Mad Memo #1: Dear Supreme Commander (You!) of Global Nonviolent Revolution!


Mad Memo #1

Dear Supreme Commander (You!):

Did you know you are a key leader of a global peaceful revolution? Surprise! My guess is that many of you reading this may not yet know that you are one of the “Supreme Commanders” of  world revolution.

In fact, if you wish, and you reflect the values of Martin Luther King, you may say you are leading the organization that he first envisioned, the International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment (IAACM.)

Let me explain.

Yes, during World War II, Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander during D-Day, which was one of the biggest operations in human history. This time, we need to do something far bigger than D-Day, encompassing the whole world. You and everyone are Supreme Commanders.

So I have a question for you:

“What does it look like if humanity even begins to attempt a global revolution?”

However you stand on the USA presidential campaign, you might admire the way Bernie Sanders has talked openly and frequently about “revolution.”

I have been calling for revolution for many decades. As a young adult back in the 1970’s, I experienced forced psychiatric drugging, and so I have spent my whole life as an activist to have a revolution in the mental health system. Right now, the US Congress is moving forward a bill that could massively increase this tyrannical approach of what I would call chemical warfare. So maybe Bernie, who is after all in the US Senate and will have our attention when he speaks at the Democratic convention next month, would oppose this piece of legislation?

Unfortunately, even though several of us have tried to find out, we cannot get a reply from Bernie’s staff about his position regarding involuntary psychiatry, particularly outpatient, court-ordered forced drugging of people living in their own homes. Some surprising legislators endorse forced drugging like this. Even my own congressperson, Peter Defazio (D-OR), who is supposed to be progressive, co-sponsors this bill.

So I did a little research about Bernie and mental health issues. I read a bunch of articles, I posted questions in a variety of Facebook groups and I learned a lot.

For example, I found out that when Bernie was a young adult, and he woke up, instead of saying “good morning,” he would tell his roommate, “We’re not crazy!”

I also found out that while he was still a young adult, in later life, Bernie did a stint as a mental health worker.

In my research, I found out that Bernie was one of the celebrity speakers when our Mad Movement met in 1985, in Burlington, Vermont, for what would turn out to be the last annual meeting called “International Conference for Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression.” Before the internet, this annual grassroots gathering was how us old geezers used to keep organizing, and while I don’t know what Bernie said, the fact that he has long known about our movement’s existence is a good sign.

The reason I have been researching Bernie and mental health, is because, as I explained in a previous blog, congress is considering passing a horrible bill, the worst I have seen in my four decades of activism in the psychiatric survivor movement. Called the “Murphy Bill,” every group run by mental health consumers is opposing this absurd, huge legislation by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), that would among things, give millions of taxpayer dollars to increase the number of Americans under involuntary outpatient psychiatric drugging.

Two days ago, on June 7, 2016, a public agent that covers congress, The Hill, ran a piece about how Rep. Murphy is now moving his terrible bill forward. Yes, there are some modifications, to our great relief. However, tweaking of this bill is not enough. We must stop it.

For example, the article reports that the Murphy Bill no longer provides millions of dollars to States to increase forced outpatient drugging, but the bill gives its blessing to such forced outpatient drugging with the hope that a future session may supply the money. Specifically, the article says: “The new bill eliminates a 2 percent funding boost to states to incentivize such laws and instead authorizes new funding that will have to be appropriated later on.”

Forced psychiatry is not good for the human spirit. Right when the public needs to be creative and passionate, instead the culture seems paralyzed, in denial, complacent. Even if the risk of runaway climate change is unknown, credible scientists say that if we do not take enough action, positive feedback loops in our environment could lead to human extinction. Hey, I am one of those who says “Never Again!” Human extinction would not only wipe out everybody, but future generations too.

Even the unknown risk of what I call “Normalgeddon” should be enough for us to have a revolution.

You Say You Want a Revolution?

Bernie is not the only one calling for revolution.

Because of the climate crisis and extreme inequality, Pope Francis has promoted global revolution. It has been a little more than a year since his May 24, 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si,” where he spotlighted, “…the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution.”

Pope Francis added that, “Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way, to appropriate the positive and sustainable progress which has been made, but also to recover the values and the great goals swept away by our unrestrained delusions of grandeur.”

So how would we all know that the world is at least trying to have a revolution? I am not saying we would definitely win such a revolution, but how can it at least be visible? How can we sincerely attempt to have a revolution?

Here in Eugene, Oregon, a few of us are gathering to discuss this. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the world a little known but beautiful gift. For more than a decade, in many of his speeches and essays, MLK said that the future of the world lies in the hands of the “creatively maladjusted.” Over and over, MLK said the world was in dire need of new organization, “International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.”

You may read some of his quotes on the MindFreedom portal about creative maladjustment. 

I first heard about MLK’s concept of this IAACM back in the 1980’s. While his vision is inspiring, I think to most people this just looks like a symbolic rhetorical flourish. Or as Time Magazine once called it, “a half joke,” in other words a line that got a laugh and made a point.

But as a psychiatric survivor activist, I have always felt that there was something more valuable to this idea than humor, as important as humor is.

We know that empowerment of leaders is necessary for any organization to flourish. Some refer to a group that encourages leadership as being “horizontal.” The activist-author Mikah White, PhD, when he was one of the editors of the publication Adbusters, helped create the US phenomena known as “Occupy.”  For example, Mikah issued the very first tweet beginning the protest that swept the USA and part of the world. He and others purposely did not put out their names at that time because they wanted to promote the feeling of co-ownership.

This year, Mikah has released his book called “The End of Protest,” which is based on the lessons he learned from this experiment. While of course we did not get a revolution from Occupy, Mikah and other participants sure learned a lot. I have been watching a number of talks by Mikah on Youtube, and appreciate his insights. For one thing, Mikah points out that the authorities respond to new forms of social change in a few weeks, so innovators only have a short window before the powers that be step in.

Also, Mikah wants us to get beyond the usual image of revolution where lots of us gather in the middle of cities 24/7, hold a lot of speeches, build our numbers, and somehow achieve deep change. I will not get into detail now, but Mikah believes we must now “hack elections.” This is intriguing to me, and I am tempted to follow his suggestion to run for position as a “write-in” candidate. Hmmm, maybe I want to run this November against our local congressperson, Rep. Defazio, who claims he is progressive but supports the horrible “Murphy bill.”

Mikah also of course likes horizontal organizations. However, he points out that a good group needs to be able to say “no” when someone is violating basic values. During Occupy, some individuals who were clearly breaking group guidelines could not be removed because of the wide open nature of the event.

So, learning from Occupy, how can we have an open group, encouraging leadership, but still be able to say “no” when a leader tries to take us in a direction that is against our principles?

Did You Know You Are a Leader in the IAACM?

Yes, if you choose so, you are a leader in this global gift from MLK. What do you want the world to do? As long as you follow his principles, you can visibly speak out as a leader, including as a leader of the IAACM!

Logo by artist Isaac Paris, 2016, for International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment (IAACM)
Logo by artist Isaac Paris, 2016, for International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment (IAACM)

Here are some of the steps we have taken to bring the IAACM more into reality, and achieve the paradox of being both horizontal and empowered:

  1. When I was executive director of MindFreedom International, while I loved the idea of IAACM, I was concerned that if we did activity with that name then someone, somewhere might claim ownership and try to make us stop. Therefore, in 2006, I filed an “assumed business name” for IAACM, under the stewardship of MindFreedom.
  2. Back in 2008, eight years ago, the physician-clown-psychiatric survivor Patch Adams, MD agreed to be the honorary “chair” of the IAACM, and during his trips to Oregon Country Fair, he has given a number of public talks and he often supports the idea of “creative maladjustment.”
  3. Last year, I met with a great progressive nonprofit attorney David Atkin about IAACM. David confirmed with me, that as long as MindFreedom continues to protect that concept as we intended, IAACM itself does not need a board or treasury.
  4. So how does a group without a treasury expend resources? One clue was earlier this Spring, because on the behalf of IAACM, we joined the GreenLane Sustainable Business Network. This local alternative to the very silent (when it comes to climate crisis) Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce was having special events about our environment and joining meant it would help if the IAACM had to have a mission, logo, etc.
  5. Artist-humorist-musician Isaac Paris created a logo for the IAACM showing a grinning, sweating planet. See the image on the right of this list, above.
  6. We also created a draft mission statement, with the advice of climate crisis activist John Abbe, who once walked across the USA to speak about this disaster. Our draft is here: “Martin Luther King, Jr. first called for creating the IAACM, and referred to this concept many times in his speeches and essays. He said, “The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.” The organization was revitalized by the human rights nonprofit MindFreedom as a vehicle to encourage what MLK called “creative maladjustment,” empowering the beloved community to celebrate their differences and nonviolently resist the prevailing normality of racism, inequality, and climate destruction. If you reflect MLK’s principles, you are invited to be a leader in the IAACM, such as during Creative Maladjustment Week every July 7 to 14.” 

I asked my friend Patch Adams for his advice on the question of how do we simply and gracefully extend the leadership of that IAACM vision?  Specifically, I asked Patch, what are the most basic values we want to insist on for IAACM leadership?

Patch, who personally answers every letter he receives but never touches computer keyboards, quickly replied,

Patch Adams, MD is the honorary chair of the International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment
Patch Adams, MD is the honorary chair of the International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment

“A) Be true to yourself regardless of where you are or the consequences. 

B) Be love and fun regardless of the environment.

C) Have fun with the beauty of the possibilities in the world maladjustment.

D) Resist greed and power over others.

E) Be radiant with love and creativity.

F) Never adjust to the wrongs of humans and nature, etc.”

I also asked Patch, what is the easiest way to extend this leadership to many others, especially youth, while protecting the legacy of this idea?

Patch replied:

“1) Make it fun, non-hierarchical and inclusive.

2) Show by radiant example. 

3) Create a communal environment where all comers delight in the experience. 

4) Study lots to show your passion. Etc.”

If you live in the Eugene, Oregon area, you might want to be involved in this planning work, just email me at [email protected]. If you live elsewhere, or cannot make it to our meeting, we would love to hear your feedback.

What would the world look like if we were in a good revolution? I am not asking now about what it would look like if we “won,” though of course that would be nice. But what would things look like if we all even attempted a revolution? We would like to hear your ideas, they can be left as comments on this blog.

I know one thing already, that if we were working for a revolution, we would at least break the silence, this toxic silence that hovers around the world as temperatures climb more and more. As Congress debates increasing the forced psychiatric outpatient drugging on millions of Americans, we would at least break the toxic silence. Even though the drugs typically used for involuntary psychiatry (the neuroleptics, also called the antipsychotics) make people more sensitive to high temperatures, so there have been many fatalities during heatwaves, but we would at least break the silence about this monstrosity if we tried for revolution.

Yes, we can break the silence! And even if we do not win a revolution, making our attempt visible would be good for our human spirit.

We need something even bigger, much bigger, than D-Day. This time, everyone who cares is Ike, who was the Supreme Commander of D-Day. This time, if you so choose, you are the Supreme Commander, we all are.

So, what is your vision of even starting this revolution? What would it look like if average people began to have more of a voice in government and economics? What kind of non-normal methods would you propose to get us beyond protest? Please post your ideas in the comments here or via other social media such as Facebook or Twitter.

You are a leader in the IAACM, if you want. John Abbe has prepared a draft flyer about the IAACM. Here is the text:

Anyone can take leadership and act on behalf of the In  IAACM, we just ask (more on a human basis than from whatever legal authority we have from having registered the name) that they do so in the spirit of Beloved Community, as Dr. Martin Luther King would have.

That means that we work with each other in as full community as we can, and that we hold our “enemies” in our hearts even as we call them out, ask the hard questions, when necessary make a ruckus online and out in the streets, and exercise our creative maladjustment in whatever other ways toward a truly justice world.

We are one cluster of people acting in the name of the IAACM. We believe that healing our broken systems and relationships with each other is bound up in healing our relationships with the natural world. Climate change and mental health are intimately bound up, for example – including improving culture and practices in regard to mental health & disability)

Our main home online is also has a few great IAACM pages, and MFI maintains for Creative Maladjustment Week (but no other funds for this year at least).


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


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  1. As an artist who shares a birthday with MLK, Jr., and one whose father helped the NY National Urban League become a fiscally viable non-profit in the late sixties / early seventies. And as a woman whose children sport equal signs on their computers, likely in part because I sent them to a school where they lived and graduated with children from all over the world. I love the idea of an IAACM. And sadly, I do see the need for a revolution, we do need to bring back justice for all, which is the antithesis of today’s psychiatric industries’ stigmatization theology. God help us, and great idea, David.

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  2. “…ask the hard questions…” Why are we quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., a campaigner for civil rights, when slavery, the most egregious human rights violation that exists, was never abolished, never ended? As a result of the “clever” wording of the 13th Amendment, slavery is still alive and well in America which explains why more African Americans are enslaved (“incarcerated” is a euphemism) today than before the Civil War. And the enormous prisons we keep building to enslave (“incarcerate” is a euphemism) them in are the most polluted and polluting places on earth in every sense of the word pollute (contaminate with harmful or poisonous substances, defile, corrupt, poison, warp, pervert, adulterate, blight, sully, dirty, infect, befoul, and so on and on). The 13th Amendment (U.S. Constitution, supreme law of the land–preserved, protected, and defended by the Congress, Supreme Court, President, and every public servant out there) is also what gives the power to the State and State employees to enslave (“incarcerate” and “hospitalize” are euphemisms) people in psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric wards throughout the country where they can do whatever they like to them just as if they were their property, because, according to the 13th Amendment, they are, in fact, the State’s property, as are all the prisoners in the prisons. How can any “cause” be more important than what is causing all the problems we are trying to address and solve?
    “Could anything be more futile than dealing with the effects but not the cause?” (p.158 “Surviving in the Streets” by Ace Backwords).

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  3. I agree with David. If we don’t do something now about the state of our planet then we won’t have to worry about our children and grandchildren being plagued by forced psychiatric treatment because they probably won’t exist. We can only go so far till we reach the point of no return and we won’t be able to do anything. Too many of us are sticking our heads in the sand and saying that we don’t have to worry about this.

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  4. David Oaks defines activism by his words and example. Activism–and I’ve been an activist in several movements since the 70s–means DOING SOMETHING. Yeah, maybe I shouted that–because it is important. Telling our stories has a place; debate has a place, blogging has a place. But action is what moves the world forward. One of MLK’s advisors put it like this: “History is not an accident. It is a choice.” Take an action, however small, and you begin to be the master of your destiny.

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  5. Agree about the great need to start coming up with more creative tactics in non-violent revolution. Once, you, David, had me write a piece for the MFI journal on a “revolution in the mental health system”, and I went along with it. I’m just here to state that I was never really for any revolution in the mental health system. I think we need a revolution against the mental health system. Where the mental health system forces treatment on people perhaps you can see my point. I just think that if it wasn’t for forced mental health treatment, there might not be any unforced mental health treatment, and if unforced treatment owes its existence to forced treatment, I’m not out to encourage it. I agree with you about forced treatment, and I think it should be outlawed the way it is for non-mental health professionals. If that’s revolution, I’m all for it.

    Were society not out to suppress madness we wouldn’t have this problem. I can’t say I’m for a “revolution in the mental health system”. However, given Soteria houses and Open Dialogue, I can see a place for some different approaches to people who represent problems to other people. “Happily ever after”, in any event, appeals a great deal to most people. More anyway than “unhappily ever after”, diagnostic label, or not. I would like to see society tolerate a great deal more madness/difference than it presently does. I think we need a revolution against mental health, or a revolution against the mental health system. I don’t know if the mental health bubble will ever completely burst. If we are both opposed to forced treatment, I would say we’re basically in agreement. Eliminate that, and gentle persuasion and economic forces may eventually unravel the rest.

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  6. So it looks like we’re talking about “revolution.”

    I would start by citing the first few sentences from Revolution for the Hell of It by Abbie Hoffman, who juxtaposes two quotes. The first is from Che Guevara who said “In a Revolution one wins or dies.” The next is from a TV commercial: “Dash — a Revolution in cleansing powder.” A.H. goes on to say “Revolution for the hell of it? Why not? It’s all a bunch of phony words anyway…action is the only reality; not only reality but morality as well.”

    Before we throw around serious words like “revolution” we should be specific about what we mean. At this point in history if one talks about revolution and means something other than the replacement of capitalist rule by that of the people (or the 1% by the 99%) it should be made clear; otherwise we risk slipping into liberalism and reformism. Because there’s revolution and there’s “revolution”; they can connote very different things.

    David, I have written before about the use of the term “nonviolent revolution.” Though it sounds innocuous enough, it makes life harder and more dangerous for those who consider themselves revolutionaries by implying that “regular” revolution is violent by definition, and that your “nonviolent” revolution is a “new” kind of revolution with the new added twist of being “nonviolent.” It’s like saying “You can invite David to my party but tell him he has to be nonviolent.” In both cases the stipulation is unnecessary, insulting and should be assumed.

    Since MLK has been brought up I think people should be aware that there is a very admirable organization (RiseUp Georgia) which is fighting police racism and brutality against Black “survivors” but is going about it in a very politically naïve way. They have a campaign and petition, “Mental Illness Is Not A Crime,” which addresses real problems but from a perspective that doesn’t see the need to challenge the whole psychiatric/medical paradigm of emotional suffering among Black people. More disturbingly they seem to think it’s a good idea to invoke MLK in this campaign by portraying him as “mentally ill”:

    What Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is not known for is his bouts with manic depression. While entrenched in battle against the world’s intolerance and apathy, he suffered from mental illness. Throughout his life, Dr. King showed signs of depression: he attempted self harm in his adolescence and was even hospitalized for exhaustion. Many historians attributed his illness to his highly empathetic nature. They believed his illness was a direct correlation to his drive to be an understanding leader.

    This speaks for itself I suppose. One way anti-psychiatry folk could help advance anti-racism and anti-psychiatry is by reaching out to these folks at Invite them to MIA.

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    • And I would say that MLK would not have been a real human being if he hadn’t experienced periods of deep sadness about the state of our society. And a lot of us self-harmed as teenagers, we just never talked about it and hid it really well. MLK had issues just like every other human being on this planet. If he was “mentally ill” give me more “mental illness”.

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  7. Donald Trump Discusses Autism and Vaccines

    Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson Discuss Vaccinations and Autism at CNN GOP Debate

    Mr Trump is not afraid to call out the medical mafia.

    Sorry you guys but it is the left that gives us mental health screening in schools and so many blank checks to the psychiatric pharmaceutical industry. They created the monster.

    The Murphy bill is only happening in reaction to the democrats attacking the second amendment. If the democrats were not intent on destroying the second amendment the Murphy bill never would have been written in the first place.

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  8. We are also approaching an Election here in Australia. After looking at the policies and aims of the two parties which constitute a ‘choice’ I feel I can vote for neither. I will not legitimate their increase in the powers of forced psychiatry by having a vote counted as proof that it is what the people want.

    It is however unlawful not to vote in this country, and you are fined for not doing so. So a lot of people attend the ballot and play the game. Strawberry or chocolate muffin? Well, actually most of us don’t want muffins but ….. no real choice and we are hungry. This farce is then used to say we live in a democracy.

    There are I believe ways in which one can avoid the ballot, and have the fine for doing so removed. But i’m not sure that we are allowed to discuss this with others without also attracting the attention of the law.

    However, I will say that I for one am not going to have my vote used to justify what is being done by both parties. Give me a real choice, not this pretend democracy (and along with it this pretend ‘medicine’)


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  9. David,

    As regards the state of the Planet – is it true that maybe 50% of global warming is as a result of the “meat industry”.

    I think we’re in an ideal position in history, in the sense that we now have the technology to provide everything we need without doing much damage; and replacing human beings with machines is a good idea as well providing the benefit gets shared around.

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  10. “A) Be true to yourself regardless of where you are or the consequences.”

    Love this, that’s already a social revolution. As a culture, I think we tend to worry too much about “consequences,” and therefore create self-fulfilling prophecies. Takes courage to be true to one’s self in a judgmental and toxic society. And, I think it’s vital for necessary change to occur.

    “B) Be love and fun regardless of the environment.”

    That can be very challenging in an environment filled with fear and anger. Takes me back to A. There are definitely consequences to “being love” in an environment filled with hate and resentment. Although we know that “love” is a healing energy, so to my mind, that is the ultimate in courage, and I cheer it on all the way.

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  11. While I appreciate David Oaks’ spirited attempts to create new forms of activism, I’m afraid that without being clear on our terms (like Revolution) and also carefully summing up past attempts at radical change, we will be doomed to follow a path into more reformism and other political dead ends.

    Oldhead posted a most important comment: “At this point in history if one talks about revolution and means something other than the replacement of capitalist rule by that of the people (or the 1% by the 99%) it should be made clear; otherwise we risk slipping into liberalism and reformism.”

    How can “Revolution” mean anything of substance if names like Eisenhower, Pope Francis, MLK, and Bernie Sanders are all thrown into the mix as icons of leadership and/or bastions of political theory for radical change.

    Eisenhower’s leadership on D-Day represented the replacement of the United States (from Britain) as the number one Imperialist power in the world as their Marshal Plan and WWII treaties were about to carve up the world and consolidate the basis for a rapid post war expansion of U.S. economic growth and political dominance.

    Pope Francis’s desperate attempts to stop the falling attendance and the overall decline of Catholicism has made a few comments that has only moved Catholic doctrine a few centimeters out of the Dark Ages. Should we praise or celebrate this?

    MLK at a certain point became useful to the U.S. ruling class who desperately feared the growing popularity of Malcolm X and the Black Panther party’s influence over millions of young Blacks and other young people in this country. The rich and powerful were forced to work with MLK in order to keep the Civil Rights Movement contained within the bounds of acceptable forms of political reformism. Even with all these reformist limitations he still became a liability to the system, and some sections of the ruling class who wanted him removed found the ways to create conditions for that to take place.

    Bernie Sanders so-called “Revolution” is promoting the illusion of some type of “hybrid” form of limited state ownership, while retaining the essence of Capitalism and its related (non) democratic structures. This does NOT represent overall political progress. He has served an important function to the status quo by drawing into the political arena millions of disaffected American who will now once again go to the polls and vote for “the lesser of two evils” while all the while holding their noses.

    Frank said it right when he stated that this must be “a Revolution against the mental health system.” And we must be clear that it is a class based/profit system that has given rise to modern Psychiatry and maintains an oppressive “mental health” system. And as long as this economic and political System still exists there will be NO fundamental progress for those people seeking help for psychological distress.

    The so-called “creatively maladjusted” and other rebellious malcontents in our society are being disease labeled, incarcerated, and drugged into submission and subservience as one way to prevent the growth and consolidation of a new generation of radical activists. This is ultimately doomed to fail (IF we do our work); for “where there is oppression their will always be resistance.”

    David stated: “That means that we work with each other in as full community as we can, and that we hold our “enemies” in our hearts even as we call them out…”

    As long as there are RULING CLASSES that dominate, subjugate and severely oppress the UNDER CLASSES, any admonitions for us to “love thy enemy” or “hold [them] “in our hearts” only serves to disarm the masses and prevents us from having clear lines of demarcation between “friends” and “enemies.” We must become MORE class conscious not LESS; there can be NO room “in our hearts” for our enemies. It is difficult enough to figure out who our friends are let alone leave any space for our enemies.

    Yes, we must do everything in our power to avoid becoming like our “enemies” or adopting any of their forms of inhumanity to man,” even in times of war. But to promote a view that we should “love them” is very harmful to people and WILL NOT lead toward fundamentally changing the world to a better place.

    How would loving Max Fink, Joseph Biederman, Donald Rumsfeld, Donald Trump etc. advance our cause in any way at this stage in human history? More and more people must learn to “hate” these people in a deeper philosophical and political way in order to be moved into greater political activism.

    I love David Oaks and Mind Freedom for what he (and that organization) has meant for keeping alive the movement against psychiatric oppression through some very difficult years. But that does not mean that we can’t have some spirited and necessary disagreements and discussion about the strategic and tactical way forward.

    Respectfully, Richard

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    • They say people read this stuff independently of commenting, so I’ll just have to have faith that we’re not talking to a brick wall.

      The so-called “creatively maladjusted” and other rebellious malcontents in our society are being disease labeled, incarcerated, and drugged into submission and subservience as one way to prevent the growth and consolidation of a new generation of radical activists.

      Someone recently mentioned that if Psychiatry Inc. had the grip it does today back in the 60’s, many of those crazy fearless activists and artists who have since become part of our folklore would have been instead sitting somewhere in drug-induced oblivion.

      I see no contradiction btw in empathizing or even “loving” one’s enemy as an individual, as the ultimate enemy is a system embodied in individuals for whom we may have some sympathy. But we must recognize who and what they are, be prepared to defend ourselves from them, and remain unwavering in our efforts to remove them from power.

      Everyone has a potentially positive role if their personal motivation comes from a place of integrity, including the historical figures you mention. Even the pope. MLK’s classified files may well contain information that his affinity for socialism and revolution was stronger than assumed, which is being withheld not to protect his reputation but because it could interest the masses in socialism.

      I think Bernie is playing a positive role. You can’t establish socialism in the US overnight. But 10 years ago democrats were afraid to even be called liberals, and now an openly “democratic socialist” is making big populist waves. I think we have to at least briefly celebrate this. It doesn’t matter so much whether or not he’s a real (i.e. Marxist) socialist, The excitement he’s generating will inspire lots of people to learn more about socialism in general and eventually develop more radical strategies, independent of the corporate parties. And even if he campaigns for Hillary (which would be disappointing but he also may literally have a gun at his head) many of those who supported the campaign are more radical than he is, would never support her, and may be able to recapture the energy in new and more effective ways.

      But to your basic point that we must draw these lines very clearly and have as precise an analysis as possible I completely agree.

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      • Hi Oldhead

        Thanks for chiming in. A few points of clarification and rebuttal.

        You said: “I see no contradiction btw in empathizing or even “loving” one’s enemy as an individual, as the ultimate enemy is a system embodied in individuals for whom we may have some sympathy.”

        I have no problem with understanding and accepting the possibility that very bad acting human beings can change, or that there can be forgiveness (not in the religious sense) and future reconciliation.

        But until the material conditions for those conditions exists in the world, the idea or actions (in a class based society) of”loving thy enemy” is both disarming and harmful to all oppressed people and will NOT help them achieve liberation.

        The idea that a woman in the act of being raped should “love” her rapist or have “room in her heart” for this perpetrator is absurd and disarming, especially since she might have to consider a way of physically harming this person or even killing him in order to survive or get away.

        The idea that a person forced against their will into a psychiatric facility and given the order by a psychiatrist to be stripped and strapped to a gurney and forceably drugged with powerful neuroleptics should somehow “love their enemy,” is once again absurd.

        In both of these instances, again it might be possible at some future date for there to be a meaningful apology, forgiveness, and some form of reconciliation? Yes, of course this is possible, but not usually the case and certainly not necessary for those oppressed in these situations to move forward with their lives. And certainly not necessary to build a political movement against these forms of oppression.

        Both anger and hatred towards oppression, and the oppressor, are historically necessary and important forces for political change. Now revenge, on the other hand, can lead people in bad directions and cause them (or their movement) to lose sight of their lofty goals, and (in some cases) take on certain aspects of their enemy. This will not help move history forward.

        You said: “Everyone has a potentially positive role if their personal motivation comes from a place of integrity,…”

        Of course we don’t all carry around a “sincereometer” to measure a person’s motivation or personal integrity. But we can evaluate a particular historical figure’s social role in society and gauge the amount of harm or human degradation they are causing in the world.

        Of course there are some very wealthy people in the world whose actual “social role” (despite their being in the 1% or 5%) is directed towards helping people overcome adversity rather than oppressing people. They certainly should be evaluated in a very different way and definitely not subjected to hatred.


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        • I didn’t say that people “should” love their enemies, that’s a whole different thing. No one should be guilt-tripped or criticized for not doing so. It’s much better to hate your enemy than to hate yourself for circumstances created and perpetuated by your enemy. And it’s of utmost importance not to be mentally or emotionally hindered by doubts about this when one is in a self-defense situation and the only goal is survival. Theoretically however some people might reach a point where they can recognize their individual enemy as a victim of the system he defends, even as one opposes him.

          It’s not simply a question of whether hate is “justified” but whether it’s useful in a particular situation. I think a basic principle in at least some martial arts is that emotions can interfere with the focused flow of energy necessary to smite your opponent. At least that’s what I think I got out of “Kill Bill.” 🙂

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          • ISIS apparently doesn’t love its enemies. I’m worried about my prospects for moving anywhere. Both states I’ve lived in in recent years have experienced the worst mass killings since 9/11. I afraid to move anywhere else lest another worst killing will take place there.

            I don’t have any antipathy towards Muslims. I have no problem with them occupying the same planet. ISIS though is putting all sorts of people in danger. One must respond to the situation as one finds it. Such zealotry is not likely to dissolve into thin air anytime soon.

            As for the 1 %. The problem is worse. I have a great deal of trepidation about sharing space (and air) with the 60 billion dollar man. I think people must be falling off the planet right now because of the likes of him. Sure, he’s a likable enough sort. I don’t hate him. I hate the system that he represents, that makes him what he is, and that unmakes other people. Many, many, many other people.

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    • I have to agree with David and Patch on a few matters. If the revolution isn’t fun, why have it? My first thought on reading David’s piece was to recall watching the movie Yellow Submarine where the Beatles, in animated form, are called to a Pepperland devoid of music because of the evil maneuvering of a shady group of characters dubbed the Blue Meanies. David and Patch talk about Fun and Love. I question how fun-loving “Max Fink, Joseph Biederman, Donald Rumsfeld, Donald Trump etc.” might be. Are they not, perhaps, our very own Blue Meanies, and are we not perhaps called to a deadened Pepperland that needs reviving?

      While I said what I said, it must be pointed out that the Beatles, those ex-members of them that remain anyway, there are only two still living, like the Hollywood, Inc. upper crust, are 1 %ers, and so there is a limit to the extent that anyone should take this movie “seriously”. Where the means have been taken from the people, all of the people, and especially the disenfranchised people, under-served people, they must be re-appropriated. I don’t think, however, this re-appropriation rules out love and fun. It is a matter of facing down exclusion, and vanquishing it.

      I have to take a little bit of an exception to Patch Adams’s A in the reply to the first letter on, I imagine, authenticity. “A) Be true to yourself regardless of where you are or the consequences. ” I’m not sure the words that William Shakespeare put into the mouth of his character Polonius were necessarily reflective of his own views on the matter. Drama, after all, as the prince of Denmark himself might demonstrate, is not a matter of being true. Authenticity, for what it’s worth, could be overrated. Bowing to the false demands of other people, for some kind of surrender to a false and unsatisfying charade of an existence, on the other hand, is certainly not the way to go.

      Privilege is privilege. There are three sides to it. Over privilege, privilege, and under privilege. Without over privilege there is no under privilege. I don’t think anybody in this day and age gets treated the way they deserve to be treated, although I know many who flatter themselves that that is the case in their case. Perhaps we will get there in time. We are not going to get there without some kind of revolutionary change taking place. Realizing this to be so, it is only possible if we re-appropriate from the 1 %, them, what they appropriated from the 99 %, us.

      I do think there are imaginative and unconsidered ways in which that re-appropriation might take place that don’t involve violence and blood shed., but I will let it ride for the time being. The Beatles became 1 %ers because of 99 %ers. Ditto, Hollywood, Inc. (United Fruit, McDonalds, Starbucks, Wall Mart, Microsoft, Macintosh, etc.) I think the 99 % must have a great deal of cause for resentment. I’m eager to see more of them start taking back what has been taken from them.

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      • Frank

        I agree that we need to have some fun and joyous discovery as part of making the Revolution. And if the world we are trying to create does not embody these characteristics as part of our liberation process than it would not be worth our efforts to fight for such a Revolution.


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        • Great point, Richard, I agree with this. Going from chronic anger, fear, grief, and despondence to discovering and feeling our joy is a transformative healing journey that ripples from individuals into society. If an individual does not feel their intrinsic sense of joy, peace, freedom, and love, then how can society be expected to embody these? We teach, lead, influence, and persuade by example.

          Of course, it’s not an overnight change. There is a lot of letting go, grieving, and acceptance to experience in that process, which is humbling, and can be a bit chaotic. This is where we can embody trust, which I think is vital for change to occur. We can find joy in embracing the unknown.

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  12. Two days ago, on June 7, 2016, a public agent that covers congress, The Hill, ran a piece about how Rep. Murphy is now moving his terrible bill forward.

    This is what we should be talking about. I suggested a while ago that a “Murphy Watch” box, with updated info on the status of the bill, etc., be a permanent feature on the MIA home page. This would still be just as helpful as ever.

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  13. The revolution , how it might look on the streets for starters :
    Visible messages of grievances on the premises of oppressive entities and on any free spaces . These maybe signs , decals , bumper stickers and ?
    The cry for freedom from oppression must be made visible in the real world in the face of the oppressor, behind their back , everywhere .

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  14. In the 13th Amendment to the Constitution Congress successfully hid the institution of slavery behind the idea of criminality which no one wants to be associated with or talk or think about. People suffering mental health crises get pulled into that category with the “5150” charge. The 13th Amendment never ended slavery, it just labeled the enslaved differently. Instead of calling them slaves, it uses the label criminal (“except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted”), and in the case of the 5150 people, the label mentally ill with all the DSM labels thrown in for good measure. Our schools encourage students to be the best they can be, then the cream of this crop, the winners, want to associate only with others in the same category. They want nothing to do with losers–those labeled criminal, indigent, and mentally ill. Our best and brightest are the ones who find clever ways to continue the institution of slavery, cover it up, and create endless distractions that will take everyone’s attention away from the fact that America is, and always has been, a slave state, continuing what Frederick Douglass called the “greatest curse, crime, and scandal.”

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  15. Thanks everyone who commented. I note there was a concern that my talking about MLK, the Pope, etc. that I am for mild reform. However, one of the reasons I have used the word “revolution” is to move beyond reform. My mentioning people like Ike is of course not to imply at all about them being ideal, yes of course our nation has had huge problems about imperialism, however I do think it was a good idea to defeat Hitler and many people agree. Thanks again.

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  16. David, why do you give any cooperation whatsoever with the psychiatric system or with psychotherapy. MindFreedom talks about ethical mental health treatment. This is why I do not support it and never could support it.

    Safe Houses and an Underground Railroad sound great. But if you are also endorsing psychotherapy, then it is all meaningless. Psychotherapists are the accomplices of the middle-class family


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