Monday, December 17, 2018

Comments by Richard D. Lewis

Showing 100 of 1225 comments. Show all.

  • 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.


  • Oldhead

    You said: “However I do think DS is right about focusing on the main point, as the larger context is a given.”

    Since when is targeting capitalism in these discussions some sort of distraction?

    The so-called “larger context” is NOT yet understood by very many people, that is, the intimate connections between capitalism and the Medical Model, and how their future is inseparably intertwined.

    Both DS and Lawrence want to have an abstract discussion about the evils of the Medical Model WITHOUT drawing any connections to the System that needs and sustains this oppressive Psychiatric/ Pharmaceutical/Industrial/Complex.

    We cannot end all forms of psychiatric oppression without discussing these much larger questions of economic and political context.


  • BigPicureAwareness

    You said: ” Richard is a long-time therapist who knows the mysterious ways of our subconscious Self.”

    When it comes to “the mysterious ways of our subconscious Self,” I know horseshit!!!

    Please ask me about something else that I might actually know a little something to share.


  • Bradford

    The law of survival in capitalism is to achieve the highest rate of profit by any means necessary OR be destroyed or eaten up by other competing capitalists.

    Where is there ANY evidence that the capitalist system somehow arises from human nature? Human nature is an extremely malleable entity in the world.

    In some ENVIRONMENTS human beings can be very loving and cooperative. In other environments that promote competition for survival of the worst kinds, human beings can and will be violent and very selfish.

    Bradford, it is the ENVIRONMENT that triggers these types of behaviors and patterns of human nature. Just as it is the ENVIRONMENT that can trigger normal responses (depression, anxiety, psychological disassociation etc) to abnormal (traumatic and stressful) conditions that get labeled as “mental illness.”

    The powerful elites who run the capitalist system want us to believe (and spend billions propagating these lies) convincing us that capitalism is somehow an expression of an inherent quality of human nature. Just as they spread similar lies justifying the Medical Model.

    Bradford, don’t fall for these lies, you are better than that.


  • Lawrence

    Why did/do doctors/psychiatrists seek a higher and higher income by buying into the disease model and prescribing more and more drugs?

    Why does Big Pharma (colluding with psychiatry) corrupt the scientific process, create new diseases, and sell more and more new drugs to treat them?


    Lawrence, why is it that you never target the capitalist system in any of your writings? You seem to only want to focus on the “symptom” of a much larger “disease” in our society.


  • Ben

    Thank you for that indepth critical analysis of psychoanalysis and the sharing of your personal struggle in the field of psychiatry.

    It clearly sounds like you are truly helping some people in your work. I would like to push you a bit on a few subjects brought up in your blog.

    You said: “…most child psychiatric problems can be handled effectively without medication…”

    I have three things to challenge about this statement. By using the term “most” aren’t you giving up enormous ground to the current Medical Model paradigm by suggesting that drugs have a significant role to play in “helping” children. After all “most” could mean anything under 50% of the time.

    Shouldn’t we be saying that these psychiatric drugs should “rarely, if ever be used.” And if used at ALL, it should be for an extremely brief period of time.

    Also, you used the term “psychiatric problems.” Exactly what are “psychiatric problems.” Are you you not leaving the door open to accepting the the “brain disease” and/or “chemical imbalance” pseudo-scientific theories and harmful labeling? Are these not more correctly described as problems that emerge from a child’s conflict with their environment. – an environment that is filled with much trauma and multiple kinds of injustices?

    And by referring to psychiatric drugs as “medications” are you not conceding to the Medical Model a false narrative that they have spent hundreds of billions of dollars propagating in the world’s largest medical hoax over the past half century? Should we not ALWAYS call these mind altering drugs exactly what they are – “psychiatric drugs?”

    And finally, since you have now settled into providing some forms of helpful THERAPY to the people you see in your work, isn’t it time that dissident psychiatrists begin to declare that psychiatry is NOT a legitimate medical specialty? Shouldn’t you also declare that psychiatry has become a very harmful instrument of social control in society and needs to be abolished? And those dissident psychiatrists who wish to be a caregivers, can either move on to neurology or settle into a role as a therapist.

    Just think how powerful your example in the world would be if you took such a highly controversial and moral stance in your profession.

    Thanks again for writing and being open to dialogue here at MIA.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • To Don And Irit

    It is great to celebrate your devoted years of anti-psychiatry activism.

    And much kudos for how clearly you both have linked the struggle against psychiatry with the struggle against capitalism!

    Both psychiatry and capitalism are today inseparably linked, as is their ultimate demise on this planet.


  • To all

    Since I made my above comment to Oldhead regarding major questions of strategy, I do want to comment on the above blog as well.

    As to “Prescripticide: A Proposal for Action and a Request for Your Help”:

    This effort can and must be supported as a potential blow against psychiatry and the Medical Model.

    It is not a perfect strategy nor necessarily where I would want to focus my major energy, but I will support it wholeheartedly.

    I agree with the essential content of Sylvain’s above comment.

    And to further add to his/her class analysis, I now believe that psychiatry and their Medical Model has become a necessary and essential means of social control defending and propping up modern day capitalism, AND that the fate of BOTH have become inseparably linked.

    So, adding to my above point to Oldhead, any advanced political organization against psychiatry must have (if it wants to have an important political role in the world) a clearly LEFT political stance and program. Which means it should contain some language linking the oppressive nature of psychiatry and the Medical Model to capitalism, and see the importance of opposing both because they are an impediment to ending ALL forms of human oppression in the world.


  • Oldhead

    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.


  • Shaun

    Thanks for reading the blog and your positive feedback.

    I get the clear sense that you are trying to do the best you can for the people you work with, and that your education here is a work in progress.

    Just be aware that merely expanding the depth of your explanation of “informed Consent” does not in any way solve all your the ethical dilemmas here, or does it necessarily absolve you of responsibility for possible harm done to people affected by this system.

    First off, there is no such thing as true *informed consent* given all the major power differentials and the billions of dollars spent each year to propagandize the Medical Model.

    And there can never EVER be true *Informed Consent* when it comes to Electro-Shock. And your comparison of ECT and EMDR, would be like comparing the “stoning” of a person to giving someone a sauna bath.

    I have used EMDR to help people, and I am convinced by all the testing that has been done, and by the benefits I have personally witnessed.

    Electro-Shock (ECT), on the other hand, is barbaric, and there is more than enough evidence (both scientific and personal stories) to abolish its use forever. I think you need to go into MIA’s archives and read up on the numerous articles on this topic.


  • To Kindredspirit , Sera, and others

    I believe it is both possible AND necessary (in the course of building political movements today) to raise issues of racism, including the horrible history of slavery and all its remaining legacy that is still VERY MUCH alive today.

    I also believe that most white working class people can AND will (over time) be able to recognize the unique history of racial oppression, while also waging struggle with POC to transform the world into a world free of ALL forms of exploitation and related forms of racial, sexual etc… divisions.

    HOWEVER, this will NOT happen by either white or Black activists insisting NOW that ALL white people must FIRST renounce their *White Skin Privilege* and then blindly accept what may be questionable definitions of racism, such as using the “slavery analogy” as it applies to psychiatric oppression and/or “wage slavery” that references higher forms of slavery in the capitalist system.

    All of these sort of changes (including understanding white privileges in society) in thinking and institutional transformations will be a long complicated process with many twists and turns.

    Kindredspirit is correct to raise the importance of a class analysis here, but part of that very important class analysis IS, and MUST BE, a recognition of the unique position and critically important role of Black people (and other POC) in the overall struggle to build socialism and a truly classless society.


  • Oldhead

    I completely “get” what you are saying, and this is pretty much exactly how I responded to this issue in the above mentioned blog. And at that time my comment and overall analysis was completely ignored.

    This “movement,” and people such as political activists like myself, all contain elements of racism and other birthmarks from this class based capitalist system. HOWEVER, this DOES NOT in any way characterize the principle aspect of their identity and/or their overall role in the world, which is definitely NOT “racist.”

    The following comment linked here is my best summation of what was wrong with that past blog and Sera’s role in it:

    And this linked comment also addresses how unfairly you, Humanbeing, and others were treated in that blog comment section.


  • Sera

    Thanks for responding.

    Let me clarify something about my “feelings” in all this. While I am not immune to effects of labeling, I have far too much experience in revolutionary politics over 45 years to take things too “personal” in these kind of struggles.

    I am mainly “hurt” by the divisiveness of this particular political struggle, and the potential damage that this form of *Identity Politics* can do to important political movements, including right here at MIA. And I am deeply invested in the struggle against psychiatric abuse, and genuinely care for the people I have become acquainted with through my involvement here at MIA.

    And that “hurt” involves seeing how this well-intentioned effort to expose racism, so quickly devolved (because of the political errors related to *Identity Politics*) into pitting formerly united (on some limited levels) activists against each other. This went far beyond people just being defensive because you and the other authors said they don’t REALLY understand racism.

    And that disappointment also involves my particular relationship with you, which has a history of mutual support at MIA, and includes certain social interactions on other levels you are aware of.

    If you carefully examine how that blog comment section progressed, you can clearly see that very important opportunities to educate people about racism in America were sidetracked, and ultimately derailed by some of your own blind spots, including a failure to combine and apply a genuine class analysis to your noble efforts to combat racism.

    I hope you will also admit that you just might have some “blind spots” when it comes to adopting the correct methods and approach to advancing the political struggle against racism, sexism etc.

    And I do wonder if you have attempted to read, or have been exposed to any genuine Marxist type historical analyses of *Identity Politics.* And to clarify here (as Uprising has suggested), I am not using the term *Identity Politics* in the same way Liberals used it to sum up the defeat of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

    And do you even believe that *Identity Politics* has any negative connotations, or that it can ever become a problem in political movements?

    And finally, as to the “racist label” I would ask the following two questions: Is the current movement against psychiatric abuse (with all its limitations and different and divergent strands) a “racist movement?” And leaving aside all my personal feelings, is Richard D. Lewis “racist.?”

    I believe how one answers these two questions says volumes about some of the important political questions being debated here.


  • Uprising

    I agree that sometimes these political terms are co-opted and misapplied by Right Wing or or other backward forces. So yes, there might be a need in some discussions to clarify its definition and meaning so as to avoid any misunderstanding.

    Although. I would say that if Sera read ALL the comments (and deeply thought about them) she should know that we were NOT misusing this important political terminology.

    If people were to read the above mentioned blog (and I think we all should reread it even if we were involved in the discussion), AND especially the entire comment section, they would have a fairly in depth lesson in the nature of *Identity Politics* as it manifests itself today, and why it is so divisive and harmful to political movements trying to change the world.


  • Sera

    I find it amazing (though not totally out of the ordinary in political movements) how I can be so completely in agreement and emotionally and politically touched by your most recent blog, “Suicidal Tendencies, Part III”, and at the same time be so in disagreement with a major theme in your joint blog with Iden Campbell and Earl Miller, titled “A Racist Movement Cannot Move.”

    My role in the comment section of that blog is one of my proudest moments as a blogger/commenter here at MIA. I say that not necessarily because it was the best of my writings here, but instead, because of just how complicated, delicate and potentially treacherous that dialogue was through all its twists and turns. AND most importantly, how dangerous and divisive *identity Politics* can be when it takes hold in any particular political movement, and why it must be vigorously opposed. I am convinced that this type of political trend at MIA could have a disintegrating effect, on a similar level as allowing Scientology to become a presence at MIA.

    Again, it saddens me that we agree on so many other important issues here at MIA, but are currently still at loggerheads on this issue.

    AND I will also say that I am still saddened, and yes, hurt by the fact that you have never apologized and/or retracted your statements in that comment section that essentially labeled me as a “racist.” I will post here a link to my response in that particular dialogue challenging your “racist” labeling of certain people (including me) and of the “movement against psychiatric abuse,” of which we are both a part of.

    Here is the link to my past comment in response to that inappropriate and politically wrong labeling: To be fair, for anyone interested enough to draw thorough going conclusions regarding this topic, it would require reading the entire blog AND comment section.

    Sera, you are correct in most all of your attempts to point out the harmful effects of the use of certain terminology,words, phrases etc. that continue to reinforce racism, sexism, psychiatric labeling and all other forms of bigotry and divisiveness in the world. I have been very supportive of almost all of your writings on these topics and will continue to do so, even if you never seek resolution of the above mentioned slurring of me and my political position on *Identity Politics.*

    But I would also add, that if you do not find a way to further investigate and seek some study and understanding of the corrosive nature of *Identity Politics,* it will come back to bite you in future political encounters and undermine your ability to maximize your overall impact on ending psychiatric abuse and all other forms of human oppression in the world.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Shaun

    And as a further commentary on your above comment: you said: “Most people in the system, both clients and staff, believe that it’s a helpful system overall.”

    Unfortunately, we all know this to be the case at this time in history. The KEY question here is: What do YOU think is the true and accurate assessment of the current “mental health” system.

    If you believe, as I do, that it causes FAR MORE harm than good, then you MUST (as a moral imperative) act accordingly. And this means (if you carefully analyze the overall situation) that you NEVER EVER use any ‘force’ on those you are entrusted to help.


  • Shaun

    You said: ” I think that it’s unrealistic to ask clinicians to not follow the law. We have invested time, money, and energy into getting education and training to do what we do.”

    My response to you is as follows: Is it unrealistic to ask clinicians and other professionals to TO NOT HARM the very people they claim they are helping!?

    DO NO HARM is the most fundamental precept that should guide ALL our actions when entrusted to be a helping professional.

    AND if it can be proven that the overall use of ‘force’ causes FAR MORE harm than good, than you MUST (as a moral imperative) take all the ethical and legal risks to protect people from harm by NEVER subjecting them ANY forms of ‘force.’

    And Shaun, based on your above response, it is very clear to me that you have not yet read the blog I provided a link for above. Please read this blog along with the entire comment section and THEN tell me it is okay to continue using ‘force’ in your job.

    And BTW, my above short comment clarified my misuse of the “mandated reporting” terminology.


  • Sera and Shaun

    This is exactly true. Where I use to work a clinician could have less than a 5 minute conversation with a doctor and this could lead to a chain reaction of events that would strip a person of all Constitutional Rights, force them in a hospital, which could then lead to being tied down to a gurney and forcibly drugged. And who knows how long this horrible odyssey would continue and how damaged that person would become if they were able to physically survive.

    This is the state of present day “freedom and justice” in America.


  • Sera

    I agree that my use of the terminology “mandated reporting” here was confusing and did not consider the whole issue of protecting children and the elderly.
    Thanks for pointing that out.

    I believe it is more correct to say that there are ethical standards in our profession that say we are “mandated” to report individuals (to doctors, police, and/or crisis centers) who are suicidal, which is what I was trying to focus on.


  • Steve and ALL

    Everything you say is true. So why mess with some fundamental principles and a particular format that got us here? Once again, I am NOT against changes that improve things, but there is simply NO reasonable justification to suddenly hide the comment section from readers, and create a COMMENT BAR that readers must click on to see other readers comments.

    Since you still have an independent voice here, please give me one good reason that makes any sense for making THIS particular change at this time. Again, I am not talking about all the other proposed changes.

    At first I was NOT inclined to think (as some of the other people’s criticisms have suggested) that some of the other proposed changes were meant to diminish and/or limit certain more radical perspectives here at MIA. Now I am not so sure.

    What reason (please tell me, some one out there) could there be for having a COMMENT BAR, other than to have readers avoid seeing the very first (or first few) comments in the comment section?

    Now since there are a certain relatively small number of regular readers and commenters that are more often on the anti-psychiatry (or close to that perspective) side of things, AND they often can be very politically incisive (IMHO, usually very insightful), and that includes their ability to point out problematic formulations and ideas, there is a higher probability that they might end up being the first, or one of the first commenters under a blog.

    This is really a random phenomena, and I am often surprised when it happens that I end up having the first opportunity to be the very first to comment under a blog. I try to take full advantage of this opportunity, but I approach EACH AND EVERY COMMENT the same.

    Which means, I always point out things that are positive in the blog and that I agree with, BEFORE I move onto any particular criticisms. But I can sometimes be harsh on what I view as very harmful or arrogant perspectives. However, in all this I believe I am quite civil in my discourse and dialogue.

    My comments number well over a thousand, and I believe I have only been moderated maybe three times in 7 years or so, and this involved some form of sarcasm. And even though I am politically on the anti-psychiatry side of things, one of my moderated comments was actually directed towards another anti-psychiatry commenter (that’s a whole other story).

    So my major point here is that there is a higher probability that a more radical perspective may end up in the very first comment under any particular blog. This raises the question: is this policy meant to avoid having “sensitive” people see these very first few comments for fear that it may somehow “drive them away” from MIA.

    I say then , WHAT ABOUT all those people who read a mediocre, boring, or politically “bad” blog, and want to leave (or give up on) the MIA website, but are suddenly intrigued, then impressed, and then highly stimulated to become a regular reader after seeing the very HIGH LEVEL of critically thinking commenters that can break down concepts and politically dissect ideas that help lead to a higher understanding of psychiatric oppression, and then use that new understanding to help work towards changing the world into a better place.

    Yes, let’s ALL be more civil here, but let’s not forget about what’s at stake here, and exactly what kind of political discourse and struggle is truly necessary to bring about genuine change in the world.

    Think about about the decisive times in your life when you went through very profound changes in your world outlook. Did these changes come about without some personal discomfort and/or cognitive dissonance?

    Think about those individuals who challenged and inspired you to reconsider your viewpoints? Were these people always gentle, patient, overly civil, NAMBI PAMBI with you. OR were these kinds of conversations often contentious, and even sometimes outright argumentative, that set in motion the kind of political groundwork necessary for seismic shifts in your overall thinking.

    Again, please reconsider this very first backward direction change.


  • James

    Thanks for your response.

    I still stand strongly with my above comment.

    Any MIA policy promoting MORE commenting and discussion would definitely WANT the comment section to be visibly part of the reader’s experience right from the git go. Something that appears in their face (if you will) at the end of every blog. And I use the phrase “in your face” with some humor associated to it, because in the grand scheme of things this is hardly an example of ANY kind of internet pressure or “force.”

    Yes, I believe that there are some people that have certain issues and strong reactions to how the comment section at MIA is conducted. HOWEVER, I cannot believe that there was a SINGLE PERSON responding to the survey that complained that somehow they were FORCED to look at comments “against their will” because their was no COMMENT BAR to click in order to give them some sort of so-called CHOICE! to face the “unwashed hoard of demon commenters.” I hope you can appreciate and understand a little use of sarcasm here to make this very important point about “choice.”

    You said: “… what we aim to do with all of our changes here is enable more choice for the reader/commenter…”

    This kind of so-called “choice” (involving how MIA situates the comment section) cuts right to the heart of MIA’s mission in the world, and how it evolved out of the historical struggle against various forms of psychiatric abuse in the world. This “choice” is completely different than when someone chooses (by clicking) to see a podcast or read some scientific article circulating on the internet.

    MIA does NOT give its readers a “choice” of what the titles of the blogs will be, or where on the webpage certain articles will be featured. Both writers and MIA editors/staff make these very important AND very political decisions AND choices on these journalistic issues of design. Many of these titles are, by themselves, provocative, politically charged, “triggering,” intriguing etc. etc.. as they should be, on any important and socially relevant webzine.

    After all, MIA and most of those people regularly active on the website, are not JUST interested in understanding the world better (important as that is), we also very much WANT the world to change for the better. And we are looking for every opportunity and means for this to happen, including the very necessary need for more dialogue and discussion in the world. AND yes, including sometimes very contentious and cognitively dissonant discussions that at times makes us, and others, uncomfortable. AND yes, I believe in the importance of “civility” in those discussions.

    To now somehow say that the mere positioning of the comment section at MIA must conform to the “wishes” (which again, I believe no single reader complained they were “forced” to view comments “against their will”) of the most sensitive of its readers, is both gratuitous and very misguided. It clearly comes across as appealing to the “lowest common denominator” and giving in on very critical issues of political principle.

    This new approach (on the comment bar) is NOT going to achieve the desired result of increasing readership AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, bringing more people into the type of activism that could potentially weaken the very oppressive Medical Model and hopefully change the world for the better.

    Those of us who might find this first change very off putting and misguided, are NOT somehow stuck in an old routine and afraid of change. We have very real concerns about the very essence of the intent and ultimate result of these changes.

    You said: ” The reader survey told us that there was dissatisfaction, it seems wrong to ask people to tell us about their experiences of commenting if all along we planned to do nothing about it.”

    I am NOT saying, nor do I believe others who have raised concerns, that changes should NEVER be made OR that we should not listen to readers thoughts and feelings. I support the moderation policies and I support the efforts to increase readership AND participation, BUT NOT at the expense of very important political principles. Political principles that have been tested over many centuries of important social upheaval that has pushed the world towards a trajectory of more freedom and social justice.

    This is a very BAD start to a possibly necessary process. Please, please think again and reconsider this initial comment bar change. Yes, do all your other changes and THEN come back to this at a later date after further discussion and consideration; AFTER we have had time to digest these other changes.


  • Shaun and Sera

    Sera has written a very powerful piece here that is filled with enormous wisdom and courage regarding how to relate to people who are in such emotional distress that their very life may be on the line.

    The decisions about how to relate to (not “treat”) someone in this kind of emotional distress where they are suicidal, is almost identical to the decisions involved in the whole “sectioning” debate (that is, forced “treatment” and/or incarceration) that will occur if you (as a professional) notify any doctor and/or psychiatrist of suicidal or violent thoughts on the part of the individual.

    Over several years, as a professional, I have come to (with the help of MIA) the exact same conclusions as Sera, regarding how to handle suicidal thoughts and the related issues of forced “treatment.” Here is a link to a blog I wrote a few years ago on this same subject titled “May the Force NEVER EVER Be With You! The Case for Abolition.”

    Shaun, in response to your question about being a “mandated reporter” with the so-called professional “responsibility” to report someone with this level of psychological distress, and possibly suffer professional and legal consequences if you choose NOT to report that person:

    If you want to take a morally and politically correct stance here, you MUST take the risk of losing your job and/or suffering other legal consequences, by NOT reporting this person AND relate to the troubled person in a similar fashion as Sera has so eloquently demonstrated here.

    The reality here is that If your actions cause someone to be forced into a form of incarceration in a hospital, there is a GREATER overall risk of immediate and/or long term harm, including INCREASING the future risk of this person ending their life by suicide at a future date BECAUSE of the very chain reaction of events that you started by making the initial report.

    Ironically, if that person DID take their life after getting out of a forced hospitalization (that you initiated by your actions) you would suffer absolutely NO professional or legal consequences. Instead, you would only be praised and consoled by other professionals, who ALL want to self justify and reaffirm the workings of an oppressive system that they knowingly AND unknowingly continue to “enable” with “mandated reporting.”

    My blog mentioned above makes it very clear that once you start saying there are extreme circumstances or exceptions where some type of “force” may be necessary, you start reinforcing a slippery slope into a deadly abyss. You might want to read the very long comment section that follows this blog for it is both rich and extremely comprehensive covering every possible argument for and against the use of “force.”


  • Hi James

    I did not comment on the proposed changes because I was not sure how these changes would positively or negatively impact MIA and its overall mission.

    HOWEVER, I already have a big problem with one of your VERY FIRST changes you’ve made here. Why should I, or anyone else, have to click on the COMMENT BAR in order to see and participate in the comment section. Respectfully, this is totally ass backwards and cuts against any, and all, of the proposed efforts to promote discussion of published blogs.

    We should definitely WANT people to clearly see that there IS a comment section and hopefully be intrigued enough to at least start reading the comments. It should be up to those who definitely DON’T WANT to participate and/or EVEN SEE (God forbid!) the comment section, to HAVE TO make the effort to make a click in order to totally avoid this process. I cannot possibly see ANY justification for this particular change. Just because there are other websites that do it this way should have no influence what so ever on the direction and choices of MIA.

    I am willing to give the other proposed changes a chance over the course of the coming period, but I must say that I was immediately put off and offended by this first change.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Steve

    It is impossible to provide the statistics you are looking for because most likely close to a 100% of those with serious pain issues are being drugged in one way or another. That is, with either opiates and/or psychiatric drugs, including huge cocktails of both categories of drugs.

    Very few people are ever introduced to well designed programs to mitigate pain, such as those involving motion exercises, meditation, diet changes, and/or CBT or other forms of talk therapy, BEFORE they are given drugs. And I would also speculate that very FEW people give these alternative approaches a serious chance to work over a long period of sustained effort and guidance.

    Part of the reason why good alternative approaches do not happen is because the ALLURE of the “quick fix” drug “solution” is so readily available and advertised everywhere in our society.


  • beckys11

    By itself, chronic pain has very little to do with suicide. It is all the harmful drug prescribing practices by mainstream medicine and psychiatry that push people over the edge.

    These drugs may have some short term positive effects, but in the long term they actually increase people’s sensitivity to pain and disable their own natural coping mechanisms.


  • No one should deny the fact that benzos might have a valuable role for someone in acute crisis, including some type of psychotic break. BUT they should only be used for a short period of time, probably no more than one week, if that. Any longer period of time has a HUGE risk of causing major dependency, addiction, and/or withdrawal problems.

    There are millions of benzo victims (mainly women) in the world today searching desperately for a way to safely taper off of these dangerous and harmful drugs.

    Jeffrey, you are dead wrong to say that it is a myth that the over prescription of opioids has fueled the opioid crisis. I have seen figures of at least 60% of all heroin addicted people since the late 1990’s came to use the drug AFTER having developed an iatrogenic dependency on opioids from dangerous prescribing patterns by doctors, encouraged and pushed by Big Pharma.

    There are a hundred million prescriptions every year for benzos, and a sizeable percentage of these drugs end up in the street and purchased by, and/or given to opioid addicted people. There is a lot of blood on the hands of certain top leaders in medicine. psychiatry, and Big Pharma.

    AND there will be no justice and/or an end to these crimes in our society unless. and until, we live in a world that outlaws these behaviors and puts people like this in jail.


  • Steve

    Welcome to a very difficult job and position at MIA, but I am confident you will be fair and do a good job.

    I am also glad that individuals who work at MIA, at the same time, can be open and honest with their views in blog submissions and comments while still working within the agreed upon parameters at MIA. Why should someone’s voice go silent just because they work within an organizational structure? We need all the voices we can get, especially those who are passionate and articulate in their beliefs.

    The most difficult area of moderation will often be when evaluating the use of sarcasm. Sarcasm definitely has a positive role in these discussions as a way to delineate the different political and philosophical viewpoints. However TOO much sarcasm may sometimes go over the line where it can become a way to personally attack or degrade someone’s character. This will be one of the most challenging parts of your moderation role at MIA.

    And finally, one of my biggest concerns at MIA (which I wrote in my evaluation) would be if “Identity Politics” were somehow to take hold, and it resulted in the literary police banning certain political terms and phrases (such as the “slavery” analogy) because some people found it distasteful, or claim it is not permitted if you do not have the “correct” or proper “identity” credentials etc. I am very glad that this kind of “identity Politics” approach has not reared its head for sometime at MIA, and that is very refreshing.

    And finally, Steve, the next time there is a “Scientology” discussion you and I are going to have to find a way to “settle up” outside somewhere. Perhaps we could “beat” on each other with some wet pages form a ripped up DSM V. Carry On! We have much work to do!

    Comradely, Richard

  • Benzos have always been a crisis on the level of the poly-drug (opioid) crisis. They are both deeply intertwined and have undergone a parallel path of exponential growth in prescriptions. .

    There is documented evidence that benzos are involved in fatal opiate drug overdoses at LEAST 30% of the time.

    My best estimate woulld be that this figure is closer to 50% of the time. Benzos are highly sought after drugs by those people using opiates on a regular basis.This is because of the synergism between the two drugs where benzos will greatly magnify the effect of the “high.”

    In fact benzos are often THE decisive drug in the cocktail that ends up killing people. This is because most opiate addicted people know how to use their opiates, but often they forget how many benzos they consumed on any given day. It is only a matter of time before the “Perfect Storm of Addiction” will come around.


  • bcharris

    You just revealed in this comment why it is SO WRONG for this author to continue to use the term, “scientism” repeatedly in his titles and subtitles throughout his blogs. The use of the word, and people’s interpretation of it, usually make no sense at all.

    This blog is NOT exposing any kind of MISUSE of science or exposing someone being TOO scientific (although I’ve never understood how that can be a problem) where science does not apply. This is exposing nothing more, or nothing less than, “bad” science, “corrupted” science, “phony” science, and/or simply “pseudo-science.”

    The author does use this latter phrase “pseudo-science” in his last sentence when he drops the phrase “pseudo-science scientism.” This ends ups being some type of gibberish phrase, like saying “bad bad” or “phony Phony” etc. etc.

    Dr. Timimi’s blogs contain some very important scientific and political exposure of Biological Psychiatry. But when he uses the term “scientism” (which he has NEVER carefully defined) he detracts from, and undercuts, the heart of his message. There is NO USEFUL PURPOSE for his use of this term in his critiques of psychiatric oppression.

    The term “scientism” is MOST OFTEN used by people who want to attack the legitimate use of science in its exposure of superstition, climate change, and other controversial topics such as certain religious myths. Here it is understandable why someone might resent people being TOO scientific when they are relying on faith to determine reality, and holding onto some type of Right Wing agenda.

    Both psychiatry and their colluding partner, Big Pharma, operate under the cover of alleged legitimate science, but this blog (along with all the other exposures at MIA) have revealed that these institutions only distort, pervert, undermine, and corrupt the scientific method in order to arrive at their false pseudo-scientific, and ultimately harmful, conclusions.

    Please leave it all at “pseudo-science” and drop the nonsensical term “scientism.”


  • Kindredspirit

    Great comments in this thread.

    There is another explanation, or social theory, for understanding the behavior that gets labeled “manic” or “mania.”

    Some believe that it can be a person’s attempt to desperately “outrun” their depression.

    A person can become very desperate to NOT have to slow down and think about and face some very difficult and painful things going on in their life (such as traumatic experiences), that they become super focused and involved in various types of behaviors or activities as a major strategy and tactic of avoidance.

    Behaviors such as talking real fast, increased physical activity, obsessive creativity, not sleeping, grandiose scheming etc. etc., all have the very REAL purpose to AVOID having to dwell upon and confront the reality of very real and/or perceived psychic pain and/or physical pain.

    All this can be a a person’s tactical and strategic (both conscious and unconscious) behavior to avoid a horrible reality. This adaptive (and sometimes very creative and successful) behavior can often help a person survive difficult circumstances, and even prevent people from taking their own life as a final solution to avoid the psychic pain.

    But this adaptive form of behavior is not without its many risks. People can eventually become totally physically and emotionally exhausted, and eventually “crash and burn” as they hit a wall by encountering much conflict and resistance from their environment (the people they encounter and the boundaries and limits they have crossed). And they can often fall into a deep depression when they eventually must slow down and think about (and even dwell upon) those painful things in life they expended so much desperate energy trying to avoid.

    More “food for thought.” This is why environmental context is SO very important to understand in these discussions, which many above commenters have pointed out with much insight. I also agree that this approach was very much lacking in the above blog.


  • Great review of an important book.

    I believe there is an important role for those dissidents working inside this oppressive “mental health” system.

    It is a very difficult and treacherous road to travel, but it can be appropriately navigated IF one is willing to stay connected to a system critical movement on the outside, AND also be willing to continuously self-interrogate themselves so as to avoid any form of “enabling” of the System and the ongoing dangers of “burnout.”

    I also liked Noel’s broader description of the word and meaning of “trauma.” This class based capitalist system has a million and one ways to alienate people and transform all human relationships into some form of “commodity” type relationship, which perverts our human essence.


  • Kirk

    Thanks for responding to my post.

    You said: ” If the oppressed have absolutely nothing in common with their oppressors I see the potential recipe for what we saw in The Terror of the French Revolution or in Stalinist Russia or Maoist China. Reversals of oppression can be just as oppressive as those who originally oppressed…”

    So what should I conclude from this statement – that it is FOOLISH or ILL ADVISED for oppressed people to rise up against their oppressors??? That it is FOOLISH AND ILL ADVISED for oppressed people try to bring into being a new type of system that moves beyond all the inequality and trauma inherent in a profit based class system??? Or that oppressed people should not attempt to move history forward because there is the risk of defeat and/or failure in the first or second time around.

    Summing up the historical experiences of the Russian and Chinese Revolutions in one extremely brief VERY NEGATIVE sentence does a great disservice to importance of understanding these first attempts at building socialism (including all their weaknesses) and moving beyond capitalism, while denying all the very important POSITIVE lessons.

    I still strongly contend that your theoretical approach lacks a genuine class analysis of the world.

    I agree that no Revolution or genuine radical political movement should EVER base its approach (or vision of a new world) on revenge or fear.

    Most oppressed people know their oppressors are human beings, but in reality their class interests in the world are diametrically opposed. In today’s world those people who run this system are guided by the capitalist economic Law of Value which views other humans as a pragmatic means to increase profit by any means necessary, including Imperialist wars. This systems turns human beings into commodities and distorts and traumatizes our human social relationships in so many ways. This reality must be at the HEART of any attempt at explaining extreme forms of human psychological distress in the world.


  • I like the fact that someone is trying to situate these human problems most fundamentally in the environment, rather than in genetics or brain diseases.

    I DON’T LIKE the name (and what it implies) the, “polarized mind,” that this theorist came up with to explain psychological distress. It seems to contradict the essence of what he/she is arguing for, by once again focusing on the individual mind.

    The author is quoted as saying: “Schneider expects that these types of interventions will allow people to broaden their perspectives and find points of commonality with others, which could reduce polarization.”

    Frankly, this way of approaching human conflicts totally negates a class analysis of society and WILL NOT lead to a world where true equality abounds.

    Class polarization is actually a GOOD thing IF it can ultimately lead to the upper class having its power overthrown and removed from the neck of the oppressed. AND this will NOT happen unless those people in the under classes begin to see they have absolutely NOTHING in common with their oppressors and need to take power from them.

    All this requires the masses to be won over (through education and struggle) that a profit based capitalist system stands as the major obstacle to the advance of all science and an obstacle to all human beings achieving a true commonality of purpose and a sharing of the world’s resources.


  • The author of this article has created a “straw man” argument for those critics of the over prescription of opiates. No reasonable critic would just say “accept your pain.”

    The author states: “Pain patients are not trying to avoid pain or medicate it away—we are simply trying to get some relief from the daily grind of constant pain.”

    The author CANNOT speak for ALL pain patients. This above statement ignores the reality that today’s medical establishment (and Big Pharma) has definitely encouraged pain patients “to avoid pain or medicate it away.” This is why their are millions of people dependent and/or addicted to opiates, and a significant percentage of those people transition to buying illicit opiates in the streets. AND far too many of these people die from overdoses.

    Long term use of opiates to treat chronic pain is an overall harmful treatment strategy that is NOT successful or backed up by science. There is research that shows that people will have worse outcomes and actually become MORE sensitive to pain (opioid induced hyper-algesia) over time.

    There are other alternatives to using opiates and other drugs to treat pain, such as meditation, CBT therapy, motion exercises, and other forms of physical therapy. Unfortunately many pain patients have become so invested (physically and psychologically) on the opiates, that they will often reject these other strategies. Here we need to blame the medical establishment (and Big Pharma) for this problem.

    No chronic pain patient should EVER be ripped off their opiate drugs. The medical establishment must invest money, time, and effort in correcting a problem of their own making. And in the mean time some of the Big Pharma CEOs should be put in jail for all the deaths and harm they have caused.