We Need to Go Back to Our Roots in the Civil Rights Movement


Who can protest an injustice but does not is an accomplice to the act.

—The Talmud

I think the militant and committed  people in our movement for human rights in psychiatry are not really aware of the damage that has been done to us by those who are responsible for smashing the national conference we controlled and most of the rest of our movement besides.

People have grown used to our having no power at all, not being taken seriously, being completely shut out by the media. That isn’t the way it was before 1985 and “Alternatives,” and the takeover of our movement by the “mental health” system.

I think by around 1982, the year Berkeley voted for the ballot measure we organized to ban shock treatment, our movement was about as advanced, in terms of public consciousness and sympathy, as the LGBT movement was at that time..  Gay people continued to fight, the same way we had been doing.  They refused to grovel.  They didn’t beg for respect, they demanded it.  And they got it. Where is the respect that WE should have?

From almost the beginning of our movement, we had a great deal of access to the media.  I can remember in 1972, me and Judi Chamberlin being on national TV together, and it wasn’t the first time.  And I don’t intend it as a boast, but before 1985, I was on national television as many as 20 to 25 times. So were other people.

We need that kind of exposure of our ideas to the public.  We need to inspire people the way the brave black students did in the Sixties who were attacked for demanding the simple right to be served at lunch counters, like the  Freedom Riders who faced jail and beatings for refusing to sit at the back of the bus, like Martin Luther King, who wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail on scraps of paper smuggled into his cell.  He said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and decent people all over our country took heed.

Millions of idealistic young people were inspired by the courage and example of these people, by their moral authority, and I was one of them.

All other movements for liberation in the last half-century were inspired by the civil rights movement, and we were too.

Now we don’t protest in the streets against people being tortured and abused by psychiatry.  We just have bureaucrats paid by the system to be our “leaders,”  sending out press releases about the “recovery movement” and “peer certification.”  Why should the average person, in or out of the media, pay attention to that? How can we inspire people to join us if we let these agents of the system be our public face?  People are inspired by courage and idealism, not cynicism.  Our society has too much cynicism as it is.

My dream when I joined this movement in 1971 was that we were a civil rights movement for people like me who had been abused by psychiatry.  We acted like a civil rights movement and we were perceived as one.  And we were succeeding in convincing the public to be concerned about what psychiatry does.

We have the potential to be a very large movement, with tens of millions of people having been locked up on psych wards, and many millions more who have been drugged to the point of brain damage, along with their children.

And what do we offer them?  A national conference controlled by our oppressors where you better watch what you say, where they tried to ban Bob Whitaker from speaking? Why would anyone want to join such a “movement?”

We need to go back to our roots, to emulate the courage of the black people who started the civil rights movement.  We need leaders who take risks and make sacrifices, who lead by example, and who work for our cause and not just for their own glory. No, it will not be easy.  The risks and sacrifices we have to make will be very hard.

But if we don’t do that, we will never be able to inspire anyone, and we will continue to be powerless and ignored.

We can do better than this.  We did it before and we can do it again.  But nothing will change unless we go back to our roots.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. Thanks for trying to restart this discussion, I hope the fact that I’m the first to reply isn’t a sign that no one cares…

    I first learned of (real) “mental patients’ ” liberation during my year-long involuntary commitment to a state mental institution by reading about the then-budding movement in an old publication called The Radical Therapist; later when I was working on a legal project dealing with psychiatric inmates’ rights I read an article by Judi Chamberlin on “mental patients’ ” consciousness-raising and was motivated to attend the 1976 National Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression in Boston, which changed my life forever. I worked actively in the anti-psych movement for nearly a decade, and since have incorporated my anti-psychiatry analysis into other anti-racist/classist/sexist endeavors in which I have subsequently been involved.

    That said, if I had seen an article back then about “consumers’ rights” I would likely never have read it; not only does it sound boring, I sure didn’t identify myself as a consumer of anything other than phenothiazines and repression.

    From what I have heard about this so-called “Alternatives Conference” I’m glad I had left active organizing by its inception in 1985, because if there had been a serious anti-psych movement left at that time I can’t imagine that we would have had any option other than to engage in some sort of direct action to disrupt it or even shut it down.

    Speaking of such, I’m sure that many MIA readers are unaware of the numerous acts of collective civil disobedience in the late 70’s/early 80’s in which members of the psychiatric inmates’ liberation movement participated. Perhaps most notable was in 1982 when we took over the luxurious lobby of the Toronto Sheraton where the APA Convention was being held, forcing the cops to drag us out as a crowd of shrinks gathered to watch and make jokes (the behavior of the shrinks towards the alleged beneficiaries of their services was duly reported by the press). We weren’t doing this because we wanted “better treatment”; we wanted psychiatry to die!

    I agree with Ted that the movement probably reached its peak politically and influentially around 1982; that’s also when the most advanced statement of principles to date was adopted. (http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/act/movement-history/1982-principles)

    It makes me sad that so many people whose predictable experiences with the psychiatric system I read about in MIA can’t experience the inspiration and empowerment of a genuine movement that truly is about breaking free from the system’s shackles, not just making our subjugation more comfortable. And it pisses me off no end to read revisionist “histories” online about how the brash, unsophisticated, overly-demanding “mental patients’ ” liberation movement over time “evolved” into the current refined, polite, reasonable “consumers” movement. Gag me with a spoon!

    So, hopefully this won’t just turn into a dead-end thread and will stay on the homepage for at least a few days so more people can jump in.

    Oh, and Ted, I know you know who I am, right now I’m just luxuriating in my relative anonymity. So please don’t out me. 🙂

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  2. This timidity can be seen right across the disability spectrum.

    I am fed up to the teeth waiting quietly in a corner for someone to decide to recognize and allow me to realize my rights as a human.

    The recent photo (not sure if links are allowed http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/633801.html) of protesters being tear gassed for wanting accessible transit is riveting. Why isn’t this happening more often? Why are parents picketing about the lack of educational supports? Why are pwd living in poverty and squalor demanding a livable income or god forbid – jobs?

    The nearest thing I’ve seen to a protest is parents dropping off their adult children at government departments because they can no longer care for them.

    I think we can do better. It’s not like it’s going to get worse.

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  3. Old soldiers never die
    Never die
    Never die
    Old soldiers never die
    They just have their comments deleted by the Icarist faction!

    Peer counseling is the new face of coercive psychiatry.

    I am not a peer I am a person. DO NOT LABEL ME. I want human rights not “peer” entitlements.

    Professional patients aka peer counselors do not speak for me.

    Project Icarus represents a tiny fraction of people who have been labelled mentally ill. Connections with the press and a good grant writer does not make a popular movement. I do not understand why they are so prominently represented here.

    The peer counseling movement is beloved by NAMI. If it is funded the vast majority of programs will be led by people convincing other to stay on their medications. It is an effort to coopt the leadership by offering pseudoprofessional status and monetary incentives to keep the patients docile. It is a cruel joke. Not being docile enough for “peer counseling” will become an indication for forced medication.

    I don’t know anything about movements or politics Ted but I hope you know that there were kids behind enemy lines in those days calling themselves mental patient liberation front because of you while they were being physically dragged into a room and given ect or forced to drink cups of haldol laced juice. And yes that was still happening in the South in the seventies.

    I am afraid far too afraid to come out publicly. I too have grown old and while all the other old people worry about becoming disabled I worry about being called gravely disabled and being forced to endure “peer counseling” or medication.

    I love you Ted. I hope this post is left up long enough for you to see it!

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    • Well said, keep speaking out. We need the critical voices, the rebels, the radicals, of which I count myself as one. Doing what I can to rock the boat in my neck of the woods.

      Ironically I got involved in mental health activism in my 50’s, in 2008 proper, because of the peer movement (Americans coming to speak in Scotland) which I thought was about civil rights, helping folk to speak out, come off their drugs, stop others silencing them etc. Now it seems to be a watered down version and a way of getting folk off benefits and back to work. I feel cheated as if I got taken in by a scam of sorts.

      So I keep speaking out despite the silencing. There’s always an open door or a gap in the fence. I push on through until out the other side. I find that stubbornness doesn’t get less in older age. Here’s tae us, wha’s like us!

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    • “Peer counseling is the new face of coercive psychiatry.”

      Except, when it’s not. Peer work can be effective, and interference by the traditional system would be easier to avoid if there were less antagonism towards those trying their best to practice it.

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      • Without commenting on “peer counseling” per se, as anytime people support one another independently of “professional” direction it is peer counseling, I don’t follow that last bit of logic. “Interference by the traditional system” can also be described as coercion and assault, and our attitudes towards anything do not justify that.

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        • I have trouble with the word “peer” but not the concept. If it means people helping one another as equals, I think it’s great. If it means people taking money from the system to build a bureaucratic empire of underpaid semi-slaves working to get other people to stay on their drugs, that’s another story.

          Recently, I have been in a mutual aid (I like that phrase) group of people, mostly trying to free themselves from psych drugs, that has been a revelation to me. The woman survivor who organized it puts huge amounts of energy into encouraging and supporting people, and she knows that we have to go beyond getting off the drugs to recognizing the oppressive practices of psychiatry behind it. This admirable woman I think is a good example of what kind of leader our movement needs, “serving the people” in a selfless and ethical way.

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          • We’ll win this in the courts, Ted. I agree with you about “the recovery movement” and the need to give that language the Royal Toss. Why we are disinclined to rescue stalled and potentially earth-shaking lawsuits — such as Blackhouse v. TLC Properties, et al. — from the bowels of the corrupt U.S. judiciary is beyond me. It would take one good lawyer probably a week and a half to pull it out of the water.

            In the meantime, I hear constant refrains from the Movement to “call Congress.” Friends, it is over — with a capital “O” — for abolitionists if we continue to rely on Congress. The mere existence of Congressional “leaders” such as Rep. Tim Murphy in Beltway power positions — and the atrocious manner in which the U.S. Senate desiccated the UN CRPD — should have taught us that many moons ago.

            Why are activists and even lobbyists/attorneys so enamored with the Legislative branch (of U.S. government) when the Judicial branch is ripe for the picking??

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  4. 3 years into this what works for me the peer movement as its being called I would like to express where my opinion differs. I Attended Alternatives 2012 and the voice I heard loud and clear was of a man expressing that “alternatives” was held in the begining on a college campus while students were out for the summer .. I get to work as a peer in a government job and I advocate for more of that happening. I also get to sit On a state advisory council. what I know about “alternatives” is it is planned by 3 different consumer run agencies and as of now is in a rotation that each year it gets planned by the next. I think if 2015 happens it will be planned by Mental Health America Of Oregon. I slept on the steps of the oregon state capitol for months in protest about being unable to access mental healthcare. Each morning a state police officer would wake me up and I would go about my day. the difference now is I sit in the rooms of the “government” I met with a room full of “pshyciatrists” yesterday. I really feel like I wedged my foot in in doors that were being closed and now I am being heard, the voice of my community is being heard… My question to you is what do you want Alternatives to look like? I really think it may be as easy as speaking up and showing up to the planning meetings…

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    • I’d like to see an end to drug induced “bipolar” (meaning primarily antidepressant or ADHD drug induced “bipolar”) and the end of psychiatrists having the right to cover up child abuse by pastors and easily recognized iatrogenesis by incompetent doctors with “lacking in validity” disorders, please.

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    • Hi. I think you don’t have a basis for comparison. You may be allowed to sit in at meetings, but at bottom you have no power. Myself, I couldn’t care less about sitting next to a psychiatrist. They know that we have no way to make them do anything constructive.

      And “Alternatives” also. Just try to talk about any real change and see what happens. It wasn’t for nothing that they tried to ban Bob Whitaker. SAMHSA, which controls that conference, is just mainstream psychiatry pushing drugs.

      By the way, I should say that the reason Bob W was allowed to speak after all is that David Oaks, the director of MindFreedom, threatened a walkout of people if Bob was not allowed to speak. MindFreedom takes no government money, so it is free to speak out. SAMHSA feared the bad PR that would ensue if a walkout took place.

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      • Recently, I called every SAMHSA organization near me asking if any could help wean a child, who was suffering from tardive dyskinesia, off of neuroleptics. None of them offered assistance in doing this. You are right, SAMHSA “is just mainstream psychiatry pushing drugs.”

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      • odds are if david orginized a walkout I would have been there with him. I saw him around when I first become involved in all this. we frequently showed up at the same places. I simply believe I am building onto the foundation the individuals like David layed down for us.. I have an equal pay job and I know exactly what your talking about. there are a few “peer orginizations” that pay peers as little as possible while the ED is chillin in Cabo . we have created a coalition in Marion county much like what I saw in Lane County to address such issues. Dont think I have not asked myself if I am just being used as a pawn to press someone elses agenda? because I have given it thought. as far as meeting with psyciatrists the intent is for them to let me work with people on their caseload…. If we want to change the system we need to break it from the inside.

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  5. OK at first I thought you were being ironic as you described your experiences with the mental illness industry but I guess you’re describing your bonding with that system as something posiitve. But I can’t fathom someone camping out like that and putting themselves at risk to demand, essentially, thatthey put the “mental health” handcuffs on you, whether literally or figuratively.

    Though Ted or others could detail the beginnings of the so-called “alternatives” conference, which I won’t dignify with capital letters, I know enough to guarantee you that there was never anything truly grassroots about this event, and that it was conceived of as a way of co-opting the real movement. It should be obvious that an event funded by the forces you are trying to defeat cannot purport to be about “alternatives” to that very system.

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  6. Psychiatry is a big lie built on lies, we know that.

    I see this as an information war, the public believes psychiatry is “medical” .

    Almost everyone googles the name of there or there kids RX psychiatric drug, we need web pages explaining the fraud and danger psychiatry to appear when people search psych med names to get truth out.

    Right now ‘web md’ and NAMI drugs.com ect have first page results.

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  7. Looking at what blacks have to deal with right now and always, I would say that the Civil Rights movement has had limited success and has to reassert itself regularly with dwindling results. Perhaps, if possible, I think it would be best to build a movement in which people can help themselves and skirt the institution of psychiatry altogether. It’s better to just leave it in the dust so that it no longer applies. I don’t know how to go about this, but can’t see going toe to toe with psychiatry as anything but exhausting.

    I’d like to be wrong, but unless a critical mass of psychiatrists, other mental health care specialists, medical doctors, and neurologists take psychiatry down as the brain damaging pseudo-science it is, psychiatry will rule and the best most people can do is avoid it.

    I think it’s profound to find people who have had the same experiences and have come to the same realization that psychiatry does not help them and hurts them. Supporting each other is important. Showing others that we can take care of ourselves without drugs is important.

    The most powerful thing I think possible right now, is getting grants to develop community centers for peer support and peer housing, and carefully documenting results or finding some other organization or graduate students to do so to show that alternatives can work.

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    • I strongly agree that there’s no reason to argue with or try to change psychiatry. To what end? Once we understand the inherent fraudulence and corruption of that industry, what is the point of doing anything but staying away from it? Our job is to take away the power of psychiatry to involuntarily “treat” people, and to educate the populace to the basics of why they also should stay away from psychiatric indoctrination, drugs and worse. Once they no longer have the power to coerce the field will probably collapse under the weight of its own contradictions; if not it doesn’t matter because it will not have power over us.

      Another misconception is that being “radical” always has to involve protesting in the streets. Protests are effective when there is a real basis for unity among the participants, and when the protest is a reflection of a real day-to-day movement. But when it is simply a collection of people, no matter how great the number, it can be uninspiring and disempowering. (This in fact is how, for the most part, I experienced the 2012 APA protest in Philadelphia.)

      Consider that when we protest (to the APA for example) we are to some extent validating
      their right/power to “grant us our wishes,” when what we really need is a paradigm change which takes them out of the picture altogether.

      Another trap to avoid is beiing defensive about “not having an alternative.” The alternative to oppression is no oppression. We don’t need special “centers” to go to to experience no oppression; nor, though I support on its face the notion of peer counseling, should there be a need for “centers,” it should be a way of life.

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      • Yes the opposite of oppression is no oppression. And liberation for a mental patient is to stop being a mental patient not to form a movement to get civil rights for mental patients.

        I think a lot of people get thrown into the mental illness system because they are independent or eccentric or creative or rebellious or misfits. I don’t think many of them want to march in lockstep for another label. I don’t. Mental patients are not a group like African Americans or gay people or women. It’s just a label imposed from outside. The most radical action is to stop labeling yourself!

        Project Icarus doesn’t speak for me. Neither does Mad in America. Neither does Ted. I want individual rights not a group identity. I want human rights not rights for a labelled group.

        But I think people need to unite behind clearly defined goals. Stop drugging children. Stop coerced treatments. Stop pharmaceutical advertising. Support the right to individual choice. And then if you want to have some kind of group identity with people who choose it go for it but count me out. All of humanity is my peer group.

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        • Fair enough, you say a lot that I agree with. Tho Black people have the same DNA as white people so it could be argued that even they have a label imposed from outside. I would say that, artificially created or not, those who have been subjected to involuntary psychiatric procedures constitute a “group” of some sort, which has political significance. But as far as self-identifying primarily as “an ex psychiatric inmate,” we absolutely concur.

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    • Grants are fine, and I certainly agree self help/mutual aid is important, especially after my recent experience, but you better be careful where the money comes from. Anyway, a lot can be done without a lot of money. We should try to create real communities that are self-supporting. There is a book called “The Revolution Will Not Be Funded” that talks about this.

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  8. I confess. I was a latecomer to the mental patients’ Movement. I never attended any of the International Conferences for Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression. I was not present in Toronto in 1982. Ironically in 1972, I remember seeing something on TV about a nascent movement of mental patients. This was in the midst of my second of four hospitalizations I had back then. The 1985 Alternatives Conference was only the first nationwide gathering of mental patients I had ever attended.
    Reviewer Richard J. Brzostek’s criticism of the title of my self-published autobiography, EX-INMATE IN EXILE, is true. I was never kept against my will in any of the hospitalizations I had. As a result, I should not have referred to myself as a former, “inmate.” But I did this anyway because it had a nice ring to it.
    And I must say, ever since meeting most of the founding activists of the Movement in 1985, I have been highly enamored of them. Ted Chabasinski, Judi Chamberlin, Leonard Frank, Howie the Harp, Rae Unzicker, George Ebert, Don Weitz, and Sally Zinman have all been idols of mine for almost thirty years now. They are heroes. Each year now at the Alternatives Conferences, Sally Zinman puts on a workshop in which she articulates the history of the Movement for newcomers. Her work is critical, as there must be continuity from one generation of patients to the next.
    I, too, abhor verbiage such as, “recovery,” “wellness,” “consumers,” or, “mental illness.” To me, these words are nothing but N.A.M.I. puke, sadly coopted by today’s, “consumer,” Movement, for some reason or other. I do not use language such as that in any of my writings.

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  9. Thanks Ted

    We can do better. Please join us at the Annual Protest of the American Psychiatric Association on May 4, 2014 across the street from the Jacob Javits Convention Center (34th & 11th Avenue, NYC, HIGH NOON. An amazing group of speakers will be there to speak out against our jailers. http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1125624 #FreeJustina #StopPsychAssault #StopMutphyBill Please join us Protest the American Psychiatric Association

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  10. I think that having an an independent voice of people who have been labeled psychiatrically is vital to the health of a larger movement. Those of us who work in mental health advocacy and get paid or always subject to the problems related to getting government money. Having folks who work for free guarantees that there’ll always be a voice fighting for the rights of people labeled mentally ill . I have always been a strong supporter of Mind a Freedom and my organization has worked in several coalition efforts with them.

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  11. I would also like to point out that the Murphy bill would not only defund SAMHSA funded efforts but the Protection and Advocacy program which provides legal services to people fighting for their rights in the Psychiatric System.

    Joseph Rogers

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    • Would you mind telling me the name of your org? I am looking for accepting groups which are more interested in pragmatism and helping people than politics? I have no objections to anyone who furthers the goal. I am quite dismayed by Icarus which is the only group I know about. Thank you

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      • Yeah, and at the risk of god knows what…I saw that post too and was amazed to find it on this very thread. (Is this what would be called “passive aggressive”?)

        Will this discussion still exist tomorrow? (I’m only half joking.)

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      • I think it is great the good old radical view point is alive a well. I have done a lot of work with David Oaks and Mind Freedom over the years and have been a big supporter of his work. So I think the independent unfunded movement is alive and well.

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      • Is this where the post by Ted was that calls out Mr. Rogers for what Ted sees as Rogers’ role in selling out the mental patients’ movement? (I’m paraphrasing.)

        Without that post the succeeding ones are confusing. I think we’re all big enough
        here for grown up discussions.

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        • Hi Oldhead. I’m the new comment moderator here on MIA and for the sake of transparency I’d like to clarify what’s happening here. There was a claim made in a comment by Ted, which we are investigating to see if it can be substantiated. At this point, it has not been substantiated, and thus we are pulling those comments until further notice. We will comment further once we have had more opportunity to investigate. Until we can complete our own inquiry, we won’t be allowing comments on the matter. Thank you for understanding.

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  12. To be of use, yes… we have to do this for one another, not use one another. Our movement can set an example, create the kind of community that everyone needs, not just those of us who have been so badly hurt.

    Everyone needs a real community, but psychiatry drives people away from one another.

    We can act on our moral commitment and inspire people.

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    • I’m sorry if I embarassed you with my comments ted. I think I was overtaken by nostalgia for my teenage years. Of course I don’t love you and I don’t even really know what you stood for just that one phrase mental patient liberation liberation front. You did nothing at all to help us. But you can do very little and still inspire others. There’s a sort of ripple effect and that is valuable too in its own way. If you want publicity maybe you should get a public relations firm? I’m not being snarky I’m serious. Any way sorry if I made you uncomfortable. I notice you didn’t acknowledge me. If this is the way you welcome newcomers it might be a bit offputting to some.

      I think the heroes are those of us who did do the everyday work and loved each other not a “movement” that talked about it. That includes people who were professionals and even NAMI in some cases. I care about kids who are still locked up and people who are being drugged into submission. I don’t understand how excluding people will really benefit anyone in the long run. All power and control is centered in a very small group of people. Really sad. But they are really great at publicity. They might be able to help you. I just want results I don’t care who gets the credit.

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  13. I want to bring to people’s attention this beautiful and well-known poem by Marge Piercy. Rarely do people quote poetry here, but I think this poem has great relevance to our movement and to all other movements working for liberation and justice.


    The people I love the best
    jump into work head first
    without dallying in the shallows
    and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
    They seem to become natives of that element,
    the black sleek heads of seals
    bouncing like half submerged balls.

    I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
    who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
    who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
    who do what has to be done, again and again.

    I want to be with people who submerge
    in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
    and work in a row and pass the bags along,
    who stand in the line and haul in their places,
    who are not parlor generals and field deserters
    but move in a common rhythm
    when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

    The work of the world is common as mud.
    Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
    But the thing worth doing well done
    has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
    Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
    Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
    but you know they were made to be used.
    The pitcher cries for water to carry
    and a person for work that is real.

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  14. Ted, All excellent points and more is this pity. I feel there is less evidence of a real movement than at an earlier time. While the language is there the reality is no less grim. If I was forced to look for the evidence of a movement in my metro area it would be limited to what is represented by provider agencies and putatively peer run organizations. When I’ve asked friends in the system about the movement I either get a quizzical expression or “Do you mean NAMI?”

    The problem with the movement is that for most of us it is about us without us. Ironically the very refrain we’ve heard so often about the mental health system itself.

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    • Yes, what you just said is sort of the point of my article. Our movement, our movement for liberation and human rights, has been very badly weakened and we are going to have to work hard to rebuild it. But there are still people around the country, people like Jim Gottstein and Lauren Tenney, who are organizing the May 4 demo in New York against the APA, who have a deep and principled commitment to change and liberation. I urge everyone reading this who can to be at that demonstration.

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      • Not spam. he was replying to my question:)

        I looked at the website and I believe I may have had some contact with that group in the early nineties. It was an mha sponsored group. At that time they were massively focused on medication compliance but at the same time they were very kind and supportive and tolerant when I offered different opinions. ( This was in direct contrast to Icarus where I was blocked the first week I posted for not being properly deferential and sheeplike) I left the mha group because it wasn’t my cup of tea. According to the website it is not active in my area now.

        Thanks for your reply.

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    • What is the point of an Alternative Conference that shuts out innovative ideas forged in fire by survivors during their battles with the same oppressive system that funds this fully censored so called alternative conference ?
      I’ve never been allowed to present my progressive ideas there and have met nothing but a brick wall from jolly roger’s organization.
      In addition had I known that he sold out the true freedom fighters to advance his consumer- pharma -psychiatric- watered down bullshit I wouldn’t have tried to beg his organization a number of times to let me make a real presentation that offered some real alternatives toward gaining freedom from the pharmapysch-gulog-archepeligo.
      Thank G-d that Ted and old head and others are still fighting on .No one is going to give us freedom .It has to be taken.

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  15. If it is not a civil rights movement, there needs to be one. Stabbing people with needles and injecting harmful chemicals in them seems to me to be a violation of our 4th Amendment right to security of person. Same for shock and locking people up who have committed no crime.
    It is my guess that the majority of civil commitment proceedings are of the kind where the judge rubber stamps whatever the state psychiatrist says. This is not what should be considered due process (5th Amendment). It is prior restraint and too often I suspect carried out so that cronies of the judge are the attorneys supposedly representing the alleged “mentally ill person”. How often do individuals so incarcerated have what would be recognized as a vigorous defense of their liberty? Is a state appointed attorney also available if an incarcerated person wishes to petition for discharge? Are PAIMI funded organizations taking such cases?
    What kind of pre incarceration and “treatment” hearing is there to military personnel on active duty? Are they able to access their 5th Amendment right to due process?
    If one is harmed by psychiatric drugs or other involuntary “treatment “ harms, can the doctors and institutions which caused the harms be held accountable in either criminal or civil claims? Can veterans access their right to petition for redress? (1st Amendment) Will such petitions result in actual redress? Will they result in the same way for both veterans and non veterans? If not what happened to the 14th Amendment to equal protection?
    The point I am trying to make here is that as terrible involuntary psychiatry is for individuals and their loss of civil rights, thus equality with persons not so “treated”, what needs to be understood is that involuntary psychiatric treatment is not merely an insult to the people who have undergone it, it is an insult to the civil liberties we supposedly have as Americans .
    What people often forget is that since the inception of this country there have been people opposed to civil liberty. Then they were called Torys. The “mental health” movement is the most recent incarnation or iteration of the ideology of those opposed to liberty. To advocates of this ideology “mental health” is more important than civil rights. What has too infrequently not been made clear is that one cannot hope to have a country where there are both civil rights and an involuntary “mental health” system. They are contradictions; mutually exclusive. One has one or the other. They cannot coexist.
    I maintain there has long been an extension of the War of Independence, or Revolutionary war. The present day Torys are those who would chip away the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They chip away, I say with the aim to abolish these ideals altogether. Both psychiatric inmates and active duty personnel and vets have lost these rights. They are gone, and involuntary psychiatry is here in their place. These just mentioned groups are the canaries in the mine. Our task it seems to me is the same as the one undertaken by Thomas Paine; to promote the cause of freedom.

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  16. “Now we don’t protest in the streets against people being tortured and abused by psychiatry.”
    I suppose we should refer to it as “enhanced therapy”– to be PC. As the study done by Princeton and Northwestern Universities pointed out the USA is an oligarchy, not a democracy. So the explanation behind all these things must be a financial or power explanation. Either the oligarchs are making money or they are not. In what you are writing about, they are. Or gaining power.

    What this means is that Our opinion counts for very little. Theirs is crucial. I am not sure what we can do in our current situation with our current status as chattel. The courts are not our friends. We probably are inching towards some kind of revolution or revolt.

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  17. “Stalinist-style show-trial: Former top shrink for FBI to be involuntarily committed”


    “In a shocking development, Alen J. Salerian, M.D., the former top psychiatrist for the FBI, is about to be involuntarily committed to a prison psychiatric facility for indefinite detention.”

    I had two clients that went through this. A real nightmare. You can forget civil rights if the gov is after you. Above the law. Haven’t read the Constitution for years.

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  18. I often ask myself if the Civil Rights Movement would have ever taken off if people had computers back then. Would they put themselves on the line like they did back then or just sit behind their computers and decry the injustices from the comforts of their home. I don’t know?

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  19. I would like our movement to honestly create alternatives to help people going through very difficult times…I agree with most of what’s written here, but are we able to respond to our community members when they are most distressed? I have seen people who “hate” psychiatry take others to the ER. for an apparent lack of any alternatives.

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    • “Only fair?” So this is payback in other words? Looks like Ted touched a nerve.

      In other words if somebody feels compelled to post an article you find challenging on one of “your” sites, it is then your perogative to pester the author? Did TC post the piece there personally? You seem to be acting deliberately provocatively.

      Hopefully we can move on here.

      It is a definite flaw of this blogging system that posts automatically drop off the board when there are a certain # of new posts above them, no matter how involved the discussion is and how many people are participating.

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      • Yeah, I don’t like it either. People can write to the editorial staff about it, though. I think what is happening is that there are more and more submissions now, as MIA continues to grow. I think the front page needs a redesign to accommodate more blogs at a time. Some of the other stuff doesn’t need so much display, I think.. Bob Whitaker told me he expects the total number of unduplicated readers to be over 100,000 for April.

        One hundred thousand and growing fast! That is awesome.

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  20. No old head
    I just think it fair that folks hear both sides of the story. Ted has his version of history and I have mine. In fact the editor has asked me to blog a response to Ted. I plan to tell folks about a wonderful movement of hard working folks who work hard every day to make a difference.
    Joseph Rogers

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  21. Well, I’m sorry the editor has fallen into this game of yours. But it’s his site not mine. Since you have your own sites, as you point out, why the sudden urgency to start posting on this very discussion?

    I for one know your history very well and so do other people who consitute the remnants of what was once a vibrant and empowering movement for liberation, so Ted is by no means alone. Is this some new machiavellian ruse you’re trying to pull on a bunch of sincere people who are trying to deal with important matters just to get your name back in the mix?

    You have made your contempt for psychiatric inmates’ liberation very clear over the years. So rather than acting in a provocateurial manner designed to divert us from the discussion at hand, could you at least have the respect for Ted & others to post your concerns in the “forums” section? That way people who want to argue about you and your agenda can do so, and we can continue our discussion here.

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    • I believe this is an open forum.and I have as much right as anyone to present my views. I think it’s the kind of nasty negative approach that I seen in this thread that is done more to destroy the anti psychiatry approach than any thing I could have done

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      • Yet, as I said, you choose this very thread to involve yourself with. Hmmm…it’s not a matter of “rights” but of attitude.

        There was nothing nasty or negative going on in this discussion until you showed up, other than people expressing righteous anger at both psychiatry and at the way the movement has been degraded and coopted. This apparently makes you unhappy and I suspect you would like to divert the discussion away from its original and intended focus.

        Why would you think that people who wish to dismantle the psychiatric state would take advice on their “approach” from someone who, from what I recall and have been told since, has made it clear that he would like the psychiatric inmates’ liberation movement to disappear?

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          • OK I’ll make a note of that. Objectively, of course, the only way for the psychiatric industry to properly be “held accountable” is for it to acknowledge the fraudulent precepts upon which it is based, refrain from further fraudlent, dangerous and/or coercive practices marketed as “treatments,” and to pay its millions of victims just reparations. So I’m glad to see you’re on board with all that, however belatedly.

            PS to Old Soldier — I feel your pain!

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  22. The real issue here is idealism versus cynicism. That’s what it is.

    We have to maintain our idealism and commitment no matter how much money and power the psychiatrists and the drug companies employ to silence us. I understood this well, in a basic way, as I sat in solitary confinement at Rockland State Hospital when I was eight, nine, ten…
    I told myself that I would never become like the people who were torturing me, and I dreamed of coming back some day and rescuing the other children from what was being done to me.

    And I have done my best to keep faith with that child, the child I was then, and with all the others like me.

    I want those who take money from the people who torture and abuse us to know that you will never defeat me and the others, we will never stop fighting, I will keep fighting till I die.

    And although I know that I will not live to see it because of all the years that have been taken from our movement, we will prevail.

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  23. HI, “old Soldier.” apparently some of your posts were deleted because you violated the posting guidelines that MIA has. I have nothing to do with deleting anyone’s posts. This done by a staff person for MIA. She contacted me and said she tried to get in touch with you about why your comments were deleted, but apparently, she cant reach you on your email.. I suggest you post something with your email on it, and she will then contact you.

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  24. Vera Sharav disclosing the nature and meaning of experiments being done by the NIMH and other “Psychiatrists” is part of what open Robert Whitaker’s eyes.

    Before the amphetamine and L-dopa (meaningless hype) “challenge tests” that made a pretense of studying their “diagnosis” of “schizophrenia,” and “their dopamine hypothesis” — their was a similar “test” done for propaganda purpose.

    We need to integrate the rhetoric. It is fundamental to the fraud of Biopsychiatry with its lucrative toxic foreign patented drugs, and its ECT and lobotomy, that they had to suppress their own best people at the starting bell. Between 1954 when their marketing plan for the D-2 receptor blocker Thorazine worked so well – using targeted “detail men” and crafted propaganda – and 1980 when their DSM-3 came out making everthing “Medical model,” the industry counter intelligence did concerted actions to contain and control their researchers who were developing biochemical testing and biochemical treatments. They could not reap a trillion dollars profit from the Dawn the Golden Age of Pharmaceutical Therapies in Psychiatry unless they made the use of patented trademarked drugs the only thing people ever heard of. Medical treatment and pharmacology were to be synonyms and nothing was to break the harmony. Only psychotherapy and psychoanalysis could be the runners up, the me toos.


    Amphetamine and L-dopa challenge or provocation tests, and the methyl receptor test of niacin.

    The supposed experiments can be seen as advertising, propaganda filler material (“Hey, look at us!” — “important scientific research is underway!”), a pretense that they are doing ongoing research of such weighty matters as their “dopamine hypothesis” of “schizophrenia.”

    When they suppressed their own biochemical treatment Psychiatrists with the fabricated pretense of the 1973, 58 page, “Task Force 7 Report” Thomas Ban, M.D. provided another of these unconscionable propaganda “tests.” In this he yanked his patients off of the drugs they were giving them, then gave them a large dose of methionine and a dose of niacin. The niacin failed to act as an antidote, failed to protect them and his patients all deteriorated. While this, in a actual fact act, is evidence for the idea of over-methylation, TA Ban, M.D. claimed that it represents independent peer review testing that shows that the niacin as methyl receptor idea is wrong.

    Nobel Laureate biochemist Linus Pauling explains how the amount of niacin used is insufficient for the amount of methionine. Linus states that the experiment might not be reproduced using the correct amount of niacin out of ethical considerations.

    The NIMH, APA and pharmaceutical shills have no ethical considerations for the welfare of Americans.

    Linus Pauling, “The study referred to as number 12 (31), which resulted in an exacerbation of the illness of 30 schizophrenic patients who participated in it, has no value as a test of the methyl acceptor theory of nicotinic acid. Consideration of ethical principles may have kept the investigators from repeating the study with use of the proper equimolar amounts of nicotinic acid and methionine.”

    Linus Pauling comments on the synthesized Task Force 7 Report
    “Independent Scientific Peer Review” fraud of 1973

    The symptom provocation experiments are actually just propaganda material to back up and add to the pretense that they have a “dopamine hypothesis” and that they have any interest in “their hypothesis.”

    This extremely vicious an Anti American reality to how the corporate counterintelligence conducts itself, is seen prior to 1973 with Thomas A. Ban, M.D. making a group of his patients sicker as made up matierial for a fraudulent peer review.

    Suppressing Medical testing and treatment for so-to-say biochemical imbalances is something they saw as requisite at the beginning of their multi-decade fraud of pretending to be interested in treating “biochemical imbalance” using patented invention, trademarked pharmaceutical neurotropic drugging agents.

    Daniel Burdick, Springfield Eugene Antipsychiatry

    Eugene Oregon

    Stand Up. Integrate the rhetoric.

    Leaving this part of the history out of the picture will not help.

    “Symptom provocation experiments”


    Craig Olson – The APA Task Farce on Orthomolecular

    Stand Up. Integrate the rhetoric.

    Which Side Are YOU On?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Dr05tXktSo Pete Seeger
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Dr05tXktSo Rebel Diaz

    1996: Yale University researchers publish findings of experiment that subjected 18 stable schizophrenia patients to
    psychotic relapse in an amphetamine provocation experiment at West Haven VA.

    Medical College of Virgina — 19 patients given amphetamine

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