The CHRUSP Call to Action, and Its Significance

Bonnie Burstow, PhD
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Various instruments of the United Nations have commented on forced treatment, or involuntary confinement, or both (for details, see Burstow, 2015a), and a number of truly critical additions to international law have materialized. Arguably, the most significant of these is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. What makes it so significant? For one thing, it is because this landmark convention puts forward nothing less than a total ban on both involuntary treatment and the involuntary confinement of people who have broken no laws.

To highlight a couple of relevant passages, article 12 of the CRPD states, “State parties shall recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.” Correspondingly, article 14 states:

State parties shall ensure that people with disabilities, on an equal basis with others:

  1. Enjoy the right to liberty and security of the person
  2. Are not deprived of their liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily … and that the existence of a disability shall in no way justify a deprivation of liberty.

What is likewise significant, the guidance provided clarifies that the ban on forced treatment and on voluntary committal is to be seen as absolute.

What we have here in other words is nothing less than a colossal breakthrough.

In line with the CRPD breakthrough, CHRUSP (Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry) has issued a call to action in support of the prohibition. I strongly support this campaign both as a human being generally and as a psychiatry abolitionist—hence this article.

First let me say that whether or not one is a psychiatry abolitionist, or to put this another way, whether one sees some value in psychiatry’s tenets and approaches or whether one regards them as both totally foundationless and inherently damaging, there is an onus upon us simply as human beings to find a way to support campaigns of this ilk. When basic rights such as the right to decide what does or does not enter one’s own body and the right not to be confined to a locked ward are at issue, we all of us have a moral obligation to do something to set the situation right. How can it be acceptable to override people’s right to make decisions for themselves?  To stop people from walking about freely—especially when they have broken no law? Nor can the deprivation of such rights be warranted by claims (what follows are several of the standard ones) such as the person lacks the capacity to make decisions for themselves or they are of danger to self or others. As noted in Burstow (2015b), while for sure people may need assistance in making decisions, incapacity per se is a circular institutional construct; and besides that it is indefensible to deprive people of freedom on the basis of prediction, the elites involved in such decisions (read: psychiatric professionals) have virtually no ability to predict dangerousness. Nor for that matter do others.

The long and the short is that the cause is just, liberation from oppression is at issue, and irrespective of any differences in our respective understandings of psychiatry, there is ample reason for us all to place a priority on the current campaign. I am accordingly enthusiastically joining with leaders like Tina Minkowitz in urging people to get involved.

That noted, while the campaign in question places a very special onus on all of us, and my major purpose in this article is to support that, I did additionally want to do what no other writer to date has done—to tease out the special meaning that the CRPD and such campaigns uniquely hold for those of us who are abolitionists, whether inadvertently or otherwise. What is especially apropos here is the attrition model of psychiatry abolition.  So what is the attrition model of psychiatry abolition? And as an attrition model abolitionist, how do I understand the current campaign?

Predicated on the understanding that psychiatry abolition is a process and a direction as opposed to a goal which can be quickly attained, the attrition model of psychiatry abolition, as articulated in Burstow (2014) and adopted by Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault

is a model for determining what actions and campaigns to support and what to prioritize. An operant principle is that active support be predicated on the capacity or tendency of the action or campaign to move society in the direction of abolition. Pivotal to the model are the following defining questions:

  1. If successful, will the action or campaigns that we are contemplating move us closer to the long range goal of psychiatry abolition?
  2. Are they likely to avoid improving or adding legitimacy to the current system?
  3. Do they avoid widening psychiatry’s net? (Burstow, 2014, p. 39).

Now again, while supporting the CHRUSP call to Action is urgent and necessary for the reasons already indicated, the degree of prioritization for an attrition model abolitionist would depend on the answers to such questions. So are there “yes answers” to the questions above? Let me suggest that albeit to varying degrees, in all three cases, yes.

To tackle this one by one, beginning with the first question, any measure which abolishes any integral aspect of psychiatry without question moves society demonstrably in the direction of abolition. Hence the prioritization by Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault, for example, of the abolition of certain “treatments” (e.g., ECT). And does this campaign target the abolition of anything integral to psychiatry? Obviously yes—all use of force and coercion. As such, the first criterion is satisfied.

Which brings us to Question Two: Is the campaign likely to avoid improving or adding legitimacy to the current system? This is the most ticklish of the questions, for a case could be made that the psychiatric system would be improved by becoming less coercive. This notwithstanding, my sense is that eliminating the coerciveness in no way constitutes an endorsement of psychiatry and could in fact function in the exact opposite way—that is, it could lead people to ask themselves: What else should go? It could even in the fullness of time, culminate in a more wholesale questioning of psychiatry—especially once it is seen that eliminating coercion can be accomplished without a plethora of horrid consequences following.

Finally, Question Three: Does the campaign in question avoid widening psychiatry’s net (translation: Would the campaign, if successful, avoid enabling psychiatry to scoop up ever more people?)? Here the answer is a resounding yes. The point is that were this campaign successful, not only would it not widen psychiatry’s net, it would demonstrably narrow it, allowing all those who say “no” to escape psychiatry altogether.

What follows from this analysis, this campaign is in line with abolitionist principles.  And as such, prioritizing this campaign is a natural move for abolitionist groups to consider.

Summarizing Remarks, Invitations, Suggestions, and Warnings

A very important move has been taken by the United Nations in the passing of the CRPD. For the first time in history, there is an international legal clarification that psychiatric survivors must enjoy the same rights as everyone else—that is, force is absolutely prohibited. This is not just “any” organization taking this position, additionally—this is a mammoth mainstream organization which wields both moral and legal clout. Correspondingly, an important campaign is now under way to support the absolute prohibition that is part and parcel of the CRPD. What has been shown in this article is that the prioritization of this campaign makes sense both on a fundamental human rights level and additionally, on a psychiatry abolition level. Given the prestige of the United Nations and given that many countries have already signed and even ratified the Convention, moreover, explicitly wedding this campaign to the Convention itself is itself pragmatic.

My hope is, correspondingly, that many embrace this campaign and join us in actively promoting it. Please consider contributing articles and pictures to the CHRUSP website. Please talk to others. Perhaps create educational events. If your country has not signed the Convention, not ratified the Convention, has added a restriction, or is simply in non-compliance, you or your group might want to take the lead in making the problem known. We have a moment for change here—and my hope is that enough people will face whatever fears stop them and reach out and grab it.  Not that winning this fight will be easy, for countries have a habit of ignoring/evading international law, including contractual obligations which pertain by virtue of being signatories to a convention. All the more reason to double and triple our efforts.

The biggest obstacle that we are likely to encounter is people’s fear of dangerousness. Be prepared to address it. Arguably, the second biggest is people’s sense that vulnerable folk are going to be deserted. A point to be made when talking to others is that the CRPD is clear that supports must be offered. And indeed, if we go about this correctly, the era of the CRPD could well become the era when an unprecedented number of new and exciting support options materialized for people—and, of course, voluntary ones. In this regard, contrary to the common and I would suggest duplicitous equation of psychiatry and services, and besides that “service” and “coercion” are more or less mutually exclusive categories, is not the stranglehold exercised by psychiatry itself one of the principal factors responsible for the paucity of services?

In ending, to comment briefly on a snag. Were this campaign successful—and yes, it is for sure an uphill battle—psychiatry’s likely response will be to step up its misrepresentation of its “treatments.” The point here is that the future of psychiatry would then be more dependent on personal buy-in; and as we know, institutional psychiatry, alas, has virtually no qualms about misrepresentation.

Now some may feel that this last point is a “red herring” or minimally a minor issue since the CRPD explicitly specifies that “informed” consent is necessary. To be clear, indeed it does, but so does almost every piece of “mental health” legislation in the world and that has had no impact whatever on the ongoing and ever expanding production and dissemination of psychiatric misinformation. Ironic though this may seem, the upshot is that in the event of success, stronger monitoring of and stronger reins on psychiatry would be absolutely necessary.

A conundrum to be sure, but hardly one that we have not encountered before.

[For this and other articles, see http://bizomadness.blogspot.ca/]

* * * * *

References:

Burstow, B. (2014). The withering of psychiatry: An attrition model for antipsychiatry. In B. Burstow, B. LeFrançois, & S. Diamond (Eds.), Psychiatry disrupted (pp. 34-51). Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Burstow, B. (2015a). Canada—A Human Rights Violator

Burstow, B. (2015b). Psychiatry and the business of madness: An ethical and epistemological accounting. New York: Palgrave.

20 COMMENTS

  1. I absolutely agree forced psychiatric treatment must be abolished. I thought this was a great article pointing out how forced psychiatric treatment is being abused in the US today.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/02/forced-psychiatry-in-ohio-instrument-of-political-oppression/

    And the US is a “human rights violator” also. Tina’s call for artwork did prompt me to finally start an anti psychiatry collage, that I’d been meaning to make for awhile. But it won’t be pretty, because forced psychiatric treatment is anything but.

  2. Bonnie,
    From my vantage point, the methods employed to circumvent the licensing guidelines based on State and Federal law, that already contain strong language designed to protect human rights and reign in psychiatry; the methods employed by psychiatry are really more supported by their legal power in our society , which grants them impunity in the exercising of their professional opinion regarding both competency and safety with reference to their “authority” to incarcerate non-criminals and drug them by force. Whoa– long sentence! The short version is- getting around these human rights matters is a piece of cake–. Let me explain what I know to be the case—

    So, while I fully embrace both the intent and the spirit of this blog post, I have to ask Bonnie the ten million dollar question– when you wrote:

    >> Ironic though this may seem, the upshot is that in the event of success, stronger monitoring of and stronger reins on psychiatry would be absolutely necessary.<<

    Who did you envision would be designated for the role of "reigning in psychiatry"? What governing body–agency, organization– branch of government– will be granted power to challenge the *medical* expertise of psychiatrists ? Ay! there's the rub!

    My tack would be to work towards disassociating psychiatry from medicine– then we can more reasonably employ the expertise and advice from a wider range of mental health professionals with regards to these crucial issues.

    Here is just one of the fun facts I learned researching the origins of juvenile court and child psychiatry–.

    How did Child Psychiatry become a medical specialty? (Trivia question)

    "Through new organizations and special licensure child psychiatrists made it known that they, too, belonged to the medical profession," ("Taming the Troublesome Child". Kathleen W. Jones)

    1953: Founding of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry .

    1959: Child psychiatry becomes a board certified medical specialty– (special licensure requirements)

    K.Jones continues: "Medical specialization allowed child psychiatrists to claim professional distinctiveness (and superiority) …The medicalization of child psychiatry after mid-century opened opportunities for the development of interests and interpretations outside the rigid boundaries and critiques of motherhood."

    The upshot to this creation story is a paradox. The guild interests, status and authority of child psychiatry is protected by– child psychiatrists, whose founding organizational leaders simply declared themselves "medical authorities"–They are the keepers of their own Holy Grail.

    This is a tiny facet of a very juicy story, one hundred years worth of the exact same made up diseases, disorders, (diagnosing social and cultural "problems of adjustment" as medical disorders), pseudo-science and bogus treatments that we grapple with now—I just wanted to introduce a point of weakness that this Goliath apparently has forgotten all about. Psychiatry was not subjected to the rigors of scientific scrutiny; nor was it accepted as a medical specialty by the rest of the medical community– yet, it has attained nearly all of its power and status claiming to be a medical specialty. I think this is a good place to start peeling away the layers of myths and bravado that currently bolster the power and authority needed to strip virtually anyone of their human rights.

    • “Psychiatry was not subjected to the rigors of scientific scrutiny; nor was it accepted as a medical specialty by the rest of the medical community.” All my former doctors espoused belief in psychiatry as an accepted medical specialty, of course, they all also wanted to cover up prior easily recognized iatrogenesis. And psychiatric treatment is paid for by health insurance companies, as if it were “real” medical care.

      I do agree, however, that since the psychiatrist’s DSM “disorders” are neither scientifically valid, nor reliable, that they should not be considered a part of the medical field. Especially, since it’s now looking like the DSM is manly just a medicalization of the human experience, and a fairly accurate description of the iatrogenic illnesses created with the psychiatric drugs.

  3. I always compare force drugging to rape.

    Sexual rape is universally considered despicable but think about having a scary debilitating drug forced into your blood stream that effects every system in your body and your very consciousness. Thats a violation equal to rape. Its similar forced penetration into your inner space.

    I don’t think the public gets it. How can they when they are constantly bombarded with the message that all these people are suffering and ‘need’ ‘medicine’ to ‘help’ them.

  4. Unfortunately and somewhat predictably of late, the most pressing and significant issues, and posts like this, are being given short shrift here, largely in favor of abstract intellectualism.

    I’m in the middle of a several week “internet detox” period during which my MIA participation will be sparse or non-existent. However I’m preparing my submission and hoping everyone else is doing the same.

    Thanks Bonnie.

  5. Does the campaign in question avoid widening psychiatry’s net?

    The truth as “a campaign.”

    Veritas: Orthomolecular Psychiatry is the legitimate version of Medical Psychiatry.

    Should the truth be used in opposing falsehood?

    I have been maintaining the proposition that truth should be used. To keep repeating a platform containing reiterated and reiterated falsity both exactly emulates the establishment you want to tear down, betrays the constituency by actively seeking that they should not know of nor speak of current Medical help of which you are aware, deflates all power from your actions including the rhetoric of your propaganda articles, and avoids use of the power that true has. Truth reiterated has a wide expanse that is lacking in these rote repetition pieces. Truth goes on and on. Has depth and width. Has substance.

    Does the campaign in question avoid widening psychiatry’s net?

    Does the campaign in question seek to widen non-Medical non-reductionist humane talk-therapies net?

    Does the campaign tell people of the suppression of Medical Psychiatry between 1955 and 1973?

    As you know I have been repeating for 15 years that the rhetoric needs to be integrated. When David fought Goliath he did not request a smaller slingshot and stone.

    Don’t throw out the Orthomolecular legitimate Medicine baby with the dirty Pharma bath solvent.

    It is of course a disservice to refer to, for instance, Tadive Dyskinesia and Tardive Dystonia as Iatrogenic diseases caused by doctors without directing the readers – ever – to SAFE HARBOR PROJECT (Medical prophylaxis) (If one cares about people being harm,ed then scholarly wise and morally one includes reference to prophylaxis. To not do so is failure.)

    It is not reasonable or authentic to suggest that their is no Medical or Scientific substance, no Medical tests available in quote “Psychiatry” without informing the readership that the NIMH APA and equivalent abroad suppressed Medical Psychiatry and replaced it with label/drug ersatz “Psychiatry” (“WE are employing the Medical model” Propaganda-based ersatz Psychiarty) I mean, as we all know by now – Of Course their is no Scientific basis, and no Medical lab test! That is how the con-game is constructed after DSM-3, that is: an “Authority” names a person as ersatz” diagnosis” (from the DSM nosology naming system) and then drugs the person with multiple lucrative primitive toxic brain-drugging chemicals, or cuts the brain (Psychosurgery), or puts a 130 volt 1/5 second Electric Shock right across the poor person’s head (Elecroshock treatment) many times over (a course of shock treatments). This label drug fiasco involves no chemical testing, in fact a Medical diagnosis precludes or nulls a “Psychiatric diagnosis.” That is how the con game was crafted. Thus no Medical etiology and no Medical lab tests, and no effective curative/restorative therapies – only “symptom” suppressing centrally acting drugs. That is the stated game rules. So their can be no confirmation and no Medical tests. The game rules state that they neither employ nor need such things. Instead, they “are the Authority.” So stating that they have created no Medical tests nor have any Medical proof is disingenuous. Scholarly wize a person must refer to legitimate Medical people involved with Psychiatry, and the tests and therapies and Science they have – their can be no justification to using lieing con-men from big pharma – KOLs – as ones foil and then suggest that people seek only non-Medical talk therapy. Because their “Medicine” is substance-less. Makes no sense. Of course it is substance-less — that is how they structured the operations back in 1973 with TF7… with the DSM-3 project started at the beginning of the 1970’s and with the absorption of NAMI and transmogrification into front group by big pharma circa 1979.
    Scholars cannot leave out half of our history so as to support psychotherapists vested interests. One needn’t have 100 percent truth but one cannot leave out whole swaths of reality.

    “That Vitamin Movie” has been released!!
    John Mercola, M.D.
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/02/20/vitamins-healing-potential.aspx

    Nutritional Treatment of Tardive Dyskinesia
    by Walter Lemmo, N.D.
    http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/nutritional-treatment-of-tardive-dyskinesia-2

    Nutrient Protection from the Harmful Effects of Psychiatric Drugs
    by Charles Gant, M.D., Ph.D.,
    http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/nutritional-protection-from-the-damaging-effects-of-psychiatric-drugs

    45 Years of Clinical Experience Treating Psychiatric Disorders
    Hugh Riorden, M.D. Biochemical Psychiatrist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv-EpQIIQnw

    Censorship of Medline
    http://www.townsendletter.com/AugSept2006/medline0806.htm

    Censorship of Wikipedia
    http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n18.shtml

    The Power of Biological Chemicals
    http://www.walshinstitute.org/nutrient-power.html

    The fraud of the Quackwatch and Sceptics pharma front operations
    http://proliberty.com/observer/20050101.htm
    http://www.bolenreport.com/
    http://www.bolenreport.com/skeptics/

    The fraud of the NAMI pharma front operation (Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa USA revealed via Senatorial investigation that the NAMI “Grassroots” “Independent” “concerned” “non-profit” received 81% funding from chemical companies)
    Grassley Investigation – 81 percent
    https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=81%25+Pharmaceutical+funding+NAMI

    NAMI “Grassroots” “Independent” “Concerned” “Non-Profit”
    Executive Salary of $212,000 a year (Hah!)
    http://www.peteearley.com/2012/11/12/how-much-do-they-earn-salaries-of-nonprofit-mental-health-leaders

    The APA, NIMH, Drug Companies, ACNP Suppression of Medical Psychiatry
    in 1973 with the crafting of the Task Force 7 58 page frauduloent Independent Peer-Review document, and the crafting of the fraudulant DSM-3 published finally in 1980 (classification labeling as ersatz “diagnosis” and centrally acting (lacrative Patent drug) drugging of quote symptoms endquote as ersatz Medical therapy con-game propaganda fraud “Biopsychiatry” )
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RE2rpITjlhI

    One Person’s WRAP Plan
    Recovery Using Restorative, Orthomolecular Medicine
    Robert Sealey, BSc, CA
    http://mentalhealthrecovery.com/info-center/one-persons-wrap-plan-orthomolecular-medicine
    https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=one+person%27s+wrap+robert+sealley+

    How to find a Doctor You Can Trust
    Vincent Bellonzi, D.C.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99INrbeiCwA

    Alternative Health – Functional Medicine
    Vincent Bellonzi, D.O.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeq6xRU2ASQ

    Daniel Burdick, S.E.A. Springfield Eugene Antipsychiatry

  6. As a victim fighting the fraud of psychiatry on the front lines in a court of law where the abuse is rampant, with all due respect, to the dedicated professionals working to correct these massive injustices and crimes against humanity, this movement has by and large failed to protect and support Plaintiffs by testifying at our trials via skype or any means necessary to ensure that Judges ARE fully educated about the facts that do exist so that these lies are NOT perpetuated in courts of law and replayed out in doctors offices, counselling sessions, hospitals and court rooms throughout the continent (and the world) as nauseam.

    I hereby officially invite any party wishing to speak out about the crimes of psychiatry as a witness at my (to date) fraudulent trial, tentatively scheduled for December 5th, 2016 in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. Please RSVP with a “Will Say statement” or contact me for further details if you wish to assist in changing the law and stopping the abuse. I can’t do it alone or without you. Please feel free to share this with anyone you think might be willing to speak on the legal record.

    Thank you
    Judy Gayton
    [email protected]
    (403) 526-1975

    In response to ‘someone else’s comment that…
    “All my former doctors espoused belief in psychiatry as an accepted medical specialty…” I wanted to share this legal fact about “belief” that I found helpful when reviewing the legal transcripts of the doctors in my medical malpractice law suit for failing to provide informed consent about the ‘chemical imbalance” fraud before attempting to kill me numerous times which I included under Gross Negligence and Administering Experimental Treatment.

    http://legal.practitioner.com/regulation/standards_9_3_1.htm
    An Introduction To Corporate Regulation and Standardization
    MISREPRESENTATION OF MATERIAL FACTS
    This is the offence most often thought of when the term fraud is used. Misrepresentation cases can be prosecuted criminally or civilly under a variety of statutes or they might be the basis for common law claims. The gist of the offence is the deliberate making of false statements to induce the intended victim to part with money or property.

    Bodily integrity, my health, life, safety, right to informed consent and the right to deny treatment are PROPERTY.

    The specific elements of proof of misrepresentation vary whether the case is prosecuted as a criminal or civil action. The elements normally include:
    Material false statement;
    Knowledge of its falsity;
    Reliance on the false statement by the victim;
    (A loss) Damages suffered
    A deceit or fraud constituting a false statement made wilfully or recklessly, which causes loss to another.

    Not only is a misrepresentation fraudulent if it was known or believed by the maker of the representation to be false when made, but mere non-belief in the truth is also indicative of fraud.

    ANAND states in questioning that he is aware that the ‘chemical imbalance theroy” is NOT proven and they don’t know.
    BOODHOO states in questioning he “believes” in the “chemical imbalance theory”
    My life and health should not, must not be sunject to is “beliefs” which he in fact is obligated to inform me of should they conflict with my rights.

    Thus whenever a person makes a false statement which he does not actually and honestly believe to be true, for purposes of civil liability, that statement is as fraudulent as if he had stated that which he did not know to be true, or knew or believed to be false. The motive of the person making the representation is irrelevant.

    Niether Dr. had the right to diagnose me or drug me based on a theroy they knew, ought to know was false or that they falsely believed to be true that put my life at risk and harmed me.

    The maker of the representation will not, however, be fraudulent if he believed the statement to be true as he perceived it, provided that perception was one that might reasonably be held, though the court later holds that the representation objectively bears another meaning.

    In civil cases, when determining whether a representation was made fraudulently, the standard of proof applicable is the balance of probability (i.e. more likely than not) and not the criminal standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt. However, the amount of evidence required to establish proof may vary according to the gravity of allegation to be proved.

    The more serious the allegation the higher the degree of probability that is required. The question of whether there is any evidence to support an allegation that a representation made was fraudulent is a question of law.

    Subject to this, the question whether a false representation was actually fraudulent is, in every case a question of fact.

    Normally, only material false statements may serve as the basis for a fraud case. Materiality usually refers to statements sufficiently important or relevant to the defendant to influence the defendant’s decision.

    Just because information may be held to be a common, does not mean it is not fraudulent, misinformation or should be a standard practice.

  7. I would like to see an end to the DSM and any euphemisms for “Mental Illness” taken out of mainstream use. I don’t mean terms like wacko, which is sometimes a compliment (depending on context). I would like to see a reduction of negative commentary on a person’s character.

    I would like to stop calling abusive spouses and other abusive people by disease names such as narcissist, psychopath, bipolar, schiz, and other conditions psych sees as permanent. I know people are angry at abusers, but if we see abuse as a crime and not a character flaw or disease, we are putting full responsibility for the abuse on the abuser, legally. Abuse is cruel and illegal, why excuse them by crediting some disease? Many abusers “pass on” the abuse they received as children, taking it out on their own kids. That, too, doesn’t make it okay, nor make it a disease.

    Doctors and other medical professionals sometimes are treated badly by administration or managers. They, in turn, take it out on their patients. I don’t see that as EVER being okay, nor in any way justified, nor ethical nor legal.

    Disease? These aren’t diseases, they are crimes.