Effective Tactics for the “Rehumanizing Resistance”: Real Politics 101, Part Two


In Part One, I discussed how the Rehumanizing Resistance has been winning scientific battles but losing the war against the expansion of influence of First-Order Psychiatry (which includes the American Psychiatric Association and Big Pharma), and how this is due in large part to the First-Order’s effective political tactics and the Resistance’s political naivety. In Part Two, I will discuss strategy and tactics for the Resistance, including: (1) Traditional, Personal, and Underground Politics; (2) Direct Action and Confrontation: When It Can and Cannot Succeed; (3) Organizing: Taking Advantage of the Current Cultural Climate; (4) Alliances and Coalitions; and (5) Film and Media.

In its arsenal, the Resistance has scientific truths and the powerful moral principle of informed choice. But First-Order Psychiatry has Big Pharma and their big money, which exerts influence in direct and indirect ways over the politicians, the mainstream media, and the general public.

A strategic goal of the Resistance is overwhelming popular recognition of scientific truths as well as an embrace of the moral principle of informed choice. Only with this overwhelming popular support will the mainstream media and politicians challenge First-Order Psychiatry’s claim as a legitimate authority in determining “mental illness,” and challenge its “treatment” and control dominion.

The Resistance must utilize effective tactics to (1) expose the general public to scientific truths; (2) validate the public’s apprehensions about First-Order Psychiatry; (3) expose the public to rehumanized alternatives; (4) celebrate the principle of informed choice; and (5) energize the public about the Resistance as a human rights movement. There are many tactics to achieve this strategic goal.

Traditional, Personal, and Underground Politics

Traditional politics includes lobbying elected officials, which can be quite effective on issues when the public is already overwhelmingly on the side of the Resistance. For example, Mad in America author and attorney Edward Opton and the National Center for Youth Law effectively lobbied the California state Senate to unanimously pass reform bills to reduce the use of psychiatric drugs to control the behavior of children in foster care; and in 2015, California Governor Brown signed three bills into law that were part of the NCYL legislative package to reduce the abuse and misuse of psychiatric drugs for foster care children.

Traditional politics is much about lobbying, as Mad in America author Michael Cornwall writes about in “It’s Time for a Stronger Political Ground Game to Compete with NAMI and Company on Forced Treatment.” First-Order Psychiatry has been politically astute, as Cornwall states, “They face to face lobby every person who may have any possible effect on tilting the political ground in their favor.” The Resistance must better grasp this aspect of Politics 101.

Personal politics can also be very powerful. Ex-patients “coming out” about their past experiences with First-Order Psychiatry to family, friends, and acquaintances is a powerful way to change outlooks. It was the personal challenge of one ex-patient, David Oaks, that was a major factor prompting journalist Robert Whitaker to research and ultimately write the book Mad in America.

Personal politics is also important for dissident mental health professionals within their clinical practice, with their students, and within their social circles. It can be very powerful when professionals inform others of First-Order Psychiatry’s lies and deception.

There is a rich literature of underground tactics that have been effective in overthrowing oppressive regimes and institutions. Political theorist and sociologist Gene Sharp’s classic From Dictatorship to Democracy, used by freedom fighters around the world, describes nearly 200 “Methods of Nonviolent Actions.” Sharp tells us that: “When one wants to bring down a dictatorship most effectively and with the least cost then one has four immediate tasks:

  • One must strengthen the oppressed population themselves in their determination, self-confidence, and resistance skills;
  • One must strengthen the independent social groups and institutions of the oppressed people;
  • One must create a powerful internal resistance force;
  • One must develop a wise grand strategic plan for liberation and implement it skillfully.

All these areas are relevant to the Resistance. For example, it is extremely important to strengthen “independent social groups and institutions,” which authoritarian regimes will attempt to target and destroy—as the Resistance has recently seen with First-Order Psychiatry’s orchestrated Murphy Bill that threatens funding to Resistance institutions such as the National Empowerment Center.

Direct Action and Confrontation: When It Can and Cannot Succeed

While “total political victory” for the Rehumanizing Resistance would mean First-Order Psychiatry’s loss of authority to determine any so-called “mental illness” and First-Order’s loss of “treatment” and control dominion, one kind of battle victory for the Resistance is the abolition of even a single “mental illness” being ascribed to a class of behaviors and a group of people. Such a political victory happened with homosexuality.

In the American Psychiatric Association’s 1968 DSM-II, homosexuality remained a mental illness. First-Order Psychiatry was apparently oblivious to a changing cultural climate which included the Stonewall uprising in 1969 in New York City where gay activists challenged authorities’ attempts to deny their basic human right to congregate in public. By 1970, gay activists began challenging the APA and the First-Order’s labeling of homosexuality as a mental illness. Gay activists confronted First-Order Psychiatry at the annual meetings of the APA between 1970 and 1972. Bowing to political pressure, the APA agreed to meet with gay activists, who ultimately achieved victory of sorts in 1973, when homosexuality was no longer labeled a mental illness (though those homosexuals who were “in conflict with” their sexual orientation were still considered by the First-Order to be mentally ill).

This victory by gay activists over the APA was a major setback for First-Order Psychiatry’s claim of authority to determine “mental illness,” as it clearly showed that politics and culture—not science—determine DSM mental illnesses. It was never so clear than at that moment in time that First-Order psychopathologizing was a political action—not a scientific one—which could be overturned by political activism.

That moment in time was a political opportunity to continue charging and to abolish First-Order’s authority to determine any “mental illness.” However, the Resistance did not continue to charge, and so First-Order’s retreat did not turn into a rout and a surrender. Instead, the APA pivoted, scapegoated psychoanalytic psychiatrists for homosexuality being labeled as a mental illness, and First-Order biopsychiatrists actually used this event to solidify their political power within the APA.

In 2003, in a far more authoritarian U.S. society, MindFreedom announced another direct action: a “Fast for Freedom” if the APA (and other proponents of First-Order Psychiatry) did not factually respond to their letter requesting scientific evidence for the First-Order’s claim that “mental illnesses” were biologically-based diseases, as well as the scientific evidence for First-Order Psychiatry’s claim that psychiatric drugs could correct a chemical imbalance.

The APA offered a dismissive response that falsely stated that such evidence was in the scientific literature, offering text citations; these texts were examined by MindFreedom’s scientific panel, which declared that these texts in fact offered no scientific evidence for First-Order Psychiatry’s claims, actually quite the contrary. The APA’s response letter also included a politically strategic retribution: a declaration that the proposed hunger strike was “ill-considered”—a preemptive blaming of the strikers and their scientific panel should there be any illness/death consequence to the strike; though in reality, illness/death consequence, should they have occurred, would have been brought upon by the APA’s dismissiveness.

In this 2003 authoritarian era, the Fast for Freedom received little media coverage, and the hunger strike was wisely ended. Thankfully, none of the braver hunger strikers died.

The Fast for Freedom has historic parallels with slave abolitionist John Brown and his groups’ raid on the U.S. federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, a direct action designed to foment a slave revolt. Both the Fast for Freedom and Brown’s raid failed to achieve their immediate results. However, the courage of failed direct action can have inspirational value, as Brown’s raid was inspirational for slave abolitionists, and the Fast for Freedom remains inspirational for the Rehumanizing Resistance.

These historical events remind us that success and failure of direct political action depends much on societal and cultural climate.

Organizing: Taking Advantage of the Current Cultural Climate

Today, our society remains authoritarian when it comes to corporatist control by industrial complexes; however, it is clearly a new political era in the realm of diversity of race, gender, and sexual orientation. The United States has recently seen an African-American win two presidential elections, a woman slightly favored to win the upcoming presidential election, and self-identified gay and lesbian politicians elected to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Many in Generation X and the Millennial generation take pride in their generations’ acceptance and celebration of diversity in the areas of race and sexual orientation, and the youngest generation, so-called Gen Tech, sees this diversity as “normal.” And so especially for these generations, it should not be difficult to expand diversity to include personality, temperament, cognitive style, and states of consciousness.

I have found that it is almost always easy to get the general public and even mainstream media to laugh at the idea of psychopathologizing stubborn and noncompliant young people with “oppositional defiant disorder.” In the current cultural context of greater acceptance of diversity, it is quite possible to expand diversity acceptance/celebration to all kinds of personalities, temperaments, cognitive styles, and states of consciousness.

Also, the Resistance can take advantage of the political success of once marginalized groups by reminding them—especially politically powerful individuals in these groups—that First-Order Psychiatry was their historical oppressor via psychopathologizing and “treatment” used as social control. For example, it would be especially politically powerful if Resistance women reminded other women how First-Order Psychiatry oppressively pathologized them, especially assertive and anti-authoritarian women. Similarly, it would be especially powerful if Resistance gay and lesbian activists reminded other homosexuals how the First-Order oppressively psychopathologized them. And Resistance African-Americans and Native Americans can remind members of their groups that for them, First-Order’s oppressive “profiling-pathologizing” has not ended.

Groups that were historically singled out for social control and oppressed by First-Order Psychiatry must be reminded that there continues to be politically powerless groups, especially children, who are now subject to social control via pathologizing and drugging—and that it is especially the moral duty of members of those groups who have faced that same oppression to speak out.

This “reminding” is a vehicle for political organizing to increase the base of support for the Rehumanizing Resistance.

Organizing is a huge part of Politics 101. Perhaps the greatest organizer in the history of Rehumanizing Resistance is David Oaks. Well-schooled in political organizing, Oaks’ keen eye for potential Resistance members among ex-patients and their families and professional dissidents has brought many of the Resistance’s current activists into the movement.

Alliances and Coalitions

In addition to organizing, wise alliances and coalitions are also politically important to increase the base of support.

First-Order Psychiatry, fighting for its very survival in the 1970s, formed an alliance with Big Pharma creating the Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex, a powerful force in maintaining the First-Order’s power and influence.

Given First-Order Psychiatry’s alliance with Big Pharma, the Rehumanizing Resistance will likely continue to be financially outgunned, and so the Resistance must counter by grassroots base-building, which includes forming alliances and coalitions. But the Resistance must be wise about who they form those alliances and coalitions with.

The Rehumanizing Resistance is part of a greater societal movement against coercion, oppression, and authoritarianism, and the Resistance is fueled by the energy of anti-authoritarianism and morality. A long-standing internal conflict within the Resistance is whether or not it should ally with organizations that are enemies of First-Order Psychiatry but who themselves have reputations for coercion, oppression, and authoritarianism—I will discuss this and other Resistance internal conflicts in Part Three.

The good news is that there are natural allies who, by reputation and reality, clearly oppose coercion, oppression, authoritarianism, and dehumanization.

One natural ally is the anti-coercive, anti-oppressive, anti-authoritarian, and rehumanizing “de-schooling” movement. This world, which includes a growing number of home schoolers, is a very large movement and is a natural ally for the Rehumanizing Resistance. De-schoolers recognize the oppressive nature of standard schooling, and it resonates with them that “chemical imbalances” are not the reason that children are inattentive and disruptive but rather that this is often a product of oppressive standardized schools; and so they are open to the idea that psychopathologizing and drugging inattentive and disruptive children further increases their oppression.

Another natural ally for the Rehumanizing Resistance is the large group of people frustrated and angry by “assembly-line medicine” and physicians who fail to correctly diagnose their conditions but instead label them with psychiatric diagnoses. This group has been damaged and stigmatized by unscientific mental illness labels.

There are many other groups who know nothing about the Rehumanizing Resistance’s struggle against the Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex but are very much interested when they discover its existence. In 2011, I spoke at a conference called the “Military-Industrial Complex at 50”—comprised of peace activists, ex-military whistle blowers, fiscal conservatives, and others who (like Dwight Eisenhower who coined the term Military-Industrial Complex in 1961) see it as a grave threat to Americans. This group was easily won over as an ally when they heard how First-Order Psychiatry, through diagnoses such as oppositional defiant disorder, is pathologizing and drugging future anti-authoritarians before they achieve political consciousness—and thus reducing resistance to illegitimate authorities in general.

The Rehumanizing Resistance has many other natural allies who oppose coercion, oppression, authoritarianism, and dehumanization, and who become sympathetic to the cause when they see how pathologizing noncompliant people has resulted in de-politicization and a loss of activists.

Film and Media

The Rehumanizing Resistance has put a great deal of effort into writing and speaking about the lack of science in First-Order Psychiatry and its corruption by Big Pharma, as well as the immorality of the lack of informed choice; and the Resistance has wisely also increased its emphasis on rehumanized alternatives.

Exposures to First-Order Psychiatry’s pseudoscience, corruption, and immorality, as well as to rehumanized alternative approaches are politically powerful—but only if larger numbers of people hear about this in ways that are easy to grasp.

Historically, one of the most powerful political weapons in the struggle to abolish slavery was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which became the second best-selling book (behind only the Bible) of the nineteenth century and was also turned into a play. In recent times, nothing is more important in shaping public opinion than film and television.

The 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestCuckoo’s Nest was a powerful indictment of Fist-Order Psychiatry, as it mocks First-Order’s inability to reliably diagnose “mental illness,” depicts First-Order coercion, humiliation, electroshock horrors, and mind-numbing drugs, as well as rehumanizing eccentricity and celebrating resistance to illegitimate authorities. In the anti-authoritarian climate of the 1970s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won the Academy Award for best picture. And to this day, it has inspired many activists in the Rehumanizing Resistance.

Contrast that with the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind, a depiction of mathematician John Nash’s “psychotic/paranoid schizophrenia,” which in the far more authoritarian era, also won the Academy Award for best picture. As I detailed in the Huffington Post, A Beautiful Mind’s false depiction of John Nash fits First-Order Psychiatry’s narrative by having Nash, when being considered for the 1994 Nobel Prize, state, “I take the newer medications”—this despite the reality that Nash had stopped taking psychiatric medication in 1970. This falsehood had powerful propaganda value for First-Order Psychiatry.

Both One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and A Beautiful Mind, with big money behind them allowing them high-level production and celebrity actors, had huge impacts on the media and the general public’s view of so-called “mental illness.”

Today, with technological innovations, well-made powerful films need not cost huge amounts of money. The recent documentary Healing Voices (which I reviewed for the Huffington Post and which premiered in April 2016) de-pathologizes, rehumanizes, and celebrates voice hearers. From my experience in two discussion groups following screenings of Healing Voices, the audience was inspired and energized to become activists in the Resistance.

Even more inexpensive to produce but capable of huge viewership are Internet Youtube and similar such videos. Eleanor Longden’s TED talk The Voices in My Head, which depathologizes and rehumanizes hearing voices, has been viewed by between three and four million people. Comedy and video parodies can be quite politically powerful (e.g., one recent short video parody Drugs for Kids effectively mocks the insane psychopathologizing and drugging of normal child behaviors).

Many of the pieces that I’ve written for Mad in America have been simultaneously published on Salon, AlterNet, Truthout, CounterPunch, the Huffington Post, Z Magazine, and other publications. Mad in America authors need not lament that they are only “preaching to the choir” by posting on Mad in America, as these pieces can get reposted on other websites (my Mad in America 2012 piece “Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill” has over 300,000 views because links to the piece repeatedly get reposted on Reddit, Hacker News, Tumblr or other social media.)

In conclusion, I want to make clear that Part Two is not meant to be a complete list of political actions, strategies, and tactics—that would take a book, a fairly large one.

Also, politically-thinking Resistance activists must be careful not to discourage anyone who is also thinking politically, even if another’s tactics appear ineffective to them. History teaches humility here. The reality is that nobody knows for sure what works or how it will work. One historical example: Hugely effective in ending the Vietnam War was rebellious G.I.’s non-cooperation, which frightened the U.S. military establishment (see documentary Sir! No Sir!); and though anti-war demonstrations by the U.S. general public did not stop Nixon’s overwhelming re-election in 1972, non-cooperative G.I.s in Vietnam were encouraged by those anti-war demonstrators (as it showed them that they had support back home); thus, while anti-war demonstrations may have had no direct effect on Nixon and may have even aided his re-election, those demonstrations encouraged G.I. resistance, which was quite powerful in ending U.S. involvement.

The Rehumanizing Resistance, like all political movements, has internal disagreements, and in Part Three, I will discuss those disagreements and frustrations and how not to allow them to result in the kind of dissension that reduces strength. As Gene Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy counsels: oppressed groups must strengthen themselves in their determination, self-confidence, and resistance skills and create a powerful internal resistance force. Part Three will be about increasing the Resistance’s strength, solidarity, and team work. Without energy to do battle, the best tactics will not be utilized.


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.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


  1. In 1940’s Germany when the Nazis were in power everyone went along with the Action T4 program out of fear they themselves might be selected. Clemens von Galen had the power to speak and bravely did so http://www.emersonkent.com/speeches/the_murder_of_unproductive_persons.htm

    My major problem with psychiatry is the continual medication( drugging) of its patients/slaves.
    Drugged to prevent a possible “bad” future. Fear of the future makes a bad future.

    The declining birth rate in most industrial countries means the machine may end by the lack of children who have the desire and ability to perform as their mother/father did.

    Report comment

    • German psychiatry has a long history of wrecking havoc that goes clear back to the very early 1900’s. They didn’t just get started right before the Nazis came along. They were already stating at that early time that anyone who disagreed with psychiatrists or who were anti-psychiatry were clearly mentally ill! They even had a label for a diagnosis but I don’t remember what it was now.

      However, as the century progressed psychiatrists in Germany consolidated their power and truly became an arm of the government to the point that in the 1930’s they were murdering people in the gas chambers and then cremating their bodies in the ovens. The Nazis did not create the gas chambers or the oven, these were the creations of psychiatry under the benevolent oversight of the German government. Thousands of people who were labeled as “mentally ill” were then termed “useless eaters”, which was enough to send them to their deaths.

      Report comment


        Psychiatry has lethal drugs and techniques.

        Psychiatrists sometimes blood their trainees. They implicate them in misadventures and near fatal experiences to protect themselves, and ensure future loyalty.

        But sometimes the trainees refuse.

        Report comment

      • To be an inmate, you have to be a criminal, most are defined as a “patient”. Words have meaning , the meaning is enforced by the court system, if we use the technically “wrong” word it creates confusion.
        “Inmate” is from the person in jails perspective, but this perspective is not correct according to those psychiatrists (who are in power). The person is receiving medicinal help, not (punitive) punishment.

        Report comment

    • One branding I try and spread is “keep you sick pills”. When writing about children drugged in classrooms its “shut you up pills.”

      For Branding psychiatry I like the themes of make it chronic and “keep you sick”. And a DSM diagnosis is a “forever label” like mattress tags do not remove. DSM – Diagnose as a Source of Money. We need lots real zingers that stick or one really good one.

      Report comment

        • I think it should be phrases that get into the language of it.

          Psychopathologizing (above in article)

          Keep you sick pills
          Forever labels
          Recovery begins with non compliance
          Shut you up pills
          DSM – Diagnose as a Source of Money
          The Mental Health Mafia

          I really like the “Keep You Sick” theme because a friend in treatment way back used to say that and it really got me to start thinking.

          And when you “deprogram” people, you should get them to think…. But keep them off balance and this gets them to begin questioning, to open their minds. When the mind gets to a certain point, they can see through all the lies that they’ve been programmed to believe. They realize that they’ve been duped and they come out of it.

          If you look at how First-Order Psychiatry operates it does almost seem like it was designed to keep you sick.

          Report comment

          • It’s the only medical specialty that doesn’t want it’s “patients” to get well! It’s the only specialty that claims that it’s “patients” are sick for life! I don’t understand why real doctors just don’t kick these quacks out of medicine and be done with it. Of course, prior to the 1960’s the other specialties laughed at psychiatrists and outright stated that the quacks were not real doctors at all. Now they’re scared to say anything because of the immense power that psychiatry has at this point in time. How did we ever get into this mess in the first place? How could we have been so gullible?

            Report comment

          • Stephan,

            As to, “I don’t understand why real doctors just don’t kick these quacks out of medicine and be done with it.” I’m quite certain it’s all about the money.


            But it’s not just about filling hospital beds, it’s also the illegal malpractice suit prevention services the psychiatrists perform for the balance of the medical community – what an ethical pastor confessed to me was the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”

            And the religions that own the hospitals profiteer off the psychiatrists filling their hospital beds, as well as the psychiatrists covering up their child abuse hobbies.

            And covering up child abuse does seem to be the primary function of today’s psychiatric industry, given the medical evidence that shows 92% of borderline patients today are child abuse victims and 82% of psychosis diagnosed are child abuse victims today.

            It’s about too few, essentially leaders of corporations and industries, being given too much power. And inevitably, “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

            The solution is to divide (up the monopolistic and oligopolistic corporations and industries), and conquer (for the humans). Although, preventing monopolies and oligopolies is the governments’ job, and they have not been doing their job properly as of late.

            Report comment

  2. The text below is adapted from a comment I made about this article in another forum, arguing that this article is very relevant to helping people labeled with “severe mental illness” become free from institutional/psychiatric oppression:

    While some might think this article is not relevant to “social and psychological approaches to psychosis”, I would argue it is. I think we can mostly agree that, for 99% of severely distressed people in the USA and in most countries around the world, access to effective social and psychological supportive approaches is abysmal and/or nonexistent. This is largely due to the dominance of the oversimplified disease model that Levine talks about, and the alliance between Big Pharma and leading psychiatrists/institutions in promoting a disease model of “schizophrenia”. As you know, this “schizophrenia illness approach” requires indefinite drugging while promoting a view of psychotic people as “other”, despite the lack of any scientific evidence supporting these views.

    Therefore, if we want to reach more people and make them aware of psychological and social approaches that can help these benighted people, more actions that directly reach the public, of the kind Levine describes below, will be necessary. The silence of most of us allows for the continued dominance of the disease model views of those with “severe mental illness” as being dangerous, inscrutable individuals needing to be indefinitely drugged.

    But with the internet’s ability to freely and widely promote unconventional viewpoints via self-created websites, videos, and articles, we do not have to wait for a larger organization to do anything: There is much that people wishing to humanize the public perception of psychosis can do on their own. To their credit, some people already speak out in this way. I encourage more of you to speak out directly and publicly about your views on severely troubled people and how they can be helped. This especially applies to experienced professionals in private practice and/or in prestigious academic positions, who have significant experience with psychotic people, but who remain mostly silent about their work outside of small circles of like-minded professionals, perhaps due to fear of how their colleagues or bosses will respond. Due to your credibility and experience, you are people we need to hear from along with survivors/families.

    If you respond to this, please remember that I am not totally anti-drug, and once took antipsychotics myself. This debate is not about drugs, which would not even be in the conversation very much if there were no so much profit to be made by forcing them on vulnerable people. It is about speaking up for the vision of the severely troubled person’s suffering as meaningful based on their experience, and of their pain and confusion as being able to be leavened by psychological/social approaches, and in some cases fully healed, visions we can all agree on I think! This message is therefore trying to encourage more people to actively join the limited number of existing folk who speak out publicly about their work and vision related to these goals.

    Report comment

  3. First-Order Psychiatry, I am sticking with “Mental Health Mafia.”

    We also need to take a good look at the anti stigma campaigns, its like did all the marketing research and inadvertently gave us a list of their weak points .

    Report comment

  4. Thanks Bruce. I hope there’s enough time to explore all this before it falls of the page. It’s the “meatiest” article I’ve seen here in awhile (no offense to vegetarians). I would like to respond in an organized way but don’t have the time today so I’ll begin by saying things as they occur to me.

    it is extremely important to strengthen “independent social groups and institutions,” which authoritarian regimes will attempt to target and destroy—as the Resistance has recently seen with First-Order Psychiatry’s orchestrated Murphy Bill that threatens funding to Resistance institutions such as the National Empowerment Center.

    Not familiar with NEP but they are not “independent” if they rely on government funding to survive or be effective. If groups figure out how to operate with low overhead and creative funding sources they will be impervious to their activities being subject to external approval, even, for example, if your handouts have a grassroots non-“professional” look.

    celebrate the principle of informed choice

    This is much too weak. If there has been any consensus so far by those at the anti-psychiatry organizing forum it is that the NUMBER ONE aim of the anti-psychiatry movement MUST be the abolition of forced psychiatry.

    (Much) more to come.

    Report comment

  5. Bruce,

    A very good article, continuing from your earlier. But I still cannot go along with anything which endorses any form of psychotherapy.

    It is just like with Mind Freedom, going after psychiatry and psych meds is fantastic. But I still cannot endorse anything which promotes any type of psychotherapy.

    I go with Jeffrey Masson, who says that the practice of psychotherapy is wrong because it is profiting from another person’s misery.


    So I do understand your principle of informed consent. And yes, this is very important. Adults should be able to freely consent.

    But, I am not going to consent to anything which promotes or encourages psychotherapy.

    I would never try to outlaw psychotherapy between consenting adults, but I do encourage people to reject it. So it is just like it is with religion.

    Now when it is not really consensual, or when it being done to children with the support of the parents, then my view is much harsher.

    I think the most important thing to understand at this point is how Medical Munchausen’s works. Why would someone want to spend their time and money driving their kid to hundreds of doctors? Understand that, and you will be able to see why someone would want to send their kid to a psychotherapist. And then you can understand why an adult would want to spend their time and money seeing a psychotherapist themselves.

    Once someone has been exploited by the middle-class family, then they are at great risk for ending up in the further abuses of psychotherapy, recovery, evangelical religion, on psych meds, or just on alcohol and street drugs.

    What all of these things have in common is that they are based on the premise of personal defect, an adaptation of original sin.

    And mostly isn’t what a psychotherapist does is let their client talk themselves out, and then try to convince them that their problems exist in their own head, and that they deal with things of long ago, and that they just have to get over it?

    And of course this is all lies.

    I’ll be reading David Smail soon, as I believe he is correct,

    “Hardly any of the ‘symptoms’ of psychological distress may correctly be seen as medical matters. The so-called psychiatric ‘disorders’ are nothing to do with faulty biology, nor indeed are they the outcome of individual moral weakness or other personal failing. They are the creation of the social world in which we live, and that world is structured by power.”

    And this is what I agree with. It is all about having one’s social and civil standing compromised, and then having others like psychotherapists pile on further abuses.

    So I could say that I would never let anyone practice psychotherapy on me. It’s not that I’m so big and tough, it’s simply that I’m an adult. I’d tell them off and make sure they knew that I meant it.

    But of course this is meaningless, because most psychotherapy is by consent. I would not be in the therapist’s office. And I have enough common sense not to give someone openings, and to make them understand that there will be consequences if they try to probe me. So my tough posture means nothing because there would never be such a situation.

    So how about with a family member. Suppose a psychotherapist was messing with a sibling of mine, making them believe that their problems existed only in their own head? I could tell the doctor to stop, or else.

    But then one immediately sees, how would any sibling of mine end up seeing a psychotherapist unless I had already abandoned them? Unless the parents had condemned them, and unless I had sided with the parents, then there is no way that they would end up being further abused by a psychotherapist.

    So what do we do? Can’t outlaw psychotherapy, as after all it is just talk. Can’t stand up for myself or a family member because we would never be in psychotherapy. So it is only a place where the abused and abandoned end up, getting further abused.

    But what we can do is start holding the parents accountable. And if we can get people to sign affidavits as to the contents of their courses of psychotherapy, we can still put some therapists out of business.

    And yes, I am in favor of all forms of civil disobedience against involuntary treatment of any type.

    Excellent Article

    Join My Forum, use PM’s to connect and organize, and then act instead of remaining passive.


    Report comment

    • Cat, you’ve several times now addressed me, while denouncing CPS ( Child Protective Services ). Is there some reason you are concerned about CPS? Is there something CPS could see that you would not want them to see? Are you presently aware of any ongoing situations of familial child abuse?

      If you don’t want to post the information out in the open, you can join this and PM me.


      Report comment

  6. I have to respectfully disagree with the article. I believe the only way to change the system is to take Pharma down. The only system that would be able to perform such a task would be the court system. Prove the medication, diagnosis and anything to do with psychiatry has nothing to do with science but everything to do with marketing. With the new caps on tort lawsuits, I don’t even think it’s possible. The only way to change the system would be lawsuits that add up to so much, that the liabilities from lawsuits ends up on the 10K of the company, where the auditor issues an “on going concern”. Do that and you take it to the highest levels of the company. There’s no where to hide.

    Take down a company and they will have to change the whole system, starting with the worst offender in this whole equation, the FDA. Psychiatrists, who have to overlook the obvious facts to operate, are only the salesmen in this system. They are lovingly called “drug whores” by Pharma and it has been stated in several whistle blower exposes on Pharma.

    We have to attack the efficacy of the drug and moreover, the damage it can cause.

    And there is strength in numbers.

    Report comment

      • Anonymous’ idea might not be “the only way”, but it certainly would be extremely effective and can be accomplished in a fairly direct step by step manner…In my opinion, it might be the most likely way that a reduction in psych’s reliance on biological/medication management strategies would occur.

        Some plaintiff’s attorney, perhaps a personal injury firm, really stands to make a TON of money if they use the scientific research constantly discussed on this sight in order to win civil suits. Once the excesses of med management are exposed and are no longer profitable, the culture of “mental health” care will have to change in response.

        Report comment

        • In my opinion, it might be the most likely way that a reduction in psych’s reliance on biological/medication management strategies would occur.

          “Less drugs” is not the goal of anti-psychiatry, if that’s what we’re strategizing about here. At most it would be a step in the right direction, but the psych industry can be very adaptable when its existence is threatened.

          Report comment

  7. “Historically, one of the most powerful political weapons in the struggle to abolish slavery was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which became the second best-selling book (behind only the Bible) of the nineteenth century and was also turned into a play. In recent times, nothing is more important in shaping public opinion than film and television.”

    This is the key. The legendary little woman who wrote the book that started the great war had her finger on the pulse of the nation. Her book fueled the righteous indignation of the nation’s freedom-lovers, and it exposed the evil of slavery to the light of day. Szasz, Whitaker, Breggin and others have effectively exposed the nefarious nature of psychiatry to a select few, but where is the modern day “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that will ignite the flame of freedom in the hearts of the masses? Where is the Harriet Beecher Stowe that will abolish psychiatric slavery and demolish the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex? Who will slay the dragon of psychiatry?

    Report comment

    • Slaying, Interesting that you mention Harriet Beecher Stowe.

      Did you know that within 12 months of her books publication, Black abolitionist leaders were denouncing her and her protagonist Uncle Tom.

      So more and more blacks joined the abolitionist cause, because they did not want to be an examples of Uncle Tom.

      Stowe held up Tom and an exemplar of Christian virtue. And she used his Christianism to legitimate him to White audiences. But to Blacks he was a shameful horror. And again this was within 12 months of her books publication.

      I think we are seeing the same thing today with middle-class family abuse. The survivors are seeing psychotherapists, who turn them into Uncle Tom’s, people who do absolutely nothing to fight back, but instead remain passive as the world is ruled by supporters of the middle-class family, and knowing that today’s children are being abused just as they were.

      Join, use PM’s to Connect, Organize, and Act


      Report comment

    • Neither Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book nor the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery. The 13th Amendment simply moved slavery from some people owning other people to the state owning everyone, which is why any time you run into trouble with the “authorities” all of your rights and freedoms suddenly evaporate and the state can legally do whatever it likes with you. State employees are protected by the supreme law of the land–the U.S. Constitution.

      Report comment

  8. Regarding the 5 points re: public outreach/education, I think it’s important that the outreach should be direct, not relying on impressing or persuading the corporate media. They will only report on us when they have no alternative, and at that time will try to smear us, no matter how subtly. (I know this will fall on mostly deaf ears and people will continue to waste time trying to find the “right” argument to make them finally understand, but their job is to cast their corporate advertisers in the most favorable light possible, which they will continue to do.)

    Traditional and personal politics — Nothing too much more to say about these except everyone needs to do what they do best. Traditional/status quo political work can be draining and disempowering for some but gives others something concrete to put their energy into, as long as they understand that they will largely be banging their heads against the wall and don’t blame themselves if there are no tangible results.

    Sharp’s principles are viable enough, but of course the devil is in the details.

    No energy left to talk about confrontation right now, hopefully later…

    Report comment

  9. OK now for the controversial part. I’m probably not going to make many friends with this one but I have to be honest.

    Though at the time I wasn’t active in the anti-psych movement (which I actually consider more as the anti-psych branch of the movement at large), I believe the so-called “Fast for Freedom” was an ill-conceived and largely disempowering action, and that if I had been active at the time I and other (though maybe not all) movement “veterans” would likely have opposed it, for a number of reasons:

    — Hunger strikes are good tactics if you have absolutely no other way to gain some leverage except high-profile self-destruction., like in a POW camp or if you’re Bobby Sands. Otherwise they are often motivated by highly questionable notions of “noble suffering,” i.e. that to get what you “justly deserve” you must be willing to be abused and suffer for it. It’s a masochistic, guilt-ridden philosophy. And on another level it comes across as the equivalent of a petulant, manipulative “if you don’t give me x I’m gonna hurt myself.” Just the image we need.

    — As far as the message being sent, it infuriates me that movement people would prostrate themselves at the feet of psychiatric tyrants, threatening to kill themselves (essentially) for the pittance of a concession from psychiatry that it is for all intents and purposes useless and obsolete. First of all that’s never going to happen so anyone who thinks they’re going to self-abuse such a concession out of the APA or whomever is seriously mistaken. Secondly, by directing such an appeal to the psychiatric establishment one is validating their purported legitimacy and recognizing their authority to grant us freedom or death. Remember, these people are punks who deserve no such respect. Do we really value our lives and health so little that we would surrender them to these assholes for the sake of argument, or that any argument would persuade them to surrender their own self-interest?

    I think the obvious answer should be a resounding NO. Our lives and energies should be expended on types of organizing which will make the opinions of Psychiatry Inc. irrelevant, because without the power to coerce they will wither and die. Which is another reason ending involuntary “treatment” should be the singular unifying goal of the present day movement, as it has always been before.

    There are many concrete manifestations of this which could become focal points. One is Murphy. Another is Garth in Melbourne. (If people were hunger striking to save his life it would be a much more reasonable and compelling action than doing so for an abstract argument, btw. Consider it.)

    So I’m prepared for the brickbats, but still would like to see some discussion of this.

    Report comment

      • I have to disagree with you on this one, OldHead. The hunger strike has been brought up, in print, on a number of occasions in a number of places, as one of the last really effective political actions our movement has taken. I didn’t take part in the action at the time, but if I’d known more about it, I certainly would have made every effort to do so.

        Characterizing “these people as punks who deserve no such respect” seems a fruitless effort to turn the tables with magical thinking. The APA, according to Wikipedia, has 36,000 members. Given the clout of ‘direct to consumer advertising’, it’s more of a struggle to get a single word into the commercial media critical of bio-psychiatry, that’s, buy-oh-psychiatry than ever before.

        I’ve been to a few protests outside of APA annual conventions and, let me tell you, I’ve never seen anything approaching 36,000 demonstrators. Wouldn’t it be something if we had those kinds of numbers?! Of course, they don’t have those kind of numbers either, but they’ve got enough to be somewhat intimidating. If it takes a hunger strike to get the world’s attention, I’m all for a hunger strike. It has been done once, but if it needs to be done again, I’m certainly not against it. If it took a hundred hunger strikes, then bring them on. In the interim people are dying because of the overwhelming silence you get out of doing nothing.

        The hunger strikes are like acts of non-violent civil disobedience. There’s been a little of that of late, but not on a big scale. The media is more effective than ever it would seem at, in those cases, even when somebody goes into the slammer, not letting the story out of the bag. If we had enough people involved, and a big enough event, I think it would be much harder for them to do so. Doing something, in my book, especially when something disparately needs to be done, works a whole lot better than doing nothing.

        Report comment

        • The hunger strike has been brought up, in print, on a number of occasions in a number of places, as one of the last really effective political actions our movement has taken.

          I know that it has been brought up over and over, but I think we need to objectively examine that claim. And I hope it would go without saying that doing so is not to disparage the motivation or passion of those who participated in the hunger strike.

          However, what exactly was it effective at actually doing? People in and around this loosely-defined “movement” may have heard about it but few others have. Moreover, the professed goal was clearly as unattainable as its value was questionable. There was no doubt some internal bonding going on & the good feelings that come with solidarity when people are involved in such an action, and this should not be ignored, however this all means little to those towards whom the action is directed.

          The “Do something, anything!” approach has never proven itself particularly effective in my experience. It’s also unnecessary, as there are numerous sound tactics which could be employed if enough people took this seriously enough to work on it even after this blog disappears from the MIA home page.

          Characterizing “these people as punks who deserve no such respect” seems a fruitless effort to turn the tables with magical thinking.

          I’m not characterizing them, they are punks who deserve no respect, and people need to realize that’s all they are. What I’m trying to do is encourage people to have some respect for themselves and learn to see the enemy for the “paper tiger” he is rather than some all-powerful behemoth. Even if he has the ability to beat you down at the moment, a bully is still a punk.

          I think I made clear that I am not opposing hunger strikes across the board and suggested one case (Garth) in which this could be immediately effective in saving a life. Which is pretty much the only justification in my view for such a tactic.

          I also challenge the notion that violence against oneself constitutes “nonviolence.” There are many creative forms of militant yet truly nonviolent civil disobedience which don’t employ masochism as a tactic, and could draw people in to have their consciousness raised.

          Report comment

          • There are many, many Garths in the mental health system, OldHead. The ‘do nothing’ approach has proven itself to be particularly ineffective time and time again. I suggest that there is a lot more doing nothing than there is doing something, and I want to commend the people who have done, and are doing, something in terms of political activism. If anything , 2,000 plus years of spiritual baloney haven’t made our miracle workers, faith healers or faith invalids, any more fastidious.

            As for “violence against oneself”, I think over eating is probably much more prevalent and dangerous than under eating. The mental health system is state sanctioned violence directed against its detainees. If somebody doesn’t do something, it goes on as if nothing happened because nothing did happen. I think any and EVERY sort of action is justified to bring attention to the absurdity, waste, violence, and destruction that this system embodies. I also think any and EVERY sort of action justified in exposing it, and keeping the end in mind, especially with regards to non-consensual coercive treatment, of abolishing it.

            Report comment

          • I think any and EVERY sort of action is justified to bring attention to the absurdity, waste, violence, and destruction that this system embodies.

            The issue is not what’s “justified” but what’s effective and what’s counter-productive.

            Report comment

          • As for “violence against oneself”, I think over eating is probably much more prevalent and dangerous than under eating.

            Maybe there should be an action where people stuff themselves for weeks on end?

            The implied threat in any hunger strike is that the participants might starve themselves to death. Otherwise it’s not much different than going to church on Sunday.

            Report comment

          • I’d say it was called for, OldHead. Another potential tactic would be to wear blindfolds and gags representing our voices in the media and the public sphere. All sorts of people know about “the chemical imbalance” theory who don’t know how bogus it is. There is a great potential for guerrilla theater in the way this story is being suppressed and covered up. It’s not happening so much now, but it could, that is, getting the message out there.

            If anybody did starve to death, they’d be way up there with the martyrs of any revolution. All sorts of people are being literally killed by their so-called mental health so-called care. This is the message that the psychiatry establishment don’t want people hear. If somebody were to die, they’d be that much more likely to hear it.

            Report comment

          • The issue is not what’s “justified” but what’s effective and what’s counter-productive.

            Wrong. The issue is what is right.

            What is ineffective and counter-productive now can be effective and productive later on. How does that Springstein song (Dancing In The Dark) go? Oh, yeah! ” You can’t start a fire without a spark.” If you are arguing against a spark, so to speak, I have to argue against you.

            Report comment

          • As you also may recall, a single spark can start a prairie fire. But not when it’s raining. (Not that I’m completely sure what I mean by that analogically speaking other than that the conditions have to be right.) Anyway, feel free to project whatever you want onto me if it helps, but no, I’m not arguing against sparks. 🙂

            The issue is what is right.

            Not a contradiction. What’s effective is right. What’s counter-productive isn’t. Part of effective organizing is figuring out which is which, which ostensibly is what we’re doing here. As with the “organizing forum” though it’s like a tree falling in the forest, given the general readership’s apparent lack of motivation to participate in the conversation.

            Report comment

          • Yeah, used to have the book by the Weather Underground with a title taken from a poem by Ho.

            Just so we’re clear about this, I don’t think I am the person to answer about the 2003 hunger strike, I think that belongs to actual participants. Were it taking place today, I would hope to play a role in the event myself. I would, if I could, be one of the strikers. I myself think of it as neither ineffective nor counter-productive. I would defend their actions as a good and necessary thing.

            The strike got into the national news, making stories in both the Washington Post and the LA TImes. The APA had to concede that there was no proven biological basis for “mental disorder” and that there was no effective test for determining whether a person had a “mental disorder” or not. I’d call that quite a concession. Also, the fact that they had to make such admissions, got plenty of attentions, and served as an education platform for the public. All in all, and considering where we were, and are, at, I would call the matter a success, but like I say, I’m not the one who should be responding to you on this matter, and I hope that a participant will be able to give you more of the inside story, if that’s what you need. I, myself, would have to call myself fully supportive of the action, and I don’t think of it as any sort of a mistake when it comes to developing a forum for educating the public, questioning science, and making a political statement.

            Report comment

          • The APA had to concede that there was no proven biological basis for “mental disorder” and that there was no effective test for determining whether a person had a “mental disorder” or not.

            I’d like to see some confirmation of this.

            Report comment

      • I agree with your primary point; let each fight the battle against the myth of mental illness from their vantage point- death from a thousand blows. It seems absurd to expect psychiatry to consider itself an illegitimate medical science- based on a false concept of mental illness. Likewise, it seems absurd to expect Big Pharma to consider its profits illegitimate- profits based on treating a social welfare problem as a medical problem. Concerning hunger strikes, I believe that they are effective for all the reasons that Gandhi would espouse but they do not appeal to me for the reasons that you state.

        Report comment

        • When the mental health system, due to ineffectual and harmful standard (mal)practices is killing people, on a large scale, and when this fact is being suppressed, in the interests of social control, by the corporate owned media, in cahoots with the government, and the international legal drug trade, I think that anything you can do, and this includes hunger strikes, to put that story before people is justified.

          Report comment

          • Thank you Frank B., “When the mental health system , due to ineffectual and harmful standard (mal) practices is killing people ,on a large scale, and when this fact is being suppressed , in the interests of social control, by the corporate owned media , in cahoots with the government , and the international legal drug trade , I think anything you can do, and this includes hunger strikes , to put that story before people is justified . ”
            Tragically we have a similar story of pseudo science and corruption across the board in so many domains . Pharmaceutical cartel, American Medical Assn. , American Dental Assn. Agriculture food distribution cartel , in the production of most of our food supply, Chemical cartel the use of chemicals and heavy metals so unregulated and deadly that end up in our bodies ,Gutting of Environmental Protection Measures .Sure there are more . This is what constitutes what some call the Therapeutic State . Certainly there are those that want to control everything and everyone which points clearly to Eugenics . Population Culling with enslavement for survivors . Why there isn’t massive civil disobedience and rebeling the cartels and there owners by name , is a mystery to me .
            Seems to me that the most natural ally of anti -psychiatry would be people that seek to obtain organic food , pure water, and a chemical free environment.
            By the way First Order Psychiatry implies a second order psychiatry . Are they the ones whose retirement plans are mainly invested in the pharmaceutical cartels ?
            Where’s Ted Chablansky ? (sorry for misspelling)

            Report comment

    • Additionally;

      The Fast for Freedom has historic parallels with slave abolitionist John Brown and his groups’ raid on the U.S. federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, a direct action designed to foment a slave revolt.

      C’mon. There were millions opposed to slavery at the time. The intended message at Harper’s Ferry was that oppressed slaves needed to up the ante and take up arms against the slavemaster. It wasn’t equivocal about that, or at all metaphorical. Not that I’m condemning John Brown, but I don’t think that’s the message you are trying to convey here, and I don’t think it’s a credible analogy.

      (As an aside, Brown was offered an insanity plea which he rebuffed with disdain.)

      Report comment

    • I largely agree with you, oldhead. And think the biggest problem is DTC pharmaceutical propaganda all over the media, which prevents the mainstream media from discussing the truth about the medical / pharmaceutical industrial complex’s crimes, since the advertising dollars buy the media’s silence. Although, the media and pharmaceutical companies may be owned by the same people, I’m not sure, haven’t researched that yet, maybe someone could?

      But I do believe the mainstream medical community is starting to worry about their precious reputations, now that it’s being pointed out on the internet that mainstream medicine is the third largest killer of Americans, and that we are dealing with a new psychiatric drug “holocaust,” which is particularly targeting attacks on innocent children.

      So I believe advocating to make DTC advertising by the pharmaceutical industry illegal again, is something that the mainstream medical community might go along with now. I mean, most doctors didn’t go into medicine to kill people, they went into medicine to help people, right? But DTC advertising has resulted in them becoming the third largest killer of Americans, and we’re talking unrepentant killers who are also financially raping all humans, with higher health care costs, for their malpractice insurance, which they are not using to compensate those they’ve harmed. If any of the mainstream doctors have a soul worth saving, they’ll be on the side of ending DTC advertising, and the ills it has produced.

      I also agree, especially now that the former head of the NIMH has defunded research into the DSM disorders, due to their scientific lack of validity and reliability. And the UN has stated, “forced psychiatric treatment is torture.” That ending the right of psychiatrists to force treat people is also a morally acceptable and appropriate fight, to fight.

      I think these are the areas we should be concentrating on at this point. And trying to work with those, within the mainstream, who may choose to side with us on these issues. Which, rationally, would be all the decent mainstream doctors, who are sick of functioning within a mockery of a failed medical caste system, hellbent on covering up each others’ mistakes, just to turn themselves into a bunch of unrepentant murderers and thieves.

      Report comment

      • Although, the media and pharmaceutical companies may be owned by the same people, I’m not sure, haven’t researched that yet, maybe someone could?

        I think the figure is something like 20% of advertising revenues are from pharmaceuticals. Anyway I agree that opposing DTC advertising is important.

        Report comment

        • Instead of thinking about the plusses and minuses of hunger strikes, maybe it might do well to think about therapeutic fasting, instead. Done to commemorate Theron Randolph’s presenting to the APA, an account of fasting 2000 psychiatric patients done about 50 years ago, which the Association firmly ignored, despite its positive results, you are going to assemble a fasting throng outside the convention. As allergy fasting requires regular water consumption, you’ll also need porta-potties in number, plus gallons of distilled water, as you celebrate the return of thousands of chronic patients to productive lives.

          Report comment

  10. To be more specific, I think a hunger strike represents one of many actions that could be taken, and I think we need more such actions not fewer. It all works towards educating the public. I would not engage in violent actions, instead I would leave those up to the government, and their psych agents. Our non-violence, as it was for MLK Jr. and the NAACP, is a way of educating the public about their violence.

    Given lies, to oneself and others, the truth is revolutionary. The hunger strike was merely a way of backing up the truth with action. If First-Order Psychiatry is harming and enslaving people with lies, the Re-humanizing Resistance can protect and liberate them with the truth. I wouldn’t scrap one effective action when we have far too few of the kind of actions we need. I ask for more and different types of actions instead. I don’t think we should do less, in other words, I think we should do more, and, therefore, I definitely wouldn’t rule out any action in favor of some sort of conspiracy of silence and inaction, silence and inaction being the “alternative” to action.

    Report comment

    • I wouldn’t scrap one effective action when we have far too few of the kind of actions we need.

      There are infinite effective actions “available,” but only when there are people willing to be involved in making them happen. That seems to be the immediate problem, not a lack of possible things that could be done. I imagine you would agree with that much anyway?

      Report comment

      • I wouldn’t say there are infinite anything available for the reason that if I were trying to access infinite possibilities before engaging in them I wouldn’t survive the count. I think, therefore, it is more important to engage in political action than in mystification.

        The problem is that some people want to appear “sick”, who are not “sick”, despite those of us who want nothing to do with the system, and who reject it, for as long as they live. The system is in the business of selling “sickness” and its “treatment”. It is this “sickness” factory business that is the problem, and it is this business that we need to undermine.

        Report comment

        • My point is that, although the possibilities are virtually limitless, that’s irrelevant unless there are actual people committed to taking part, and all this analysis becomes no more than an intellectual exercise.

          Report comment

          • Again, I can’t count limitless, OldHead, and I not going to try to do so. Action is different from inaction. Limitless is a way of not acting. Any one action is not going to please everyone, but it is definitely going to displease the people who don’t want any action at all. I would like to see them displeased even more than they are at present. I’m out to rock the boat, and you can’t do that by supporting the status quo. Inaction supports the status quo. A definite action is giving in to real politick whereas inaction is a matter of apathy. What I’d like to see is more action and less apathy.

            Report comment

    • I would not engage in violent actions, instead I would leave those up to the government, and their psych agents.

      Of course; that’s what they’re best at. They would love to draw us into their game so they could then crush us. But we ain’t that dumb.

      Still, as I asked before, what makes violence against oneself (which is what a hunger strike is) less “violence” than violence against another? Doesn’t this reveal a kind of disrespect of self?

      Another thing that irks me constantly is when liberals talk about “nonviolent revolution.” Not because I think that revolution should be violent, but because it implies that violence is inherent to the concept of revolution and that a “nonviolent” revolution is a divergence from the norm.

      It should also be noted, in terms of media coverage, a completely nonviolent action can be attacked with no resistance and the event will still be (accurately) labeled as “violent” by the press, the one-sidedness of the violence notwithstanding.

      Report comment

      • OldHead, part of the problem is that to much of society mental health treatment represents violence prevention. People who have been impacted by the system though are no more violent than people who haven’t been so impacted. We don’t want to give them reason for assuming that they are.

        I don’t see talk of violent revolution, at the present point in time, here in the west, leading anywhere. That’s that. Say what you will.

        Report comment

        • I don’t see talk of violent revolution, at the present point in time, here in the west, leading anywhere.

          Correct. So please don’t imply that I disagree about this; I don’t see anything in what I just said that would suggest that I do. In fact my first sentence specifically states my agreement with your previous post on this, and my point was to rebut the liberal equation of revolution with violence.

          Report comment

  11. I think ’12 Step’ is not popular on MIA – But please focus :
    1. As regards ADHD on the number of ’12 Steppers’ who arrive practically illiterate and go on to gain good degrees.

    2. As regards “psychosis” the number of ’12 steppers’ that acknowledge active ‘lunacy’ and fully recover or integrate their situation with positive living.

    3. Also, The 12 Step program is a non drug program (regardless).

    Report comment

  12. Thanks Bruce. How to do this if we fear ourselves being targeted?

    What are your thoughts about this notice I read about my city“The Roster is for any person who either resides in, or attends school in, the city of —–, who is affected with autism or any other related autism spectrum disorder,” Police Chief ——noting that the roster is for residents of any age. “Our goal as a police department is to keep —– residents safe. The creation of this Autism Safety Roster fits within that objective.”
    ‪Any thoughts anyone?

    Report comment

    • I wouldn’t give the police any information about myself or family members in a case like this. I don’t trust them when they come out looking like some military organization when anything happens in the community where they bring out police in full force. Our police departments across this nation have been militarized to the hilt and I ask why? I stay away from the police at all costs these days.

      You know that there is a county in California that wants to make it a law for people with lived experience in that county to carry a card that identifies them as such. What will be next? What kind of symbol will they make us sew on our clothes and what color will it be at the rate things are going? At what point will those of us who’ve experienced the system be labeled as “useless eaters”? And sad to say, I think that many Americans would stand by and do nothing if we were rounded up, for our own good and the good of others, of course, and lodged within ghettos or sent to special compounds where we could be monitored and watched at all times; all for our own good of course. The more authoritarian our society becomes the greater the chances that we run of having this happen to us.

      Way too many of us want to sit and “dialog” with psychiatry so that we all can understand one another. No amount of dialog helped free the slaves in the South from the slave owners who refused to part with the rightful “property”. We had to have a war to end slavery; a war that nearly destroyed this country and a war which we are still fighting to this very day.

      Psychiatrists don’t want to dialog with us because we have nothing of value to share with them, as far as they are concerned. After all, they are the experts on everything, especially our own lives.

      Sorry, I didn’t realize that I was going to rave and rant to the extent that I did.

      Report comment

      • Gee, I didn’t realize when I wrote about us being sent to ghettos and compounds that this is already being done under the guise of “group homes” and RFC’s. More and more people are being discharged from the “hospital” where I work and forced to go to places where they are constantly monitored, especially to make sure that they take their “medicine” as they’re supposed to do. People who once lived in their own homes and apartments are being forced into these places, many of which I wouldn’t let my cat live in. Even if they weren’t filthy and infested with roaches it’s the idea that they have no real freedom and their rights are non-existent. And most people in the city were I work are perfectly fine with this, unless the group home is to be in their neighborhood. Then they squall and scream and protest about not wanting “THOSE PEOPLE” in their neighborhood.

        Oh well, I’m ranting again.

        Report comment

      • Rave on!

        there is a county in California that wants to make it a law for people with lived experience in that county to carry a card that identifies them as such.

        If enacted this would be a front-line cause that would justify militant nonviolent civil disobedience.

        Report comment

        • Isn’t almost anyone with “lived experience” now, is basically anyone who has ever been put on a psych med, with or without, their knowledge? Like me, who had the ADRs of a “safe smoking cessation med” / actual dangerous and ineffective antidepressant DSM-IV-TR misdiagnosed as “bipolar.”

          Lived experience, and the subsequent mandated medical research, is what enlightens one to the crimes being committed against humanity by the psycho / pharmaceutical industries.

          So obviously, if the industries’ or government want to “make it a law for people with lived experience in that county to carry a card that identifies them as such.” This would mean it is retroactively illegal to have ever trusted in any PCP or psychiatrist. Which strikes me as illegal behavior on the part of an illegitimate government.

          Report comment

          • Someone Else,

            Maybe, it’s not what you suffer from, ‘its who you are’.

            1 in 7 UK doctors complain of ‘burn out’. My ex GP was asked to leave the Medical Centre in 2012 on account of his own (Severe) Mental Illness – he has also described this experience as burnout.

            Report comment

          • I do think your right, Fiachra, some doctors are starting to feel the pain from all the damage being done to humanity by the pharmacutical corporations, and at the hands of the doctors. Our problem does seem to be that we are in a war of the corporations against the humans, and some doctors are starting to realize they, too, are just people. The oligopolistic multinational corporations / industries need to be broken up – “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

            Report comment

  13. I think we have made a ton of progress.

    Just the way people write on those mental health forums now in 2016 compared to 10 years ago. Many of those forums have been around for a long time and if you read posts from 10 years ago most people were parroting the chemical imbalance lie and most of the topics were about ‘finding the right meds’ and more medical model parroting.

    I say keep up the infowar until a search for any mental health topic online has an ‘anti psychiatry’ link on first page search results.

    First-Order Psychiatry is a house of cards built with lies.

    Report comment

  14. I agree with Oldhead about hunger strikes. Except for people currently incarcerated who cannot do anything else, no reason to do that. We can do more via social disruption. Like say following the example of the Occupy Movement.

    I think it has to start with a clear position, and as I see it, this means zero tolerance for any form of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is the accomplice of the parental abusers. It was in the time of Freud, it still is today.

    As long as you are saying that psychotherapy could sometimes be good, then you can’t really say that involuntary treatment and drugs are not sometimes needed.

    So protest therapists offices, and especially where you can get signed affidavits detailing someone’s course of treatment. Show what b.s. it is. Lots of people are mad at their therapist. Freud called the transference. Well, we should aim to transfer some of these therapists out of town. Show that they are child abuse accomplices.

    Force the government to stop licensing therapists, just like it doesn’t license psychics, fortune tellers or philosophical teachers, and it doesn’t really license clergy.

    Then campaign further against psych meds. Make it clear that these meds are narcotics, and they are being used to placate child abuse survivors, so that today more children are abused. So fully discredit voluntary psych meds.

    Then as far as involuntary meds, involuntary therapy, and involuntary psychiatric incarceration, things should go further.

    And for the doctors putting kids in Foster Care on drugs, if US law can’t get them, then prosecute them under international law, Crimes Against Humanity. No statue of limitations, and I don’t think there is any limit on the penalty either. 🙂

    And then on the positive side, start going after the parents. Change US inheritance law so that like it is in other industrialized countries, child abuse does not pay. And then where there is clear evidence of familial abuse, go after the parents with civil suits. Find ways to do this. Set case law precedent and get some legislative gains.

    I mean right now I am in conflict with a politician who says she admires Nancy Reagan. Well obviously she has never read her daughter’s book.

    Those who support the Middle-Class Family, the people who, following ancient tradition, I call First Borns, rule our society.

    And like David Smail says, psychological distress is caused by a lack of social power. As I would say, it is caused quite rationally by the lack of social and civil standing. It is not a medical problem, or a moral problem. And most certainly it is not cause for some therapist to try and give you more parenting.

    And it is not even really about the past either. This First Born politician has a social legitimacy and social power that a scapegoat like myself can never have.

    So the way to change this is for all of us scapegoats to join forces and act. Together we can take the First Borns down, and show that their ideas are skewed and unfair because of their own lies and denial. We the scapegoats can build a better world, as well a protecting children and survivors, while making public examples of the perpetrators.

    I say also that we need to set up some adult communes. Then from there set up our own Foster Care Group Homes, along with Post 18yo Mezzanine Homes.

    Today Foster Care is horrid, and the group homes are the worst of it. But this is by design, as all day long the kids are being told how underprivileged they are because they are not growing up in a Middle-Class Family.

    Our group home, run by an adult commune, and with a strong fire wall to guarantee against sexual molestation, will be completely different.

    Out group home will graduate a revolutionary vanguard, along with some brilliant leaders of the caliber of Maximilien Robespierre.

    And then after that we should set up some way to, besides building up our regular adult commune, start also taking in adult homeless, those deemed mentally ill, and convicts. We don’t have to be like the Middle-Class Family which designates people as scapegoats and expels them.

    So lets start by simultaneously picketing the offices of psychotherapists, going after the gov’t for licensing them, going after county mental health and suicide prevention services as these are usually the worst of the worst, and then taking a much tougher posture towards those doing the involuntary drugging and drugging of juveniles, and then also going after the parents.

    Join, use PM’s to Connect and Organize, then Act!


    Report comment

  15. I just had a chance to read the comments up to this point, and thanks everyone for taking the time to read the piece and offer reactions.

    As I stated at the end of the piece, I believe Resistance activists should be careful not to discourage anyone who is also thinking politically, even if another’s tactics appear ineffective to them. Beyond the issue of “historical humility” that I addressed in the piece, there are already TOO FEW people among even Mad in America readers who are interested in the topic of political activism. For example, both Part One and Part Two in this Politics 101 series have received far fewer “views” than my non-activist pieces about victimization, abuse, corruption and oppression.

    Also, as I said in the piece, the Rehumanizing Resistance, like all political movements, has internal disagreements, and in Part Three, I will discuss those disagreements and frustrations and how not to allow them to result in the kind of dissension that reduces strength.

    Thanks again for taking the time to read a rather long piece and for the comments – Bruce

    Report comment

    • TOO FEW people among even Mad in America readers who are interested in the topic of political activism. For example, both Part One and Part Two in this Politics 101 series have received far fewer “views” than my non-activist pieces about victimization, abuse, corruption and oppression.

      This is an indictment of MIA readership and liberal reformism in general, not reason to scuttle the discussion and back away from disagreements. Or refrain from pointing out actions which we feel are destructive.

      Though the phrase has been improperly thrown around too much here, there is indeed too much talk here and not enough action. And by action I don’t mean screaming on picket lines and lying in front of cars (necessarily); I’m talking about things as simple as committing to working on points of unity and quietly yet methodically developing a unified strategy, as well as many other projects dedicated to direct education and consciousness-raising.

      Report comment

      • As I stated above, I believe we, as a “movement” should be working on encouraging DTC pharmaceutical advertising to be made illegal again in this country. And be working on making forced treatment illegal, since the former head of the NIMH has confessed the DSM disorders have ZERO scientific validity or reliability, thus research into them has been defunded by the NIMH. Plus the UN has confessed “forced psychiatric treatment is torture,” thus the drugging of all children should stop. And I think the recent focus on research into how to properly wean people off the psychiatric meds is also excellent progress.

        Report comment

  16. In 1982, The Vietnam Veterans of America and the American Legion prevailed in a struggle with “First-Line Psychiatry” and forced the psychiatric establishment to acknowledge that trauma and stress could produce the same symptoms described as the result of incurable, genetically-based brain diseases (aka schizophrenia, manic-depression, etc.) When we now hear so often how childhood abuse and neglect are found to be the cause of “mental illnesses” later in life, please remember it was US Veterans who first breached the wall of lies erected by biological psychiatrists and the poisonous drug and dangerous device producers they pimp for. Good Luck and Good Hunting!

    Well-Being: Post-Traumatic Stress Sufferers Need Security
    (FT MYERS (FL) NEWS-PRESS 05 SEP 11) … Jacquelyn Ferguson

    The American Legion has supported veterans suffering from combat stress since World War I, when returned vets were turning up in jails, hospitals, asylums and on street corners, haunted by battles long gone. Legion research exposed this problem, which helped create the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Decades of wars and research later, combat stress is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder. The Legion dropped “disorder” because of its stigmatizing implication and because many soldiers avoid treatment for fear it will hurt their careers. So I’ll refer to the condition as PTS.

    About 20 percent of Iraq/Afghanistan soldiers are returning with PTS or depression, which is compounded by traumatic brain injury and sexual assaults, states a 2008 study by the RAND Corporation. Approximately half have sought VA treatment.

    According to the cover story of the September The American Legion magazine, “The War Within: the battle against post-traumatic stress,” today’s vets have benefited from earlier vets’ experiences. Upon returning home, Vietnam veterans rejected the diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, says Ken Jones, a veteran of that war.

    He says, “We don’t know what we are, but we aren’t that.”

    Back before PTS was understood, clinicians diagnosed many vets with paranoid schizophrenia due to their reported symptoms, such as flashbacks and hyper-vigilance, that resembled schizophrenia’s diagnostic criteria of hallucinations and paranoia. Vietnam-era soldiers’ experiences brought PTS to the attention of the medical and research communities and has helped all sufferers of post-traumatic stress.

    What struck me from the article was a statement made by a returning soldier’s wife, Melissa Seligman, when her husband described the aftermath of a suicide bombing he witnessed in Iraq.

    “There’s something so horrible about somebody being so traumatized … (and) there’s no emotion attached,” she said
    Imagine what the brain must do to detach so from the trauma.

    I spoke about PTS with a dear friend, Dr. John Klebba, who has a Ph.D. in physiological psychology and is a retired Naval Reserve captain in Naval Intelligence. Jack participated in debriefing prisoners of war from Vietnam in 1973 so has firsthand experience with survivors of war trauma.

    He said, “I believe the essential aspect of treating PTSD is the rebuilding of self-confidence and security. Fear is a severe feeling of insecurity. After experiencing the traumas associated with combat, those personnel afflicted with PTSD are sensitized to endocrine – neurologically overreact to almost any event they perceive as threatening their sense of security.

    “The civilian aspects of coping (achieving security) involve good relationships with family, friends and co-workers. The more competently the PTSD person can handle these situations, the less fearful will be their life-space, and less often will the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system be called into play.

    “In many cases there will be instances when the chimeras come storming back, so it is important that the PTSD person be given ‘go-to’ strategies such as whom to call (e.g., VA crisis line: 800-273-8255, press 1), Transcendental Meditation, physical exercise, etc.”
    Jacquelyn Ferguson, M.S., is an international speaker and a stress and wellness coach.

    Report comment

    • I’m really glad that they dropped the “disorder” business because what we call PTS is actually a NORMAL RESPONSE to something that is emotionally overwhelming and detrimental to people. Psychiatry tries to defend the “disorder” business by saying that the people who show this response are genetically predisposed to be susceptible to stress and anxiety. It implies that they are weak and not as resilient as other people. What a bunch of bull feces that is. Trauma is trauma and has nothing to do with genetics or broken brains or anything else biological.

      Report comment

  17. OK so I’m trying to methodically proceed here but so far haven’t gotten past confrontation. And I have a couple more things to say about that.

    The “mental patients'”/psychiatric inmates’ liberation movement of the late 70’s-early 80’s engaged in some seriously militant and confrontative activity, all nonviolent, but hitting hard at its targets. During one of the Conferences on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression (either in Cleveland or Syracuse I think) we tried to physically shut down a “community mental health” facility of some sort by blocking the doors when workers arrived in the morning, and during the San Francisco conference a couple years earlier blocked doors at the Convention Center when the APA was meeting there. In the 1982 Toronto conference, taking advantage of the new APA policy of encouraging tokenism and inviting us to host “patients’ rights” workshops (which almost no shrinks attended), a number of survivors who had gotten into the lavish Sheraton for these workshops assembled at the appointed hour in the lobby for a silent vigil in honor of the victims of psychiatry. The APA was forced to call the cops to drag out and lock at least a dozen or more people. We forced them to show their true colors and created a major public relations disaster, and even the corporate Canadian press was extremely sympathetic to us. This stands out to me as one of the most successful actions ever carried out by this movement and it needs to be recognized.

    I would also be remiss not to mention the national/international boycott of the SmithKline Corporation’s over-the-counter products due to their production of Thorazine, Stelazine and Prolixin, which involved many anti-psych groups national and was coordinated by the Philadelphia group due to its proximity to SmithKline’s corporate headquarters. There were demonstrations both in front of the headquarters and others at symbolic locations throughout the nation, and when the head of the corporation was publicly presented with a “humanitarian” award he was confronted and denounced by chanting “mental patients,” as two women activists took center stage with a huge banner reading “THORAZINE KILLS”! One TV station happened to be in the room and the action was covered as an exclusive that night on the news.

    This is the level of activity we once had. It was empowering and exciting, not boring, whiny and always worried about offending some “supportive” mental health professional somewhere. There’s no reason we can’t get to that level again. But it’s a collective effort that is required, not a couple charismatic leaders and everyone else chanting “Go go go”!

    Report comment

    • I was at the rally and demonstration in Philadelphia in 2012. David Oaks asked who there were on psych drugs and a whole slew of hands went up. There was talk there about another event I did attend. I was also at the International Conference on Psychiatric Oppression and Human Rights that took place at Bryn Mawr in, maybe the year was 1977, when we marched on whatever Glaxo-Smith-Kline was before it became Glaxo-Smith-Kline. Obviously, there was no question of a repeat performance.

      It’s easy to say these things, OldHead, it’s just much harder to bring them off. I think at this point in time, because the movement has changed, and gotten off course, we need another movement as distinct from the one that people are familiar with. This is to say that, essentially, they’ve put so many people on psych drugs, we’re back to the point where we were prior to the launch of the Lunatics Liberation Front in Portland, Oregon, around 1969-1970. We need the kind of actions you are talking about, but if they are to take place, it’s only going to happen by splintering off from what the majority of “C/S/X” or so-called “peers” are doing. This is why I think independent actions by small groups of people are to be encouraged. The “alternative” is a falling in line with the federal government, and its “Alternatives”, the conference, agenda. Not much of an “alternative” there, huh?

      Report comment

      • We need the kind of actions you are talking about, but if they are to take place, it’s only going to happen by splintering off from what the majority of “C/S/X” or so-called “peers” are doing.

        I’ve never considered myself part of any C/S/X grouping to splinter off from; if anything, these are the elements that splintered off from us. I don’t want to include “peers” in that as I’m learning that the term can refer to a number of things, some good, some bad. But the actions I’m speaking of were organized by “regular” people who had the motivation and commitment to do it.

        Actually the “alternative” is complaining a lot and doing nothing, which apparently is fine with a lot of people here at the moment.

        Report comment

      • I also somehow found myself at the 2012 demonstration, and while I was happy to see something happening I thought it was disempowering in many ways, though not totally. Somehow I missed Laura Delano’s speech, which I know was awesome, and it was good to see people marching in the streets. Some of the participants had been brought in groups by their therapists however, which I thought was weird. And in the news account the next day David O. was portrayed as a harried “minder” unable to get his charges to fall in for their “label-tearing” exercise. I thought it was embarrassing and demeaning coverage, but it was then posted online somewhere like it was something to write home about, rather than to the editor about in complaint. Which I did, but I never sent it.

        Report comment

    • How about starting a campaign in which anytime anyone who is protesting drug promotion, forced drugging, ECT, incarceration–the abuse the psychiatric profession gets away with in the name of “treatment,” writes anything regarding their objections anywhere at all, they write p$ychiatry and p$ychiatrist. The idea would be to associate the field with greed instead of “care.”

      Report comment

  18. Proceeding to “Organizing” (though the lines between confrontation/organizing/coalition building are blurry):

    I pretty much concur with Bruce’s analysis of the current embrace of “diversity,” by young people in particular, as a reason for optimism in this movement against enforced conformity. One cautionary note: I and others have noticed that, in the current preoccupation with exploring and championing the vicissitudes of personal and sexual identity, there is a tendency by some to gloss over the basic contradictions of class rule, imperialism and racism, which continues to undergird the capitalist system in a fundamental way, and which has for decades held heroic political prisoners such as Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal and many others in the bowels of its gulag. The ruling class plans to take advantage of the drive for “diversity” to obscure class contradictions and the brutal realities of capitalism by continuing to appoint tokens and figureheads such as Obama. If they manage to put a female war criminal (Clinton) in power using the appeal to “anti-sexism,” next time around we’ll get a gay imperialist warmonger in the name of “gay liberation.” This game can go on for a long time unless people refuse to let it and refuse to opportunistically accept such system bribes.

    I will repeat, again, that the struggle against psychiatry is not part of a “health reform” movement; it is part of the prison abolition movement.

    Report comment

    • I certainly wouldn’t call the movement for the abolition of forced psychiatry a part of the prison abolition movement. We are, remain, and will be two separate movements. I would see our two movements as allied and having points in common. There are prison abolitionists, for instance, who think some prison overcrowding issues should be resolved by transferring some inmates from prison to psychiatric institutions. Doing so is what is referred to as transinstitutionalization, and we’ve got too much of that as is. I’d think, if transinstitutionalization went the other way, from the psych hospital to the prison, some of these prison abolitionists might begin to see the folly in proposing or promoting it. People wind up in prison for breaking the written law, people wind up in the mental hospital for breaking rules unwritten into law. There is a difference, and it is important to realize such a difference for what it is. Our two movements can and should work together, all the same, they are not identical. While the criminal justice system holds that people are innocent until proven guilty, the mental health system holds that people are “sick” by virtue of winding up in it, or according to genetic disposition. Although allied, I don’t think there is any guarantee that by getting rid of the one, you are any closer to getting rid of the other, and certainly, if one institution were to go by the wayside, you figure somebody is still going to be busy tweaking matters in the social control department. I have to repeat, although our movements may indeed be related, they are by no means synonymous, and they shouldn’t be treated as such.

      Report comment

      • Were we to call the prison abolition movement a part of the psychiatry abolition movement, I think you would hear many objections from people who claim to be prison abolitionists. It is also somewhat demeaning. I mean, really, why give them top billing when they aren’t the only show in town.

        Report comment

          • If that movement is anti-hierarchical and democratic, sure, if that movement is elitist, and tyrannical, I think not. I think we can say they are parts of the same movement, however I don’t think we can say they are identical with one another. There are many strands to this as well. There is not only the plight of prisoners, there is also the plight of people said to have a “disability”. Also, the plight of children. I’m not saying that prison abolition and psychiatric prison abolition are identical. If you are saying that, we have the statement under this by a Ms. Amanda Pustlinik that says otherwise.

            Report comment

      • Totally disagree. Both the prison system and psychiatric system are quasi-separate but related branches of the domestic repression/”law enforcement” apparatus. One focuses on those who break written laws, the other on unwritten laws and “thought crimes” (although often even these distinctions are blurred, as many prisons have psychiatric wings and many inmates on psych drugs). Both wings of the psychiatric/prison apparatus are concerned with both overt and internalized suppression of those under their control; prisons largely with the former, psychiatry with the latter, though the functions overlap.

        Another way of looking at it is that we’re all expected by this system not only to eat shit but to like it. Prisons deal primarily with those who refuse to eat shit, psychiatry with those who don’t like it or pretend to like it. I’m surprised that you would disagree with this.

        I don’t think there is any guarantee that by getting rid of the one, you are any closer to getting rid of the other

        That’s because there is no fundamental difference in their ultimate functions and whichever one goes last will try to compensate for the other. However when psychiatry is recognized as part of the repressive apparatus rather than a branch of medicine (however “rogue”) there will be more clarity for both anti-psychiatry and anti-prison activists as to what we’re dealing with.

        Report comment

        • Hello. Speaking of “lived experience” because you did. I’m not a prison abolition activist because I’ve never been in a federal penitentiary as an inmate. I am a forced psychiatry activist because I have been in a psychiatric prison as an inmate, on multiple occasions. I am speaking from my own personal experience, not another person’s.

          I didn’t know shit was on anybodies menu? If so, somebody might consider changing it.

          Prison abolitionists such as Amanda Pustlinik take issue with the fact that prisons are used as a “default asylum” for many individuals with mental illness.


          I disagree with the above. I don’t think anybody has yet discerned any real illness to the mind. I challenge anybody to prove a “mental illness” virus or bacteria exists.

          Report comment

          • The blockquote should be above the hyperlink. No emphasis to the last paragraph where I express my view of Ms. Pustlinik’s “take”.

            I don’t think, in other words, of any prison as a “default asylum”, in fact, I think it’s kind of the other way around, with the so-called “asylum” serving as a “default prison”.

            Report comment

          • Why would you take one individual’s opinion to indict an entire movement? I can think of plenty of psych survivors posting here who display similar ignorance about the prison system. The point is to resolve these differences with internal consciousness-raising and political struggle.

            Maybe you have more trouble with my phrasing than the substance of what I’m saying. When I say the two movements are basically fighting the same things, I don’t mean literally here and now; if I did I would have trouble describing the “anti-psychiatry movement” as something which actually “exists” on more than an abstract level. Maybe it would be more clear to say that in order to defeat the repressive apparatus of the system it is incumbent upon both anti-psych AND anti-prison activists to recognize the similar and related functions both systems serve and how they work together to reinforce one another. And to share strategies, analyses and, in time, actions.

            Report comment

          • I wasn’t indicting a whole movement on the basis of one person’s opinion. I was differing from that one person’s opinion. I don’t know how representative, in fact, it actually is. If you clicked the link to the Wikipedia page on the prison abolition movement, the last section bears the heading Mental illness and prison. I found this section very troubling.

            Report comment

  19. @Frank — Here’s what I found in your “Exhibit A”:

    Research has shown that serious neurobiological disorders such as schizophrenia reveal reproducible abnormalities of brain structure (such as ventricular enlargement) and function. Compelling evidence exists that disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism to name a few have a strong genetic component. Still, brain science has not advanced to the point where scientists or clinicians can point to readily discernible pathologic lesions or genetic abnormalities that in and of themselves serve as reliable or predictive biomarkers of a given mental disorder or mental disorders as a group. Ultimately, no gross anatomical lesion such as a tumor may ever be found; rather, mental disorders will likely be proven to represent disorders of intercellular communication; or of disrupted neural circuitry. Research already has elucidated some of the mechanisms of action of medications that are effective for depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, attention deficit, and cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

    This is not a “concession.” These are what in other circumstances you would call “weasel words,” as MFI basically points out in its reply.

    Report comment

    • Further according to the APA,

      In the months and years ahead, the APA, along with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the Nation’s mental health research and clinical communities, and the public at large will strive to achieve the President’s New Freedom Mental Health vision, and will not be distracted by those who would deny that serious mental disorders are real medical conditions that can be diagnosed accurately and treated effectively.

      If that’s a statement of “surrender” I shudder to imagine what an APA “victory statement” might claim.

      Report comment

      • Yes, but you don’t have any proof here because there is no proof. The APA is the APA, and they can say what they like, but where is the proof, and where are the citations. There is another way of looking at matters, and that is the way of the hunger strikers, the panelists, the MFI scientific advisory board, and it’s supporters. I happen to know who I side with in this situation, and I’m not ceding any “victory” to the APA, nor specifically what it represents, bio-psychiatry in cahoots with the drug industry.

        Report comment

        • We were talking about effectiveness. This is not judged by the subjective feeling or opinions of participants and supporters but in terms of the action’s stated goals. Was not the goal here to get the APA to concede that its hypotheses are invalid? If so, all they did was continue to smudge the issue and characterize anti-psychiatry survivors as a group of “lone nuts” with nothing to back up their claims, and proclaim that they intended to keep working with NAMI, etc. and proceed with business as usual. What about that was worth risking anyone’s health or life over?

          Report comment

          • Again, knowing how a lot of people tend to think here, I emphasize that I was not even involved in anti-psych activity during the “Fast for Freedom” era (though I had been for a good number of years previously), and do not in any way mean to reflect personally on those involved. Certainly this action was better than doing nothing at all (though that shouldn’t be the standard for comparison). My comments are intended as a retrospective critique, and as food for thought when planning future activities.

            Report comment

          • Every time anybody says something different from what NAMI says, I see effectiveness.

            You know the APA is not going to say that “mental illness” diagnoses are invalid. Its whole raison d’etre is based upon not doing so. I don’t think anybody thought they were going to crawl into a hole in the ground. I do think they were happy to get a different message out there, and to, perhaps, make an impression on someone.

            I remember a living wage campaign that took place in Virginia, and when it was defeated by the state legislators, some people had a mock funeral for it in the Richmond GA. However “effective”, I think that was the right thing to do, too. Just imagine, killing a living wage.

            Report comment

          • It’s easy to be a backseat driver, and carp on the faults of the actions taken by other people. Initiating actions of your own…There’s the rub, as Shakespeare might put it. I imagine there are quite a few backstreet drivers out there wondering why they never get the wheel. In your case, OldHead, I will leave it to you to explain that one.

            Report comment

          • You know the APA is not going to say that “mental illness” diagnoses are invalid.

            Yes, I pointed that out in my first comment. Which is why it’s strategic folly to engage in an action based on getting them to do just that.

            Report comment

          • Initiating actions of your own…There’s the rub, as Shakespeare might put it. I imagine there are quite a few backstreet drivers out there wondering why they never get the wheel.

            “Initiating actions on your own” is an individualistic approach and bound to fail in the long run. When we were strategizing some of the genuinely successful actions I mentioned earlier, the collective involvement and joint perspectives of scores of people were the key to our effectiveness. (Can’t respond to the backseat driver analogy as I have no idea what you’re referring to.)

            Report comment

          • You are familiar with the findings of the Foucault Tribunal I imagine. Would you say, OldHead, that there shouldn’t have been a Foucault Tribunal, a Tribunal which found psychiatry guilty of crimes against humanity, because psychiatry ignored it, and because psychiatry, or psychiatrists, were not prosecuted for those crimes. I guess psychiatry didn’t completely ignore the hunger strikers, but I’m not sure I would see failure in that fact either.

            Report comment

          • 1st the hunger strike is history.
            2nd if it wasn’t history, you wouldn’t just be arguing with me. You’d be arguing with the hunger strikers, the forum panelists, the scientific advisory council, supporters, and
            3rd people like B. Levine and R. Whitaker who have used the hunger strike to good advantage in their books.

            I find not thinking of all the people involved in this thing, and the passion that went into it, kind of disrespectful. In terms of strategy and tactics, doing nothing really p$ucks. Of all the political actions that you could bash, I’m not bashing this one. I think it was a good thing to do, and the right thing to do at the time.

            Report comment

        • Frank, I don’t think I have been arguing you for the most part, but you feel compelled to argue even when I agree with you, so all I can do is shrug my shoulders.

          As for your other insinuations, you obviously haven’t read my comments in their entirety, so there’s no reason to repeat myself again. I’m not interested in arguments and strategies primarily based on emotion, but in developing (in some ways redeveloping) ways of doing things that work, and in learning from our experiences, which involves the process of criticism/self-criticism. So I have no question that I along with others “would have been” debating this from all angles if there had been a functioning movement in 2003.

          But this is just one issue. Mostly at the moment I’m pretty stunned that no one seems to care enough about all the crucial matters brought up by Bruce L. in this blog to venture much of an opinion or risk coming into conflict with someone.

          Report comment

          • I know we agree on many matters, OldHead. I think the basic difference though is that I value action over theory. You talk about the time for organizing as if it was premature. I say, if it’s premature now, it will always be premature. When it comes to first steps, somebody has to take them, or else nobody takes them.

            I, it goes without saying, seriously disagree with you about the effectiveness of the 2003 hunger strike. I think it was encouraging by representing one of those things that you can do besides demonstrating when demonstrations get old and easy to ignore.

            That said, I’m eager to get to the rest of Bruce’s blog when it arrives and, like you, I wish there were more interest in the subject.

            Report comment

          • You talk about the time for organizing as if it was premature.

            Don’t know where you get that from. It’s years overdue. I can’t help it if no one’s interested. Even enough to talk in an organized way about a coherent statement of what we stand for.

            Meanwhile if action is all that matters I can do pull-ups till I drop and say it’s to end psychiatry.

            Report comment

          • MIA is not an anti-psychiatry forum. There is no pretending that it is. I think we need an organization that takes an anti-psychiatry stance. It may not occur any time soon. The psychiatric survivor movement is too divided for any sort of meaningful consensus. It lost momentum with the government buy out of 1985, and the corresponding rise of the mental patients/human service consumer, the artificial disability, movement.

            What do we need? A small core group of people who can be relied upon. Out of this can come a larger group of people who share our perspective. From this core group, you get a physical organization, and this organization translates into blogsite, magazine, conferences, political actions, etc.

            That’s the way I see it, OldHead. If you would be into helping get this kind of thing off the ground, there we go. While it would be nice to see it as long lasting if we did so, I entertain no such notion that it could last for any great length of time. 2 years used to be a long time in web time. 10 years could be the lifetime of an organizing effort, but I think it’d be well worth it. The only danger is the ensuing, and to be expected, burn out because it would take a lot of work, and there are always people who will be forced to shoulder more of it than others.

            Report comment

  20. Cutting to the chase:

    Alliances and coalitions — Yes, definitely. All the “naturals” you mention and more can be included in coalitions around specific issues even if they don’t accept an anti-psychiatry agenda.

    Primarily however (this is already being batted around above) our most natural allies are those who are fighting the repression of the prison system. To treat this as a “health reform” issue is to accept the enemy’s narrative politically speaking. And if we don’t recognize the depths of brutality, racism and repression manifested in the prison system is part and parcel of the psychiatric system as well, and that both work hand in glove, we cannot expect to be taken seriously by those who have spent the majority of their lives in prison, or who are being drugged in prison, and whose very lives are on the line every day. In line with this consideration,

    There are many other groups who know nothing about the Rehumanizing Resistance’s struggle against the Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex

    Bruce, though you mean well, using a term such as “Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex” is a variation and usurpation of the term “Prison Industrial Complex” which evolved among a number of progressive forces in the 90’s; I am concerned that this comes off as a cavalier terminological ripoff to many who are involved in prison issues. I do favor a term such as “Prison/Psychiatric Industrial Complex” perhaps being adopted gradually, but only along with political cooperation and education between all forces involved.

    Report comment

    • Actually, OldHead, it was Dwight D. Eisenhower who came up with the term Military Industrial Complex, and the peaceniks took it from there. Both Psycho-pharmaceutical Industrial Complex and Prison Industrial Complex must derive his term. I’ve know of a few people who use the term Psycho-pharmaceutical Industrial Complex with some degree of frequency, and between Psycho-pharmaceutical Industrial Complex and Prison Industrial Complex, I have no idea as to which came first. As the Psycho-pharmaceutical Industrial Complex is also operating within the Prison Industrial Complex, I’d say it is not so much of a ripoff as you might imagine it to be. Where the criminal justice system and the mental health system come together, it’s there that you will find some real, and too often ignored, human rights violations and abuse taking place.

      Report comment

      • Prison Industrial Complex evolved in the 90’s among a wide network of organizations working on prisoners issues, campaigns to free political prisoners, various left organizations, and others fighting domestic repression in an organized way. I know because I was there. It was based on the Military Industrial Complex, making a similar link to the prison system, of which psychiatry is part & parcel As there is nothing comparable among present anti-psych networks to the sorts of concrete work these groups are doing, I don’t think we’re doing ourselves a favor by willy-nilly coming with a similar term and risking at least the suspicion that we are usurping something that is serious to many people and has a specific meaning. Some might even see it as racist. If we’re going to re-solidify with the left in this country we need to do some education among the rest of the larger movement about what we stand for, and shouldn’t be irritating people by “stealing” their terms. That’s my concern anyway. My personal favorite would be simply Prison/Psychiatric Industrial Complex. But I don’t think we should just “declare” anything, there should be dialogue going on with other groups over this and a gradual understanding of the connectedness of prisoners and the psychiatrized.

        Report comment

  21. Hi Bruce,

    Enjoying this series of articles immensely.

    There is a gathering of people around the issue of recognition of our Indigenous population here in Australia.
    I wonder how many of these ‘human rights activists’ are aware that our Mental Health laws mean that any changes which are made to our Constitution mean that the rug can once again be ripped out from under these people once again. It may be an opportunity to raise the issue of the lack of any Human Rights in this country.
    Way back when we were a Nation of White Australians there was a technique used to deal with our Indigenous population. Certain people were infecting blankets with smallpox and then distributing them to Indigenous people under the guise of gifts. I believe a similar method was used in other Nations. It seems to me that a similar technique is still being used to this day, only it is our Mental Health Services distributing the blankets, and the risk to the rest of the population has been eliminated.

    The data of course is spun to paint a very different picture, and provide justification for more of these ‘services’. I think in this sense Mr Whitakers work is invaluable in showing what this ‘industry’ is really about. Might be worth examining the differences between the ‘treatment plans’ of the various groups who receive these ‘treatments’? Or would it scare the cattle to expose the truth?

    Look forward to part 3.

    Report comment

  22. Tentative final thoughts — I considered this such a momentous contribution to the ongoing conversation among anti-psychiatry people that I tried to respond in the most organized way I could, though not always point by point, and to the exclusion of all other articles since it was posted. I thank Bruce L for providing the framework for what should have been a fascinating ongoing and multi-faceted back & forth on many levels. Unfortunately there is currently a reticence among MIA adherents to get into any kind of political activity or discussion, or to engage in serious criticism/self-criticism, which is essential for any movement to remain viable and grow. Some of this may be because people have been encouraged to avoid any suggestion of conflict as “negativity.” Some may just be that it’s a “holiday” season and no one wants to think too hard. But, even though more people may yet join in, it reminds me of how many conscious anti-psychiatry survivors have disappeared from the pages of MIA, and leads me to ask why, and to question the wisdom of continuing to view MIA as the primary forum for the sort of discourse necessary to the continued successful evolution of the anti-psychiatry movement.

    If there is a weakness in Bruce’s perspective it may be that he has a limited familiarity with some of the truly historic work that was done prior to 1985, which still represents the movement at its high-water mark to date. At least he doesn’t seem to refer to it that often. That’s the standard I tend to use when I critique what has transpired since. And to be clear, if there were a graph plotting the progress of the movement from 1970-2016, it would start to dip from a high in the late 70’s-early 80’s down way below zero by 1995 then gradually start to climb again to where we are now, which is still hovering around zero, just not as much. (Sorry.) MIA is responsible for an explosion of consciousness that in some ways even surpasses that of the first wave of movement activity. But consciousness brings responsibility, just as power cedes nothing without a demand. Need I say more?

    So, that’s my perspective. Everything needs to be examined so we can learn from our experience. The more people interject their own egos and insecurities the more the discussion gets bogged down. On the other hand people shouldn’t refrain from speaking for fear of doing so. It needs to be as artful a balance as possible. “Attrition” is inevitable, but with some dedication and creativity we can speed up the process.

    Report comment

  23. Bruce, Frank, and Oldhead

    Bruce, thank you again for Part 2 of this blog dealing with issues of effective strategy and tactics for our movement. You have stimulated an interesting and important discussion.

    Thank you Frank and Oldhead for your persistence in making this particular comment section highly relevant to the topic at hand.

    In many ways you two have concentrated in your comments the various issues and debates (we all have in our own minds) regarding how to sum up the past and envision the future of our movement. You have been fearless in presenting your views and respectful in conducting a necessary and contentious discussion. I hope others who have not commented so far have also been closely following this important discussion.

    Oldhead, thanks for educating us about some past battles in the 70’s and 80’s that have not written about or summed up here at MIA, and for carrying forward your passion for launching a truely militant anti-psychiatry movement. I appreciated your willingness to present your polarizing perspective on the Fast for Freedom,and hunger strikes in general as a tactic, no one has been so forth right in making such a critique.

    Yes, your analysis of hunger strikes does give me pause about such tactics, but I felt the critique was overly harsh and dismissive of a creative attempt at challenging the system. Remember, I believe that Karl Marx was not supportive of the Paris Commune as a strategy (that he did not believe had a chance of winning) before it was launched, but once it began he gave it his full and unadulterated support to the end and then summed up its historical significance.

    Frank, you gave a good summation and defense of the Fast for Freedom. At the time it was the best thing going trying to undermine the credibility of Psychiatry and it should be supported despite any strategical or tactical shortcomings. If there were such a thing now I can’t say how I would respond. I do know that I get deeply frustrated and angry (and even desperate) that we have the science to back us up and a significant number of survivors and activists but no real activist movement, and unfortunately the “Cabaret” just continues on and on with new victims every day.

    In some ways I’m glad that there is not a bunch of haphazard groups or poorly organized actions because this could lead to deep frustration and burnout in a relatively short period of time. However, at the same time we should NOT be waiting for the PERFECT group to form or the ONE clever action or strategy that will somehow undermine the Beast and bring it down. This is NOT how movements grow and develop.

    Solid organization and creative action is desperately needed. And we all must be open to the role of spontaneity in the making of history. At any moment some particular event or small struggle somewhere could erupt that has the potential to be that “single spark” that could start the prairie fire. We must be able to recognize these events when they occur and see their full potential and make them grow.

    The drugging of children and adolescents, the benzo crisis, and the violence and suicides related to psych drugging and labeling (etc.) and the profit system that spawns such oppression, is all there waiting for our organization and action.

    I know there are other activists (old and young) who are reading this thread. Dare to participate and test your ideas and see if those ideas can become a creative agent of change.

    Thanks again to Bruce, Frank, and Oldhead.

    Comradely, Richard

    Report comment

    • Hi Richard, I’m afraid you weren’t controversial enough to get more people paying attention but thanks for checking in. Again, the most disturbing thing is the lack of apparent interest.

      Karl Marx was not supportive of the Paris Commune as a strategy but once it began he gave it his full and unadulterated support to the end and then summed up its historical significance.

      If there had been an anti-psychiatry movement to speak of then and I had been part of a pre-action debate I would have supported it while it was happening, as I did other actions I didn’t particularly support. That doesn’t mean that after it was over everyone would consider post-event discussion taboo unless it was uniformly positive.

      I don’t cop to being “dismissive” of the hunger strike participants. My comments were focused on the action itself and not the individuals involved, and I still fail to see anything I wrote that justifies such an interpretation. It would have been helpful if some of those involved could have clarified some of the questions raised. However, a public action such as this by its nature invites controversy, so I think it’s fair to evaluate it in terms of both its stated goals and its effect on the movement.

      I would say it’s a split decision. If you want to talk about “dismissive,” the statement from the APA reads like a sophisticated brushoff, and I don’t think this can be realistically called a “victory.”. However it does seem to some degree, despite the contradictions, to have had an empowering and inspiring effect with those involved, as well as among some supporters and survivors who have heard about it since. I remember reading somewhere that unspecified “political differences” prevented the project from moving forward following the hunger strike; it would be interesting to know what they were. It would also be interesting to know to what extent the project was directed and controlled by ex-inmates/’survivors.”

      One way of visualizing and strategizing the future nature (or even existence) of the movement is by building on the successes and learning from the failures of the past, and figuring out which is which. That’s why I think this is important. But until a reasonable number of folks decide to get just a little involved, no matter how brilliant our enunciated strategy is it’s not going to implement itself.

      Waiting as well for Part 3.

      Report comment

    • Yeah, Thanks, Richard.

      Enough with the talk about the hunger strike, OldHead. I’m not the person you should be arguing with, it should be people who were involved in the event, now, as it was more than 10 years ago, history. They had their reasons. I suppose if they’d done anything else somebody, yourself for instance, might have said it was bad strategically. Doing nothing, as I said, can be no better.

      I find this argument rather like arguing who has God on their side. I’m an atheist. What is winning and losing in the end. As W. B. Yeatts put it, long ago:

      Cast a cold eye
      On life, on death
      Horseman, pass by!

      Or as B. Dylan put it in The Times They Are A-Changin’

      The loser now will be later to win.

      I would say, “Let’s hope so”, if I didn’t think that was a crock, and so I will just say instead, with Commander Picard of the USS Enterprise.

      Make it so.

      Report comment

      • Or to further clarify, OldHead. since you won’t quit, I think you’re dead wrong about the hunger strike. There were two very good reasons for having the strike. 1. To draw attention to other views besides those put forward by bio-psychiatry, and 2. To throw serious questions into the mix regarding the science used to support labeling and drugging people. I think on both counts it was very much a success. When the APA notices you, as they did in this instance, well, somebody else is going to do so, too. It’s like having E. Fuller Torrey or D.J. Jaffe try to slam you. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a slam dunk for the other team.

        Anyway, let’s say one side has all the power, and the other side has very little of the power, what then? You bring attention to the matter with a hunger strike if you have to do so. That’s where we were, and that’s where we remain. In lieu of any massive act of civil disobedience, something I’m definitely in favor of, you might as well do the next best thing.

        Report comment

        • I agree that everyone’s views on this are pretty clear by now and there’s no reason to continue this particular debate at this point. It’s not like there’s currently a movement or anything and we’re considering strategies and tactics and philosophies for an impending action. Still, all these considerations and perspectives would soon come into play if there were, so there’s nothing wrong with getting a head start recognizing them in hopeful anticipation of a time when it will be relevant.

          Report comment

          • On the contrary, to my way of thinking, we ARE “considering strategies and tactics and philosophies for an impending action”. All the time. The need to act, as far as I’m concerned, is not going away anytime soon. It’s not that the discussion will be relevant in the future because the discussion is relevant at this very moment. There are actions taking place now, even if you personally are not involved in any of them.

            Report comment

    • In some ways I’m glad that there is not a bunch of haphazard groups or poorly organized actions because this could lead to deep frustration and burnout in a relatively short period of time.

      Absolutely, I agree.

      However, at the same time we should NOT be waiting for the PERFECT group to form

      “Waiting”? As long as we’re waiting for any group to form, perfect or not it’s not going to happen. I don’t recall any dispute about this or ever saying otherwise, so let’s not be confused about such an attitude being an impediment.

      People will use any excuse they can not to get involved. All it would take to get something off the ground is 12-20 people, with different levels of involvement and commitment, who see some pretty basic things the same and understand the need to clearly define for themselves and others what they stand for, what their goals are, and what undertakings are needed to accomplish these, and people to actually do it.. Simple? No, but not at all impossible.

      I see no reason why the MIA organizing forum can’t be a vehicle for doing this. Even though MIA is not an anti-psychiatry site there is a large anti-psychiatry contingent. And while a separate anti-psychiatry site would be ideal, I don’t know any group of people who I trust to host such a site with the degree of security and responsibility that MIA does (despite some differences).

      So far people just haven’t considered it important enough to consistently involve themselves in even such preliminary discussions. It’s really not that hard, you know. The choice of whether there is going to be a functioning anti-psych movement is not mine, or Franks or Richard’s, it’s everybody’s.

      Meanwhile keep waiting, let me know when you hear something…

      Report comment

      • I don’t know if this is sour grapes or what. I just know you don’t turn this sort of thing into a discussion, and particularly an abstract discussion. Jerry Rubin wrote a book long, long ago with the provocative title, “Do it!” You’re talking about not doing it. I think that says it all.

        Report comment

        • Any and every place can be a vehicle for connecting like-minded people. That is not an issue. However, it is not a matter of waiting in any event. The right time is always right now. Perhaps the thing to do would be to start a list of interested people. Out of your list it is hoped that a core group could develop. Then you teleconference. Out of your teleconference comes an agenda, and a next teleconference is scheduled. This kind of action makes much more sense, to my way of thinking, than “waiting” for these things to happen. That’s not how they happen. Not unless it’s another stock market crash, or a next natural disaster you’re waiting for.

          I’m not one, really, for a discussion promoting inaction. If it’s going to be a discussion about not doing things, why have the discussion at all? I’d much prefer discussing possible actions, and actions we were working on, not actions we were avoiding working on. This discussion though hasn’t been completely wasted on me. It has inspired me to come up with an aphorism, an aphorism that I think could also serve as a personal motto. The aphorism, and motto, runs like this: Bravery acts, cowardice yacks.

          Report comment

          • Is this a morality play?

            There’s not a lot of confusion about what needs to be done, only about when people will choose to do it.

            Meanwhile, sloganeering passes the time as well as anything I guess.

            Report comment

          • Didn’t I say enough with talking, er, I mean yakking.

            I mentioned in my last comment above what we could be doing at this very moment.

            You say something about needing 12 to 20 people before we start. I say that’s BS essentially because when any number of people is a starting point, a demand for 12 to 20 can only be a stumbling block. The idea is to start from where you’re at, and gather the people. Then we can see about adding more people.

            Get back to me when you’re ready for action. Thanks.

            Report comment

  24. “For example, it would be especially politically powerful if Resistance women reminded other women how First-Order Psychiatry oppressively pathologized them, especially assertive and anti-authoritarian women.”

    Firstly, I do love it when a man gives me permission to be assertive, so thanks for that, Bruce! 😉

    “Also, politically-thinking Resistance activists must be careful not to discourage anyone who is also thinking politically, even if another’s tactics appear ineffective to them. History teaches humility here. The reality is that nobody knows for sure what works or how it will work. ”

    Let’s talk about humility then.

    I am an educated, anti-authoritarian woman in my 40s. I have a critical approach to psychiatry in general, and a particular revulsion towards coercive and enforced treatments of vulnerable and distressed human beings. I also identify as meeting the DSM-V criteria for ADHD (in terms of its face-validity for my own perception of my own lived experience), and I choose to take stimulant medication that I think does me far more good than harm, as of now.

    It can feel tough around here, for people like me. And yet, I think our commonalities in thinking are so much more important than our differences when it comes to the important issues about freedom and humanity.

    What do you think? Is there scope within your humble strategy for a strategic alliance with those of us who make choices to ingest certain psychoactive substances into our bodies, or do you view us as being Of The Enemy, or simply deluded, or what?

    Report comment

    • TenaciousMe,

      I hope I’m not too Far off track here, myself.

      I think it’s important people are advised that the medical approach has alternatives that are probably better than what it has to offer – Even for the big diagnosis.

      I was prepared to ingest medications provided they didn’t disable me – and this was what I eventually did.

      What suited me was extremely low doses and these reduced gradually to very little. I did nt stop medication for this reason though – I stopped it because it was causing worrying “heart rythm” problems.

      So I’ve tried both approaches medication and non medication, and non medication was the effective one.

      Report comment

      • Medication First, I would imagine, is pretty much the approach of First Order Psychiatry. The Re-humanizing Resistance must support increasing the options available to people over and beyond any Medication First approach, and including in their options Medication Last approaches.

        Dr. Peter Breggin claims all these drugs you call medications act through impairing the brain. Non-drug approaches should be available. Also, there should be tapering off support groups for people who want to withdraw from drugs. There are withdrawal effects associated with them, and it would be good to provide the kind of support that people don’t get because of the drug companies promotion of their products. This lack of support is due to the Medication First approach of First Order Psychiatry.

        You began developing heart rhythm problems on ADHD drugs. I think these problems are much more common than you realize. The adverse effects of psych-drugs are pretty universal. The Re-humanizing Resistance has to be about supporting people like yourself who desire to withdraw from psych-drugs. I don’t think you get that so much from First Order Psychiatry, despite the developing of health problems. I’m glad that you managed to withdraw from your ADHD drugs, and I’d like to see our Resistance help more people wishing to come off such substances as well.

        Report comment

        • I’m ready to take up your challenge, Frank–in your previous message you said it doesn’t take more than a few to start a movement and I agree. I’ve been advocating this for about four years on this forum–my suggestion that we copy the Gay Rights Movement and do something like a quilt project where people harmed by psychiatry or who lost loved ones to it do some kind of object/art project that we can display on the Mall in Washington, D.C. No one took me up on it.

          The terrible problem seems to be this–many gay activists were strong people who just happened to be gay. Many people on this forum are victims of trauma and childhood sexual abuse, as I am. That means we are usually quite challenged just to survive in the world, much less lead a movement.

          But I’m willing to get together with whoever is willing to act and try some action. Get in touch with me.


          Report comment

      • I agree, our commonalities in thinking unite us as one, regardless of whether we take the drugs or not. It sounds as if y9ou’ve given real thought to your choice and I honor that, even though it’s not the choice that I would make. But it sounds as if we both stand against oppression and control and loss of human dignity and freedom and that’s what is important when it comes down to it in the end.

        Report comment

  25. Given that the State is sanctioning convenience torture, maiming and killing of citizens (not just patients) is it any wonder that people are remaining silent about these matters? Don’t believe me?

    Police ‘verbal’ a person for a knife. They now have the power to refer to mental health services for ‘assessment’.

    Mental health, “do you have anti spyware on your computer. we call this paranoia and you need to see a psychiatrist” Your angry about this? We call that psychosis and we will need to inject you with this ‘medicine’ before you see a psychiatrist (benzos, olazapine, quetiapine).

    Psychiatrist sees a person laying on a mattress on the floor in a cell in their own faeces and urine. Drugged to the eyeballs and angry about the way you are being ‘treated’ what choice does the psychiatrist have?

    A little bit of trick cycling and any citizen could be subjected to this. Don’t believe me? Have a look at what was done to me. Of course the State is not going to want the public that this is occurring, they are of the false belief that the law protects them. And once the cycle is started the police and mental health have carte blanche to gaslight and subject the victim to the most vile abuses imaginable, all with State sanction. As they are now a mental patient’ the whole community now turns a blind eye to the abuse for fear of it happening to them.

    Rely on the State to investigate their own crimes against citizens? Two words “cover up”.

    Report comment

    • I feel certain that there were those in National Socialist Germany who figured out ways of having people falsely labelled “Juden”, “Communist”, “Deviant” etc and allowed the industrial mechanism to take care of their victims.

      In my State, with the authorisation of people to be drugged with benzos without their knowledge to allow the planting of a knife on a person before calling police and having them falsely labelled a “danger to self or other” that we will require an industrial scale mental health mechanism for dealing with these “dangers”.

      Why do we as a society need to find ways of not looking at what is being done? Would we see what we despised in others in ourselves?

      Report comment

  26. Machiavelli: “…the conspiracy may make the tyrant afraid and his excessive reaction may make him even more hated which will spell the end of his illegitimate rule –
    BUT… “do most people want this group to make the decision on their behalf? Do they trust them to make a better order than the existing one?”
    Alternatively – Organised popular uprising – `conspiracies conducted by a handful of men acting secretly invariably meet tragic ends, Open revolts involving large numbers of people do not.’
    The overthrow of the Duke of Athens involved the `great, the people, the artisans’ – they may begin as secret conspiracies [until] the secret is shared.’
    There IS momentum. The UK parliament is entertaining the possibility that psychotropic drugs are making matter worse and more EXPENSIVE. Whitaker, Critical Psychiatry and Evidenced Based Psychiatry are being heard in PUBLIC. There is public outcry at the drugging of foster children in parts of the US, the value of drugs in ADHD is being questioned in the major media in Australia, drug rep access to doctors is being restricted also in Australia, The Lancet and BMJ have published Study 329 (the Paxil fraud) – the Cochrane Collaboration exposure of SSRIs and suicide – The Maudsley debated psychotropics (2015)-
    The press is just beginning to publish a mix now, not just establishment unquestioned. Wait until the birth defects from SSRIs gets about – THAT could be the catalyst. That’s what got rid of Thalidomide and started a protocol, somewhat buried right now, probably because of $$$, but damaged babies is a huge and very emotional issue. Perhaps we should push this – scientific conservatism by authorities may well be seen as cover-ups and denial by worried people, so the impact of suggestion could be enormous.

    Report comment