation is written, Dr. Dinah Murray's name will feature prominently.



Ask 'Is that so?' of every claim you make

If you imagine you're the centre of the show,

Control the urge to say and see and do

Don't laud the beauty of a good intent,

Don't say, Oh Yes it must be done, and mop your brow.

And now you've made these sentiments so neat,


Dinah was active in the High Holloway Against the Poll Tax group in the early 1990s, making their banner and attending demonstrations. In the mid-1990s she became a great supporter of the McLibel Support Campaign, and often looked after my young son so that I could focus on my work as a defendant during the long trial.

- Dave Morris

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