Monday, February 18, 2019

Comments by Richard D. Lewis

Showing 100 of 1269 comments. Show all.

  • Michael

    This blog contains some very important exposure of the many crimes committed by psychiatry regarding the myth of the “chemical imbalance” theory, the proliferation of antidepressant prescriptions, and the overall denial of major withdrawal syndromes.

    However, I must take major issue with the themes in your last concluding paragraph. You said:

    ” Instead of declaring war, psychiatry should offer solutions on how it wants to combat severe and persistent antidepressant withdrawal. And it is important that psychiatry and clinical psychology reconcile, because, ultimately, we are on the same mission. Our purpose is to help people with mental health problems. Let’s not forget this, even amidst fierce scientific debates.”

    First off, psychiatry declared “war” on human beings many decades ago with all their inhumane forms of so-called” treatment.” Many decades ago it was lobotomies, ECT, and snake pit asylums etc. and then its steroid driven collusion with Big Pharma led to their evolution into Biological Psychiatry and its pseudo-scientific DSM diagnoses and labels, more ECT, worldwide psych drugging in the hundreds of millions, more forced “treatment”, and “genetic theories of original sin” etc.

    Then, asking psychiatry to “offer solutions” to the very problems which justify their existence and make them large sums of money and prestige, is like asking Dracula to “suck water” instead of blood – ain’t going to happen! This does not mean there are not some (a tiny minority) of psychiatrists who legitimately help people, but we need to look at the institution (and its oppressive social role in society) as a whole here when making these types of proposals.

    AND, do you REALLY want to “reconcile” with psychiatry, and are you “on the same mission” with them??? Maybe your purpose is to “help people”, but the institutional role of psychiatry is definitely the exact opposite. It is NOT a legitimate part of medicine (totally based on pseudo-science) and needs to be abolished from the planet. Let the more honest tiny minority of psychiatrists either become neurologists and/or become humane (rejecting the entire Disease/Drug Based Medical Model) therapists.

    And finally, please let go of the term “mental Health.” Ideas, thoughts, feeling, and out of the “norm” behaviors, are not “sick.” They are normal responses to abnormal conditions in a very much trauma filled and unjust world.

    The entire Medical Model of Biological Psychiatry exists as a way to take people’s attention (or their bodies and minds if they are incarcerated in psych hospitals) away from both understanding and then becoming creative agents of change to transform this “sick” world we live in, to a more humane place to call home.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • littleturtle

    You said: “who knows what lurks in our brains…”

    This sound quite ominous and actually reminds me of biological psychiatry’s “genetic theories of original sin.”

    I would say that nothing “lurks” within the human brain.

    IT, just like the actual person the brain resides in, is basically innocent and a clean slate at birth. It is the subsequent human interaction with the surrounding environment over time that determines what takes place in the brain.

    Love and nurturance will create a good result. Trauma and high levels of stress, not so much.


  • Bricew

    Thank you so much for your heartfelt and insightful comments here at MIA. I have read every word.

    I hope you continue to participate here. For future presentation of your valuable comments and ideas here, could you please break the one long paragraph into multiple short paragraphs. This will make it much easier for weary eyes.

    All the best, Richard

  • Sera

    This is a very important blog for many reasons. Not only does it further expose the entire “mental health” system, but it shows the major shortcomings and limitations in all these so-called “newest” and “highly innovative” and “cutting edge” reforms, that are nothing but regurgitated pablum that cannot escape the confines of a thoroughly corrupt system that can NEVER be reformed.

    This blog also raised issues of strategy and tactics for working “inside the Belly of the Beast.

    I loved all your “cutting edge” and appropriate use of sarcasm describing this personal and political nightmare.

    I can identify in some ways with your plight of being a “lone voice” in a sea of ignorance and arrogance. I felt that way in my 22 years working in community mental health. I know the tense feelings of being in a trainings where you know exactly what is so wrong with the presentation and you have to decide (in the moment and on your own) how to challenge the presenter without coming off as some “crazy disrupter.”

    The times I did little to speak up, led me to beat up on myself for weeks and months after the presentation. Some times your “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” But I always believe it is better to speak out and “shake the cage,” and then see what develops afterwards. There will always be someone (or a few people) who learn something and/or show support for what you have done.

    Working inside this system (knowing everything you know) is so difficult. I don’t think its futile that you have sought out ways to expose what happen to you, including going to the media. I think it is worth the effort because we just don’t know when a “single spark might ignite a prairie fire.” Just make sure you don’t get your expectations up to high. I think I was a little overly disappointed when my formal complaints to the Mass Dept. of Public Health and Dept. of Mental Health went absolutely nowhere.

    My only advice for future trainings like this is to try to never go alone. If you go with a few other people it will increase confidence and mutual support in the heat of the struggle. It will also help you sum up strategy and tactics as things develop.

    Sera, great work and great courage. My only question is: what is going to happen when this training attempts to take place in Western Mass.? Do they (Asist) have the balls to come to this territory after how they treated you?

    Carry on! Richard

  • Another reason why depression is a side effect (or main effect) of long term opiate use, is because people have expectations that they will feel better over the long run. These hopes are dashed on the rocks of reality.

    And then as people rely more and more on pain drugs (and don’t get better) their physical activity (basically no exercise) comes to a screeching halt. This lack of exercise becomes a major contributing factor to the onset of depression.


  • CatNight

    You said:”A relentless focus on reducing the number and dosage of opioid prescriptions is wreaking hell on people in intractable pain—while failing to treat addiction or reduce overdose deaths”

    Yes, it is wrong to recklessly rip people off of pain drugs. Responsible medicine needs to develop a very comprehensive and long term plan to help these people. This is especially true since THEY are responsible for this crisis of irresponsible “treatment.”

    But their needs to be a DRAMATIC reduction in the prescription of pain drugs in the future, especially beyond a few weeks. Log term use not only does not work but makes people worse off.


  • Oldhead

    Apparently you are now attempting to speak for others in this dialogue and/or trying to direct and control the discussion.

    And then you proceed to totally misrepresent the content of my above comment. It is also interesting how you never respond to the main questions raised in my comment about the appropriate use of “pronouns” as a very real political question in this struggle. Instead you have chosen to diffuse and deflect. This is a very sad development in your role here.

    I have never made this “personal” or attempted to “guilt trip” anyone in this discussion. For you to make these mischaracterizations and distortions of my comments is totally unprincipled and an unfortunate development in your participation here.

    My above comment to Kindredspirit is very “political” in its essence. My sharing of my experience (and feelings) in the struggle against psychiatry and all forms of psychiatric abuse is to highlight the fact that people who work in the “mental health” field can be very much harmed by this system in multiple ways, AND they can have a clear stake in being a part of a movement to end this oppression. So yes, the movement against psychiatric abuse can be “our” movement.

    This was NOT pointed out as a way to compare degrees of oppression or somehow equate the experiences of these two groups of people. Nor does this somehow represent a “professional” trying to organize “survivors” or direct their struggle. These are all your words AND misrepresentations.

    This is pointed out to indicate that there can be a basis of unity for survivors to unite with a current minority of professionals and other workers in the field who clearly understand psychiatric oppression and are passionate and committed to fighting against this.

    These are clearly very strategic AND political questions about how to advance this particular human rights struggle. This is a fundamental question of trying to “Unite All Who Can Be United.”

    Oldhead, you said: “You have a history of defending professionals…”

    No one at MIA has been any harder on professionals than myself. Any review of my blogs and comments will bear this out. What I have refused to do is ATTACK potential friends who are misguided on a particular issue, and therefore drive them away from potential involvement in this movement.

    Oldhead, some of the latest positions you are taking on these questions AND especially some of your methods of struggle are clearly troubling.

    It is too bad that certain other people who are clearer on these questions have chosen not to participate. Perhaps they are disheartened by the very nature of how this entire process has proceeded. It will certainly dictate how I choose to engage in the future.


  • Kindredspirit

    While I would NEVER compare my experiences to that of a survivor, neither can you deny that some professionals and others working within the “mental health” system have been harmed by psychiatry and their Medical Model.

    I have fought against biological psychiatry (with 22 years in community MH clinic) for over 25 years, quite often putting my job and career on the line.

    I have witnessed psychiatry and their Disease/Drug Based Medical Model suck the life out people (people that I loved and cared for) with all their labeling and drugging.

    I have witnessed people being humiliated and emotionally crippled over many years by this system with their multiple cocktails of drugs and disabling forms of so-called “treatment.

    And I have had a number my long term clients die as result of body and brain destroying cocktails of drugs, including several who were driven on to combine their psych drugs with illegal drugs in the street. And I have a VERY close friend who has been deeply harmed by psychiatry with drugging and ECT (including as we speak) for over 25 years.

    To bear witness to all these forms of human destruction takes a toll on some of the more conscious people working in the field who know exactly what kind of damage is being done on a daily basis by this system.

    To me the sum total of these experiences (combined with my reading of hundreds of personal stories written by psychiatric survivors) has been traumatizing on some level. Again I would NEVER compare my experiences to that of an actual survivor, so please do not in any way say I am making such a comparison.

    But neither you nor I have possession of a “sincereometer” or some other device to measure one’s hatred of psychiatry and all the harm they do, and/or, have a way to measure the amount of passion and determination one possesses to rid the world of all forms of psychiatric oppression.

    Some professionals (a very tiny minority at this point) such as Bonnie Burstow and Philip Hickey have easily proven their mettle in the struggle to rid the world of psychiatry and their Medical model.

    The small number of MH workers and other professionals who are anti-psychiatry at this time are HARDLY a threat to somehow “take over” any anti-psychiatry movement that would overwhelmingly have a membership comprised of mainly survivors.

    And the two professionals I mentioned above and myself are all in our 70’s. We won’t even be around much longer. We are really helping to do preparation for future struggles of the younger generation of activists that will be stepping forward in the future.

    And yes, I am proud to say, and I will continue to say, that I am very much a part of the movement to end all forms of psychiatric abuse, along with ending the entire profit based capitalist system.


  • Frank

    I very much see the value and necessity of bringing forward and developing survivor leadership, and I don’t mean this in some kind of token way. BUT this does NOT mean there should be any second class status for anyone else participating in the anti-psychiatry movement.

    BTW, over many years at MIA there have been some extremely articulate and passionately dedicated family members of those deeply harmed by psychiatry, who would be excellent candidates to be active members in anti-psychiatry organizing. What possible reason could there be to deny them membership in an anti-psychiatry organization?

    And as far the issues of ‘honesty and trust” that Kindrespirit raised:

    In any political organization there is always going to be differences, and even conflicts over political agendas, egos, power and control issues etc. This is to be expected in any such political organization.There is NO guarantee there would ANY less conflict (around honesty and trust) in an all survivor organization.

    And as Frank brought up, how could anyone deny Dr. Philip Hickey or Bonnie Burstow membership in an anti-psychiatry organization? Their writings and overall activism has struck powerful blows against the oppressive institution of psychiatry. They have advanced our struggle FAR MORE than anyone currently commenting in this MIA dialogue.


  • And I would add this point, what about the crucial role of FAMILY MEMBERS of people who have been harmed or killed by psychiatry and the Medical Model?

    Shouldn’t family members of psychiatric survivors be allowed to play a central role in the anti-psychiatry movement?

    Why would we, OR should, we ever place limitations on who we can unite against our common enemy?

    And I will repeat part of my above comment:

    “OF COURSE, any movement against psychiatric oppression should,BY ALL MEANS, promote AND bring forward survivor leadership. This is both politically necessary and basic commonsense when looking at the best ways to build various forms of human rights struggles.”


  • Oldhead

    I do NOT deny the role of “identity” being a significant organizing aspect in the history of various movements. Many movements organically began this way and it played a very positive role in the development of certain human rights struggles.

    HOWEVER, Oldhead, you are NOT some newbie just coming into consciousness as a survivor. You are a longtime veteran anti-capitalist radical who claims to be very much guided by a CLASS analysis of society and the world.

    To make a PRINCIPLE out of organizing around “identity” at this stage in your evolution as an a radical activist, is a huge step backward. And not just for you, but for the political organizing efforts you are making to advance a particular human rights struggle.

    And the very criticism you made of Sera above (“This is at best a petty bourgeois point of view.”) regarding her tendency of compartmentalizing various struggles and not drawing the links to the capitalist system, could be made of you when it comes to this question of “survivor only” anti-psychiatry groups. Do you not see how this can lead to the petty bourgeois careerism and narrow forms of reformism that derailed past political movements?

    At one time not too long ago you were advocating for anti-psychiatry organizing for ALL who would agree to a set of anti-psychiatry principles. Somehow you changed your position without ANY summation as to why this is necessary.

    And you have also NOT addressed any of my above comments about the negative aspects to setting up the basis for “classes” or second class tiers within modern day human rights struggles. You should be way beyond this type of self limiting aspects to political organizing.


  • Oldhead

    You said:

    “However stick to your writing, you should not be looking for “followers,” that’s not your role. The AP movement needs to be led by survivors; truly allied professionals should support our demands, which is their proper function.”

    This statement comes across as arrogant and nonsensical. Since when is it your role to tell people to “stay in their place” (apparently somewhere in the back of the bus) when it comes to building a movement against psychiatric abuse?

    Anyone AND everyone who is legitimately anti-psychiatry should be encourages to be a FULL PARTICIPANT in the struggle to abolish psychiatry and all the forms of oppression that come with that institution and its Medical Model.

    There should NEVER EVER be second class citizens in the struggle to end ANY AND ALL oppression in the world. To advocate for some type of “class” or “identity” division is completely contrary to the notion of taking a particular human rights struggle to its ultimate and final conclusion. Which in essence means moving far beyond a profit based capitalist system to a classless society.

    Your approach that is defined solely by identity, very often has historically led to reformist limitations to struggles where individual activists (and leaders) often morph into careerists and/or are co-opted by the system as a way to short circuit the overall struggle. In a small way the so-called “peer ” movement is a perfect example of such limitations and co-optation.

    OF COURSE, any movement against psychiatric oppression should,BY ALL MEANS, promote AND bring forward survivor leadership. This is both politically necessary and basic commonsense when looking at the best ways to build various forms of human rights struggles.

    But we need have an overall strategic approach that UNTIES ALL WHO CAN BE UNITED. Calling for separate groups based on “identity” or certain job classifications both within or outside the system, is no way to unite and consolidate people. Especially when such a position is put forward with an arrogant and misguided “know your place” attitude.

    We are better than this.


  • Sam Ruck

    you said:

    “I don’t agree that capitalism is the problem. I believe an a-moral and unfettered capitalism is the problem.”

    With the above statement you are saying that there is somehow such a thing as “moral capitalism” and “fettered capitalism.” These kind of statements are ALL oxymorons AND utter nonsense.

    Capitalism is inherently exploitative and immoral, and can never be fundamentally fettered.

    Capitalism NEVER allows anyone BUT the capitalist class to run the system AND make ALL THE essential decisions.

    By its very nature, capitalism leads to periodic economic crises, poverty for the underclasses, racial and sexual divisions with related forms of oppression, environmental destruction, and multiple forms of war, including planet threatening world war.

    We (humanity) better figure pout how to make socialism work, because it is the only thing at this stage of human history that can save the planet.

    And Sera, good exposure of NAMI and many questions surrounding how to deal with it.

    While I do not think every blog needs to target capitalism as the ultimate enemy, far too often people (like Will Hall and others) make grand pronouncements about the “system” and the “monied elites” without ever really defining the actual class and type of system we are dealing with.

    Given the urgency of the domestic and world situation situation, overall we really DO need more and more discussion (by drawing real world links) about what is the ultimate root of modern day oppression in the world.


  • littleturtle

    You have asked me (and others) this same question in the past and your never happy with the answer.

    In today’s world those who put forward the “bio/psy/soc model” in reality act upon, and actually mean, the “bio/bio/bio model” of causation. At best, they only pay lip service to environmental factors being a factor in causing extreme forms of psychological distress.

    The Disease/Drug Based Medical Model that dominates the entire “mental health” system is rooted in “genetic theories of original sin.” They don’t want people looking at poverty, class divisions, war, trauma, racial and sexual divisions and inequality etc. within today’s capitalist society.

    There is NO scientific evidence of ANY biological markers related to what gets labeled as “mental illness.”

    In the grand scheme of things look at it this way. If we take two people and subject them to torture for hours and days at a time, and one person splits off in their mind (loses touch with reality – hears voices or has conversations with people not present etc.) after 18 hours of torture , and the other person “splits off” after 22 hours, is somehow “biology” involved in the 4 hour difference in time between the two people???

    Maybe, but who the F#%k cares?

    It is politically and morally sick for a society to spend billions of dollars looking for a “biological” answer to this question INSTEAD OF trying to find out why torture is going on in the first place, AND THEN finding a way to STOP IT ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!


  • Without a complete and total condemnation of the entire Disease/Drug Based Medical Model, we will just end up with parallel systemic approaches that does little towards dismantling the entire oppressive “mental health” system.

    “It must place psychosocial factors on equal footing with biological factors;..”

    The above quote is indicative of the fundamental problem with “half stepping” reformist approaches. Where the hell is the scientific evidence for the role of “biological factors” !!!???

    While there may be good intentions on the part of those suggesting these changes. these efforts still concede legitimacy to a totally oppressive and immoral system.


  • Oldhead

    I have consistently exposed the entire ruling class and their system in this country.

    However, it is VERY important to focus attention on Trump and those who support him. because he represents the most serious threat to institute some type of “fascist” rule in this country. Which would most likely include the most naked forms of racial oppression, pogroms etc. They could even become part of a set of new laws

    This would make it virtually impossible to exercise ANY type of political forms of protest and dissent. That includes, with any form of freedom of the press etc.

    To not recognize the dangerous LEAP in the objective situation with Trump’s election in this country is a serious ultra-left error.


  • Kumininexile

    You cannot escape the fact that Trump is a racist. This is obvious in so many ways, and very much based on multiple things he has said or done (or not done).

    And ANY person supporting him in today’s world is either an OVERT racist or a COVERT racist.

    “Covert,” meaning that through both ignorance and overall lack of social and political awareness, they tolerate and/or engage in various forms of racist behavior.


  • This blog raises some interesting historical questions about how to assess MLK’s legacy and the lessons to be learned from the struggles he was a part of. HOWEVER, it ends up promoting more confusion by obscuring the huge “elephant in the room.”

    “Doesn’t the real solution mean addressing the roots of war, racism, and poverty in society as King asked us to do?”

    As Oldhead pointed out, there is not a single reference to the MAIN obstacle to human progress in the world today – CAPITALISM.

    We live in a CLASS based/profit based system. Will keeps making reference to the “monied elites.” Where the hell did they (the monied elites) get their money and power??? There would be NO modern day American empire without the vicious exploitation of one hundred years of slavery. AND also the on going exploitation of American and Third World workers in those countries totally dominated by U.S. imperialism.

    The U.S. Imperialist empire will NEVER be able to integrate (provide economic and social equality) to minorities and people of color.

    Nor will this system (now that it understands the value of the Medical Model to it future preservation) EVER allow psychiatry and the Disease/Drug Based “Mental Health” system to lose power as a significant form of social control.

    The profit motive corrupts every aspect of society, and it is most obvious when looking at how it pervert all scientific endeavors. Look at what it has done to help create the so-called pseudo-scientific backdrop for today’s “mental health” system.

    To Will and others: we can’t move forward and build ANY significant political movement in today’s world WITHOUT clearly identifying to the masses what they are up against.

    The “monied elites” IS the capitalist class -running a class based/profit based economic system.

    Yes, the under classes should have more resources available to them, but a “guaranteed income” is not a real solution.

    If ALL of today’s wealth was redistributed equally to every citizen in this country (with the capitalist system still in tact) it would be a VERY SHORT TIME before ALL the same class based disparities and inequalities would reassert themselves within society.

    It’s time for humanity to move beyond the capitalist system before the planet is destroyed through environmental destruction or a new imperialist world war.


  • shaun f

    Your response did not really address my criticism of your past comment about obscuring class distinctions in the realm of criminal responsibility.

    And then your response states: “Richard, my point is that we simply don’t know what is going on with the brain, so we can’t cure the distress that people are coming into MH clinics want treated.”

    Do we really have to know exactly what is going on in the brain of a highly emotionally distressed person? No, we don’t. We have to find the best ways to provide loving support, and help them understand the source of their distress and oppression.

    And furthermore, I would say that we don’t have to “cure” SHIT!

    Shaun f, your language implies that somehow there is some “disease” process going on here. Your “agnosticism” and “minimizing” language obscures the fact that we DO KNOW what some of the main problems are for why people suffer extreme duress.

    Have you forgotten that we live in a society filled with injustice, trauma, discrimination, and multiple forms of violence, including poverty?

    Shaun f, you seem to be trying to travel down the middle of a road as narrow as a razor blade. This approach leads us away from finding a deeper understanding and the ultimate solutions to these problems.


  • shaun f

    With your above comment you just minimized the whole oppressive nature of today’s Medical Model and let it ALL its leaders totally off the hook for their crimes and criminal negligence

    Is it REALLY that “we aren’t there yet” ???

    And your use of the word “WE,” totally obscures the class nature of our society, and lumps all the victims of the Medical Model in with the perpetrators of the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial/Complex.

    Are “WE” here at MIA and other common people in society in this “together” with the leaders of the APA, Big Pharma, and the FDA???

    Until society reaches a point (beyond a profit based system) where top CEO’s can be duly punished with penalties commensurate with their crimes, we have NO chance of dismantling this oppressive Medical Model.


  • Kindredspirit

    You said: “I will adamantly defend against the way you’re BASHING [my emphasis] someone for not conforming to your social values.”

    Where and how did I ever “BASH” anyone in my above comment???

    Any objective reading of my above comments to Oldhead, would view them as nothing more than “constructive criticism” between comradely activists who are against psychiatry and an oppressive capitalist/imperialist world.

    Kindredspirit, I took NO offense to your use of sarcasm in a past comment, I only disagreed with how you used it. BUT I DO take offense to your characterizing of my feedback to Oldhead as “bashing.”

    On a second reading, don’t you view your use of the word “bashing” as quite extreme in this context?


  • Oldhead

    Please don’t try to stand above this kind of discussion about the need and desire of human beings (on some level) to be understood and accepted by others, by using the so-called “mature people” argument.

    At times at MIA, you (if you’re honest) just like any other person vigorously participating here, has been affected by occasional feelings of being “isolated” in certain particular hot discussions.

    However, this totally avoids my main point which is NOT fundamentally about hurting people’s “feelings” in conducting political discussion among potential “friends.”

    This is about building principled unity (over time) and grasping how we arrive at truth.

    Sometimes the very essence of your “good comments” here at MIA may NEVER have occurred unless someone took the risk to delineate their analysis in a blog, and/or comment. Their writings stimulated you to carefully evaluate the heart of their analysis and how consistent, or not, they carried forward their analysis to their final conclusions about where this all leads us.

    That stimulation I am describing here, may have caused you to think creatively BEYOND where you previously were at with your overall analysis of psychiatry, the Medical Model etc. The struggle for the truth is very much a social process and no one can claim they “always had it.” It is important to give credit where credit is due, even when people fall shy of “perfection.”

    It really does help overall dialogue (on both a political AND personal level) to acknowledge whether or not someone’s analysis is mainly, or overwhelming, a positive contribution to our growth in knowledge, AND then point out where it falls short.

    Oldhead, no one here is asking you to be the “go to guy” here. I believe your “good ideas” could go much further in the struggle against psychiatry if you improve “a few” of your methods of communication in these dialogues.


  • Kindredspirirt

    You’re missing the essence of point my here, and your use of sarcasm with the “Mary Poppins” analogy makes it even clearer to me.

    Most people who write here at MIA are not being paid (or somehow seeking ego building recognition) for their writings. And I think most of those who are being paid, would describe it as a “labor of love” (a meaningful, and potentially world changing, investment of time and labor) in a world full of life and death struggles where powerful words may make positive difference.

    In the evolutionary and Revolutionary process of seeking a higher truth, it is helpful to point out what is correct in someone’s writings or research, BEFORE moving on to what may be incorrect and/or falling short of the truth. It helps the overall process of learning.

    For example: even Karl Marx, who provided the world with a devastating critique of capitalism and why it must be replaced by socialism and then communism, made a clear historical analysis as to how the capitalist system was actually a major ADVANCE over the feudalistic system, and how the rise of capitalism set up the material conditions for a new historical stage, by bringing the (the formerly scattered) toiling masses into socialized living and working conditions, so they would be able to collectively understand and ultimately collectively organize against their fundamental (and no longer necessary) oppression.

    And frankly, in regards to some MIA discussions, what I am talking about here is simply – BASIC HUMAN RESPECT among those people who are clearly on the same *oppressed* side of barricades at this moment in history. “Unite all who can be united!”


  • Kindredspirit and Oldhead

    You have made some very powerful points in your response to this blog.

    As for my advice to Oldhead, this relates to some longstanding discussion and disagreements we have had about how to dialogue in the comment section at MIA.

    For the most part, I find Oldhead’s comments at MIA to be some of the very best, most educational, and challenging. At times however, he undercuts the power of his overall role in the comment section by some of his methods of struggle.

    Why not give an author (or other commenter) credit for the good work they have done, and point some main areas where there is agreement, BEFORE launching into the minutiae of disagreements? This, of course, is a general comment about writing style and can’t (and shouldn’t) always be applied, BUT more often that not.

    My goal in even bringing this up is to help make Oldhead’s comments play an even more powerful role at MIA.

    Comradely, Richard

  • Thank you Zenobia Morrill for this great article.

    This is a very important and powerful indictment of the flawed scientific, philosophical, and political underpinnings of psychiatry and the entire Medical Model. The work of these researches (and this blog) should be spread far and wide as an important weapon against all forms of psychiatric oppression.

    As a secondary point, what CONCERNS ME about this article is that despite all this very deep and powerful exposure of psychiatry, there is not a single reference made to ABOLISHING this very harmful institution. Without this type of discussion, we end up “minimizing” the overall harm done by psychiatric oppression in all its forms.

    On what basis does it EVER make sense to make “recommendations” to the institution of psychiatry? Why even give them the credibility that somehow (as an institution, not as individual people) they deserve to exist in a humane world?

    If one takes the work of these researches work to ALL its ultimate conclusion (looking at the social and political role of psychiatry in today’s world), there is NO OTHER justice worthy conclusion than to *abolish* psychiatry.


  • Oldhead

    It’s much better to raise a critical or important point (in this case a good one) AFTER your overall take on the blog. People put much effort into these writings to make MIA better and advance our overall struggle against the Medical Model. These writers deserve positive feedback when it is warranted.


    Very good blog – contains much wisdom.


  • And Steve

    With all due respect Steve , your above comment misses by a wide mark the essence of what Maradel was getting at in her comments.

    You said; “and if we get the right people making decisions without their own views being polluted by corruption, we can remove the incentives for hurting people.”

    No, No, No, it’s not most FUNDAMENTALLY about the PEOPLE in power. You could have the very BEST and most compassionate people in power, but if they are CONTAINED within a profit based capitalist system, they will either be overwhelmed or destroyed by the profit system.

    You said: “… humans being what we are, changing incentives is the key to changing how people act. If you pay people to hurt other people, you’ll find people willing to do it.”

    Yes, this is true. But we need a socialist Revolution for this to even begin to happen.

    Steve, your above comment promotes the illusion that somehow significant change can occur short of a major political/economic Revolution getting rid of a profit based system.

    We ALL need to stop promoting illusions that ‘reform” under capitalism will lead us to the “promised land.”

    In fact, I will say that when we do engaged in specific political struggles for change (and I DO think this is important), our main goal long term goal is NOT the specific immediate victory (which will most likely be temporary and in danger of being reversed). Our main goal in these particular struggles is to “prepare minds and organize forces” for ultimate showdown to completely dismantle the profit based capitalist system.

    Anything SHORT of a NEW state power, AND a fundamental transformation of the economic base, is ALL an ILLUSION.

    Happy New Year!


  • Maradel

    You made some very insightful points in your two comments here. The most important thing is that you linked ALL these various forms of oppression to a profit based capitalist system. Literally every aspect of this system turns people into commodities which leads to alienation and exploitation in one form or another.

    You stated pessimistically that perhaps “evolution” is our only hope. I would challenge the word “evolution.” Slow gradual change has NEVER, nor can it EVER, lead to significant System change without a political and economic REVOLUTION!

    Any partial political victories SHORT of a Revolution will ALWAYS be in danger of being reversed by an omnipotent status quo that puts profit before anything else.


  • samruck2

    The difference between my comments and those of “The Cat” is as follows:

    If you go through the history of my comments and blogs, I make a great effort to explain in great depth my use of certain phrases and concepts that are anti-capitalist, and therefore denoted to be on the Left.

    I do think quite often that “The Cat” has very insightful comments about what is wrong withe the Medical Model and psychiatry. Unfortunately, in my view, he sometimes tends to undermine the credibility of his comments when he throws in what I consider to be Right Wing code words without any substantial explanation.

    Samruck2, you have a nice Holiday as well.


  • The cat

    The author made no mention of the “state.”

    I wish you could start thinking outside the box of Right Wing code words and catch phrases.

    The “state” as we currently know it is completely controlled by a tiny minority (of both Democrats and Republicans) who are wealthy/power hungry ruling class dinosaurs

    If a “state” was truly made up of, and run by,THE people, and NOT only people from an upper class seeking the highest rate of profit by any means necessary, AND they were now people who had no inherent reason (and would be deprived of any attempts at misusing this power), then WHY should the “state” be viewed in such negative terms?

    And if we ran a NEW society in such a way (over many many generations), eventually we could get rid of a “state” once and for all.

    The cat, “dare to dream” a little in the new year that is about to come upon us.


  • The current medical establishment does not know shit about how to treat “chronic pain.” In fact their current track record of so-called treatments have CAUSED an epidemic of more chronic pain.

    Now that their on going record of prolific prescriptions for high doses of opioids has become more exposed (for not working and contributing to the overdose epidemic), they are now taking some people too rapidly off their drugs with NO REPLACEMENT APPROACH for their failed course of “treatment.”

    Once a course of high doses of opioids is begun with some patients (causing dependency and an almost total lack of physical activity) it becomes almost impossible to switch course to a path without these drugs.

    There ARE alternatives to these drugs, but the patients must be carefully educated about the benefits of these alternative strategies and convinced that that more opioids will actually create OPIOID INDUCED HYPERALGESIA – which makes people MORE sensitive to pain over time.


  • Thank you Sharna Olfman.

    There is some very important things to be learn from this blog. I don’t believe this is a call for a return to a more “primitive” world. Instead I believe it is a call to retain certain important evolutionary learned standards of culture as we move forward in a very troubled world.

    This blog is in essence a call for a political and economic Revolution which will take humanity well beyond a profit based capitalist world.

    The author states the following:

    “This contrasts significantly with the sense of self that is encouraged in Western cultures which emphasizes competition as opposed to cooperation with others, and in which nature is viewed as a commodity to be mined and managed rather than a living part of ourselves…Patriarchy, misogyny, social hierarchy, and material wealth are unfamiliar concepts.”

    There is simply NO WAY the world envisioned by this author can take place in a society where social classes and a profit system of capitalism are the dominant form of human organization.

    When the author suggests that humanity must completely transform the “human nest,” I wish she had been more upfront about what will actually be required for humanity to make this much needed worldwide transformation.

    Happy Holidays, Richard

  • PuppyLove

    I am sorry to hear that you had to endure such abuse from a dysfunctional and harmful therapist. I hope you have found some resolution to the issues that led you to seek counseling in the first place.

    You do sound like you have a very good grasp of the many mistakes this particular therapist made that made you feel so unsafe and unsupported. I hope you have found other social supports in your life that can help you successful move forward. Thanks for the positive feedback about that particular blog I wrote several years ago.

    All the best, Richard

  • The phrase “stop working” is very misleading and it undermines what is a very important posting here at MIA.

    There is still NO definitive evidence that SSRI’s “work.”

    AND when the placebo effect soon wears off and reality continues to exert itself on people’s lives (unresolved conflict with the environment), they may tend to become even MORE depressed because there was an expectation (promised by the Medical Model) that things would get better.

    AND then they may feel even WORSE and HOPELESS about themselves and their so-called “genetic defects” (implied by the “chemical imbalance” theory), thus overall intensifying depression and despair.

    This may also be an additional reason why many people end up far worse after taking SSRI’s.


  • In response to Steve (moderator)

    A very well stated AND appropriate position to take as the moderator here at MIA.

    This is a perfect example where moderator restraint is the best and necessary position to take, while also clarifying the overall expectations for dialogue at MIA.

    Once a process of TOO much moderation begins, then some people will start reporting more and more comments, and expecting them to all be deleted. It then becomes a dangerous and distracting “rabbit hole” of censorship.

    I am very surprised by some of the people who are actually calling for more deletions of certain comments.

    Steve, I highly commend your overall role in this difficult process.

    This makes MIA a great place on the Web to learn and struggle through many different scientific and political concepts and positions. This process is not without some occasional pain and discomfort. But this is how we all grow, and how truth is eventually arrived at somewhere down the road.

    Have a great holiday season!


  • Oldhead said: ” So far be it for me to go the route of branding women who choose to get by like this as automatically embracing internalized misogyny.”

    Does that mean that one needs a vagina to really know what misogyny is?

    Prostitution in today’s world is a commodity relationship, and it is inherently oppressive.

    Prostitutes are the “victims” in these relationships and should never be criminalized for their behavior.

    And yes, in a truly revolutionary society when all commodity relationships are gradually eliminated, prostitution will be outlawed.

    Anyone who defends prostitution, doesn’t yet understand what prostitution really is, and does not understand the harm it does to women (and also to those men forced into carrying out this commodity relationship).


  • Once again you avoid the point AND the self-criticism.

    And yes, as long as professional therapists exist in this world, they must abide by some ethical standards that demand that they “do no harm.”

    And I look forward to the day (and I am working toward that day) when there will be no need or reason for therapists to exist in this world.


  • Oldhead

    You said: “If someone is worried about “corruption” they should never have entered the “therapeutic” arena.”

    Here you are “blaming the victim.” In this case, it is a vulnerable woman seeking help from a professional who has taken an oath to “do no harm,” and this same professional has pledged to never cross these type of boundaries as part of accepting their license to practice. This is all essential in order to create a safe place for someone to possibly get the help they need.

    You said: “We’re talking primarily about male behavior here, not “therapist” behavior; eliminating the “therapeutic” context would not solve the problem.”

    This statement ignores the fact that professionals such as therapists and doctors have a specific code of ethics and consequences for violating them. And sexual boundaries is one code that is clearly necessary, whether or not this person practices inside (or outside) the Medical Model.

    Oldhead, you are still minimizing sexual exploitation here.


  • I am really surprised that Oldhead and Frank would end up MINIMIZING the harm done by a therapist and/or doctor when they use their power differentials to selfishly sexually exploit a client. This should NEVER be minimized or given ANY form of tacit approval, under ANY circumstances.

    You both have called out (as have I) any, and all, forms of arrogance and power priviledges when it comes to professionals functioning in the “mental health” system. And very often you have done so in your critique of their participation here at MIA, sometimes even mistakenly treating potential friends as if they were an enemy, So, how is it that suddenly the exploitation of a woman in a counseling relationship becomes more vague and confusing when it comes to violating a very emotionally dangerous and loaded power differential?


  • The good in this blog:

    1) The challenging and speaking out against authority and their attempts to cover it up

    2) The recognition that silence in the face of seeing various forms of exploitation and abuses of power can be a dangerous self perpetuating form of complicity in allowing those crimes to continue.

    3) The willingness to be self-critical (and promote the important role of self-criticism in any human rights movement) about one’s complicity in remaining silent, and those times when the author took advantage of certain power differentials and put his own self interests above the possibility of harming more vulnerable people.

    The “bad”, or misguided themes , promoted in this blog:

    1) The multiple references to Jung, and those adherents that follow him, without any critical analysis of Jung and his belief system. Is it any wonder that the director of a program in a school featuring and idealizing Jungian analysis, had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a “client?” As was pointed out in another comment, Jung himself, deeply violated the power differential between himself and a client, and now one of his followers was merely following in the footsteps of his mentor.

    2) NO CLASS ANALYSIS!!!! And no analysis where psychiatry and the Medical Model fits into maintaining and enforcing a class based system.
    Will made the following statements: ” …we all have shadows, we all have blind spots, we are all in this complicity and corruption together.” “… “our side” that is also part of the problem, that we are dangerously also part of “the system.” ”

    This is very dangerous thinking. It is one thing (a very important thing) to see how our thinking and behavior has been influenced, and at times, corrupted by a very oppressive and pervasive system, and yes, we need to criticize it when it happens. HOWEVER, WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME OR EQUALLY COMPLICIT IN THIS ONGOING OPPRESSION.

    We live in a CLASS SYSTEM where a small minority has complete control of the means of production, distribution of goods and services, and they have control of various police forces and and a military to back up and maintain their power position throughout society. They set up all the rules and continue to enforce them. We should never accept responsibility for this because it only COVERS UP AND PLACES A VAIL OVER THE VERY FACT THAT WE LIVE IN A CLASS SOCIETY.

    This kind of thinking does NOT help people figure out what is really going on in our society and where people should stand up and take decisive and demonstrative action against all forms of oppression.


  • To all

    I am that person, and I used “Trump” in the form of an “analogy” as to what is, and is NOT, possible to change using such activities like yoga and meditation. In order to make this point more obvious, I used the most extreme person in contemporary life, so people would have NO doubt regarding my meaning. This a commonly used writing technique.

    Given what is currently going on in this country and the world, AND just how serious and dangerous these conditions are, it is a moral imperative to find any, and all, opportunities to make these kind of analogies.

    HOWEVER, these kind of political insertions in relatively unrelated topics should not be “forced,” or somehow mechanically applied, otherwise they will not succeed with their overall intention.

    And regarding anyone who would “protest” my above use of this analogy, it is unclear if this is a criticism of my writing methodology OR of my political outlook? The way the criticism was made seems more like the latter, and that does tell me something about the author.

    I understand that a discussion of this particular question cannot be resolved here at this time. But I hope that people do not adopt an “all political analogies” are off based and can never be used in thread discussions.

    We do NOT want to end up just watching the “Cabaret” while the world falls apart around us.


  • Oldhead

    You said: “They can also help people transcend their programming and see beyond their egos.”

    Here you are implying (if not directly saying) that somehow yoga and meditation involvement, BY THEMSELVES, can transform someone’s ideology and behavior in a more humane direction.

    This is utter nonsense, and there is no proof to back up this over exaggeration of their benefits.


  • Oldhead

    You said: “Yes, but they also have benefits that go far beyond that, so I think that’s a bit simplistic and limited. They can also help people transcend their programming and see beyond their egos.”

    By themselves, yoga and meditation WILL NOT and CANNOT teach people who their “friends” and “enemies” are in the real world, and/or what are the institutions and human forms of exploitation that need to be eliminated from the world.

    To think otherwise is to drink someone else’s “Kool Aid.”


  • Hi Monica

    Great blog with many important insights as usual.

    I will add this point. My wife is now a yoga instructor in her second career path. I recently picked up a copy of her Yoga Journal magazine and read an article about how the U.S. military is starting to embrace some of the “benefits” of yoga in carrying out its mission.

    And any truthful historian can seriously question the overall oppressive and exploitative nature of these imperialistic “missions” that have been carried out by the U.S. military.

    Also in the past I have read articles about how some parts of the U.S. military (pilots and snipers) use meditation to enhance their ability to carry out their so-called missions.

    Many proponents of yoga and meditation promote these activities as some type of religion or liberating activity that BY THEMSELVES will lead individuals to some higher level of consciousness and/or morality.

    This approach is utter nonsense and ignores the importance of a person’s overall ideological and moral stance in the world AND the important related sum total of their experiences in the world.

    Both meditation and yoga have an important place in the world in helping people cope with a very oppressive status quo that includes the enormous harm done by psychiatry and the Medical Model.

    But, as you have pointed out Monica, they also have their limitations, and must be applied carefully taking into consideration each person’s unique experience in the world. When making use of these practices you cannot ignore individual experience, political ideology and knowledge, AND what is deep inside a person’s heart.


  • Steve

    You’ve made many good points in response to this blog. I ,also, appreciate Peter Breggin’s many contributions to the struggle against psychiatric oppression.

    And I would add this comment about Breggin’s positive mention of the Old Testament of the Bible and its so-called expressions of “love”:

    While the Old Testament may make a few minor references about “love,” it is overwhelming filled with (and advocating for) some of the worst forms of oppression and treatment of human beings by other human beings. And the Almighty God running the whole show in the Old Testament, perpetrates (and advocates for) some of the very worst crimes of humanity.


  • We all must remember that psychiatry is not going anywhere soon despite these types of powerful exposures of their scientific nonsense and related crimes against the people.

    My making such a statement is NOT to underestimate the value of such exposures (like that of Philip Hickey) as an organizing tool. This kind of work is critical educational work for building an important human rights movement.

    An underlying theme (though not directly identified as such) in Philip’s writing is an overall indictment of the role of profit and power within the workings of the capitalist system. The profit motive drives Big Pharma’s push to sell drugs by any means necessary, and encourages and sustains the guild interests of psychiatry.

    AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, psychiatry and their entire disease/drug based paradigm of so-called “treatment,” has now become a vitally important means of social control, maintaining order within the empire.

    They continue to drug the more potentially volatile sections of society and shift people’s attention away from inherent social problems within their System, and refocus people’s attention on so-called personal/genetic “flaws” in human nature.

    So ALL our anti-psychiatry work must continue to find the ways to link psychiatry’s present existence AND future (and its ultimate demise) to the historic end of capitalism as a form planet wide social organization.


  • Philip

    Brilliant! Perhaps your best blog ever. You should definitely publish an entire book with all of your similar writings, and this particular blog should be centrally featured in that book.

    This blog is not just a call for Allen Francis to abandon and condemn psychiatry for its crimes and its illegitimacy as a medical specialty, but a call to ALL so-called “critical psychiatry” doctors, and other similar minded critics, to finally make the necessary leap to “all the way” anti-psychiatry.

    Carry on, Philip. Your writings are a beautiful and inspiring weapon in the struggle for human emancipation from all forms of oppression.


  • Abortion is NOT murder, and to insist on such a position is to deny one half of humanity one of their most fundamental human rights.

    Abortion must be defended as an essential right of a woman to control her body and reproductive rights.

    Nobody can seriously say they are a feminist OR support women’s equality if they do not unequivocally support a women’s right to abortion.

    Anyone who fails to support a woman’s right to abortion ALSO fails to fully understand psychiatric oppression and all its connections to other human rights struggles.

    It is wrong of Dragon Slayer to misquote the content of Oldhead’s above comment, because I believe he also fully supports a women’s right to abortion.


  • Abortion is the most fundamental right of a woman to control her body and reproductive rights.

    Nobody can seriously say they are a feminist OR support women’s equality if they do not unequivocally support a women’s right to abortion.

    Dragon Slayer, once again you reveal your inability to fully understand psychiatric oppression and all its connections to other human rights struggles.


  • Bob

    I think there needs to be some organized way for people to express their opposition to this attack on Gotzsche and our entire movement.

    Is there an online petition or some effort to publish a large add (denouncing his removal from Cochrane) in some major paper or publication that is signed by professionals and survivors etc.?

    If so, I would definitely contribute some money and my signature for this to happen.


  • Bob and All

    Rosalee said:
    “Thank you Robert for this gripping report about Peter Gotzsche and the injustices this man endured for being forthright and honest. I so appreciate your website, books and all your incredible work in helping so many. It is very empowering to those who have been downtrodden and harmed by psychiatry.”

    I SECOND this insightful summary and praise for the work and activism of Robert Whitaker and Peter Gotzsche, AND all the others who are exposing and challenging the oppressive nature of the Disease/Drug Based Medical Model.

    We should NOT be demoralized OR disheartened by the fact that the “powers that be” are striking back at those who have wounded the “beast.” The ruling class, and those institutions like psychiatry that prop up and help maintain this world wide system of exploitation, are acting exactly as we should expect them to.

    Modern psychiatry (as an institution of social control) is now SO deeply embedded within the fabric of the profit based/capitalist system, that both of their future on this planet has now become INSEPARABLY bound.

    For this reason (as we move forward in our work to end all forms of psychiatric abuse), we must continually find ways to link up with other human rights struggles AND (at the same time) expose the profit based/capitalist system as THE major impediment to human progress on this planet.

    All this means is that we have a long and complicated road ahead. “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!”

    Carry on, Richard

  • All

    The reason I have not joined in this discussion at this time is because there is NO WAY I can do it the justice it needs and deserves in a comment section. I am planning, very soon, to write a blog with the rough title, ” Moving Beyond Identity politics On the Road to Ending Psychiatric Abuse.”

    I take some responsibility for how this discussion has progressed in a negative direction up to this point. Even with all my experience in political movements, I have underestimated how divisive Identity Politics can be in certain political struggles, AND why it must be addressed in a comprehensive and deep going way.

    Identity Politics can mean many things to many people (as some people here have attempted to define it), and some of these understandings can be very positive in certain historical contexts. BUT we can also see how divisive Identity Politics can become when it is used as club to beat down contending political viewpoints, especially those strongly advocating for a class analysis.

    We have ALL been negatively affected by certain counter currents in the evolution of Identity Politics, and it has been reflected in this discussion, and other past discussions at MIA.

    Oldhead said: ” If my beliefs are dissed using a term that is undefined…”

    My intent in these discussions has never been to “diss” (as in disrespect) people’s viewpoints. Disagreeing with, and challenging other’s viewpoints is NOT “dissing” people. I hope that Oldhead and LavenderSage, in particular, will be open to a future, in depth discussion of this important topic based on a much deeper presentation.

    Please be patient and give me a chance to do this topic the justice it deserves and wait a short while until I can complete and publish a new blog at MIA. It is a very complicated and controversial subject, so I need to dig deep and seek a clarity that can be unifying as it attempts to broaden our overall analysis of how to move forward with important human rights struggles.


  • LavenderSage, Steve and others,

    I am very surprised that so few people have heard about this before, or understand how it manifests itself today. An aspect of *Identity Politics* did become an issue, especially between the the two wings in the Democratic Party supporting Hilary C. and Bernie S., though it has bigger and broader applications.

    If you click on my name in these comments you will see in numerous PAST comments where I discuss various aspects of *Identity Politics,* and within those comments is a partial definition that applies to some of these discussions.

    If you google *Identity Politics,* and especially a “critical analysis of Identity Politics,” you will see many historical analyses of how *Identity Politics* has developed over the years and what role it plays today.

    Because of the seriousness of this discussion (and how controversial it can become) I will defer my longer response to a future time. This discussion deserves a careful and well thought out presentation here at MIA, and unfortunately I do not currently have the time to give it the level of seriousness it deserves.

    I regret having to respond this way to your questions at this time, but I do promise to address this in the very near future, and I hope you will join in and participate in the discussion at that time

    Please, in the meantime do some of your own research on this topic, so that when I do write something here at MIA you can participate from the highest level of understanding.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • To ALL,

    I find it interesting and sad that very few people on the MIA website EVER want to discuss *Identity Politics,* especially to offer any CRITICISM of this largely negative trend in current political movements. I believe this is, by itself, indicative of the very real kind of fear that this trend has created, and how it stifles very important and necessary political discussion.


  • Frank

    I am NOT saying that the fall of capitalism automatically leads to the death of psychiatry. Activists such as ourselves would have much work to do to make sure that definitely happens.

    I AM saying that I don’t believe we can fully end psychiatry and the whole oppressive Medical Model without FIRST clearing away the profit based capitalist system. I don’t think we have to agree completely on this latter point to move forward in some kind of political unity.

    I am not sure what you are referring to when you use the “authoritarian” when describing my political position? Is that a general comment about some problems you have with Marxism? Leninism? Moaism? type positions, or something else? And , of course, we do not need to have full unity on exactly what type of society we need to build in the future in order to move forward on the more immediate issues.

    And I was not clear on the reference to #639?


  • Bonnie, Steve, Oldhead, Frank, and others,

    I don’t believe these comments have gotten to the heart of some of the political differences here. Let me attempt to clarify the differences as I see them.

    I have NEVER said that we shouldn’t ever work with people on the Right side of the political spectrum. This is not up for debate here. Steve, and others, did you read this comment I recently made?

    What I have been strongly advocating for is that committed LEFT oriented anti-psychiatry activists (those individuals who are clearly and strongly anti-capitalist) grasp the importance of forming an ADVANCED LEFT LEANING anti-psychiatry organization.

    This political imperative flows out of understanding the crucial role that other such ADVANCED human rights type political organizations have played throughout the last 100 years of our history. And especially understanding the principle of how the ADVANCED political position tends to act as a catalyst pushing to the LEFT those people NOT YET able to fully understand the oppressive role of psychiatry and/or its connections to the capitalist system

    Other people with less developed,or ADVANCED (not yet anti-capitalist) political perspectives, will certainly start ALL kinds of other organizations with various political perspectives, and some will play a positive role in the long term development of the struggle. Yes, some of them should be both supported and worked with as the struggle develops. This may, at times, mean we have political alliances with activists who are currently RIGHT leaning. BUT, the existence of ADVANCED organizations are absolutely critical in pushing forward the entire political process.

    WHO is going to take the lead in launching such ADVANCED organizations, if it is NOT people such as ourselves who clearly understand that capitalism (as a political and economic system) is THE major impediment to the advance of human progress on the planet?

    Even it it were somehow possible to rid society of psychiatry under capitalism (which you know I strongly believe it is NOW impossible for that to happen) the world would still be a horribly oppressive place for hundreds of millions of people. It would be incredibly narrow minded AND selfish of those people (such as ourselves) who actually grasp the oppressive role of capitalism in the world today, to NOT view the anti-psychiatry human rights struggle as having TWO important goals.

    1) to advance the day to day struggle against psychiatry by exposing its thoroughly oppressive role in society and organizing material resistance with various key forms of mass struggle.

    2) AND most importantly, draw all the very real connections between the institutional role of psychiatry in society to the profit based capitalist system. By doing this, we become a part of all the OTHER human rights struggles that are educating the masses of people, through all their struggles, that AS A SOCIETY, we need to move BEYOND capitalism BEFORE it destroys the planet through environmental destruction and/or imperialist war.

    AND NO, various CONSOLIDATED Right Wing forces should NOT be worked with in such an ADVANCED organization, And, nor would they especially want to join anyway, if we CLEARLY draw the the very REAL connections between psychiatry and the profit based capitalist system. Again, there may be some opportunities to create brief political alliances with other less radical forces as things develop.

    Oldhead, it is senseless for you to keep asking me for what Left organization takes a great position on psychiatry. We ALL know that they have lousy positions , and/or have never really developed one. The KEY questions here is how do WE advance everyone’s understanding (including the legitimate LEFT and/or Marxist type organizations) of the oppressive role of psychiatry AND the need to abolish it?

    I believe the answer to this important question is to strongly consider the importance of forming an ADVANCED LEFT LEANING anti-psychiatry organization for the TWO purposes I advocated for above.

    And Oldhead, I have stated several time that I will be writing something more involved about the overall negative role of *Identity Politics* in today’s political movements. But I have CLEARLY said enough (in multiple comments) about *Identity Politics* for you to understand why it represents a step backwards when proposing a path forward in forming an ADVANCED anti-psychiatry human rights organization.

    And Oldhead, you have clearly waffled on this question. You had no problem , not too long ago, in building such an organization with non-survivor anti-psychiatry activists. Now suddenly you are advocating for a survivor ONLY organization, with NO political summation that clearly JUSTIFIES why this should be the current political imperative.

    I will clearly say, that it is a major step BACKWARD in this political era, for a veteran anti-capitalist/ Marxist oriented activist to be advocating for an “Identity” based radical political organization. This is especially true when you have presented NO political analysis as to why this is even necessary and/or how it will advance the struggle. Here is an example where *Identity Politics,* and similar type positions, are playing a negative role.

    And I agree with Bonnie, that in ALL these questions we should be thinking globally when developing our analysis and political strategies.


  • Steve

    You said:

    “I say, you create the organization on the principles you believe are necessary, and if someone identifying as “conservative” is interested, they are welcome to come. They’re not welcome to undermine the values of the organization, however. ”

    I agree with this statement COMPLETELY.

    I am strongly advocating that in order to build a powerful anti-psychiatry movement against ALL forms of psychiatric abuse:

    1) We need a strong set of (Left leaning) principles that exposes and condemns psychiatry’s oppressive role in the world today, INCLUDING drawing clear connections between psychiatry’s meteoric growth over the past 40 years and the profit based capitalist system. A system that now also clearly relies on psychiatry for its important social role of controlling and anesthetizing vulnerable and potentially rebellious sections of the population.

    2) We should welcome all survivors, FAMILY MEMBERS of survivors, AND non survivors (including professionals) who can agree with the organization’s principles. Currently, professionals would only represent a tiny minority in such an organization. We should advocate for, and promote, survivor leadership in the organization.

    At this juncture in history, to promote a “survivor only” anti-psychiatry organization, represents a form of *Identity Politics,* AND limits our potential growth in numbers and strength.

    AND if “Right leaning” individuals are attractive to this organization’s “all the way” anti-psychiatry principles and can abide by the organization’s code of ethics, BY ALL MEANS, they should be welcomed.

    This would provide an excellent opportunity for all members to politically struggle over ALL the important questions of the day, while focusing on the target of psychiatric oppression.


  • Oldhead

    I’ve never lectured anyone. I have only engaged in important political and strategic discussions about how to advance an important human rights struggle. I have been upfront and honest with my views and tried to show in depth how I’ve come to those views.

    These type of discussions have taken place for several years here at MIA and you have been an active participant who NEVER hesitated in dissecting and criticizing other people’s positions when you thought they were wrong or misleading.

    Now suddenly these topics are off limits and I, supposedly, “have no right to speak’ when your positions on some of these issues are somehow questioned or challenged.

    So much for the process of dialogue and debate and “criticism/self criticism.” This defensiveness and double standard will not advance any strategic discussions for building an anti-psychiatry movement.


  • Oldhead

    After all this extensive dialogue regarding some of your tendencies to promote *Identity Politics* and attempt to dilute and anti-psychiatry analysis by attempting to reconcile “Left” and “Right” Wing political positions, you CONTINUE to avoid responding to the essence of my position on these questions. I have never ONCE seen you offer anything close to a self-criticism.

    Here I will paste and copy a comment I made in a previous blog which you also NEVER responded to, and is very pertinent to this discussion about creating an anti-psychiatry organization.


    Why would such an organization have to be composed ONLY of survivors?

    Why in this stage of political movements in this country can’t we move beyond a form of “Identity Politics” which implies that only survivors can fully understand psychiatric oppression and be able to strongly unite together with a clear anti-psychiatry basis of unity.

    Such a “united” organization of ALL people opposed to psychiatry, psychiatric oppression, and the Medical Model, would clearly be led by survivors in both numbers and promotion of leadership. This would especially be true if this was made an important organizing principle right from the start of such an organization.

    Yes, we must be aware of the past contradictions with “professionals” (related to power differential and credentials etc.) that occurred in past organizing efforts. And yes, we should address these potential problems right from the beginning.

    BUT why make such a principle out of these differences (by organizing around “identity”) that it prevents us from uniting on higher levels of unity and strength through both numbers and connections to the “mental health” system?

    Where is the evidence today that separating people off as “survivor,” “professional,” and others , including leaving out FAMILY MEMBERS harmed by the Medical Model, is somehow necessary for political organizing in this historical period?

    Obviously, from my questions you can assume that I believe this would represent a step backwards today to approach anti-psychiatry organizing from this type of “separation” principle.


  • Alex

    Thanks for your comment.

    You are right in suggesting that the wisdom in COMBINING direct experience with both theoretical capability AND the skill and and ability to articulate all that higher understanding with deep human emotion is, indeed, a powerful force in the world for understanding and change.

    The voices of oppressed people who are able to both deeply understand and express to others their experience in a way that truly touches the mind and hearts of others, can often make them the very best spokespeople for any movement. I totally support the importance of bringing forward and promoting “survivor” leadership in the movement against psychiatric oppression. This has always been my position at MIA.

    My comments in this blog comment section have been long and extensive, raising many important points about how to understand and advance the struggle against psychiatric oppression. This includes finding a way to create advanced political organizations that can provide some leadership in maximizing the forward march of our movement.

    I have taken on two important counter trends that can be divisive and hold back progress in political movements: 1) Is the negative role of *Identity Politics* and 2) Is the importance of not diluting our politics by definitely having a Left orientation that clearly makes the connection between psychiatric oppression and a class based capitalist system.

    It is unclear to me if your above comment is meant to criticize ALL that I been struggling for and against in this discussion. OR are you merely articulating and emphasizing the intrinsic value of direct experience in coming to know truth?


  • Dragon Slayer

    Just to clarify here, I DO most definitely want to see an end to capitalism; the sooner the better. I am just not saying that needs to be the basis of unity for an anti-psychiatry organization.

    An anti-psychiatry organization can be, and should be, “Left leaning” (that is, clearly identify the very real connection between psychiatry and the profit based capitalism in today’s world).

    And as to your second paragraph above where you discuss “freedom” totally in the abstract – you still haven’t answered what so-called human rights struggles you actually support AND those you oppose.

    And don’t forget, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution made slavery legal and called Black people 3/5ths of a human.


  • Oldhead

    Feminism is both a political construct and a human rights political movement. You do NOT have to have a vagina or identify as a women to understand what it is or take a position on it.

    Sometime in the near future I plan to go more deeply into what is *Identity Politics* and how it manifests itself and can be divisive in current political movements.

    But for now we can learn as we go. There are basically two ways we learn about how the world works and determine what is truth. There is DIRECT experience and there is learning through INDIRECT experience (that is through theory and the experience of others).

    Oldhead, in these discussions you have consistently overemphasized, and also made a PRINCIPLE out of DIRECT experience as being the only form of learning that REALLY MATTERS. This is flat out WRONG and a clear example of *Identity Politics.*

    You do not have to fall off a latter to understand the principles of gravity.

    You do NOT have to have gone to Vietnam to understand FULLY that the Vietnam war was wrong , AND to organize vehement resistance against that war.

    There are Caucasian historians who deeply understand slavery and racism and have written definitive books on the subject.

    And there are men and non psychiatric survivors who deeply understand the nature of women’s oppression and psychiatric oppression. They have gathered this knowledge through multiple forms of indirect experience, including observation regarding the world around them, reading, AND perhaps hearing in great detail the DIRECT experience of clients, friends and family members who have been directly harmed and/or oppressed by this system.

    Of course the DIRECT experience of those people who identify as women and psychiatric survivors is EXTREMELY important to evaluate and consider BEFORE speaking or taking up activities involving these movements.

    BUT the mere fact of someone’s “identity” as a member of an oppressed group does NOT make them right or preclude us from disagreeing with them. Or perhaps even having a MORE CORRECT evaluation of this form of oppression, and also helping to develop the best strategies for ending their form of oppression.

    To use some extreme examples to make my point, no one of ANY “identity” should hesitate to criticize Kitty Dukasis or Kellyanne Conway or Ivanka Trump. AND I will say, with great confidence, that Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump ARE NOT feminists, no matter how much they WANT to label themselves that way.


  • Frank

    Yes, it would be inevitable AND a GOOD thing if people coming from the Right are somehow more organized in opposition to psychiatry and the Medical Mode.

    I am just strongly advocating for a more ADVANCED type organization that clearly makes the links between psychiatry and the profit based class system of capitalism.

    It is my belief (and I believe history bears this out) that such a Left leaning anti-psychiatry organization could potentially have a MUCH MORE powerful impact on advancing our cause over the long haul.


  • Oldhead

    You said: “Would you also declare that a “conservative” woman could never be a 100% feminist?”

    I would answer, ABSOLUTELY!!! – a thousand times over.

    Most “conservatives” (especially hardcore conservatives) do NOT support a women’s right to control her own body and reproductive rights – that is, the guaranteed right to have an abortion.


    And I would also say (as I would with anti-psychiatry activists) that one MUST develop a clear class analysis of society and understand the connections of a class based capitalist society to the preservation of women’s oppression AND all other forms of inequality in order to qualify as 100% feminist.

    Once again, Oldhead, women’s oppression (like psychiatric oppression) DOES NOT exist in a BUBBLE. We must understand all its historical origins, and those forces in society that have benefited from and promoted women’s oppression over the centuries.

    And NO, there could NEVER be an advanced organization fighting against women’s oppression that diluted its politics to accommodate
    Right Wing evangelical forces with deeply CONSOLIDATED Right Wing belief systems. What radical women activists would want to join such an organization?

    Oldhead, here is another example where you place someone’s “identity” above a class analysis, and more recently you have done the same with “survivors.” And NO, you can’t bastardize a class analysis by making up some analysis that women and survivors are really some “quasi class,” in order to justify focusing on “identity” above a genuine class analysis.

    It is far more understandable (and defenseable) when other, less politically experienced, people begin to organize themselves around their “identity” as an oppressed section of people.

    Yes, many of these types of organizations have played a positive role in the history of human rights struggles. Unfortunately, many ended up drifting into reformism and co-optation by the System. However, today we are NOW in a different historical period – we need to move BEYOND “identity” where ever we can. And YOU, of all people should know this to be true.

    Oldhead you have promoted yourself as an anti-capitalist/pro-socialist political activist. You have consistently argued for a class analysis in your comments here at MIA. And now, suddenly you want to abandon such an analysis, and want to reconcile “Left” and Right” in some anti-psychiatry human rights organization.

    You have compromised your politics and class analysis NOT with some people who sort of just “lean” to the *Right*, BUT with individuals who have a CONSOLIDATED Right Wing perspective on almost every major political issue of contention in today’s world.

    This is an untenable position (of *Identity Politics*), and a surefire way to sabotage any efforts to build the anti-psychiatry struggle. Do you really believe that advanced anti-psychiatry activists would want to join an organization that allowed (by diluting its basic principles) hardcore CONSOLIDATED Right Wing people to feel welcome?


  • Dragon Slayer

    You said: “But I agree with you Frank that it is completely unnecessary to tie antipsychiatry to the overthrow of the capitalistic system.”

    These are YOUR words not mine, and part of your on going mischaracterization of my views on these questions.

    To say that an anti-psychiatry organization should be “Left leaning,” that is, make the real connections between psychiatry and capitalism, IS NOT calling for the “overthrow of capitalism.”

    Dragon Slayer, you said: “I’m not opposed to creating alliances with other people beset by oppression.”

    It is funny that over the past several years at MIA when anyone was talking about key human rights struggles like “Black Lives Matter” and women’s right to control their bodies and reproductive rights etc.etc, you always seemed to belittle and minimize these struggles AND those that would advocate for them.

    Exactly what human rights struggles are you now supporting?


  • Steve and others

    Let me clarify my position on many of these questions. There will be many groups and organizations and even webzines (as there are already a few like MIA) that are (or will become) either very critical of psychiatry, and possibly some that emerge calling for the outright abolishment of psychiatry. These many groups may include some people with mixed political perspectives varying from the Left to Right on the political spectrum. Some of these groupings may have a small positive effect on the growth of the movement against psychiatric oppression.

    However, what is absolutely essential in any growing human rights movement such as anti-psychiatry, is the need for an ADVANCED political organization (to STAND OUT from all the others) that concentrates some of best and most dedicated ideological and political thinkers, who can develop a radical program for change and are also capable of organizing direct action type resistance against all forms of psychiatric oppression.

    Any serious examination of political history in the last 100 years bears out the importance of such ADVANCED radical organizations. During this historical period those organizations that had a clear Left orientation (that is, on some level critical of capitalism) were the ones who had the MOST dynamic impact pushing forward these major struggles and movements.

    Many of these groups were actually led by socialist or communist type activists. The actual program and basis of unity of these organizations (while vaguely anti-capitalist) WAS NOT based on agreement with socialism or communism as a future goal. Although many activists in these organizations eventually grew to believe that socialism would be a better alternative than capitalism, as their understanding of economics and politics developed over time.

    Organizations WITHOUT such a Left orientation very quickly and easily morphed into reformism and some form of co-optation which gutted their politics and/or they ended up selling out the very movement that gave rise to their existence. Parts of the “Peer” and “Alternative” movement in today’s “mental health” system might be an analogous example to what happen back in the 60’s.

    Unfortunately, even many of the far Left organizations eventually suffered a similar fate, although some were outright destroyed by government agents and other more serious attacks by the System.

    Many people reading and writing on the MIA website may end up starting or joining some sort of organization opposed to psychiatric oppression. My big question and concern here is: WHO will be starting the VITALLY NECESSARY AND NEEDED ADVANCED ANTI-PSYCHIATRY ORGANIZATION? Such an organization DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT require a pro socialist perspective for membership, but it must have a LEFT leaning program and compass that, at the very least, identifies the very real connections between psychiatry and modern capitalism.

    It is unfortunate that some activists writing here at MIA who are definitely anti-capitalist AND pro socialist want to abandon these politics when it comes to forming an anti-psychiatry organization. They know that even a world WITHOUT psychiatry (which is really impossible under capitalism) would still be a horrible nightmare for millions of people around the world. They know that the capitalist system is destroying the planet and could start a nuclear type Imperialist war at any moment. A war that would kill millions , if not, outright destroy the entire planet.

    For those who truly understand how dangerous the planet is at this moment because of capitalist/Imperialist type competition, it is very narrow AND selfish to focus SOLELY on anti-psychiatry actions WITHOUT making all the connections to capitalism. What kind of a world are we trying to build here with ANY of our so-called political activism?


  • Oldhead

    You said:

    “Dragon Slayer’s comments are his own. To the extent that they truly support an anti-psychiatry position without going off into “left field” I will support them.”

    Of course DS’s views are his own, and unfortunately his views seem to be solidly stuck in “Right Field” at this time, and NOT “Left Field.” This is why he seems to criticize or attack most human rights struggles, especially those that link various forms of oppression to a class based capitalist system. Why do you continue to “enable” his politics by somehow promoting the view that he is “100% anti-psychiatry?”

    Once again Oldhead, you totally avoided responding to the content of my above comment.

    You have NOT responded to my criticism as to how you are tending to place psychiatry in a “bubble.”

    You have never responded to my above link ( to a deeper analysis as to how a strongly entrenched “conservative” outlook today is incompatible with a truly ALL THE WAY anti-psychiatry political position.

    Of course there are many shortcoming in how Left Wing activists today fail to understand the oppressive role of psychiatry and the Medical Model, BUT the way to overcome these shortcomings IS NOT to attempt to unite “Left” and “Right” anti-psychiatrist activists in some anti-psychiatry organization by watering down our political analysis.

    One of the solutions to this problem (the ignorance of the Left) is to actively link modern day capitalism to the evolution, function, and current role of psychiatry and the Medical Model in today’s world.


  • Oldhead

    You said: “That’s about the most ridiculous statement I’ve heard this week, right up there with Richard’s statement that “conservatives” can never be 100% anti-psychiatry.”

    I stand by my comment that “conservatives” by definition cannot be 100% anti-psychiatry.

    Oldhead, you are still throwing out negative labels against my comment in another blog, BUT you have NEVER provided a single word or argument to refute my position. I hope other readers will read my comment referenced below and decide for themselves.

    Psychiatry DOES NOT exist in a bubble. I applaud Bonnie’s linking of other human rights struggles to the movement against psychiatry.

    Oldhead, very much related to your wrong position that “conservatives” CAN BE 100% anti-psychiatry, is your wrong position that an advanced political organization building anti-psychiatry struggle should NOT have a “Left” orientation, that is, contain language linking psychiatry to the capitalist system.

    Dragon Slayer was quoted above saying: “In brief, Burstow’s brand of antipsychiatric social justice utopianism isn’t just untenable, it’s a boon to psychiatry itself.”

    Just looking at Dragon Slayer’s positions on other major human rights struggles is proof enough as to why we SHOULD NOT be launching anti-psychiatry human rights organizations that somehow attempt to unite “Left” and Right” political activists by “diluting” and “watering down” our political analysis.

    The struggle against psychiatry is very much linked to other human rights struggles, AND is very much linked to the struggle against a class based capitalist system.

    The way to move people who currently have “Right Wing” views towards the “Left” is to tell people the truth about what is going on in the world and the various connections of ALL forms of oppression to a class based profit system.


  • Oldhead

    You have thrown out words such as “wrong” “divisive” “embarrassing” “dogmatism,” but provided absolutely NO ANALYSIS to my last two comments in this comment section.

    Psychiatry is NOT an ABSTRACTION!. It does not live in a bubble isolated from the world that surrounds it. Psychiatry has a history, an evolution, and certain important factors in the world that have nurtured and accelerated it growth in the world.

    “Conservatives” (due to their political biases and blind spots) do NOT fully understand all these factors that give psychiatry and the Medical Model its sustenance and ability to grow and expand in its influence in society.

    If someone cannot fully understand or dissect the social, economic, and political environment that gives psychiatry its reason to exist, then they will be INCAPABLE (unless they rid themselves of their biases and blind spots) of understanding how psychiatry can be removed from that environment.

    Oldhead, where is there any critical analysis in the above comment?


  • To All

    DS asks: ” …is it possible for a person to be 100% antipsychiatry and also a genuine conservative?”

    I would answer emphatically NO!!!

    To be a 100% anti-psychiatry in today’s world you must understand psychiatry in all its origins, social and political manifestations (especially as a vital institution of social control), political and economic connections in society etc., AND THEN MOST IMPORTANTLY, based on this analysis, be able to chart a course towards what it will require to ultimately ABOLISH this institution from our future society.

    A “conservative” by definition in today’s world is most definitely a supporter of a class based capitalist system. This means overtly (or covertly through bias and ignorance) defending and supporting all the inequalities of class, race. sex etc. etc.

    A “conservative,” because of their biased and limited understanding of class based oppression, CANNOT understand how psychiatry (with its executive powers to drug and incarcerate people) is used as a vital institution in maintaining social control of the more potentially volatile (rebellious) sections of society, such as minorities, women, prisoners, and other system outliers.

    A “conservative,” because of their political blind spots, CANNOT understand the role that the capitalist profit motive plays/has played over the past 40 years in accelerating the growth of psychiatry in collusion with Big Pharma.

    NOR do “conservatives” understand (or have a problem with) the excessively high rate of profit that the pharmaceutical industry has accumulated via the sale and promotion of psychiatric drugs and psychiatric labeling, AND how this situates the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial Complex as an essential cog in the entire U.S. economy.

    Also, “conservatives” DO NOT understand how the the future of psychiatry as an institution (because of its social role and economic importance) is now inseparably bound to the future preservation of the capitalist/imperialist system.

    And “conservatives” either overtly support the current political trend towards fascism in this country, OR they covertly “enable” this trend (as do Liberals) because of their political biases and blind spots about the oppressive nature of a class based capitalist system.

    AND FINALLY, “conservatives” (and also Liberals) who do not understand the full connections of psychiatry to the capitalist system, have NO CLUE as to what kind of radical political organizing will be necessary (in the real world) to actually have a legitimate chance to ultimately abolish psychiatry from human society.

    Therefore, it is very clear that “conservatives” who hold onto and retain all their political biases and blind spots, DO NOT EVEN COME CLOSE to being 100% anti-psychiatry.


  • shaun f

    Yes, you are correct that some regulation fought for against ruling class interests has helped protect the environment and people to a small degree..

    BUT, in the long run you CANNOT regulate capitalism and somehow make it work for the majority of the people. Capitalism must be eliminated as a barrier to human progress, or it will destroy the planet through Imperialist war or by destroying the environment.

    Therefore, in the long run “regulation” IS a SHAM.


  • Chris

    I appreciate your analysis and the humor you are using to make those points.

    HOWVER, I would completely avoid ever using the phrase “fake news” in the title. Of course not all the news is true and it definitely is slanted in the direction of defending the status quo and vilifying those who who promote significant rebellion against the system.

    But the term “fake news” has become the code words for a rising fascist narrative in this country supporting so-called “alternative facts’ and an “alternative reality.”

    When criticizing the media (which does need to happen) we should use terms like “wrong” “biased” “slanted” “distorted” etc., but NEVER use the fascist code words, “fake news.”

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Oldhead

    You said: ““Left” and “right” are abstractions. I’m concerned with PEOPLE. No matter what our political philosophies, there are issues that we share and can organize around.”

    How can you ever say that: ““Left” and “right” are abstractions…”

    The “Right” is the current status quo. The “Right” is the class in power TODAY. The “Right” IS the capitalist system, with ALL the horrors that go with it.

    Tell all the people in the world today that are currently harmed by the status quo of capitalism. that they are suffering from an “ABSTRACTION.”

    The “Left” are all those people in the world organizing legitimate (not Liberal reformist) opposition to capitalist oppression, and comprise many of the important human rights struggles around the world.

    Many of these people are putting their lives on the line everyday; some are dying in the course of the struggle. Tell all these people that are really some sort of “ABSTRACTION.”

    Oldhead, when you say “I’m concerned with PEOPLE…” are you implying that somehow I’m not concerned with people when I put forward my political perspective?

    And when you say “No matter what our political philosophies, there are issues that we share and can organize around.” Does that mean advanced political activists should work with ANYBODY? Do I need to spell out who “ANYBODY” could be? You can’t really be saying this with any careful thought.

    And when you say “… there are issues that we share and can organize around.” I would say “organize” for what purpose, and exactly what kind of world are we trying to create here?

    Psychiatry is NOT an ABSTRACTION. It is very much an important cog in a specific type of system, in a specific historical era.

    The struggle against psychiatry and the Medical Model is an important human rights struggle in the world today. It is currently in desperate need of some type of advanced political organization to lead the struggle both ideologically and politically, which eventually includes organized direct actions.

    No advanced political organization attempting to lead an important human rights struggle in this era can EVER reconcile the “Left” with the “Right.” What kind of world are we trying to create here?

    You said: ” Excluding those with less-than-perfect analyses is not a wise method of movement-building to me.”

    I am not in any way suggesting that people need to have a “perfect” analysis or that we should not be trying to win over the broad masses, including some people who are on the “Right” at this time.

    None of these important bigger shifts in public opinion can, or will, EVER take place WITHOUT the role of advanced political organizations leading important human rights struggles. And these types of organization MUST have a “LEFT” tilt to their overall analysis and strategical orientation, otherwise we accomplish NOTHING in the long run! And we will most certainly end up being in the REFORMIST dust bin of history without a “Left” leaning compass to guide our political direction.


  • shaun f

    You said: “Regulation isn’t a sham…but unfortunately this isn’t a priority for the 1%.”

    You are not making sense here. Under this system, regulation is most certainly an utter “SHAM.” It is NOT “unfortunate [ly]” that the 1% do not not make this a “priority.”

    It is their very nature as capitalists to take care of their own class needs at the horrible expense of the broad masses. Why do you expect any thing different from their rule?


  • JanCarol

    You said: “Socialised medicine is – socialised medicine…”

    This is really “universal healthcare” taking place in a *Capitalist” system. Of course, there will all the expected violations of human rights that exists in a class based society. THE PEOPLE have little to no fundamental SAY in how the society is run.

    This is par for the course and fully to be expected.


  • Nancy

    Thank you so much for putting your story out there and questioning this over emphasis on nutrition as being an alleged cure for “mental illness.”

    Other writers here at MIA having been trying to challenge these authors for some time on some of their claims and emphasis.

    Here is part of a long response I made in a past comment section of one of her other blogs:

    “You said: “I wish people would stop using our blogs as an excuse to bash psychiatry and diagnostic labels(which we also dislike).”

    “I think this is an unfair and one sided summation of what has taken place at MIA in response to your past blogs. I think you need to take some responsibility (in some instances) for a lack of clarity on certain issues and, at times, an OVEREMPHASIS in your writings on the role of nutrition in resolving the symptoms that get labeled as “mental illness.”

    “Some people have raised some very important issues to be considered when viewing this research into the role of nutrition, especially as it relates to trauma and other stressors in children’s environmental experience. And there have been times when you have been overly defensive, and viewed any serious questions as simply “inappropriate” attacks.”

    “I believe that Dragon Slayer has raised some important issues here, but I do NOT accept his conclusion that the essence of your work is somehow “coercive psychiatry in another form.” It is too bad that we can’t sort out the “wheat from the chaff.”

    “I support the value of your research and efforts in area of nutrition, but also believe it is vitally important that the certain conclusions drawn from this work get presented in a way that does not mislead people about the priorities of what needs to take place in the world to create a more safe and secure environment for children.”

    “In a past blog I attempted to raise some of these important issues of clarification AND emphasis, and may have been unfairly lumped in as a naysayer and “inappropriate” critic of your work. Here is my comment which was never responded to:”

    “Hi Bonnie”

    “You said: “…our research has helped put on the map the idea that mental health problems CAN be addressed through nutrition, offering an alternative to our current approaches.”

    “What exactly is meant by this statement, especially your emphasis on the word “CAN”? I am a firm believer in science and the scientific method. I support your efforts at researching the value of nutrition as a valuable “aid” to recovery, but I believe it can be harmful and even dangerous to exaggerate its meaning if not backed up by proven science.”

    “In my comment above I stated the following:
    “And more importantly, RECOVERY from these negative and harmful experiences in life must ultimately be UNDERSTOOD AND ADDRESSED in each person”s own experience and timetable for recovery. This may, or may not, require therapy, but most certainly will require A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT to nurture one’s recovery.”

    “It is here where good nutrition and gut health may be an important ENHANCEMENT or ADDITIONAL SUPPORT for such recovery by aiding a more suitable INTERNAL BODY ENVIRONMENT for such recovery, but NOT the PRINCIPLE MEANS for such recovery to take place.”

    “A person in recovery will STILL have to address the original traumas that began their conflict with their environment AND the subsequent traumas that took place when they encountered AN OPPRESSIVE “MENTAL HEALTH” SYSTEM that added to, and reinforced, earlier traumas. There can be no SUBSTITUTE OR SHORTCUT for doing this work.”

    “Could you please respond to my point about what will most often be the “principle means” for recovery from “mental health” issues? And could you justify not using quotations when using the term “mental health?”

    “Respectfully, Richard”

  • Oldhead

    You said: “The primary clash in the AP movement is between anti-psychiatry survivors and “mental health” professionals, regardless of ideology.”

    This is a classic example of your dip into “Identity Politics” which is very connected to your unfortunate “reformist” proposal to reconcile with the Right Wing in the anti-psychiatry movement.

    The anti-psychiatry movement (in the making) is in a fundamental (life and death) clash with the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial Complex (PPIC). And the PPIC has become an important pillar of the capitalist system. THIS is the main struggle going on, and we all need to recognize and identify this.

    For you to over emphasize contradictions between survivors and professionals is straight up Identity Politics in this context. Of course, these contradictions must be addressed, but we must know our priorities in the overall struggle and where those particular struggles (among the “people”) fit in.

    In the anti-psychiatry movement (in the making) where the hell are all these “clashes” between survivors and professionals you describe as the principle conflict? There is an extremely small number of professionals today who are (all the way) anti-psychiatry.

    In any anti-psychiatry organization formed today, professionals would represent a tiny tiny minority. Why do you want to focus on (and foment) this contradiction into something it is NOT?

    At a future time, I will go much deeper into the question of the negative role of *Identity Politics* in current political movements, including in the AP movement. I am surprised that YOU would be the one to champion such positions.

    Dragon Slayer has serious limitations in his ability to understand the OVERALL role of psychiatry in the world today, and especially, how to go about abolishing it. That does not mean that I don’t occasionally pick up a nugget or two of understanding from him in the course of his writings.

    I would have no problem working in an organization with DS, IF he accepted principles of unity that involved anti-System language connecting psychiatry to capitalism.

    In today’s world, for an anti-capitalist political activist person such as yourself, to be actively building ANY human rights struggle attempting to reconcile the LEFT with the RIGHT, is flat out wrong and straight up reformism.

    Oldhead, please reconsider your position here, you are better than this.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Oldhead and All

    Oldhead, you said: ” What we should all be looking for in the anti-psychiatry movement is common ground which links the concerns of those who identify as both “right” and “left” — terms which have become largely meaningless anyway in our current retreat from literacy.”

    This political position on the anti-psychiatry movement (or any human rights struggle today) is DEAD WRONG and a prescription for failure, and a guaranteed path into REFORMISM.

    There is NO such thing as reconciliation between Left and Right perspectives and their particular blueprints for the world.

    Correctly defined, “Left” represents an anti System/capitalist perspective. And does not yet necessarily require an exact agreement on the replacement for the class based /profit system of capitalism. This will be ultimately be determined in the course of the revolutionary struggle that transforms the world.

    “Right” in today’s world represents holding onto, and defending, an oppressive status quo of class oppression and all the other manifestations of inequality. And for some it may even mean going backwards towards more outright fascism and ultra authoritarian rule.

    These two world outlooks cannot, and should not, be reconciled.

    Therefore, Dragon Slayer’s world (or anyone else’s on the Right) that somehow wants to eliminate psychiatry (which is really impossible because of the inseparable links between capitalism and psychiatry) would still be a highly oppressive world, with ALL the other forms of human rights oppression.

    Oldhead, would you really want to live in this world, even if psychiatry was somehow missing (which again, is impossible)???

    ANY, and ALL, politically advanced organizations taking on human rights struggles in today’s world (such as, anti-psychiatry) must have an anti System perspective if it wants to have ANY MEANINGFUL impact on changing the world for the better.

    We accomplish NOTHING of substance in the world today, if we are not educating and drawing together people, who eventually grow to understand that there is NO human progress in this historical era (in fact, the planet and the human race will die from environmental or nuclear destruction) as long as the capitalist system continues to exist.

    Organizing from this anti-capitalist system perspective actually creates favorable conditions (over time) for many of those people currently on the Right to shift to a more Left position. This will NOT happen with a watered down attempt to reconcile “Left” and “Right.”

    Oldhead, the surprising and confusing thing here is that you know exactly what I am saying is true for every other human rights struggle. You have been correctly advocating for a similar position here at MIA for several years.

    BUT, when it comes to the anti-psychiatry movement, you somehow abandon your revolutionary politics and opt for a watered down, impossible reconciliation of “Left” and “Right.” This is very sad and disappointing. I hope you will take a serious look at the contradictions in your position here.


  • shaun f

    You said: “This is why regulation is necessary.”

    The key question is “regulation by whom?”

    As long as we live in a capitalist society the so-called “regulation” will always be controlled by those who hold the key instruments of power. Thus the wolf will be overseeing the chicken coop.

    Just calling for “more regulation” is a dead end and a sham.


  • Lawrence

    Thanks for responding.

    Yes, there are some unique developments in medicine since the 70’s and 80″s that need to be understood. But they have nothing to do with socialism.

    Socialism and capitalism are accurately defined as polar opposites. One cultivates a class system where a tiny upper class monopolizes control over the means of production, distribution of goods and services, and various forms of political power. The rich get richer and poor get poorer, while the poor die in huge numbers in periodic imperialist wars between capitalist countries trying to carve up the world into spheres of economic and political dominance.

    Real socialism would be moving society in the direction (slowly) of eliminating classes by having state ownership of the major means of production, and the profit motive, in all its manifestations, gradually eliminated. Health care in all its forms would be a human right guaranteed to ALL citizens. This would require learning important lessons from the past socialist experiments that were ultimately defeated and had some intrinsic errors that need to be summed up and corrected.

    There would be NO NEED for insurance companies (huge saving right off the bat) and doctors and pharmaceutic production would not be allowed to profit from any medical care. They would simply be paid well for an important service to our society. And those citizens who truly wanted to help other human beings (rather than become wealthy) would be encouraged to become part of that profession.

    The rise of “Biological” psychiatry, which involves the collusion of psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry (at its highest levels) is unique to this recent period of American history. Psychiatry has always been oppressive, but this is psychiatry on steroids. It now has developed (over the past 40 years) into an even more intense, harmful, and useful form of social control for upper class’s control and maintenance of the status quo and its class based system.

    Oldhead is correct about Medicare and Medicaid. These were social programs meant to prevent outright social revolt from the underclasses and marginalized sections of society who live and work on the outskirts of mainstream society.

    Lawrence, you said: “Richard. If our health care and our health insurance sectors were both private, or if they were both socialized, I don’t think we’d be witnessing horrible actions such as greedy, drug-dealing doctors zombifying nearly the entire American population. It’s the combination of the two.”

    Privatizing insurance would change nothing, and things would continue as they are, only getting worse quicker.

    A single payer system/government controlled and run, might make things somewhat better for a period of time, and would certainly help people with no insurance if it was made available to ALL citizens for little to no cost. But given all the power and influence of the major industries and entities making profit from medical care, this type of single payer system would be made unworkable, and/or sabatoged, on every front over a period of time. It would merely be a band aid placed on a deadly form of cancer.

    There is simply no saving of the planet from environmental destruction and/or through imperialist wars (or solving ANY major social problem), without moving through and beyond the capitalist era in human history.