Sunday, December 15, 2019

Comments by Richard D. Lewis

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  • There is one very BIG difference in this discussion about “Left” and “Right,” and why it is NOT a good idea to equate problems with “authoritarianism” within both political persuasions.

    Those people on the “Right” who defend capitalism and class based societies as a necessary form of political and economic formation, believe that human beings can NEVER rise above the need for some form of “authoritarianism.”

    They base this belief on the theory that this conforms to a forever (selfish) flaw in human nature. They also worship at the throne of some sort of “Libertarian” right of individual freedom, that somehow supersedes the rights of the collective whole.

    Both of these outlooks by those who adhere to a “Rightist” political persuasion, guarantees the continuation of the status quo of a capitalist/class based society, where the bottom line of “profit first” will always guide us into competitive Imperialist wars and the further destruction of the environment, along with all the other problems of a commodity based culture.

    ON THE OTHER SIDE, a genuine “Left” perspective advocates for, AND believes, that a cooperative classLESS society is both necessary AND possible. Thus their goals and intention is to eliminate ALL form of “authoritarianism.”

    Genuine “Leftists” do NOT believe that human nature has any permanent fixed flaws, but it is quite malleable and capable of the creative conscious transformation of the world into a place with ever increasing amounts of freedom, where exploitation, trauma, war, and violence can gradually be eliminated (over hundreds of years) from social society.

    Of course declaring one’s beliefs about human nature and about what kind of societies are both necessary and possible in the world. is very different than actually living up to those ideals AND making it happen in the real world.

    BUT these distinctions between “Left” and “Right” are very important to be understood, AND they have deeply important moral and political implications about where we choose to stand in the world, and how we go about making the world a better place, including eliminating ALL forms of psychiatric abuse.

    Richard

  • Given ALL the difficulties you describe about moving away from abusive forms of authoritarianism in building a new society, we must seriously address the question of RISK/REWARD.

    Yes, the path moving toward a more egalitarian society free of all forms of oppression. war, trauma etc., including ending psychiatric abuse, will be long and extremely difficult.

    But doing nothing (for fear of failure), OR falling for all the many traps of trying to reform a capitalist system that is functioning in a way that it is intrinsically designed to function. are both recipes for disaster.

    Either Imperialist war and/or climate change will certainly destroy this plant if we unable to move beyond the capitalist system and actually achieve (through revolutionary change) a non-authoritarian socialist system as a step toward a truly classless society.

    For these kind of changes to have a CHANCE of happening, we (those who believe this is necessary) need to change our attitudes AND LANGUAGE.

    We need to articulate just how dangerous it is to accept the status quo, AND/OR, how dangerous it is to advocate for SLOW change.

    We need to be willing to take some RISKS in making systemic change, with no absolute guarantees of success. If we don’t. this world is in danger of being destroyed.

    Our LANGUAGE (including how we talk about authoritarianism) needs to reflect some of our willingness to take risks (I’m not talking about impulsive or foolish risks), but carefully summing up the past attempts at socialism (the good and bad), and then boldly move forward.

    This conversation is NOT off topic. It is my view that we cannot end psychiatric abuse without ALSO ending a class based capitalist system.

    Psychiatry and Big Pharma are TOO BIG AND IMPORTANT to “The Powers That Be” to be allowed to fail. The program and laws promoted by K.Harris actually targets the more rebellious sections of society. It leads to more drugging and social control of those sections in society who are most likely to be a part of the Revolution we need.

    Richard

  • Steve

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. I addressed this issue in a challenging way because I have read very similar comments by you on other occasions, and never got around to responding to you (my bad).

    We need to be very clear when we use the “Left” or “Right” labels (as Oldhead has pointed out many times) because its definition is now so confusing to people , when for example, Hilliary Clinton or some other Liberal can be called a “Leftist.”

    I define “Leftist” as someone who believes that humanity needs to move BEYOND a capitalist system towards socialism, as an historical transition to a truly communistic classless society.

    People who have made genuine attempts to fight for, and build, socialism and move towards a classless society SHOULD NOT be equated (even when they make authoritarian type mistakes) with those on the “Right” who either operate an exploitative capitalist society, and/or advocate for one.

    Yes, it is true that some formerly genuine socialists (Leftists) can transform themselves into becoming oppressive authoritarians. In these cases they end up actually wanting to “go back” and/or preserve some sort of class structures that will benefit them and their family at the cost of the majority of people (they then become counter-revolutionaries). Thus, we ultimately have a RETURN to some form of capitalism (or as we call it, “state capitalism” as formerly existed in the Soviet Union, and now exists in China) – Russia is now openly capitalist in both name and deed.

    Other genuine Leftists, did NOT want to return to capitalism, but instead, made authoritarian (and other related) type mistakes that set back the course of revolutionary change. These mistakes (even serious mistakes), in the course of valiant attempts at Revolutionary change are a complicated combination of ignorance, trial and error, and very much related to the horrendous pressure applied to defeat these revolutions by the old defeated capitalist class, and other countries fearing the growth of Revolutions around the world.

    Steve, you said: ” Revolutions have historically not always led to real change, because the internalized authoritarian underpinnings of the social system were not addressed, and the new rulers step into the authoritarian roles that they and the society they are part of feel comfortable with.”

    Here, if you are talking about “the birthmarks” of the old system reasserting themselves in the new society, then I can agree with you.

    But, we must remember that historical attempts at transitioning BEYOND capitalism to socialism/communism, are ONLY a hundred and fifty years YOUNG. This is a relatively short period of time on a human historical scale. Most new experiments in both science and in the social world will NEVER succeed on just the first few attempts.

    Why did the prior historical attempts at socialist/communist revolutions fail? Is this somehow because there is an “authoritarian” flaw in human nature, or are there other more scientific and ultimately knowable explanations for these unrealized (and defeated) attempts at Revolutionary change.

    To simply repeat phrase about “authoritarianism” being endemic to “all” political persuasions on both the “Left” and the “Right” contributes to a commonly accepted narrative pushed by the defenders of capitalism and the status quo. This is a narrative that lacks any attempt to do justice to an accurate historical summation of revolutionary attempts over the past 150 years.

    Steve, I am NOT saying this was your intention, but we all must be careful with the phrases we choose to repeat, and how that particular vernacular is interpreted by most people in today’s society.

    Richard

  • Steve

    Your comment is confusing at best, and tends to reinforce the “authoritarian” view that human beings will ALWAYS be authoritarian.

    This is, in the final analysis, a justification for people to ultimately accept the status quo, and stop dreaming of, and working towards, a world FREE of authoritarianism.

    Your comment reinforces the view that we all need to accept the fact that human beings will ALWAYS need to live in some sort of class based (authority) type capitalist society, because somehow this corresponds to some sort of “forever” human characteristic that can never change.

    There ARE, and CAN BE, “political persuasions” that advocate for, and work towards, a world free of “authoritarianism.”

    Steve, are you denying this possibility?

    Richard

  • Syd

    Thank you for those meaningful words and details filling us in about her life.

    I remember her as valiant warrior against psychiatry and the Medical Model who never let her wounds keep her from helping others or speaking her mind against all forms of oppressive authority. May her spirit live on and inspire others to step forward in the struggle.

    Richard

  • Stephen Gilbert was a true warrior for all those oppressed by psychiatry and the entire Medical Model. He walked that oh so delicate line of working inside the System, but never allowing himself to be engulfed or compromised by it. His anti-psychiatry critique was filled with both passion and scientific substance.

    And when Stephen felt himself somehow (by association) participating in harm to people by being a part of the System, he was the first to be self-critical and seek ways of finding restitution. He has always been one of my favorite people writing in the comment section, and I learned so much from his personal experience, his overall political critique, and his forthright honesty. He will be sorely missed, and there are big very shoes to be filled by those following in his footsteps.

    Long Live the Spirit of Stephen Gilbert!

    Richard

  • While this blog raises some important points about the psychological effects (self image) of young women taking antidepressant drugs, it leaves out the ESSENTIAL QUESTION of the actual physical and psychological effects of these drugs.

    There is a great deal of evidence (both scientific and anecdotal) of the sexual side effects (loss of desire and ability to experience pleasure), and also, evidence that these drugs interfere with the desire to “bond” with other human beings. These two related phenomena could have enormous negative effects on the overall development of a young girl’s life.

    And what happens when these young women cycle through the often reported “rabbit hole” of on going relapses with drug changes and the addition of more powerful psych drug cocktails?

    I don’t think we can adequately discuss this important topic WITHOUT discussing these crucially related topics of overall psychiatric drug harm.

    Richard

  • To RW and All the MIA Staff

    There is much to celebrate in what MIA has accomplished over the past 8 years. MIA has become a powerful force on the internet and within our society exposing the overall oppressive Medical Model, and the particular role that psychiatry and Big Pharma play in promulgating that model. It also offers many empathetic alternatives for those needing emotional and psychological help.

    I am heartened by RW’s and MIA’s willingness to continuously re-evaluate its mission and role in the struggle to end psychiatric oppression, and to establish a new narrative about the emotional and psychological difficulties of human existence.

    And I do very much appreciate that RW, both solicits and responds to, the sometimes contentious and controversial views of the MIA readers and followers. In particular, the fact that the term “mental illness” was placed in quotes by RW represents part of this important evolution and growth of thinking that has taken place at MIA.

    In conclusion, I want to say I support the changes and evolution in the MIA mission statement. I will add the following comments about the nature of our current society and the struggle to overturn the oppressive Medical Model:

    While there has been progress in changing minds and gathering forces to oppose all forms of psychiatric oppression, we must be brutally realistic about what it will actually take to end the enormous harm done by the Medical Model.

    Psychiatry, Big Pharma, and its related “genetic theories of original sin,” and its increasing role in society as a form of social control, has become TOO BIG AND IMPORTANT to the POWERS THAT BE, to be allowed to fail.

    So what is likely to develop in the coming years is A VERY POLARIZED DIVIDE on the narrative questions that MIA has definitively staked out territory clearly on one pole. That is, a humanistic and empathetic understanding of human psychological distress as intimately connected to the daily stress related to social inequality, injustice, and trauma emerging out of a class based, profit driven economic and political system.

    On the other side of this very polarized divide, stands deeply entrenched psychiatry, Big Pharma, the capitalist ruling class, and all those people in society who have consumed (often out of fear) the Medical Model narrative of chemical imbalances, genetic defects, and human psychological flaws as the explanation for why there is social inequality and enormous human angst in the world.

    This type of divide I am describing is very similar (and in many ways connected) to the current divide in the U.S. over summing up the role of Donald Trump as a so called “fascist threat,” or as a “savior and protector of the glorious U.S. Empire.”

    This system we live under, with its vast “market place of ideas,” can tolerate sharp political divides (like those over the Medical Model and Trump) for certain periods of time. But these types of political divides WILL NOT ultimately be resolved through a mere EVOLUTION, or just gathering more forces who accept the “new” narrative.

    These sharp political divides I am describing must ultimately be resolved through major systemic change in society. Here I would argue that this will require replacing our current profit based/capitalist system with a new type of socialist model.

    Whether or not people believe this is possible (or have other ideas for big solutions), please DO NOT be lulled into thinking that these major type changes related to the oppression of the Medical Model, will GRADUALLY CHANGE through slow evolutionary growth. This type of thinking is not only very unrealistic, but also extremely dangerous.

    Any serious look at what is going on in the world tells us that “power concedes nothing without a struggle.” And psychiatry, Big Pharma, and other ruling class forces in society who DIRECTLY BENEFIT from what the Medical Model provides to HELP maintain the status quo, WILL NOT simply rollover and give up because we have the “facts” and significant forces gathered on our side.

    We have a long and tortuous struggle ahead, and I am convinced that MIA can play a significant role in this struggle.

    I salute MIA and its staff – keep up the great work. Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! I already give a donation every year to MIA, but I will now add an additional one hundred dollars to the cause. Carry on!

    Richard D. Lewis

  • Modern psychiatry was created by capitalism and its profit based system. Given its current role in society labeling and drugging some of the most potentially rebellious sections of society, psychiatry CANNOT be abolished until we abolish the capitalist system.

    How would the capitalist class ever allow psychiatry to be dismantled, when it has become so valuable to their current existence and their ability to maintain control of certain sections of society?

    The struggle against psychiatric oppression in all its forms, however, is potentially a vital conduit for the growth of overall resistance to capitalism. Exposing psychiatric oppression to its core, gets right to the heart of what causes human alienation and psychological trauma, and what changes are necessary (socialism) to finally eradicate it, once and for all.

    Richard

  • Noel

    Great blog.

    I would only quibble with your use of the word “scientism.” Unfortunately, this word is used in multiple ways by people on both sides of the political spectrum. More often than not, it is used as a way to attack legitimate science from Right Wing perspectives.

    The examples you have used in this blog are ALL examples of BAD science that cannot be substantiated by the legitimate use of the scientific method. So why not just call it “bad” or “illegitimate” science instead of the very confusing term “scientism,” which implies that it is somehow bad to be “too scientific.”

    Richard

  • Andrew

    Great blog and exposure of the enormous harm caused by the Medical Model of so-called “treatment” for human psychological distress.

    This system cannot be reformed, and must be eliminated along with the profit based system of capitalism that created this oppressive model and continues to benefit in many ways from its existence.

    Question: is there any scientific evidence that DBS provides any help to people with Parkinson’s disease?

    Richard

  • Just one more example why we need to move beyond a profit based capitalist system. Even when these profit hungry murders are caught red handed, their system is rigged so they can recover their ability to remain in positions of power, and then continue exploiting people.

    All reforms and appearances of so-called justice under the capitalist system are merely an illusion.

    Richard

  • Steve

    You said: “…but it still leaves you potentially vulnerable to someone changing the topic to how bad Scientologists are or how “most” opponents “are Scientologists” even if you are not.”

    No, just the opposite. People can keep the discussion (or argument) focused on Scientology as long as we refuse to answer the question.

    So again, the best way to handle this is SIMPLE. We simply tell the truth by saying:
    ” I already told you, we are not Scientologists. We think they are a dangerous cult, so why do you keep bringing this up to avoid dealing with……”

    Steve, you said: ” do you really think that most of the psychiatric profession is asking protesters about Scientology because they are concerned it is a “dangerous cult” and don’t want to interact with it?”

    Again, it doesn’t matter why they are asking the question. It could be a legitimate question by honest people or an illegitimate question by psychiatry lovers trying to deflect the discussion. To eliminate this issue from the discussion or debate, just tell the truth (“No, we are not Scientologists.”) and move on.

    In fact, in some discussions by honest people making the inquiry about Scientology, we could provide some of the history of our movement. We could let people know that some past activists made the MISTAKE of working with Scientology, and then show how that gave psychiatry and the Medical Model an opening to attack those people critical of psychiatry. And also, how this has now become a strategy by lovers of the Medical Model to discredit its critics.

    Scientology is a powerful and well organized cult with deep pockets. It does great harm to those people (especially vulnerable people going through psychological distress) ensnared by its sophisticated anti-psychiatry cover and purported solutions to people’s problems in a difficult world.

    Just like any organization that preys upon and recruits disaffected youth, we should be prepared to both understand Scientology’s reactionary role in society and speak out against them when the opportunity presents itself.

    Richard

  • This is NOT the best way to handle the Scientology issue.

    For many people (including myself) they want to know if Scientology is involved in an organization because they know it is a DANGEROUS CULT and NOT A RELIGION, and they do not want to have ANY connection to it at all.

    Because Scientology is a dangerous cult, it has a specific agenda that is in major competition with psychiatry to recruit very vulnerable people in psychological distress. Based on this reactionary agenda, Scientology will ultimately destroy any anti-psychiatry organizing from within, in addition to discrediting our movement to the general pubic.

    Yes, some people (including psychiatry) use this as a foil to discredit anti-psychiatry and the struggle against the Medical Model. And this has been historically very successful, because past anti-psychiatry type activists have made the MISTAKE of working WITH Scientology.

    So the answer to all this is SIMPLE.

    1) Do not ever knowingly work with Scientology

    2) When asked or accused of being a Scientologist simply say the following:

    “No, Scientology is a dangerous cult, so why are you accusing me of this instead of dealing with …………………..”

    Richard

  • Unfortunately, psychiatry is NOT “on shaky ground” at this time. It is more powerful than ever and deeply (and forever) connected to the future of the entire capitalist system.

    Those who are NOW overly optimistic about ending psychiatry and their Medical Model, FAIL TO UNDERSTAND THE INTERTWINED CONNECTIONS OF PSYCHIATRY AND MODERN CAPITALISM.

    Read Bruce Levine’s blog (currently posted next to RW’s blog) which provides an important response to the provocative question Robert Whitaker raises with his title.

    To be optimistic about the fall of psychiatry at this time would have to mean that you are also optimistic that we are now on the verge of a revolution to end the profit based capitalist system.

    While a political crisis could develop rapidly and these conditions could change to be more favorable, there is no evidence of this happening at this time.

    This is why we must always connect our critique AND organizing efforts against the oppressive Medical Model to also ending the profit based capitalist system.

    Richard

  • One can respect the activism and science promoted by those people who are all the way ANTI-PSYCHIATRY, but not YET be ready to advocate for the complete abolition of psychiatry in society.

    I would say that this is most likely where RW is coming from. So it is OBVIOUS why he would put some distance between his own views and *anti-psychiatry.*

    This is not rocket science!

  • Oldhead says: “Stephen, Steve, KS and Rosalee, please pay attention to my main point …”

    No one is going to pay attention, or give much credence to to your “main point,” after you totally mischaracterize some one else’s words and their essential arguments.

    And then when you’re called out on this, and rightly criticized for this behavior, you refuse to acknowledge your error and blame RW for being “…ambiguous, intentionally or not.”

    This sort of uncivil and unprincipled discourse will NOT lead a higher understanding of these questions.

    Richard

  • Bruce

    This is perhaps the most important, and the very best blog article you have ever had published at MIA

    This is the perfect blog response to be read following Robert Whitaker’s provocative blog titled “Is Remaking Psychiatric Care Possible.”

    This is a highly insightful and penetrating analysis of just how deeply entrenched and essential psychiatry (and their entire Medical Model) is for the future survival of modern capitalist society.

    Neither psychiatry NOR capitalism can exist in the future WITHOUT the other. Both are major impediments to the future of human progress, and any hopes for reform of either one are both undesirable AND impossible.

    Richard

  • Capitalism evolved into Imperialism (spreading its oppressive tentacles over the entire planet, searching for new markets and cheaper labor).

    Recognizing this historical development of capitalism into Imperialism is both useful and informative, and in NO WAY does it somehow mean that we are denying, and/or minimizing the oppressive nature of capitalism as a system of human exploitation.

  • Lawrence

    I support your use of the term “biological psychiatry” as you clarified its use here. It is is very important to recognize and define what has taken place over the last 4 decades with the incredible growth of the Medical Model and the powerful rise (at its head) of an evolving institution of psychiatry “on steroids.”

    Our grandmother’s and grandfather’s psychiatry was always oppressive from its inception, and defining how psychiatry has morphed into “biological psychiatry” does NOT have to mean we are somehow giving the earlier incarnations of psychiatry some sort of “pass.”

    Richard

  • “I suppressed a momentary urge to bang my head against the cinderblock wall. THEN I SIGNED DR. G’S TREATMENT PLAN {emphasis added} and hoped I had planted at least a seed of curiosity.”

    So the good doctor thinks he “planted a seed” and then went right ahead and signed off on this poor patient’s horrible “MISTREATMENT PLAN,” so she could be labeled and drugged with oppressive mind altering substances. This doctor in charge would have been much better off (and taken a much better moral stand) to have actually banged his head “against the cinderblock wall.”

    What happened to the oath to “do no harm?” Who will take responsibility when this poor patient suffers even greater decline in her life because she believes she has a “disease,” and becomes dependent on benzos and/or antidepressant psychiatric drugs?

    This article, not only tells us everything that is wrong with today’s oppressive Medical Model, but ALSO, what is wrong with how morally deficient the response is by those who think they know better. Just let the “cabaret” carry on!!!

    Richard

  • Someone Else

    Not really. The founding FATHERS, while expousing general concepts of “freedom” and “civil rights,” were very much stuck in developing a system ruled by the propertied classes of white men.

    Black people were declared to be 3 fifths of a human being, and women had no right to vote. The working class of laborers were terribly exploited AND the first 100 years of American expansionism and growth was built on the blood and sweat of the American slave system.

    There would be no U.S. imperialist empire without this oppressive history of slavery, and then, of course, we had the wholesale destruction of native peoples and their culture.

    This is just the beginning of a very sordid history of conquest and exploitation leading to the U.S. being the most powerful and wealthiest country in the world with LESS THAN 5% of the world’s population.

    And finally yes, it is the birthplace of biological psychiatry (psychiatry on steroids) that now dominates the entire planet with its oppressive labels, toxic drugs, and forced incarceration and control – “God Bless America.”

    Richard

  • Phoebe

    This was a well told story of your complicated relationship with psychiatric drugs. It is a very sobering and pragmatic assessment of this relationship, and you do not seem to buy into psychiatry’s “chemical imbalance” theory or overly romanticize the benefits of these drugs.

    What is missing for many readers is a more in depth understanding of the connection of your history of psychological distress and your history of trauma. There is only one brief mention of you working on trauma issues in therapy.

    Without some understanding of (and a more in depth presentation) of the environmental factors that may have led to your distress and difficulty focusing and completing important tasks in life, people are left to speculation as to what are the causative factors for these problems. And if a trauma history was, in fact, a central factor in the onset of your difficult struggles in life, what kinds of trauma help (“treatment”) is actually effective and can (in some instances) mitigate the necessity to rely on mind altering drugs as means to coping with a troubled world.

    Of course, a trauma narrative is a deeply personal thing, and you are under no obligation to share this story in your blog, nor am I suggesting you do so. I am only suggesting that it is difficult for readers to reconcile all these complex issues and compromises related to taking psychiatric drugs without knowing essential details of the overall narrative, including what forms of trauma help was accessed (or not accessed), and what was most helpful.

    I admire how much you have accomplished in life and your resilience in the face of such enormous obstacles presented by a very harmful Disease/Drug based Medical Model that dominates the “mental health” system. Thank you for sharing this story.

    Richard

  • Oldhead says:

    “Again, this is a false issue and even discussing it as though it is otherwise falls into the Pharma trap.”

    Oldhead, it was not I who initially mocked this entire blog with the statement:

    “I can’t believe this. Pill Shamers Unite!!”

    Regardless, what terminology we use (and I’m fine with letting Big Pharma and psychiatry own “pill shaming” here on in) the issue of some psychiatric survivors experiencing “shame” (within the movement) for still using some kind of psychiatric drug, DOES EXIST. And your denial of this issue, only contributes to this phenomena.

    Sera and Caroline’s blog only dealt with this issue as one SMALL PART of their overall message, but grasping this particular aspect IS important to thoroughly understanding the totality of their nuanced analysis of the “pill shaming” phenomena.

    Richard

  • Some people still want to be dismissive of this entire blog and topic – which has had a very long and educational discussion.

    They want to deny that “pill shaming” can even exist within our movement against psychiatric abuse.

    I think Julie Greene’s comment – https://www.madinamerica.com/2019/06/pill-shaming-phenomenon-whats-it-really-about/#comment-157622 – and reaction resonates strongly with my views on this topic.

    Richard

  • JanCarol

    Close friends and family members (or clients you’re trying to help on a one to one basis) are a different matter all together than making general public statements. either written or verbal.

    I think we should find any, and all, opportunities to educate and help people (close friends, family, and clients) become less reliant on and/or drug free, for all the reasons you stated.

    Like any personal (or sensitive subject) we should tread lightly and be mindful of how much these people can handle challenging subjects, or whether or not we have real open and honest avenues of dialogue between us.

    We must bear in mind that most people already feel “less than” because they are on these drugs, and also usually have a demeaning label to go with it. Some will even hide their drug taking from us because they know our strong views (regarding negative effect etc.) on the subject. And they may fully agree on an intellectual level.

    But there are some people who get down to one drug (from a big cocktail) and just can’t seem to get off that last small dose. They may function overall quite well otherwise with few related medical issues. They have to proceed at their own pace on these questions and NEVER be made to feel less than because they are still not drug free.

    But ALL public blame and shame (even with people with serious drug problems) should be directed at the profit driven capitalist system and the class of people who run it. It is THEY and THEIR SYSTEM that have created the material conditions (trauma, stress, violence war etc.) that cause people to be so alienated, stressed out, and just plain unable to cope with this oppressive environment.

    Richard

  • Sera and Caroline

    This was a great blog that covered every aspect of this issue from every angle, including ALL the nuances that could be misunderstood and/or turned back on the authors.

    It must be VERY frustrating when MIA commenters don’t take the time to read and consider the essential content of what you are struggling about here.

    You correctly put the major onus and overall responsibility on the larger examples of systemic power and oppression.

    We should NEVER EVER blame or shame anyone form the masses for taking, and/or becoming dependent on (or even addicted to), ANY mind altering substance. OR for using them simply as a means to better cope with a “sick” world and environment that surrounds them.

    This oppressive world has so many ways to crush human resilience and render one’s coping mechanisms ineffectual, or just not enough to get by at any given moment.

    In their lifetime some people may NEVER be able to move beyond some form of need or dependency on some type of drug, AND that makes them NO LESS of a person. Nor does it make them someone who cannot somehow contribute to making this world a better place, if they so choose to be a part of this struggle.

    OF COURSE, in a ONE TO ONE conversation with someone, who was open to the idea of strengthening their coping skills, and/or becoming less reliant on mind altering drugs as a way to cope with the world, I would do my best to share more info on all the negative aspects of these drugs, and discuss (and sometimes even challenge them) about working on alternative ways to strengthen and add to one’s coping skills.

    BUT in any public commentary or written statements, THIS is where we should focus ALL issues of blame, shame and responsibility on the “Powers That Be.” Call it, SHAMING AND BLAMING OUR OPPRESSORS and their entire profit driven, meat grinder of a System.

    Richard

  • One thing to consider in this entire discussion about terminology.

    Quite literally, the major power brokers (psychiatry and Big Pharma) promoting the Medical Model and ALL their false terminology, have spent several hundred BILLION dollars on misguided and corrupt research AND advertising over the past 4 decades, promoting the biggest PR hoax the world has EVER seen throughout all of human history. Someone please name another PR hoax that compares.

    Every time we give ANY scientific legitimacy to their diagnostic labels and terms like “mental health” or “mental illness” or call psychiatric drugs “medications,” we end up somehow validating that their money (actually it’s our money when you consider who produces real value in society) was well spent on transforming our linguistic paradigm to justify and reinforce oppression.

    Richard

  • Great blog and I agree with your position on this matter. We are being MORE SCIENTIFIC when we avoid using these labels and/or let readers know they are spurious.

    And I think the exact same argument can be made about NOT EVER calling psychiatric drugs “medications.” They are clearly mind altering drugs that are NOT “medicating” anything at a cellular level, let alone some kind of “disease.” We are being MORE scientific when we refuse to call them “medication.”

    And while we’re at it, let’s be clear about the term “mental health.” (Paula, please take note of this point because you did use this term without quotation marks.) Socially different ideas, thoughts, feelings, and behavior are NOT “sick” or “unhealthy.” We are reinforcing the Medical Model every time we use those words without some type of challenge.

    Let’s be historically clear about how revolutionary change occurs in the world. It often starts with challenging certain language and terminology that wreaks of the oppression of the old order.

    Richard

  • Rosalee

    Thank you for those kind comments. Here is a second song you may be very interested in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R6djpTt32w

    And yes, I am coming out with my first CD the first week of July – a dozen songs (including the two above) backed up by many instruments, including violin, dobro, drums, piano, cello, pennywhistle, drums, and Great Highland Bagpipes. I’ll keep you posted when the time comes. Thanks for listening.

    Richard

  • Lauren

    A great blog and a very powerful story, very well told.

    I wrote and performed a song about you and millions of other victim/survivors of the worldwide benzodiazepine crisis.

    Take a listen. I hope you find this as meaningful to listen to as it was for me to write and perform.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYuhNEn2OKw (or google “Benzo Blue”)

    All the best in your journey, Richard

  • Having worked in a community mental health clinic as a therapist for 22 years, ALL OF THIS sounds painfully very familiar.

    The Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial/Complex is so deeply and firmly entrenched in modern capitalist society, that NOTHING short of a Revolution can dislodge this form of systemic oppression.

    Attempting to focus on reforming this System is an illusion. Fighting for “reforms” should ONLY be viewed as an important means to prepare minds and organize forces to get rid of this System once and for all.

    The profit system ultimately corrupts everything it touches, and it stands as THE major obstacle to the overall progress of human society on a worldwide basis.

    Richard

  • This blog raises some very important points about psychiatric drugs being used in society as a means to stifle political upheaval.

    Just to add to the auhtor’s main point: any political movement for positive change always involves an “advanced” contingent of people stepping forward and initiating resistance. This “advanced” core of activists acts a “catalyst” for broader rebellion by providing leadership and inspiration to all those who follow.

    It is MORE than just interesting to note that in today’s society, some of those sections of the masses MOST HEAVILY drugged have historically been those SAME people MOST LIKELY to be that “advanced” core of activists leading political rebellion.

    In today’s world this includes, minorities, prisoners, women, rebellious youth, and other political outliers and outcasts.

    This is why psychiatry and their entire Medical Model has now become TOO IMPORTANT AND VALUABLE to the ruling classes to be allowed to fail, or somehow be stripped of its power to drug AND incarcerate people without due process or respect for civil rights.

    Great blog, Melody. Richard

  • The fight to abolish psychiatry is really on the radical edge of the overall struggle to end all forms of psychiatric abuse and the entire Medical Model.

    The above mentioned struggle is really one of the newest waves of Human Rights struggles in the world.

    And as such, any and all political exposure and organizing done (including here at MIA) as a part of this Human Rights struggle, can play an important role in raising consciousness and resistance against the ultimate source of modern day oppression – a class based capitalist/imperialist system.

    Richard

  • Bruce

    I believe that psychiatry can neither be “delegitimized” nor “abolished” under the capitalist system. As an institution, psychiatry has now become (over the last several decades) TOO important to the “Powers that Be” to be allowed to fail or lose its Executive power to drug and/or incarcerate people against their will.

    The vital position of Big Pharma in the U.S. economy with its high profit margins (in its collusion with psychiatry and the meteoric expansion of psych drug sales), AND the increasingly important role of psychiatry to label and anesthetize (and thus render ineffective) the more potentially rebellious sections of U.S. society, makes it highly unlikely the ruling class will do (or allow) ANYTHING to weaken psychiatry.

    In a truly just and Revolutionary society, psychiatry would immediately be stripped of all medical legitimacy and Executive powers that involve any kind of FORCE. At the same time, all of psychiatry’s pseudo-scientific and paternalistic theories and activities would be openly criticized and ridiculed through a People controlled media.

    In this way (outlined above) psychiatry would eventually lose ALL credibility and interest from the masses of people, and thus simply “wither away” from society. THIS is how psychiatry will ultimately be “abolished” from the face of the earth.

    The word “abolish” should STILL be used today to describe our movement here among the more radical activists. This is true even though in a Revolutionary society the actual process will one of “withering away.” The word “Abolish” has a more radical and unifying effect among the more advanced activists, and clearly identifies psychiatry as the extremely oppressive institution it truly IS in the world today.

    Richard (BTW, Great blog!)

  • Rosalee

    Thank you very much for that comment. And I always appreciate your input at MIA as well.

    Things can get rough at times in the comment section, but we can’t forget that this will be a long and treacherous Long March to do what is necessary to change this world into a better place.

    “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!

    Richard

  • Fred

    The following was my response in a recent blog to a question about the future of psychiatry:

    “In a JUST world ,where real science was taught to regular physicians, they would know that “psychosis” could occur from certain medical conditions, and then act accordingly. This DOES NOT require the need for psychiatry.

    In a JUST world, those people currently labeled as genuine dissident psychiatrists, could either choose to do therapy (and now call themselves therapists) OR choose to become neurologists, for which there is genuine science to describe certain actual brain disorders and the respective forms of legitimate treatment.

    There is NO science to justify the existence of medicalizing psychological distress and responding to these problems as if they required medical “treatment.”

    The existence of modern psychiatry has a definite role in shifting people’s attention away from the inherent systemic problems (injustice and inequality) within the class based capitalist system.”

    Richard

  • Fred I agree with Kindredspirit about the candidness of your responses and your willingness to be open to all ideas and criticisms, if they ring true. I, also know that dissident psychiatrists can be open to many attacks for operating outside the confines of the oppressive Medical Model paradigm.

    There is a Dr. Kelmenson who posts blogs here (with some good points) but has often promoted a “blame the victim” political line about the “willingness” of psych patients to take drugs and accept diagnoses and disability benefits.

    My response to this has been that in a ONE TO ONE conversation with such a person I would definitely challenge their acceptance of psychiatric labels and believing they are disabled, or any other approach of accepting less in life.

    HOWEVER, publicly when addressing these issues I would NEVER EVER place ANY blame on the masses for ANY collective sense of low self esteem or desire to numb themselves from a trauma filled world. We must ALWYS place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the “powers that be.”

    NOBODY IS BORN THIS WAY! It is a powerful ruling class (including the leaders of Big Pharma and psychiatry) who have created a world and a System that all too often crushes the human spirit, and some people end up accepting less in life and will engage in many type of self defeating behaviors. This is NOT their fault.

    We must always point the finger of blame directly towards those people, institutions, and classes in society who DIRECTLY BENEFIT from any human being accepting the concept of “mental illness” and all the disability diagnoses and drugs that may go with it.

    Fred, thanks for writing and staying down in the difficult trenches in the comment section.

    Richard

  • Dr. Moss

    I appreciate that you are speaking out about the problems with the Medical Model and writing about it here at MIA.

    However, I have some SERIOUS problems with part of the way you are characterizing the problem here.

    I will preface my criticism by letting you know that I worked for 22 years in community mental heath as an LMHC, with a strong focus on addiction issues. All those years I fought the take over of Biological Psychiatry and the Disease/Drug/Based Medical Model. I have multiple blogs here at MIA that make my positions quite clear on the problems with the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial/Complex.

    You stated the following:

    “All of this points to the reality that mental illness may provide the beholder some unique benefits. A payoff. What inherent benefits or payoffs may exist for identifying oneself as mentally ill?”

    First off, you did NOT put “mental Illness” in quotes. These are NOT medical problems people are dealing with here, but major conflicts with their environment that cause extreme forms of psychological distress. To make big changes in the world we must FIRST challenge the language of an oppressive status quo.

    Secondly, before we should EVER talk about the so-called “unique benefits” of a “mental health” diagnosis, we must FIRST thoroughly expose and analyze ALL the harm done by psychiatric labels. You did not do this. You placed an emphasis on the so-called “benefits.” This, unfortunately, gives power to, and reinforces, some of the negative stereotypes that exist in society about people with psychiatric labels who are declared “disabled” and receiving benefits.

    With some other more aware counselors I worked with over the years, we used the phrase “secondary gain” to describe the phenomena you are describing about people deriving some MINOR benefits from a “mental health” diagnosis.

    BUT notice the term “SECONDARY GAIN,” this is a far better way to characterize this issue, AND a far more accurate description that acknowledges the PRIMARY HARM and oppressive nature of psychiatric diagnoses.

    EVERYONE with a psychiatric diagnosis is PRIMARILY harmed by it, even if they are not currently conscious of this harm. While there may be surface benefits from these labels, do you really think these people are happy, and living lives to the fullest of their human potential???

    For anyone to accept a psychiatric diagnosis (and all the implications of said diagnosis) is a certain recipe to accept less in life. These diagnoses are psychologically crippling and the equivalence of “mental chains.”

    People who have unfortunately “bought into” the concept of a “mental health” diagnosis, are very much victims of a very oppressive System that has *brain washed* millions of people into believing a false narrative about the origins of psychological distress in society.

    We should NEVER talk about so-called “benefits” of psychiatric diagnoses without FIRST discussing the fact that people in society are victims of the biggest PR hoax ever successfully promoted in human society.

    Big Pharma and psychiatry have literally spent several hundred BILLION dollars over 4 decades to promote its false narrative about “chemical imbalances” and so-called “mental illness.” All of their “genetic theories of original sin” serve to hide (and misdirect people away from ) the inherent inequalities and forms of trauma in a class based capitalist society, that are the REAL causative factors for extreme psychological distress.

    We should NEVER write an article about people “LOVING” their diagnosis or gaining “BENEFITS” from it, without making it DOMINATELY clear where we are placing blame for ALL the psychological chains that are crippling human beings, and preventing us from obtaining REAL freedom and the fullest of our human potential.

    Fred, I hope you are open to important feedback about some of the problems with this blog.

    Richard

  • Kindredspirit

    No that does not answer the question.

    No where in any of these quotes you cited above is there a single reference to an anti-psychiatry position being “ultra-left.”

    What WAS called “ultra-left” here is a political position that labels potential friends and allies as part of the camp of the “enemy.”

    That is, a political stance that demands that people be “all the way” anti-psychiatry NOW. And if they (especially someone who might be a professional) will not accept the anti-psychiatry label (or someone’s definition of this label) then they must be working for the interests of psychiatry, and therefore be opposed and degraded.

    Unfortunately, the term “ultra-left” has different meanings to different people.

    My definition implies that someone with an “ultra-left” position is jumping stages in the development of a political movement. That is, not seeing how a radical political movement actually develops over time. And not developing a strategy and set of tactics that will have chance for victory.

    A consistent “ultra-left” position appears “radical” and “left” on the surface but its strategy and tactics actually disrupts the ability to gather allies through education and struggle over the long haul.

    I prefer to not argue over the definition of “ultra-left,” because of its different meanings to different people. And for that reason I will no longer use it to identify this wrong approach I am challenging in some of Oldhead’s comments.

    To avoid fighting over definitions, lets get to the heart of the matter here. I will ask you Kindredspirit, (and others) the question I raised in the above comment:

    “Just because someone is not yet ready to identify as “anti-psychiatry” (despite decades of fighting against all forms of psychiatric abuse and the Medical Model) should they somehow be discarded and labeled as if they represent the other “side?”

    Richard

  • Oldhead states the following: “It is bizarre that to refer to abolitionist AP sentiment as “ultra-left” …”

    Exactly who and where (please show the exact quote) has anyone in the comment section called an *anti-psychiatry* stance as being “ultra-left.”

    Oldhead states the following: “and that someone talks about OUR “drawing lines” between survivors and professionals ”

    Exactly who and where (please show the exact quote) has anyone talked about “drawing line” between survivors and professionals”

    And when Oldhead states the following:

    “I think the response — as well as the undercurrent of hostility — draws a clear line regarding what “side” LC represents.”

    I ask the question, exactly what “side” is Oldhead saying that Lee Coleman represents?

    If someone cannot honestly and accurately sum up (given the totality of Lee Coleman’s history of activism) what “side” he is on when it comes to fighting psychiatric oppression, then how do they expect to unite anyone to be a part of any kind of anti-psychiatry movement?

    Just because someone is not yet ready to identify as “anti-psychiatry” (despite decades of fighting against all forms of psychiatric abuse and the Medical Model) should they somehow be discarded and labeled as if they represent the other “side?”

    Richard

  • Alex

    I am not clear on your point here. You obviously have some issues with how Lee Coleman responded to your above comments, That’s fine and certainly open for your critique.

    But are you prepared to put him in the camp of the enemy, simply because he does not completely agree with your exact approach? And thus negate all the positive work he is doing in his critique of the oppressive Medical Model

    Do you not see the danger of ultra-left positions when dealing with potential allies in Human Rights struggles?

    Richard

  • Rachel

    I agree with you.

    In a JUST world ,where real science was taught to regular physicians, they would know that “psychosis” could occur from certain medical conditions, and then act accordingly. This DOES NOT require the need for psychiatry.

    In a JUST world, those people currently labeled as genuine dissident psychiatrists, could either choose to do therapy (and now call themselves therapists) OR choose to become neurologists, for which there is genuine science to describe certain actual brain disorders and the respective forms of legitimate treatment.

    There is NO science to justify the existence of medicalizing psychological distress and responding to these problems as if they required medical “treatment.”

    The existence of modern psychiatry has a definite role in shifting people’s attention away from the inherent systemic problems (injustice and inequality) within the class based capitalist system.

    Richard

  • Oldhead makes the following statement summing up Lee Coleman’s position:

    “I think the response — as well as the undercurrent of hostility — draws a clear line regarding what “side” LC represents.”

    This is a classic example of an ultra-left position that fails to distinguish “friends from enemies.” This is not a winning strategy to end all forms of psychiatric oppression.

    Any objective analysis of Lee Coleman’s views and social role would recognize that he is doing very important work exposing the entire oppressive paradigm of the Medical Model AND delivering serious blows to the institution of psychiatry.

    Just because he does not YET have an ‘all the way” position advocating for the abolishment of psychiatry, DOES NOT somehow put him in the camp of the enemy, as Oldhead strongly implies.

    No wonder Lee Coleman and others are turned off from dialoguing with people pushing a strong anti-psychiatry position. Ultra-left positions can be very damaging when it comes to “uniting all who can be united” against a common enemy.

    Of course there will be many important and powerful activists like Lee Coleman who still want to cling to preserving some old institutions from the old order. Call it “holding on to some remains of class privilege” or still wanting to believe their psychiatric medical credentials are worth something.

    As a firm anti-psychiatry activist, I believe that dissident psychiatrists have an important role to play working inside the “System.” Using their criticisms of the Medical Model, they can disrupt any, and all, gatherings of psychiatry everywhere on the planet. Their medical credentials will also provide them platforms to speak out on that many of us will never be invited to speak.

    Dissident psychiatrists can also use their credentials (for many decades) to promote some science regarding psych drug withdrawal and help those psychiatric survivors attempting to come off psych drugs.

    Psychiatry’s future is inseparably bound to the future of the entire capitalist/imperialist system. It is TOO VALUABLE to preserving the status quo to be allowed to go out of existence in this historical era OR be allowed to lose its executive power to incarcerate troublesome dissidents threatening the capitalist system.

    Thank you Lee Coleman for writing this blog and all that you do fighting the Medical Model.

    And I found your reference to the great revolutionary brother, George Jackson, very interesting and important to the evolution of your thinking, and also to many others who came to revolutionary consciousness during the 60’s era.

    Keep writing!

    Richard

  • Lawrence

    I believe that your blogs have made some very good exposure of the oppressive Disease/Drug Based/Medical Model.

    While it seems like you are making a major break from the practice and ideology of psychiatry in today’s world, your overall analysis is being held back from having a MUCH MORE powerful impact because you are still holding on to some deeply embedded ideological beliefs that justify and support a class based capitalist system.

    We all have much work to do to escape those indoctrinated ways of thinking that undermine our belief that those people on the bottom rungs of society can some day truly rise up and throw off ALL their chains. This includes those mental chains that inhibit us from all becoming creative agents of change, and believing that we can run society far better than those people who exploit others for their own power and gain.

    Our movement should involve not only rejecting psychiatry’s Disease Model with all their labels and drugs, but also the more modern day caste system that has us actually voting for a new person every four years to legitimize this same insanity over and over again.

    Richard

  • Yes, Dr Kelmenson has indeed accepted (hook line and sinker, as the expression goes) a very negative and one-sided view of human nature. This is a view that is very consistent with all the apologists and defenders of a class based capitalist system.

    This view states the following: that poor people and other sections of people are on the bottom rungs of society are there because they somehow lack the drive and/or the intelligence to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps” to make it in this “dog eat dog world.”

    I believe it was the African revolutionary Franz Fanon who wrote about African people having a collective sense of low self-esteem and submission to their oppressors.

    BUT BUT BUT, Fanon NEVER EVER blamed the victims for their plight. He was very aware of the long history of the most extreme forms of colonial and imperialistic oppression that can literally crush the human spirit and severely limit a human being’s ability to fight back against their oppressors.

    If I am having a ONE ON ONE conversation with someone (be they a friend and/or a client in a therapy session) and I believe they have somehow incorporated, and/or bought into a victim mentality, of course, I will try to find the ways to challenge (over time) some of their beliefs and patterns of behavior that might be holding them back from making progress in life WHERE IT IS POSSIBLE.

    BUT I WILL NEVER EVER PLACE COLLECTIVE BLAME ON THE MASSES OF VICTIMS OF HIGHLY SYSTEMIC AND INSTITUTIONALIZED FORMS OF OPPRESSION. TO DO SO, IS TO DO THE DIRTY WORK OF OUR ENEMIES.

    Dr. Kelmenson if you choose to continue to promote these negative and one-sided views of human nature, why don’t you provide the scientific evidence to back up such a narrow and stigmatizing perspective.

    Richard

  • While this blog has some good exposure of psychiatry and the omnipotent growth of the Medical Model, it suffers from the following mistaken themes:

    1) It tends to glorify the myth of the American Dream, by minimizing the amount of trauma and violence that exists in America. And yes, poverty is a form of violence. It is written from the perspective of a privileged white American who fails to grasp the class and racial oppression faced by minorities and poor working class people over the past several hundred years.

    2) It ignores the fact that over the last 4 decades Big Pharma (colluding with psychiatry) engineered, by far, the single largest public relations hoax the world has ever seen. Quite literally, hundreds of billions of dollars has been spent on a very clever and effective PR campaign that continues as we speak – prescriptions for all these mind altering drugs continues to go up every year.

    3) The pharmaceutical industry has become a major cog in the U.S. capitalist economy bringing in some of the highest rates of profit of any known industry. Psychiatric drugs have been a major part of this growth, especially over the last 3 decades.

    4) Psychiatry and the Medical Model has now evolved into a major and necessary form of social control, especially for the more volatile sections of society that could pose a future rebellious risk for the U.S. empire.

    5) SSRI antidepressants are NOT placebos. Yes, they have a placebo effect on some people, but they are also mind numbing drugs that cause many other physical and psychological problems because THEY ACTUALLY PERTURB THE SERTONERGIC SYSTEM IN THE BRAIN AND BODY. This can cause numerous physical and psychological dysfunction and stressors, including major withdrawal syndromes.

    6) Most people DO NOT know that benzodiazepine drugs are addictive. They have been indoctrinated by Big Pharma and psychiatry and then misled by doctors who prescribe them inappropriately.

    7) Dr. Kelmenson continues his theme of “blame the victim” when he makes statements like “Psychiatry feeds off people surrendering their free will and abdicating their personal responsibility…” Again, this statement ignores the overall effects of the world’s largest public relations hoax in human history, and the desperate nature of people who have experienced trauma and other forms of alienation in a commodity relations (and class based) dominated world.

    Richard

  • Alex

    Nothing, and/or nobody, can transcend class based identities or ideologies until we ultimately get rid of classes from the planet. The working class (as defined by their relationship to the means of production) is the only class that has an historical mission to create the material conditions in the world where it will some day go out of existence. That is, there will be no classes anymore of any kind.

    The working class (those who hold no wealth or property of consequence) must seize power and run society for the interests of the majority. And slowly over many many generations (through education and cooperation) slowly eliminate the material basis for there to be any class distinctions in the world.

    The goal is to create a world where everyone can be both a “thinker and a doer,” and live by the principle of “from each according to his/her abilities to each according to their need.”

    Richard

  • Oldhead, you keep raising “self-determination” as a diversion to avoid dealing with the fact that you are openly opposing a broad based anti-psychiatry organization and movement that would clearly link psychiatry to a profit based capitalist system.

    You keep doing this by over emphasizing the contradictions that exist between survivors and various kinds of other people (including professionals) working inside the oppressive “mental health” system. You also negate the critical role that the family members of survivors could play in such an organization.

    You seem to want a movement that is divided up into multiple groups formed primarily by “identity” and not by class (or one’s ideological stance against psychiatry). This is NOT the approach taken by a genuine class conscious radical activist.

    Need I remind you that the leaders (and other rank and file members) of the Black Panthers became more and more Marxist towards the end of that organizations existence.

    A small number of these activists later joined multinational communist organizations, and this is clearly where some the Panthers most important leaders were headed before that organization’s destruction. It is clear that these more class conscious members of this organization were moving beyond *identity politics* in their political evolution.

    What happened to you?

  • Alex

    I fully acknowledged in my above statement that the terms “self-empowerment” and “self-determination” have both individual and collective short term historical value.

    All I am pointing out, especially to those who adhere to a class analysis of society, that we have to be moving much more in the direction of “collective empowerment” and “collective determination.” Or any other terms or terminology that describes human beings beginning to think and act in a *collective* way toward freedom and a world free of all forms of oppression.

    Richard

  • Society is most fundamentally divided into classes in this historical era. Without a class analysis (and a strategy deriving from that analysis) we will get absolutely nowhere fast.

    For society and political movements to FULLY advance beyond capitalism, we must also advance beyond terminology and labels such as “SELF-empowerment”, SELF-determination” etc.

    While these terms and their corresponding political actualization in the today’s world have some short term value, they also have limitations that will NOT get us beyond “nationalism” and “identity” politics to a unified class approach toward real revolutionary change.

  • Steve

    You said: “Antipsychiatry is rejected by most anti-capitalists; it cannot become “closely linked” to anti-capitalism.”

    That is part of the important work that Left Wing anti-psychiatry activists have in the coming period. We must make all the very real connections between psychiatry and capitalism and educate the more conscious activists.

    Since more and more people are being drugged and harm by the Medical Model, these links are not that hard to make. And when we make some headway on this, it will help energize a vital human rights struggle in it infancy.

    Richard

  • I would add these slight changes to your summation:

    Psychiatry is a subset problem of a much larger problem, that is a very oppressive capitalist system that overwhelmingly harms the vast majority of people on the planet, ALL for the benefit of a relatively tiny propertied class of power hungry exploiters. This class based profit system stands as THE major obstacle to advancing human progress on the planet.

  • Instead of trying to tell professionals what to do, why aren’t you advocating for ALL anti-psychiatry activists to unite around an advanced anti-psychiatry set of principles (including linking the Medical Model to capitalism).

    With your current approach, next you will be calling for women to have their own separate anti-psychiatry org. then Black people, then gay people etc. and the list could go on and on. This makes no sense at all coming from someone who claims to be a highly CLASS CONSCIOUS ANTI-CAPITALIST ACTIVIST.

  • In the capitalist “market place of ideas” anti-psychiatry is easily tolerated as “just another idea in the marketplace among millions of other ideas.”

    But when anti-psychiatry becomes more and more closely linked with a growing movement against capitalism, then and only then, will it get the attention it deserves. Because it will now become a threat to the very class of people that the Medical Model overall serves and protects.

  • Lee

    I appreciate very much all that you are writing about and doing to combat all forms of psychiatric oppression. Your above cited paragraphs do touch on the outskirts of the points I raised, but obviously not deep enough to suit my liking, or what I think is critically necessary for us to do in our exposure of the entire oppressive Medical Model paradigm.

    Our movement (in its infancy) is fundamentally a human rights struggle. I believe that it is now essential that all modern day human rights struggles closely link their movements to a broader movement against a profit based capitalist system.

    This does NOT mean that people must be totally convinced or united around the belief that the world needs socialism or a classless communist world (which is my firm belief). They only need to see the serious problems and connections between the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial/Complex AND the way the profit motive corrupts science, medicine, the environment etc. and everything else it touches.

    If we fail to do this (for the fear of alienating potential allies) then we will miss important opportunities to draw the increasing more obvious links between psychiatric oppression and a class based capitalist system.

    Historically, when human rights movements start off “watering down” their analysis of oppression (in order to go super broad), it almost always leads into reformism and co-optation by the “Powers That Be.”

    So I would say a slogan that was often said in the 60’s as an important strategic method: “Unite the advanced first to win over the intermediate and neutralize the backward.”

    And when you think about how volatile the world is today, we don’t have the time to wait around for people to somehow grow tired of the capitalist system. In the mean time this planet will be destroyed by either environmental destruction and/or imperialist wars, both directly tied to capitalism.

    So we must take every AND any opportunity to expose capitalism as we also expose psychiatric oppression – because , in the real world, they are truly deeply connected. We are simply telling the people the truth when we do this kind of political exposure.

    Comradely, Richard

  • Lee

    This blog provides some very insightful exposure of the entire Disease/Drug/Based Medical Model and the enormous harm it causes in the world.

    HOWEVER, it is missing one very important piece for truly understanding the dangerous role that this oppressive paradigm of “treatment” is playing in today’s world. AND also, how we might go about putting it in the “dustbin of history.”

    The blog DOES NOT explain why the current status quo (today’s profit based capitalist system) needs to have a psychiatric institution focusing people’s attention on “genetic theories of original sin” (that is, genetic or intrinsic flaws in the human species) that somehow accounts for all the social inequalities, trauma, violence, wars etc. that human beings inflict on one another.

    The big question here (the elephant in the room) is: where do all these so-called symptoms (extreme human psychological distress) that gets labeled as “mental illness” originate from? The “Powers That Be” want people looking “inward” and not at the inherent flaws in the various forms of social organization that predominate this particular historical era in the world.

    It is these systemic flaws in social and economic organization in society that creates most all the stressors, and various forms of social inequalities and violence that push the human species to various types of breaking points in psychological tolerance.

    Psychiatry (over the last 40 years) has now become a vital and necessary form of social control (and deliberate attempt to distract the masses from the actual origins of their psychological distress) for the overall preservation of this profit based capitalist system. THE FUTURE OF PSYCHIATRY HAS NOW BECOME INSEPARABLE FROM THE HISTORICAL FUTURE OF CAPITALISM ITSELF.

    And to those whose comments here are saying we need to simply explode the “myth of mental illness” and then psychiatry will disappear, are also sadly missing this key part of the analysis about the connections of modern psychiatry to the capitalist system.

    Richard

  • Michael

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Respectfully, Richard

  • littleturtle

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Bricew

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

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

    All the best, Richard

  • Sera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Carry on! Richard

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

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

    Richard

  • CatNight

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Kindredspirit

    Thanks for your heartfelt response. It was a mistake for me to have focused some of my major political points in this thread in response to your comments, no matter how provocative they might have been for me at the time.

    I can see that you indeed have a lot on your plate at this point in your life, and I truly hope you can make some headway in these struggles.

    Kindredspirit, I have always liked your overall comments and participation (as well) at MIA and have learned a lot from your perspective. I hope that can continue.

    Again, while I have feelings just like everyone here, I don’t ever mainly approach these questions in a personal way, nor do I feel attacked by you. And again, my use of my experience (fighting psychiatric oppression) and my related hatred of the institution was used as a way to make certain basic points about the basis of unity that can be possible in a growing movement.

    Kindredspirit, if you do not trust any professionals or other non-survivors enough to work with them in the early stages of a developing movement against psychiatric abuse, I will certainly respect that position. And I only wish the best for you in any endeavor you may engage in; be it personal OR Political.

    My main contention here in this dialogue at MIA (and it is where I should have solely directed myself) has been with the shape shifting positions put forward by Oldhead. He is the veteran political activist that claims to be operating from a Marxian class analysis.

    It can be a divisive process, and basically impossible to have principled dialogue with anyone who distorts one’s positions and and makes up “straw man” arguments to ridicule someone’s positions and misdirect a discussion. As I stated above, this unfortunate development will clearly influence exactly how I choose to engage on these vital questions in the future.
    Richard

  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Kindredspirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Frank

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

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

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

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

    And I will repeat part of my above comment:

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

    Richard

  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Oldhead

    You said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    We are better than this.

    Richard

  • Sam Ruck

    you said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • littleturtle

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

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

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

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

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

    Maybe, but who the F#%k cares?

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

    Richard

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Kumininexile

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

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

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

    Richard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • shaun f

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • shaun f

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Kindredspirit

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Kindredspirirt

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Kindredspirit and Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

    Comradely, Richard

  • Thank you Zenobia Morrill for this great article.

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

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

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

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

    Richard