Thursday, May 13, 2021

Comments by Richard D. Lewis

Showing 100 of 1459 comments. Show all.

  • Let’s be very clear and candid on the question of “Lockdowns” and Covid 19.

    1) Lockdowns were absolutely necessary AND saved tens of thousands of lives. In fact, if the Trumps administration had not been in COMPLETE DENIAL, AND had clearly and uniformly implemented ‘Lockdowns” in a decisive way (with a clear mask policy), at least two hundred thousand lives would have been saved in the U.S. We could have actually moved AWAY from “Lockdowns” many months sooner IF there had been political leadership based on real science. Where this was carried out in the world more correctly, there was a DRAMATIC decrease in Covid deaths, AND their society only shutdown for a short period.

    2) The ONLY REASON we can now move away from “Lockdowns,” as one method of controlling the Covid 19 pandemic, is because of the huge success of the Covid 19 vaccines. The vaccines have been overwhelmingly safe and effective, AND are THE SOLE REASON why we are now closer to herd immunity. (And yes, I would probably NOT take the J&J vaccine unless it was the only vaccine option available.)

    3) Yes, it was reasonable and rational to have serious distrust of Big Pharma when it comes to drug production and vaccines. BUT this same class of people are also vulnerable to dying from Covid 19 AND had enormous self interest (in addition to making big profits) in developing safe and effective vaccines. AND I believe most of these people actually took the vaccines along with their family members.

    4) I find it very difficult to take seriously those people writing comments about Covid 19 at MIA who were dead wrong on several key life and death issues related to this deadly virus. It was necessary during this pandemic to correctly sum up and apply scientific principles in real time. Some people had more difficulty doing this than others, and so far have not summed up their mistaken analysis.

    5) Some people writing here said Covid would disappear last Fall, Then they spread links to articles that said it would disappear by April of this year. Some of these same people discouraged people from taking the Covid vaccines. Again, the vaccines ARE the sole reason why Covid is in serious decline in the U.S.

    6) Yes, “Lockdowns” and “MasK policies” clearly “divide into two,” and have some negative and harmful aspects, ESPECIALLY when applied incorrectly. Yes, we undermine belief in science and the Covid vaccines when vaccinated people are not allowed to go maskless, and when people are wearing masks outdoors etc.

    7) Yes, “Lockdowns” were applied far too long in school systems, and this has created harm for many young people. There was enough evidence early on that schools could be opened in safer ways due to the differences in how Covid affects young people. There were many school systems in some parts of the country that successfully applied safe methods of staying open.

    8) Covid is not over for many people in the world (India dropped its guard and is paying a huge price in recent death tolls), and those people promoting “Anti-Vaxx” propaganda, and/or, not getting the vaccine, are actually preventing us (the whole world) from achieving human herd immunity. Covid 19 is real and must still be taken seriously. At the same time, we must sum up, criticize, and AVOID all the errors of over reaction and the related unscientifically based excessive control measures being unevenly applied throughout the country.

    Richard

  • “… the potential increases in suicide rates due to the pandemic and economic impacts of the pandemic might be YET TO COME [emphasis added], as the economic recession has been shown to be a contributor to rising suicidality.”

    I expect that with an increase in psychiatric drug use (especially “antidepressants’) as Big Pharma and psychiatry prey on increased levels of fear and personal loss, the rates of suicide will start to rise again. And we know that these drugs numb emotions, including empathy, which is one explanation why the number of mass shooting, once again, seems to be on the rise.

    Richard

  • I would ask the question: Is it really being “harsh” to point out that in the face of multiple forms of trauma and oppression in the world, someone keeps telling you over and over again that “you just don’t eat the right foods?”

    That in the face of being labeled “mentally ill” for life, given mind numbing toxic drugs, sometimes incarcerated in psychiatric prisons, limited in your access to good jobs, housing etc., your told over and over again that “food first” is THE WAY to finding “a vision to a happier, healthier tomorrow.” That “food first” will somehow give you the “resilience” to do WHAT I say? – perhaps maybe tolerate (and even accept!) the intolerable.

    And the same people telling you over and over again “you don’t eat right” (just another thing I’m f#*king up in my life) never attempt to identify (or critically analyze) the true sources of your overall oppression and unhappiness.

    To me this sounds like a very sophisticated form of “gaslighting” where you will be constantly questioning your own sanity when a better diet essentially does NOTHING to fundamentally address the oppressive power and control of psychiatry and a class based profit system that denies almost half of humanity decent food and other necessary essentials of a decent life.

    Once again, nutrition is NOT “the foundation of resilience.” And those who keep telling us this, in the face of very identifiable forms of oppression and means to fight it, are actually leading us AWAY from finding a true path to liberation and a healthier life.

    Oh, and BTW, YES, we should probably eat better than we do along the way.

    Richard

  • Is nutrition really the foundation of resilience? I would shout NO! and then put it way down the list of important factors in maintaining sanity and survival in today’s world.

    The final conclusion of this blog states the following:
    ” We lay out a three-step approach to improving mental health resilience which acknowledges that we are not all the same, that individual differences will influence efficacy of different treatments, and there is a place in the “mental health treatment tool box” for all the evidence-based treatments: these include whole-foods diets, micronutrients, counselling, family therapy, and medication. And we argue that nutrition ought to come first, because it provides the foundation for all the others.”

    In this blog there is not a single criticism of psychiatry and their Disease/Drug Based paradigm of so-called “treatment.” How can we even begin to discuss the importance of nutrition in today’s world without identifying the very oppressive social and political terrain in which we all live (some more than others), AND which has everything to do with who has the ability to have access to good nutrition.

    This blog provides no critical critique of psychiatric labeling, psychiatric drugs, psych hospitals, and poor counseling methods in today’s “mental health” system. No political critique of the pervasive class based oppression that denies the majority of people in the world from even having access to good food, besides being being able to be educated about these type of issues.

    All this blog wants people to do is put “nutrition” (and possibly reading their book “The Better Brain”) at the head of the list of important things to do in order to be “resilient in the face of a very stressful world.”

    Of course good nutrition is important, but it is NOT “the foundation of resilience.” I would suggest that the following things on this list are FAR MORE important than nutrition:

    1) and internalize sense of love and connection to other people currently in your life (or in your past) who support and care for your human needs, and help provide a belief and overall sense of hope for the future.

    2) a cognitive awareness of what forces in society can be trusted to help meet your needs and those of other human beings, AND what forces in society should be avoided and potentially eliminated in society.

    3) an ability (flowing from the above two conditions) to think strategically about possible ways to overcome obstacles and forms of oppression that stand in the way of one’s survival, and of future possibilities to move forward and make progress in life for oneself AND other human beings.

    Think for a moment about those people who survived concentration camps in World War Two (where “nutrition” was non existent), and those people currently incarcerated in prisons and psych hospitals (where good “nutrition” is severely limited) – what can and will help these people the most from not being totally “crushed” by this experience and thereby losing (or never gaining) their resilience?

    Better food is NOT even close to being the most important foundational necessity for what is going to help these people survive this experience with some sense of hope and motivation for moving forward with their lives.

    As is the case with all the other blogs written by these authors, they discuss the value of nutrition in today’s world ABSTRACTED (without any real social or political critique) from the very real forms of oppression facing humanity, especially those people suffering from all forms of psychiatric oppression.

    Richard

  • Kevin

    A very powerful and well written blog full of many insights, and more reasons why psychiatry and their entire Disease/Drug Based paradigm needs to be abolished.

    I am also saddened that you encountered a therapist who would diagnose you with PTSD and then NEVER ONCE address the very trauma experiences that sent you on this horrific odyssey. Having worked as a therapist for 25 years, I encountered many such people in the field. Many were quite fearful and could not tolerate the discomfort of exploring horrible childhood experiences with another person because they never did the necessary work on themselves around these issues to know how to really help someone else.

    Kevin, you did mention that you had several siblings, and that you “escaped the fate of your brothers.” I am curious to know more about their “fate,” and do you have any contact with them? Can they help validate your childhood trauma? I do know that in many such abusive families there are often many types of “splits” where there is actually very strong feelings of resentment, and almost a kind of competition as to who had it worse.

    I wish you the best and surely hope you continue to write and increase your activism exposing all forms of psychiatric oppression.

    Richard

  • Kindredspirit

    It is clearly beyond the time for you to be a published writer at MIA. This particular comment is filled with the kind of wisdom that should be published and read as an official blog at MIA; you will then be able to reach a far broader audience with your powerful words.

    Your humility is filled with so much strength and honesty that it in no way diminishes the content of your words, but only enhances the power and strength of your narrative. Please consider rewriting this particular comment as an official MIA blog, ASAP.

    Carry on! Richard

  • Steve

    Your last comment is a great summation of some of the important themes in this discussion, and also where we must stand in order to support the millions of victims of sexual trauma.

    I worked as a therapist for 25 years and used the trauma therapy method called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which has not been discussed so far in this particular thread. I believe use of this type of therapy has been subject to unfair criticism to discredit recovered memories of past trauma. I witnessed several therapy sessions where “clients” were able to access details of memories of past trauma experiences, and this helped them to “reprocess” these events in a way that reduced related anxiety, shame, and guilt.

    My experience using this client *centered* (you go where the client wants to go) type therapy method, only validates the fact that memory can be “repressed” or “blocked” because it is too painful or uncomfortable for a person to remember at the present time.

    EMDR can help provide a safe environment for someone to begin to recover “repressed” or “blocked” memories. Some people theorize that former victims will sometimes only begin to access past details when they feel more “safe,” and/or strong enough to endure (and “reprocess”) some of the deeply painful memories.

    Richard

  • Steve

    You said: “I would appreciate it if you are a little more careful in your between-the-lines implications in your “questions” in the future.”

    In this situation it was entirely fair for me to question your use of the phrase “this fiasco.”

    These are not yet provable facts; they are STILL only conjecture. I don’t know enough about the nature and purpose of these labs in China, and other parts of the world, to draw a definite conclusion that these experiments should NEVER be done.

    We do know that scientists in the past kept the smallpox virus in laboratories in order to develop an effective vaccine. This was certainly a great advance for humankind. Sometimes certain risks in science need to be taken in order to make important progress. We need MORE information and analysis to draw definite conclusions on these questions.

    Richard

  • OH says: ” Breggin has also implicated Fauci in the creation of COVID 19.”

    Breggin has ONLY detailed some evidence that Faunci was working with other scientists, including some from China, on pandemic PREVENTION experiments.

    There is NO definitive evidence that these experiments somehow released the Covid 19 virus into the general public. NONE WHATSOEVER!

    This is all pure SPECULATION WITH A POLITICAL AGENDA! And that political agenda by Breggin is DEFENDING the Trump/Pence regime’s MIS-handling of the Covid 19 pandemic that led to several hundred thousand PREVENTABLE deaths.

    I cannot say with any certainty that Covid 19 was not some type of lab experiment gone wrong, BUT it is absolutely wrong, on so many levels, to promote SPECULATIVE TYPE THEORIES as if they are TRUE FACTS.

    Richard

  • Rebel

    You raise many important questions and concerns about Covid vaccines. Some of these questions will not be completely answered until several decades have past.

    HOWEVER, we (and the rest of humanity) are faced with a DECISIVE need to draw certain scientific conclusions NOW, based on the BEST available scientific evidence.

    If we DON’T act now on the BEST available evidence. we will not be able to achieve “herd immunity” and stop the deadly spread of Covid 19. And the more we hesitate, we actually give the spread of mutant strains more time to gain a foot hold in society, THUS PROLONGING THE LONG TERM DANGERS OF THIS VIRUS.

    This is no time to be stuck in “relativism;” a view that we cannot really know and ACT ON the “relative truth” of the moment.

    We simply do not have the time to remain perpetually skeptical or “agnostic” on these scientific questions about the Covid 19 vaccines.

    Sometimes we must act decisively on the BEST available information, and then continue to sum up each and every new fact we gather, as things develop. The best current evidence says that the vaccines ARE “safe and effective.”

    This IS one of those decisive moments in history where difficult decisions must be made despite NOT having ALL the related information.

    Richard

  • THANK YOU KS! You speak the truth so clearly and succinctly.

    There is a lot at stake here, including (most importantly) the very lives of psychiatric victims and survivors.

    In my view, we have completely lost Peter Breggin as a serious writer and activist against psychiatric oppression. He has totally gone “off the rails” and abandoned genuine science when it comes to the Covid 19 pandemic, along with his unfortunate embrace of other dangerous Right Wing Trumpian type perspectives. He is now, sadly, more of a liability than an asset to our movement

    We CANNOT allow that same trajectory to occur to other activists within the anti-psychiatry movement. We are on a “long road” in our fight against psychiatric oppression – this road will be filled with many twists and turns over the years. We are currently being tested, IN REAL TIME, as to our ability to assess genuine science and chart a political course of radical activism that can actually succeed in saving humanity.

    Some people are currently “failing,” (so far) in this “real time” test. We must do our best (at the risk of some discomfort) to stand up for the truth, and for what we know will truly advance the righteous cause of the oppressed.

    “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!”

    Richard

  • OH says:” I doubt that there is anyone seriously calling the virus a “hoax,” so arguing along those lines is what they like to call a “straw man” argument.”

    There are two versions of the “hoax” approach to the Covid 19 pandemic. One is that there is NO Covid 19 virus at all; it was just made up to create fear and hysteria etc.

    The other (more common) version of the “hoax” approach to Covid 19 is that it is NO MORE DANGEROUS than the common flu etc. And that we should seek “herd immunity” through normal activities without ANY drastic measures that might include vaccines and/or shutdowns etc.

    This is the approach that some writers here have taken throughout the many debates within the MIA comment section.

    Some people have actually echoed the essential Trump position that Covid 19 is no more dangerous than the flu AND would just disappear (in spring, fall, winter etc). Some here at MIA have been quoted, that it would “most likely disappear by fall {2020}.”

    Both of these main positions of this version of the “hoax” theory have been proven to be 100% wrong based on statistics and facts, including the horrendous loss of several HUNDRED THOUSAND more deaths since “the fall.”

    Of course everyone should make their own decision on these questions, BUT it is whole other thing to promote unfounded fear of vaccines that may discourage other vulnerable people from taking them, AND continue to dramatically underplay the dangers of Covid 19.

    This is especially true when those espousing this type of “hoax” theory are basing part of their own personal decisions (to avoid the vaccines) on anecdotal evidence and superstition, NOT GENUINE SCIENCE. Such as believing they might have resistance to Covid 19 because they have never had the flu over the past 20 years et, – “cross my fingers.”

    Part of our ability to eventually achieve “herd immunity” in society and diminish the severity of the deadly Covid 19 pandemic, actually INCLUDES a significant proportion of the population taking one of the vaccines.

    We all sometimes say things like “cross my fingers” or “knock on wood” etc. These are common phrases within our culture, BUT they are FAR FROM being scientific. AND they should NOT be the kind of information we use to spread unfounded fear of vaccines OR actually be encouraging others to possibly avoid the Covid 19 vaccine.

    All this is especially true when those people who demand such a high level of science when critiquing and condemning psychiatry and their oppressive Medical Model, seriously LOWER the bar of scientific responsibility when critiquing the Covid 19 pandemic.

    We ALL must seek a HIGH BAR of scientific CONSISTENCY if we want people to follow us on the road to eventually abolishing psychiatry and ending all forms of psychiatric oppression.

    Richard

  • Do you really want to promote fear and doubt about the Covid 19 vaccine that might actually END UP influencing psychiatric survivors to NOT be vaccinated? There is a whole lot at stake in promoting this type of dialogue, with a potential for tragic outcomes for some vulnerable people who are on the fence.

    Again, it is one thing to question the quality of the science around the development of the Covid vaccine, BUT it is a whole other thing to promote unsubstantiated theories that somehow these vaccines are either bad, or not worth the risk of taking. What about the measles, small pox, and polio vaccines?

    Of course Big Pharma and those in power want to maximize profit and yes, keep all their power. BUT they also have a desire and innate drive to STAY ALIVE. Some medicines developed by these institutions and people are actually GOOD and NECESSARY for the survival of our species.

  • “And I will say that since the vaccine was rushed through, without trials, the doctors can’t actually give informed consent. Since they have no information on the safety or efficacy of the vaccine.”

    One can have questions or concerns about the the Covid vaccine, but his is simply a false statement.

    The are several DIFFERENT vaccines that were produced LAST SPRING. The reason why they only RECENTLY began to be administered on a wide basis, is because they went through a period of 9 months (or more) of TRIALS AND TESTING. And YES, they DO have information on safety AND efficacy.

    It is one thing to question the speed and quality of this testing, but please don’t deny its existence.

    Richard

  • Rebel

    I agree that here has long been a “pandemic” of violence, death, and overall oppression for the millions of victims of psychiatry over many decades.

    And I believe this will only continue until we have major systemic type changes in the world. Psychiatry, and their entire paradigm of so-called “treatment,” is just too valuable and necessary to the status quo to be allowed to be abolished, short of a genuine *Revolution* eliminating a profit based type economic and political system.

    And the current pandemic has provided much fertile ground for psychiatry and their Disease/Drug Based Medical Modal, to actually expand their control in the coming period. With increased isolation and levels of anxiety in the world, Big Pharma and psychiatry are lurking like vultures, ready to pounce on a new generation of potential victims. Benzo prescriptions are way up, as just one particular scary example of what dangers lie before us.

    And these new victims will be in addition to all those already lost to Covid in the locked psychiatric facilities where no safety was provided.

    You said: “Much of the suffering is due to the ramifications of these political decisions masquerading as “public health decisions.”

    I hope you are ready to hold accountable the past political leadership (the Trump/Pence regime) in this country who denied the pandemic and virtually took no action to mitigate deaths. Operation “Warp Speed” was just political “capital” that was quickly forgotten as soon as the election was over. This is negligent homicide on a mass scale, leading to several hundred thousand preventable deaths.

    “Public health decisions” have been a mixed bag that have taken place in the ABSENCE of any genuine science or humane compassion emanating from the highest levels of government, and/or guiding a sane approach to this medical catastrophe.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • KS

    As you know, I have deep respect for your past writings on Covid 19. I also agree that it is reasonable to question all the assertions from those in power regarding this pandemic, BUT we must be very careful and responsible how we go about it.

    Covid 19 has taken its deadly toll on many victims of psychiatric oppression, as those past blogs about its rapid spread and lack of protection in many psychiatric facilities (prisons). This will still be the case as we go forward.

    Given the fact that this pandemic will most likely be around (in some form or another) for quite some time in the future, we all will be confronting many ongoing scientific and related political questions in real time. This will be a challenge we cannot avoid.

    Given the level of polarization in today’s society (with a strong pre-civil war type tenor to it), every political movement (including the struggle against psychiatric oppression) will be confronted with difficult questions regarding science and competing narratives in the dissemination of news.

    The proliferation of theories in social media (and elsewhere) that have the word “conspiracy” attached to them, are incredibly disruptive and corrosive to ALL political movements for change.

    We must find a way, RIGHT NOW, to start sorting this out (even at the risk of initially losing some people) or it will come back to haunt us in ways that will seriously hold back and/or destroy righteous political movements. This is why I stressed the dangers of resorting to “pragmatism” in my previous comment.

    There is not much more I can say at this time. I am still concerned and disappointed that others here at MIA don’t share these same concerns at this time.

    KS, thanks for the feedback; I do take your words very seriously.

    Richard

  • As we approach nearly a half million casualties from Covid 19, I am simply amazed at the levels of denial and avoidance of reality related to this pandemic.

    It is NOT hyperbolic to say that with proper attention to genuine KNOWABLE science and appropriate leadership, at least half of these deaths were preventable in the U.S.

    The Covid 19 pandemic is a major scientific and political challenge facing humanity in REAL TIME. This is a test of one’s (individuals and institutions) ability to apply genuine science when there is such enormous stakes at hand for all of humanity.

    Since when do we shrink away from our important moral imperatives because it might somehow create some disagreements within our ranks. Let’s not bow before such a crude form of pragmatism – there is no progress without struggle.

    Richard

  • Oldhead

    You have made some statements about Covid 19, regarding its overall lethality and dangers, that do not match with current credible scientific summations. You are repeating similar type statements that you made in MIA comments last summer, when you predicted that Covid 19 would most likely disappear in the fall.The reality has become quite the opposite, where there is now a massive increase in Covid 19 infections and related deaths. Oldhead, are you able to be self critical about these past statements, and reconsider your depth of understanding regarding the important science related to this pandemic.

    You have also made serious allegations regarding Dr. Fauci and the origins of Covid 19 that have NO verifiable truth to them. Yes, Fauci worked with some Chinese scientists on various types of pandemic PREVENTION efforts, but there is NO credible evidence that this virus is man made, or somehow part of some nefarious form of biological warfare by the Chinese.

    If we hope to be taken serious in our anti-psychiatry activism and writings, we cannot allow ourselves to be accused of irresponsible journalism by repeating unproven theories that quite often have the word “conspiracy” attached to them.This kind of volatile speculation (not based in scientific fact) only serves to undercut a person’s role as an anti-psychiatry activist, or any other type of political activist.

    You said: “… it’s { Covid 19} a virus, with about the same mortality rate as the flu…”
    This is a false statement that dangerously understates the overall risks related to Covid 19 and the necessity for people to practice safe measures. Read the Lancet study linked below for more a more accurate account of Covid 19’s lethality.

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30527-0/fulltext

    You said: “The very idea of a “pre-covid” and “post-covid” world is buying into a hyper-Orwellian agenda taking place at a higher level than individual politicians or administrations. Covid should not be the reference point for history.”

    The Covid 19 pandemic is ONLY, AT BEST, HALF WAY THROUGH ITS DAMAGING HISTORICAL COURSE OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL EFFECTS ON THE PLANET. This pandemic will have even more damaging and extreme polarizing type effects on the underdeveloped world (and under classes in 1st world countries) as it continues its spread across the planet.

    You said: ” “The Fauci” was (and possibly still is) involved in financing joint American-Chinese “frankenstein” projects such as — you guessed it — genetically engineering bat viruses to be transmissible to humans. I kid you not.”

    These are misleading statements (again, not based in verifiable evidence) that not only maligns Fauci’s reputation, but also feeds into a lot of wild type speculation that ends up being anti-science. You have provided no sources for these theories, and project them as accepted fact.

    If you are repeating the far out views of Dr. Peter Breggin (who has unfortunately totally lost his political and scientific compass), then you must also be overlooking his “herd immunity” approach (also Trump’s unspoken approach) for Covid 19, and his rabid promotion of the drug, hydroxycloroquine. Both of these approaches to Covid 19 have proven (on a world scale) to be a disastrous path to follow when dealing with this particular pandemic.

    BTW, I am not without criticisms of Dr. Fauci, who I think overall “enabled” the oppressive leadership of Trump for a much too long of a period. He would have had a much more powerful effect, on promoting science and the truth about Covid, if he had resigned early on, and held his own separate press conferences refuting the criminal approach of the Trump/Pence regime.

    You said: ” Because of the divisive potential I hope to move on to more pressing things, but the above pretty much sums up my attitude on all things covid.”

    Oldhead, it is not a responsible approach (while in the middle of a deadly pandemic) to just toss out a few major pieces of potential disinformation on Covid 19, and then say you want “…move on to more pressing things.”

    These are “life and death” type issues – do you really expect (or want) people to just ignore them and “move on.”

    Covid 19, and ALL the political and scientific debates surrounding the pandemic, is a major “bellwether” for future evaluations of where to place our trust in scientific spokespeople, and other potential political leaders trying to transform the world into a more humane place to live.

    Richard

  • Peter

    This was a great blog that made a very deep scientific connection between the evolution of our species and the unmet needs and distorted practices of modern society.

    HOWEVER, You end this blog with the following recommendations:

    ” First, we must restructure “work.” Challenge and sociality must trump “efficiency.” Second, we must reduce inequality…”
    “Third, we must restructure education. Instead of cramming kids into classrooms to “teach” one curriculum, we must help each child explore natural talents and develop programs to optimize individual growth. Guide education by a conclusion from neuroscience: what we practice, we become.”

    Unfortunately, there is absolutely NO MENTION of the “elephant in the room.” We live in a profit based capitalist/imperialist structured world, where a tiny minority controls the wealth and overall political reigns of society.

    NONE of the necessary changes you propose can actually take place UNLESS AND UNTIL, there are major systemic changes in the social and political structures across the entire planet.

    We are social beings that REQUIRE cooperative and equal social structures to guide and restructure the world (creating conditions for endless challenges and stimulation) on a continuous basis. This CANNOT happen without a transition to a SOCIALIST WORLD on a transitional path to a completely classless society and world. There is simply no other alternative that will save this planet.

    Without these types of worldwide changes and goals, this planet, and its many species, is unfortunately doomed to either climate destruction, and/or an inevitable world war between competing imperialist countries.

    It is so frustrating to read and hear brilliant minds discuss the existential plight of the human condition and then NEVER acknowledge the enormous “elephant in the room.”

    Richard

  • Kindredspirit

    You comment is so true about how the oppressive effect of psychiatry penetrates deep within those who fall victim.

    It makes me think of Matt (who sadly may have taken his own life because of this), and some of the other writers here who have described the allure of going back when times get rough.

    And I agree with OH about the quality of your writing here.

    If we go back to this past summer and fall, your writings on Covid 19 and the importance of legitimate science being followed for very difficult decisions, your courageous stance on these vital questions has proven to be SO TRUE. I hope others who participated in these conversations will review these past dialogues to reassess their own positions on these life and death questions.

    Richard

  • I would say that Phil has a very healthy obsession with the truth, AND a deep determination to eradicate one of the most oppressive institutions on the planet.

    Every one of Philip Hickey’s blogs, exposing the fraudulent nature of psychiatry, simply brings me GREAT JOY whenever I read them.

    Cynicism and negativity serves as a barrier to making significant change in the world. It’s time we all work on seeking out liberating ideology, organization, and decisive political action.

    Richard

  • Phil
    Bravo! For once again, you have used your words and analysis, like a skilled surgical knife, to expose the fraud and harm done by psychiatry.

    You said: “So there are legitimate criticisms of psychiatry. They are “over-diagnosis related to insurance reimbursement”, “over-prescribing” to the exclusion of psychosocial therapies, and “the profit-driven influence of ‘Big Pharma’”.”

    Yes! We cannot underestimate the enormous impact that the profit motive (and the capitalist system it serves) plays when looking at the influence of Big Pharma and its strategic position in the overall U. S. economy.

    Nor can we underestimate how much psychiatry and their entire Disease/Drug based paradigm, serves the function of shifting people’s attention away from all the inherent inequalities and trauma embedded within a class based capitalist system. The “powers that be” want us to believe that all levels of personal and social dysfunction are rooted in biology and so-called genetic based personal flaws.

    Carry on Phil! You are a treasure to all those who seek truth and justice in the world. And I do hope that your medical problems involving past kidney failure have improved, and that somehow you were able to receive a much needed kidney transplant.

    Comradely, Richard

  • It is amazing that this author (who wrote a pretty good analysis of some aspects related to the phenomena of depression) said absolutely NOTHING about the current paradigm of so-called “treatment” that mislabels people with depression, AND promotes the use of toxic drugs on a mass scale.

    This author completely ignores the political and social context for her overall analysis. I am not sure where this huge blind spot originates from, but perhaps it is fear of being condemned by the major institutions (Big Pharma and psychiatry) if she appropriately targeted them for the enormous harm they are causing with DSM labels and the toxic drugging of millions of people.

    Richard

  • Oldhead

    You said: “Is this another reason we’re supposed to hate Trump, for denying people psychiatrists?”

    Are you suggesting there are not another million reasons why we should be truly hating on Trump?

    BTW, need I point out now, that it was Trump and a few other writers here who tragically ignored science and said that the pandemic would disappear in the fall. How’s that working out?

    Richard

  • madmom

    These are very big and profound demands you are making here, AND they are absolutely righteous and scientifically correct.

    But these demands can NEVER be realized under the current profit based capitalist system.

    Psychiatry and the entire Medical Model have spent several hundred billion dollars on PR campaigns brainwashing the public over the past 4 decades. This mind control, combined with Big Pharma profits, runs very deep in its reinforcement of the status quo.

    Psychiatry and all the power it uses as a means of social control in society, is now critically necessary for the preservation of this capitalist system.

    We need major systemic change on a massive scale to end all forms of psychiatric oppression.

    Richard

  • Johanna says:
    “We are too large and complex a society to leave this to the kindness of family or neighbours.”

    Oldhead says:
    “This is a cynical and negative assessment of what people are capable of, and I see the whole idea of “services” as akin to prostitution.”

    I believe we CANNOT simply jump from an oppressive Medical Model in a profit based capitalist system to a system where it’s “just people supporting people.” People would correctly view this as “utopian” type thinking.

    There must be a stage in between where there are people (survivors and non-survivors) who are trained in some type of “service” to help people in serious psychological distress.

    We must view this very similar to (and as a part of) a stage of socialism, where there are still some left over divisions of labor and status differences from the old system, as a TRANSITION to the new goal of a true classless society.

    This transitional period could take many decades. One overall goal of such a society would be to gradually eliminate ALL the various forms of trauma and violence, which is fundamentally rooted in poverty and multiple kinds of class based oppression. All of this trauma and violence is the ultimate source of severe human psychological distress.

    The major difference in THIS new kind of “service” is that people would instead be trained to oppose ALL Medical Model thinking and behavior. AND most importantly, they would know RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING of their “service” that their goal would be to ultimately make their jobs become totally obsolete in society.

    THIS is how we combine both Johanna’s AND Oldhead’s perspective on this vital topic.

    Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!

    Richard

  • Oldhead

    It is a serious matter when we provide links to internet articles and websites. I would hope that you had carefully vetted this source before steering others to possibly immerse themselves into this author’s writings.

    I took over an hour of my time to careful review the internet website (including his Facebook page and other writings) of Jon Rappaport, the author you chose to use in order to promote some of your concerns about government policy on the pandemic.

    What I found was a man who is steeped in bizarre conspiracy theories that are unproven, including a hardcore anti-vaxx analysis, and other far out Right Wing theories of thought control, combined with ultra Libertarian views on individual liberty.

    This man uses all of his conspiracy theories and bizarre forms of fear mongering as a means to SELL his two books called, “Exit From The Matrix” and “Power Outside The Matrix.” These will cost you $250.00. He is also selling his personal advisory capacity. I am highly concerned for anyone that would take this man’s advice on ANY topic of importance.

    I found most of what I read by Jon Rappaport, to be virtually incomprehensible, and clearly out of touch with reality.

    Oldhead, are you also against all vaccines, as this man has described as a dangerous conspiracy?

    Richard

  • Certainly part of the universal trauma response to the the Covid 19 pandemic experience is watching NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE on a mass scale being carried out in real time. The current President and all his cowardly followers in political leadership must bear ultimate responsibility for these tragic losses.

    Many health experts have indicated that 80 to 90 percent of all the Covid 19 deaths could have been prevented with a simple willingness to follow a mask policy and social distancing. This means that over 160,000 deaths COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED.

    The silence in this comment section on these questions is deafening.

    How can we expect people to accept our devastating critique of the dangers and harm done by psychiatry and their Medical Model, when some would be leaders against psychiatric abuses CANNOT consistently apply the scientific method to analyzing the worldwide Covid 19 pandemic???

    Richard

  • H.S.

    This was a well written and heartfelt account of recovery from serious abuse by psychiatry and their entire Medical Model.

    It is inspiring that you are now turning your escape from psychiatric abuse into activism to help save others.

    I have one question to ask about your journey. In the period of time just prior to your first experience of “psychosis,” (and other similar episodes) did you (while being very excited about your dissertation breakthrough) experience any periods of insomnia or reduced sleep cycle.

    I ask this question, because even the most resilient person could experience extreme psychological distress, and/or “psychosis” from even short periods of very little sleep. Some people are more sensitive than others when they have bouts of a short sleep cycle.

    H.S., I wish you the best in your journey and hope you write more for MIA.

    Richard

  • Someone Else

    You said:
    “… given the reality that all “corona” viruses are cold viruses. And Corona19 is not as lethal as the MSM is telling us…. I do think it was pushed to harm Trump…”

    Are you suggesting that Covid 19 is a “hoax” as Trump and his supporters have promoted, and that precautions against its spread are only meant to harm the president?

    You said:
    “But I don’t agree, “when death anxiety is unable to be managed effectively, it can lead to harmful ways of coping with stress, such as gargling bleach to try to avoid becoming infected,” is a bad idea…Since gargling with a concentrate of half water half hydrogen peroxide has been known as a reasonably wise idea, by the dentists, since my dentist grandfather’s time.”

    Are you suggesting that gargling with water and hydrogen peroxide is the equivalent of gargling with, or ingesting bleach into the human body?

    Richard

  • Dylan

    This was a very good exposure of the addiction “treatment” industry in this country. Your “solution” part of the blog left a lot to be desired, and I will try to offer constructive feedback based on my experience.

    I worked for 22 years doing addiction work as an LMHC and CAS in a community “mental health” clinic. I fought all those years against the takeover by the Medical Model with its “disease”/drug based model of so-called “treatment,” which overall does far more harm to people than good.

    There are two major forms of “denial” in the world. One is: “I don’t have a problem,” and the other is: ” I have a problem. but it’s not really that bad.” Minimizing the nature of our problems with the Medical Model and their potential solutions, can become a roadblock to building a movement to end these forms of oppression.

    We are up against a very powerful SYSTEM here. Big Pharma and its colluding partner, psychiatry, have spent several hundred billion dollars (over the past 4 decades) with a major PR campaign promoting the “chemical imbalance” theory, the DSM, and psychiatric drugs as the solution to human angst. They have succeeded in brainwashing the vast majority of our population, including many people who pride themselves in being critical thinkers.

    The future of psychiatry, Big Pharma, and their “treatment” industry are now INSEPARABLE from the future of capitalism. The Medical Model shifts all the blame for society’s problems (which are rooted in an unjust class based profit system) back on so-called individual “genetic” human flaws. This has become a series of “genetic theories of original sin” to shift people’s attention away from the real source of their problems.

    Dylan, I applaud your recommendation of several ALTERNATIVE programs for better care for people with addiction problems. These kind of alternative programs need to be nurtured and expanded as much as possible. BUT we cannot be fooled into thinking that WITHOUT major system change we have any real possibility to dismantle the pervasiveness of the oppressive Medical Model.

    These type of alternative programs are continuously attacked and undermined in multiple ways, and we cannot underestimate the role the media plays (which is dominated by powerful institutions like Big Pharma and psychiatry) in overshadowing these programs with Medical Model propaganda.

    Dylan, I have several blogs here at MIA which further address my views on these questions in much greater depth. And I wrote a specific blog on the manufacture and maintenance of oppression with methadone and suboxone programs – see the link here: https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/04/manufacture-maintenance-oppression-profitable-business/

    I hope you are open to this feedback and will keep writing on these topics. You have much to offer the MIA readers.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Thanks James and Stuart for an interview filled with a boatload of important information to digest regarding the short term and long term risks and toxic effects of SSRI drugs.

    Stuart, I do not want to come off as nitpicking after such an important discussion. But you have clearly stated that the risks of SSRI drugs far outweigh their benfits, and you have been down in the trenches with hundreds of people who have suffered from these mind altering drugs.

    So my question is as follows: why after ALL THIS would you still want to acquiesce with Medical Model thinking and continue to refer to SSRI drugs as, “medicine?”

    Wouldn’t we all better serve potential victims in society, by breaking from the Medical Model and calling SSRI’s what they truly are – a mind altering psychiatric drug.

    And by referring to SSRI’s as “drugs” instead of “medicine,” wouldn’t you be FAR MORE consistent with your perspective on the science and morality of true “informed consent.”

    Richard

  • Oldhead labels my writings as “stoking Covid 19 hysteria,” for urging people to take the pandemic seriously, wear masks, and social distance.

    Since when is someone ‘”stoking hysteria” to acknowledge the danger of a disease that has killed over a 190 thousand people since last February, AND for the past month, 1000 people have died EVERY DAY.

    This is the equivalent of 3 jumbo jets crashing everyday. “Hysteria, you say???”

    Oldhead says:
    “it appears that COVID continues to subside in most of the US, and that any “2nd wave” will be comparatively mild. The US experience pretty much correlates with the European experience in terms of “cases” and deaths, despite constant implications that there is some great disparity.”

    Gee, this forecast sounds eerily similar to someone who said “it will simply disappear, just like a miracle,” and continues to minimize a disease that he actually knew was far more dangerous than the worst kinds of flu.

    I am completely dumbfounded and almost speechless at some of the comments I’ve recently been reading from certain people regarding Covid 19.

    I am afraid that some people have been drinking Peter Breggin’s Kool Aid. Is it time to consider that a former asset to the struggle against psychiatric abuse has now become a major liability?

    I am saddened by these transformations, but shocked into greater motivation to pick up the pace in future battles.

    Richard

  • Steve and Nijinsky

    Steve, you have created a “straw man” argument for the view that you are criticizing here. NOWHERE have I EVER indicated that science has “sides.

    Science is NOT partial to a any “state” or “class” or any other social category in human society. It is an objective experimental process (free from all bias or partiality) to determine the structure and behavior of of various phenomena in the natural world.

    Steve, in your criticism of me somehow being “divisive” by asking people to “choose sides” on certain key issues, you are so far failing to identify a dangerous trend of “agnosticism” running rampant through some of the comments in this blog and other places on MIA and the internet.

    I now “triple down” on my above comment:

    “We DO have to CHOOSE in less than 60 days, whether or not we want Trump’s fascist agenda to continue in this country for another 4 years.”

    “AND we DO have to CHOOSE NOW whether or not we believe that Covid 19 is a real threat to humanity AND whether to wear a mask, social distance, and at some point (when we deem it to be safe) take a Covid 19 vaccine.”

    In this above statement (or anywhere else) where have I said science has “sides,” and how is urging people to take a stand on life and death questions in the world, somehow being “divisive.?”

    Of course we don’t yet know everything (or every nuance) about the nature of the Covid 19 virus or how best to protect humanity from it. BUT WE NOW KNOW ENOUGH LEGITIMATE SCIENCE TO MAKE SOME KEY DECISIONS ABOUT OUR BEHAVIOR.

    Agnosticism (or outright denial) on the questions of whether or not the virus is both REAL and DANGEROUS to humanity, and that MASKS and SOCIAL DISTANCING are necessary as a needed deterrent, can no longer be debated in such a way that it leads to INACTION or DISREGARD on these key questions. Do You agree, Steve?

    As to a vaccine, notice I said in my above quote that we need to act on taking a vaccine when “we deem it to be safe.” At some point in the near future we will have enough LEGITIMATE science to determine, when and if, it is safe to take a vaccine for Covid 19. BUT the question of whether or not most past vaccines (polio, small pox etc.), or the value of vaccines in general, SHOULD NOT and CANNOT be disputed using the scientific method.

    If a safe and effective vaccine is developed soon, and the organized anti-vaxx forces undermine society’s desire and choice to take it, this will cause more deaths and more human suffering. And their efforts to suppress a vaccine’s use MUST BE VIGOROUSLY OPPOSED!

    There is clearly a huge divide (that cuts across class lines) in society based on both ignorance and the related influence of nefarious political agendas on the question of Covid 19 AND the most essential behaviors to effectively combat it.

    For anyone here at MIA who claims some level of scientific and political awareness , THERE IS, INDEED, A “SIDE” TO CHOOSE. Tens of thousands (and perhaps even millions) of human lives may depend on our CHOICE on these questions.

    And remember, there is another powerful and well financed SIDE out there that is working to undermine all our efforts to effectively combat Covid 19. At this point in this battle over the truth on these critical questions, there is a moral imperative to CHOOSE SIDES. Agnosticism and/or “fence sitting” at this scientific and political juncture in history, will only lead to more human deaths and suffering.

    As to the second CHOICE referred to in my above comment: that is, can humanity afford to have four more years of Donald Trump? There is MORE THAN ENOUGH information and knowledge out there as to make a choice on that question.

    If we are unable to drive Trump out of office BEFORE the election, then there is a moral imperative to vote him out of office. The threat of outright fascism cannot be understated here. This is unlike any presidential election in my lifetime in terms of what is at stake here.

    As an anti-capitalist and pro-socialist activist since my early 20’s, I will be voting in my very first presidential election (that is a long discussion). I condemn both the Republican and Democratic parties as being oppressive representatives of the ruling class. But I WILL vote for Biden as VOTE AGAINST TRUMP in this election.

    We can no longer be agnostic or treat our current CHOICES here on Covid 19 or Trump as simply another exercise in “academics.” It is certainly now MORALLY APPROPRIATE to ask people “where do you stand on these two choices?” OR again use the title from the famous union and civil rights song, “WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON!”

    Richard

  • Steve

    I am very surprised that you, also, would actually say my words (on choosing sides) are contributing to “divisiveness.”

    Political activists for important social change have, at certain junctures in history, OFTEN used a version of the phrase “which side are you on.”

    There is even a famous song for social change with that as its title.

    And I am very offended that you would then somehow put me in the same category as George Bush when I used those words. I hope you walk back that comment. Any comparisons to George Bush are defaming and incendiary in this political context.

    When I used the phrase “which side are you on” I was very specifically referring to behavior related to Covid 19 and the presidency of Donald Trump.

    We DO have to CHOOSE in less than 60 days, whether or not we want Trump’s fascist agenda to continue in this country for another 4 years.

    AND we DO have to CHOOSE NOW whether or not we believe that Covid 19 is a real threat to humanity AND whether to wear a mask, social distance, and at some point (when we deem it to be safe) take a Covid 19 vaccine.

    I double down on my above statement; there is no longer room for agnosticism on these questions, especially from those who claim some level of political awareness.

    It IS TIME to choose. There IS ENOUGH information and science out there to make such a choice.

    WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

    Richard

  • Nijinsky

    You have stated that I am “polarizing a discussion” and “…creating factions and riffs and cleavages and inciting divisions….”

    These are some pretty heavy accusations and negative descriptors that you have tagged me with. I have disagreed with some of your positions in this dialogue, but I have never resorted to this kind of language to describe you or your participation here.

    Nijinsky, the reality is that there was already some serious “polarizing” conditions in this country and around the world focused on how to deal with the Covid 19 pandemic. The “riffs,”factions” and “cleavages” have existed for some time. I have created none of this.

    I am NOT “inciting divisions,” because they already existed. I did not cause these divisions, I am merely CHOOSING SIDES on some very serious life and death decisions facing humanity in the coming months. And yes, choosing sides is sometimes very necessary at certain historical junctures in history. And we DO HAVE ENOUGH information at this point to make those decisions.

    Because you have implied that the “jury is out” so to speak on people like Del Bigtree, the Bollingers, and Peter Breggin as it relates to their positions on Covid 19 and support for Trump and his related positions. I did some more research and reading on these people and their positions on key issues. and DEFINITE conclusions can and must be drawn because of the importance of these issues.

    When it comes to Trump, Del Bigtree, the Bollingers, and Peter Breggin, they are CLEARLY Trump defenders AND enablers of the worst kind. Their websites and internet influence reach millions of people, and in today’s world their bad science could result in tens of thousands more deaths if people follow their advice. And this says nothing about their defense of a political leader who is promoting a fascist agenda, which is a far greater threat to humanity in the long run, than even their current positions on the pandemic.

    Del Bigtree (in the video referenced above) called Trump a “hero.” And Breggin and the Bollinger’s position on Covid 19 (and with other code words they use) are lockstep in line with Trump on several medical and political positions.

    The Bollingers who authored the book “The Truth About Cancer”, and who profit from speaking tours and promoting alternative supplements and fringe type treatments, are , indeed, dangerous charlatans. Nijinsky, read this review of their book on cancer which exposes their deceit and manipulation of fact and science. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RZQWNYKKSLVDH/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1401952232

    Nijinsky, you said:
    “…whether the Covid death rate is accurate again, HARPING on that, getting a whole planet obsessed with that, and overlooking more serious issues …all of those people have had to deal with the whole time, again is using Covid media as a coverup to neglect more serious issues. Vaccinating everyone in Africa isn’t going to magically feed people or clean the environment there, nor stop wars for example, which is just ONE area.”

    People WILL NOT be able to address, let alone solve, “more serious issues” in their lives, if they don’t FIRST SURVIVE the Covid 19 pandemic. Yes, i am “harping” on critical life and death questions facing humanity, and i make no apologies for that.

    There is ENOUGH information and truth out there at this time to make critical decisions about a direction to take on Covid 19 AND Donald Trump. And those decisions will affect humanity for years to come.

    These questions can no longer be treated as simply “academic.” There IS ALREADY a very real divide out there, and it IS time to decide. I’ve made my choice – what about you – WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

    Richard

  • Nijinsky and Steve

    You raise some interesting points here, and I am taking them into consideration as to how best to approach this controversial topic in the future.

    To first clarify the use of certain terms: First as to the definition of “conspiracy theory.”

    Wikipedia (which I believe has some merit here) states the following:

    “A conspiracy theory is an explanation for an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful groups, often political in motivation,[2][3] when other explanations are more probable.[4] The term has a pejorative connotation, implying that the appeal to a conspiracy is based on prejudice or insufficient evidence.[5]

    “Conspiracy theories resist falsification and are reinforced by circular reasoning: both evidence against the conspiracy and an absence of evidence for it are re-interpreted as evidence of its truth,[5][6] whereby the conspiracy becomes a matter of faith rather than something that can be proved or disproved.[7”

    This definition makes me conclude that there are, indeed, real “conspiracies” in the world, BUT “conspiracy THEORIES” have taken on a whole different meaning in society. They are theories that are based mainly on *faith* and cannot be proved or disproved (for some people) because of a process of “circular reasoning” that many people employ for different reasons.

    Many writers about “conspiracy theories” argue that the more they are “mocked” and “ridiculed” the more those people who are operating mainly on “faith” (not facts) will double down in their belief of these particular theories.

    Now in general I do believe there is a place for sarcasm (at times) and ridicule for certain nonsensical and extremely harmful ideas in society. But I agree that there are better techniques to use in discussions and debates that are more effective. Many writers on this subject say the best technique to refute a “conspiracy theory,” is to show how it specifically (using facts and data) causes harm in the world.

    So therefore, I will still correctly use the label “conspiracy theory,” at times, to describe certain “dangerous” theories circulating in society, BUT I will avoid using the term “nonsense” in my descriptors. AND I will attempt to show, in the real world (using science and facts), how these “conspiracy theories” are causing great harm to people.

    As to the use of the term “hoax,” I have NOT used that term as critical descriptor. However, I have only pointed out that many conspiracy theorists (and people like Trump) have used that term to discredit the scientists and medical spokespeople who have declared the Covid 19 pandemic as a serious threat to humanity.

    And yes, Nijinsky, we DO need to be careful when challenging the beliefs and thought processes of certain people, especially those people who are (or have in the past)) experienced extreme forms of psychological distress. And yes, there are very real (justifiable) reasons why some people may have certain thoughts that seem odd, or not based on consensus reality, and they must be explored with great respect.

    So while I will definitely take your caution here into consideration in my future writing, I do want to make a distinction between people with very little power or voice in society, and those (like the Bollingers) who publicly form organizations and internet websites (often promoting “for profit” alternative medical treatments).

    These are individuals who have the power and means to influence large numbers of people either for “good” OR very bad results, when it comes to medical treatment, or life and death type advice about the potential dangers of the Covid 19 virus.

    Here, when it involves people like the Bollingers, Del Bigtree, Peter Breggin, Trump and all his medical spokes people etc. etc., we must hold them to a much higher standard. Their words AND theories can literally mean life and death for large numbers of people, and it is fair game (and a moral imperative on our part) to analyze and sharply criticize (and occasionally mock) them when the situation demands such action. And I believe this is one of those times.

    The Covid 19 pandemic is exactly one of these historical moments where we must take dramatic steps to save lives. As much as I distrust ruling class representatives who are asking, and/or, mandating masks and social distancing, in this situation their sound advice cuts across class lines. This would be true (in a similar way) if the world needed to take action against an incoming asteroid that threatened the earth’s extinction.

    Yes, we must make sure they (the ruling classes) don’t use these situations to further consolidate control and power over people, but there are serious existential threats that require universal cooperation on the planet, and I believe this is one of those situations.

    Here again, we also must look at who are the most vulnerable victims of Covid 19 pandemic on the planet. It is people of color, and those who form the under classes in society. It is likely that Covid 19 will devastate countries in Africa and other poor Asian and Latin American countries.

    And Nijinsky, I DO share your concerns about ALL the other problems facing humanity (diet, trauma and other health concerns etc) and how they intersect with the Covid 19 pandemic.

    This is why I have often written here at MIA that the biggest impediment to human progress on the planet is the “for profit” capitalist system. I have even stated that I do not not believe we cannot truly end psychiatry, and all forms of psychiatric abuse, until we move on to a socialist type system in the world.

    Steve and Nijinsky, I have learned from this discussion. The bottom line to my current thoughts are as follows:

    1) The Covid 19 pandemic is real, and unprecedented efforts must be taken planet wide to save lives.

    2) Efforts to combat the pandemic cuts across class lines. People should be wary of those in power in these times, but NOT hesitate to follow medical and political advice (even from people we would normally distrust) when it can truly be proven to save lives.

    3) People in power, and organizations that declare the Covid 19 pandemic a “hoax,” or discourage safety measures that could save thousands (and perhaps millions) of lives should be sharply criticized and debunked, using science and facts to show how this will cause great harm and suffering to humanity.

    4) While we must avoid turning every discussion here at MIA into a Covid 19 debate, we CANNOT wall off this pandemic threat to humanity from the vital issues we face when it comes to the oppressive Medical Model. These issues do insect on many levels, and we must find the right “balance” for how to appropriately draw the very real links between these issues.

    5) i think we all agree that *real* science is under attack in society. MIA’s mission includes upholding and fighting for *real* SCIENCE and SOCIAL JUSTICE in the world. We cannot just fight vigorously over HERE against pseudo-science in the Medical Model, and, at the same time, let PSEUDO-SCIENCE and related conspiracy theories run rampant in other parts of society. If we build a wall separating these two different (but connected) arenas we will hopelessly FAIL at our mission to end all forms of psychiatric abuse.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Nijinsky

    My response to you was NOT any kind of criticism of your positions here at MIA. In fact, I took the time to respond to you because of my past respect for your contributions here at MIA going way back to when you were a major participant in a high level of discussion under a blog I authored on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

    My response was focused on trying DEFEND my use of certain negative descriptors of what I view to be certain dangerous distortions of science and related political trends that seem to be spreading on the internet.

    I only chose to state my overall positions on psychiatry and capitalism to provide more info and context (if you were somehow not previously aware of them) as to where I’m coming from, and the prism from which I view things in the world.

    I agree that we can learn things from many alternative perspectives on health care, even those we may choose to ultimately reject for ourselves. And yes, I often learn the most when I read quite polarized perspectives on various topics. And yes, I may choose to retain a single nugget or two from a theoretical perspective that I overall strongly disagree with, and believe to be scientifically wrong.

    However, there does come a time when actual scientific theories will be put to the test in the real world, and dire (life and death) circumstance, such as a dangerous pandemic, demands a specific course of action be taken to save lives.

    It is during these times that we must do our best to make the most decisive decisions based on the best science available, and take actions that will benefit all of humanity on our entire planet.

    In an attempt to go back to some of the key aspects for why I chose to use some strong negative descriptors for some of “Elan’s” comments and links that he promoted, I would like to focus on a few key questions. And Nijinsky, these questions are not directed only to you, but to all others in this discussion,

    When is it appropriate (if ever) to draw a conclusion that a so-called scientific theory is “nonsense” and “dangerous” and/or a “conspiracy theory?”

    Is it fair to be highly alarmed and use negative descriptors towards authors and theories that promote, as fact, that only 6000 people have died in the U.S. from Covid 19?

    Is it fair to be highly alarmed and use negative type descriptors towards those who would make key (possibly life and death) political and medical decisions about mask wearing, social gatherings, and the means by which we achieve “herd immunity” in society, BASED on the theory that only 6000 people have died from Covid 19 , and that the dangerous prognostications related to Covid 19 might be,in fact, a “hoax?”

    Richard

  • Elan

    Thanks for answering the question.

    You said: “Conspiracy theories aren’t theories when they are true.”

    Yes, you are correct that there are, indeed, some real conspiracies in the world, or at the very least, major forms of collusion between very dangerous institutions. This is certainly true when looking at psychiatry and Big Pharma, and also the FDA’s connection to the Medical Model.

    BUT, Elan, you posted a link that promotes the theory that ONLY 6000 people have died from Covid 19 in the U.S.

    Do you want to stand by that figure as representing true science?

    Do you not see the potential harm in promoting that statistic if, indeed, it is wildly inaccurate from the actual number of 185,000 people, or more dying?

    How can I take your other comments seriously at MIA, if you won’t retract your promotion of the link that grossly minimizes the medical dangers and harm done by the Covid 19 pandemic?

    Richard

  • Nijinsky

    If you read some of my past blogs and comments, you will know clearly that I am a committed anti-psychiatry and anti-capitalist activist.

    I also believe that the FDA is a thoroughly corrupt institution, and the CDC is allowing its mission and science to be negatively influenced and swayed by the Trump political agenda.

    I believe I have a very healthy skepticism and critical approach to all of western medicine,especially based on the fact that it takes place within a for profit capitalist system.

    In my lifetime, I have had 3 different types of cancer, and during one of those cancers I had 2 rounds of chemo. And believe me, I read every science article and journal available before I decided on my course of treatment.

    I, also, take supplements and believe there is a role for certain (well vetted) alternative forms of medicine and treatment.

    I stand by my negative descriptors within the above comments. I could never EVER trust any alternative medical advocates like the Bollingers, who wrote the article that allegedly states that way under 10 thousand people died of Covid 19. Is this not another way of calling the Covid 19 pandemic a “hoax?”

    And we do know what happened to Steve Jobs (the Apple creator) when he sought alternative medical treatment for (early stage) pancreatic cancer, and then seriously delayed surgery and possible chemo therapy to treat his cancer.

    Given the oppressive system we live within at this time in history, we must carefully evaluate ALL the science being promoted in society. Some of the science (and the scientists who create the studies) is very legitimate and carried out with integrity and great purpose, AND it should be believed and followed in the real world.

    Of course, other science and scientists cannot be trusted and should not be followed. But we ALL must VERY carefully siphon our way through this morass. And this requires much work and study on our part.

    We should all hesitate to jump on any political bandwagon that appears to have, on its surface, an anti-system cover, but when looked at more closely is serving some type of reactionary political agenda.

    The link referenced above by “Elan,” is not only pure nonsense when it comes to truth seeking, but highly dangerous in the middle of a serous pandemic. People will, and have died because they followed incorrect science related to the Covid 19 pandemic.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Conspiracy Theory Alert!

    I watched parts of the video posted by “Elan.” This is pure conspiracy theory nonsense that basically promotes the view that Covid 19 is a “hoax.” It is in its disgusting essence, just more pro Trump propaganda that supports an anti-science and politically fascist agenda. These are very dangerous theories that have very real world consequences.

    Elan is posting many comments here at MIA that are glorifying the anti-vacine movement leader Del Bigtree. He is neither a doctor or a scientist, but rather a dangerous demagogue who is now making lots of money (on speaking tours) stoking the flames of every possible conspiracy theory related to the Covid 19 pandemic.

    Part of Mad in America’s mission is to distinguish real science from pseudo-science, especially as it relates to today’s Medical Model for “mental health.” It requires a serious effort on our part to sort through all the vast amount of scientific questions in society and determine real truth from falsehood. Sometimes this is not an easy process . It is grossly irresponsible for people to advance conspiracy theories with NO substantial science to back up these wild claims.

    Richard

  • I_e_cox

    You said: ” Do we really need the incentive of high profits to create good medicines?”

    I believe there are tens of thousands of scientists (and young people who want to be scientists) who are purely motivated by the wonderment of science and discovery, AND definitely want their scientific creations to benefit humanity.

    The profit motive actually distorts and corrupts science in ways that that seriously thwarts human efforts to advance our understanding of the world. Billions of dollars every year are spent researching and creating drugs that have no benefit for humanity, and are actually showing evidence of harmful effects.

    Because Big Pharma CEO’s are purely motivated by the bottom line of profit (otherwise their job for the coming year is in jeopardy), they will do whatever it takes to continue promoting and producing certain drugs despite early knowledge that their initial investment was a complete failure.

    Image how totally unleashed young scientists would be if this entire process was driven by a desire to make the world a safer and better place. Drug creations that did not work, or were unsafe, would be quickly abandoned, and all investment of time and money would be redirected in a different direction.

    Richard

  • Bob, well done!

    Thanks for this well researched and powerful exposure of the FDA and its incestuous connections to Big Pharma. All of which leads to an untold number of human casualties and an enormous amount of physical and psychological harm to millions of people.

    It is difficult to decide which quote from this exposure to highlight, because it is packed with so many indictments of a thoroughly corrupt system at every level.

    This is one quote that stands out:

    “All of this served to corrupt the FDA. In a 2006 survey of FDA scientists, one-fifth responded that they had “been asked, for non-scientific reasons, to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information or their conclusions in an FDA scientific document.” Forty percent said they feared retaliation for voicing safety concerns in public.”

    It is safe to assume (due to the issue of fear of retaliation) that the actual numbers are MUCH HIGHER when it come to direct efforts by Big Pharma to corrupt the research process into most drug approvals.

    And when you look at the hundreds of billions of dollars that are at stake in all these transactions (with the multitudes of mergers and corporate buy outs, along with the swapping of jobs between pharma and the FDA), we must ask the question that is the one immense “elephant in the room” that simply cannot be ignored:

    Given the pervasiveness of the capitalist profit incentive in almost every aspect and transaction affecting the scientific process of drug approvals, is it even conceivable that you could EVER have a fair AND safe approval process within a profit based capitalist system?

    Obviously, ALL such drug research and approval needs to be completely INDEPENDENT from the marketplace. But is this type of reform really possible within a capitalist based system given the pervasiveness of the influence of the profit motive and its connection to the corruption process?

    I say the answer is a resounding, NO! The System will tolerate these type of political exposures in the “market place of ideas” as long as it doesn’t FUNDAMENTALLY challenge the continuation of the status quo.

    While these type of political exposure are incredibly valuable to educate people and rally forces to oppose this blatant type of death causing corruption, there is now a clear MORAL IMPERATIVE that we all have in the growing political crises facing humanity at this junction in human history.

    That moral imperative REQUIRES US to always include some associative exposure of the capitalist profit motive and it pervasive NEGATIVE influence on every human transaction in all realms of society, especially as it affects both science and medicine.

    To do anything less, is to fail our moral obligation to speak the truth, and face the actual systemic impediments to all human progress. “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!”

    Carry on, Bob!

  • Sam

    Thanks for the response.

    I was mainly referring to the way Oldhead chose to describe this group. He said:

    “I repeat, to construe these two articles as anti-psychiatry or abolitionist in any way makes a mockery of what survivor-based AP organizing seeks to achieve.”

    I believe this to be a grossly unfair way to describe this group. And this approach in no way helps us understand who are our real friends and enemies in this world, let alone how to find ways to unite people.

    Richard

  • Oldhead said:

    “…but you don’t question why we would even try to alter the immune systems we are borne with, which have more innate knowledge about protecting us than scientists may ever acquire.”

    Is this not the essence of an anti-science position relative to Covid 19 vaccines and other medical treatments?

    I ask: why did humanity develop a polio vaccine or a vaccine for smallpox, or various types of cancer treatments etc.etc.?

    In these medical situations, apparently the “innate knowledge” of the human immune system was not up to the task of defending us against these diseases, and the power of human developed science was necessary.

    Richard

  • Peter Breggin may have made a contribution to exposing the dangers of the Medical Model over several decades, but I would NEVER follow ANY of his political advice, or ANY of his medical advice related to Covid 19.

    Peter Breggin has become a shrill for the Trump/Pence regime in promoting their cold hearted anti-science approach to the Covid pandemic.

    Here is just one quote from his website about temporarily closing down the U.S. economy to save lives:

    “We ask, “So what?” Was there ever any doubt that tens of millions—not a mere hundred thousand a day—would contract this highly infectious disease that mercifully rarely does serious harm to anyone but the elderly and immune compromised? This is clearly a case of the Deep State against America and our nation’s vigorous attempts to quickly recover from the draconian COVID-19 lockdown of the spring of 2020.”

    Everyone, listen up! Don’t forget that Peter Breggin took a major political turn to the Right Wing following 9/11. He was a frequent guest on the nationally syndicated radio talk show hosted by Michael Savage. Michael Savage is one of the most vile promoters of fascism and racism on the radio airways.

    Let’s not forget that Scientology is capable of coming up with a few descent exposures of psychiatry and psychiatric abuse, but who really wants to follow ANY other parts of their belief system?

    Richard

  • I am glad that Kindred Spirit is angry and upset at some of the dangerous thinking being spewed out in this comment section.

    Kindred Spirit, I support your position here 100%.

    I am astonished and deeply saddened to think that such science-denying propaganda has made so many inroads among people I would have never thought would fall for such dangerous nonsense.

    Richard

  • Oldhead

    You said:

    “All any of us can do is speculate about how the next few months will turn out, but I believe we will be pleasantly surprised, except for those who have a motive in keeping the fear level up.”

    This quote is unfortunately very similar to the essence of Trump’s anti-science and wishful thinking approach to the pandemic. And we sadly see where this has led to tens of thousands of more deaths in this country. And this will only get WORSE if he is not removed from power.

    Where is the science to back up your view that we will be “pleasantly surprised” in the coming months?

    And who are you saying “…want to keep the fear level up.”

    Fear is an entirely appropriate response to Covid 19.

    And those people not wearing masks are exhibiting the worst kind of stupidity (seemingly endemic to the U.S.), when it is so viciously combined with the arrogance of American national chauvinism.

    This stubborn promotion of (an adherence to) an anti-science way of thinking, and the fear mongering towards people of color and those who speak other languages, is just more of the growing fascist takeover of the Trump/Pence regime.

    Richard

  • Sam

    Yes, there is some lack of clarity and contradictions in their writings, but let’s look at the sentences you have the most issues with.

    “The abolition of psychiatry does not mean that no one is allowed to identify with psychiatric diagnoses”

    Here, I do NOT believe they are supporting the DSM. I think they recognize that (in the immediate aftermath of a post psychiatry world) some people will still choose (perhaps for a period of time) to identify as, let’s say, “bi-polar.” And that it would be incorrect to CONDEMN them for this. It will probably take many decades to completely root out the damage done by the pervasiveness of Medical Model thinking. After all, they have literally spent several hundred billion dollars in the world’s single greatest PR campaign regarding the hoax of “chemical imbalances,” DSM diagnoses, and other Medical Model propaganda.

    Even now we have some people who are quite critical of the Medical Model who still want to hang on to, or “own” in a new way, some DSM diagnosis. There have been personal stories like this published at MIA where people try to turn a DSM diagnosis into some type of “new” thing. Of course, I’m with you and believe this language must be thoroughly exposed and (over time) completely rooted out in our society.

    Now let’s look at the other quotes you had the most issues with:

    ” We are not anti-medication, and do not advocate people stop taking medications that are useful to them.
    We believe, however, that the creation and evolution of psych medications could feasibly be taken over by post-psychiatric entities that recognize/build upon the small wisdom that has incidentally come out of this violent structure.”

    I believe there main point here is that people SHOULD NOT be made to feel LESS THAN because they still think they need or depend on a psych drugs to cope with a very stressful and oppressive world. It will probably take several decades in a post psychiatry world to slowly root out people’s dependency on these type of drugs.

    And we cannot forget that there are MAJOR withdrawal issues with coming off of these drugs, and it can sometimes take people several years to be successful in totally becoming drug free. We must have compassion and support for people going through these difficult struggles, not ever fall into some type of “pill shaming” them.

    And, in particular, the phrase “…post-psychiatric entities that recognize/build upon the small wisdom that has incidentally come out of this violent structure.”

    Here they are clearly describing the Medical Model and psychiatry as a “violent structure,” BUT indicating that even violent structures or oppressive institutions can by “accident” or “incidentally” create something that may have a useful, or helpful, purpose for some people. Here I am thinking that they might be referring to the creation and use of so-called “anti-psychotic” drugs, or perhaps, even Benzos.

    “Anti-psychotic drugs” for a small sample of people can be helpful as a very short term aid for some one experiencing an extreme psychological crisis. The same could be said for a very brief use of a drug like a benzodiazepine, when some one is experiencing very intense and overwhelming emotions, and are totally unable to relax and go to sleep. Even after psychiatry and the Medical Model is abolished, along with capitalist system that created and sustains these institutions, these type of drugs may have a very selective use in rare situations.

    Obviously, we know the long term use of these drugs are quite harmful on many physical and psychological levels. And psychiatry and their Medical Model must be condemned, organized against, and ultimately abolished for crimes related to the prolific prescribing of these drugs around the world.

    So how I interpret their use of the word “wisdom,” is that even out of something very violent and oppressive occasionally in history a tiny particle of “wisdom” is learned that may be useful for future generations. Now, I would probably choose to use different phrases and terminology to make these type of points in analyzing the aftermath of a world oppressed by psychiatry, but there is NOTHING intrinsically wrong with the points this group is making.

    AND MOST DEFINITELY, there is NO REASON to denigrate or condemn this group for the heart of their message and their purpose for organizing against the Medical Model. We should support this group and reach out to them for further dialogue and opportunities to unite in our common struggle against psychiatry and the oppressive Medical Model.

    Richard

  • Oldhead states: “I repeat, to construe these two articles as anti-psychiatry or abolitionist in any way makes a mockery of what survivor-based AP organizing seeks to achieve. The “peer” industry is NOT the anti-psychiatry movement.”

    I would repeat (from my above comment):

    “To denigrate or condemn this group is a fundamental error in political orientation.

    “This group in a very positive way puts the struggle against psychiatry and psychiatric oppression in the context of the history of capitalism and imperialism, AND links its history to slavery, racial oppression, and the prison system.”

    Shouldn’t every effort be made to UNITE with this group of anti-psychiatry activists, while also struggling with some of their “peer” based language?

    Should we not have a fundamental orientation of “unite all who can be united” as an organizing approach to building a movement against psychiatric oppression?

    And when important political differences emerge in discussions in the MIA comment section, why is it now appropriate to SUDDENLY advocate for those discussions to somehow continue in some PRIVATE forum?

    Richard

  • Oldhead stated the following:

    “Richard knows he as a professional has no business trying to dictate how AP survivors conduct their politics. His comments also show why it is necessary for survivors to have their own AP organizations based on their own experiences.”

    The comment section at MIA is meant to have important dialogue around critical questions confronting ALL of us as it pertains to the Medical Model and its connection to an increasingly chaotic and oppressive world.

    Oldhead chooses to now emphasize the contradictions between survivors and professionals as a way to avoid and cut off having principled dialogue over how to evaluate an important emerging anti-psychiatry group on college campuses.

    Ironically enough here, I am the one who is DEFENDING an important SURVIVOR based organization against unfair and inaccurate criticism.

    Long before I became a counselor in a community based “mental health” clinic, I was an an anti-capitalist revolutionary activist. For several decades I fought against psychiatry’s Medical Model takeover of a community support system.

    Psychiatry and their Medical Model is now a major pillar propping up and enforcing an oppressive class based capitalist system. The struggle against psychiatry and their Medical Model (LED by psych survivors) is a critically important conduit of resistance and activism against capitalist oppression.

    EVERYONE (survivor and non-survivor) should be intensely invested and concerned about advancing the cause against psychiatry and all forms of psychiatric oppression.

    Richard

  • Sam

    You said: “Yes, people can take the psych drugs. But what are they made for? That “mental illness”? Or what words to we insert for those who choose. Can they also choose their own descriptors/dagnosis of why they chose? Or does the guy in the white coat give his invented garble.”

    Yes, I believe it is necessary and appropriate to challenge the use of all Medical Model language, and especially the use of DSM diagnoses. But we also need to recognize and support the core arguments and essence of certain emerging political organizations, especially when they correctly combine an anti-psychiatry and anti-capitalist critique.

    Richard

  • And just clarify my above point about psych drugs and people’s right to use them if they choose to:

    while they are mind altering substances, they are some of the most dangerous mind altering substances available for human consumption. In most cases they are toxic to the human body and brain function, and have major complications with withdrawal.

    And while some people MAY possibly achieve some very short term benefit, there is no scientific evidence that they work in the ways that Big Pharma advertises them with their hundreds of billions of dollars of PR propaganda. And these drugs have documented evidence of very negative long term consequences.

    Richard

  • Sam

    Yes, you are right in what you are saying.

    We should never call psych drugs “medications” because this will only validate the unscientific and oppressive Medical Model that this terminology reinforces.

    Psych drugs are nothing more than mind altering substances, just like pot and other street drugs.

    This does not mean they should never be used, or that that they might not provide some type of short term positive effect on someone’s psychological distress. However, we must be clear that they ARE NOT “medicating” some type of brain “disease” or “disorder.”

    It is quite fine that people raised questions about some of the language used by the Project LENS group, but why trash the central core of their very radical critique of psychiatry and capitalist society?

    Richard

  • Oldhead and others

    “Though psychiatry is a fundamentally violent system, there are some psychiatric drugs that are effective for some folks (though the structural, cultural trauma creating distressed manifestations of neurodivergence needs to be prioritized). We are not anti-medication, and do not advocate people stop taking medications that are useful to them. We believe, however, that the creation and evolution of psych medications could feasibly be taken over by post-psychiatric entities that recognize/build upon the small wisdom that has incidentally come out of this violent structure.”

    You said the following about the above statement: “This is NOT an “abolitionist” position, or even an anti-psychiatry position, it is a pro-Pharma position.”

    There is nothing fundamentally “pro-pharma” or anti-abolitionist in their above statement.

    People taking psych drugs should have a RIGHT to continue taking them if they choose. And some people DO report some benefits from taking them, especially in the short term. AND even though the fundamental history of the development and use of these drugs has been oppressive, the fact that they might have some very selective use in the future, does NOT mean that this group is supporting the continuation of psychiatric oppression.

    This group, Project LENS (I think that is their name), is a very positive group that should be SUPPORTED as part of the anti-psychiatry trend. There are some of their choices of language regarding “peers” and other choices of things to emphasize that I might quibble with, but this group MUST and SHOULD be supported.

    To denigrate or condemn this group is a fundamental error in political orientation.

    This group in a very positive way puts the struggle against psychiatry and psychiatric oppression in the context of the history of capitalism and imperialism, AND links its history to slavery, racial oppression, and the prison system.

    An anti-psychiatry movement CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be built in a cocoon, separate from the social and political realities facing people in today’s world. Psychiatry, in today’s world, is inseparable from the profit based capitalist system, and the future and destiny of these two institutional entities are clearly intertwined.

    To downplay or avoid this reality would be a huge political mistake, and would hold us back from advancing our cause against all forms of psychiatric oppression.

    Richard

  • Patrick

    This was a very good blog contribution to MIA, on a very important topic of what I refer to as “genetic theories of original sin.” That is a phrase originated by the famous sociologist, Ashley Montagu.

    I have a few issues on which I would like to challenge you, if you you are open to critical feedback.

    You said: “The only correlation they found was with a diagnostic category they called “schizophreniform disorders,” an ill-defined grab-bag of complaints invented solely for the purposes of the study.”

    Why do you believe it is correct to put in quotations, “schizophreniform disorders,” but yet you use the terms “schizophrenia” and “mental illness” WITHOUT quotations. Wouldn’t your critical phrase “an ill-defined grab-bag of complaints invented solely for the purposes of the study.” apply to those equally as oppressive Medical Model kinds of terminology which ALSO have NO legitimate scientific basis?

    And in your above reply (in the comment section) you use the phrase in my emphasized caps “Sure, people vary in their SUSCEPTIBILITY TO TRAUMA, and hereditary factors no doubt play a role in that.”

    Isn’t it true that trauma is an “equal opportunity” experience, that is, no one invites it to happen because of some so-called genetic predisposition. This kind of concept could potentially take us down a rabbit hole of victims “attracting” and somehow being responsible for their own trauma.

    Are you not really speaking here about someone’s REACTION to trauma experiences and the possible genetic susceptibility to a more severe chain of negative outcomes? And even this type of so-called genetic predisposition is extremely difficult to examine in a valid scientific way, aside from the fact that it is a total waste of human resources and time.

    I often use the following analogy: what if someone were to kidnap and torture you and me for many hours, and you end up (in your mind) “splitting off” into some realm of “psychosis” after 22 hours of torture and I “split off” after 19 hours of torture. Why should society be spending billions of dollars trying to determine why there was a 3 hour difference between you and me “splitting off.” Wouldn’t it be more wise and economical to find out why torture was going on in the first place, and then find a way to end it?

    Clearly I’m raising a rhetorical question here to emphasize the point that “genetic theories of original sin” are being use by the “powers that be” to avoid ANY critical analysis of the inherently *sick* societies we live in. They would much rather have us focus on some set of so-called inherent genetic human flaws, rather than challenge (and dismantle) systemic oppression.

    Richard

  • Rose

    Great blog!

    Did any one of these dozen psychiatrists ever ask you about events in your current life or past that might be causing the anxiety, or did they all just quickly diagnose and drug you?

    Your story once again reaffirms just how oppressive the Medical Model is in today’s world

    Since you play guitar and sing songs, check out my music video “Benzo Blue.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYuhNEn2OKw

    Many benzo survivors have found it to be cathartic in a good way. All the best in your journey’

    Richard

  • Rachel777

    You have been reading our comments (myself and Oldhead’s) for several years now.Thanks for validating that we are neither guilty of “bullying” or “tyranny” at MIA.

    I don’t believe this discussion was taken “personally” by any particular person, but rather there are “political” ways to avoid very difficult, but vitally important historical questions about socialist revolution.

    Richard

  • To be dismissive of the importance of the lessons of the Russian and Chinese revolutions, can be troubling and problematic when trying develop strategies for a new round of socialist type revolutions.

    And to avoid using the word and concept of “communism” could potentially lead to repeating the same errors of past revolutions where some leaders chose to STOP the progress towards a truly classless society, and try remain ONLY in the socialist stage.

    “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!”

    Richard

  • Oldhead is absolutely correct here.

    Socialism is a transitory stage between capitalism and communism. Communism is, by definition, a classless society which would require many generations of struggle and education advancing to full equality between all segments within society.

    By definition “socialism” still contains many of the “birthmarks” of the old order of things, including all the remnants of a class based system. You CANNOT immediately create a true classless society overnight.

    To make a principle of avoiding the term “communism” and thus remaining in the transitory stage of socialism, is a recipe for defeat, and this is exactly one of the reasons that prior attempts at socialist revolutions actually failed.

    Susan makes the following statement in her last comment:

    “One reason why the American left is so weak is because of internecine fighting that builds nothing.”

    This statement is not true and avoids the reality that almost the entire Left made fatal political line errors in summing up the positive and negative aspects of the previous attempts at socialist revolution in Russia and China.These are exactly the important questions Susan has avoided in these discussions at MIA.

    These revolutions failed due to external pressures from capitalist countries AND internal errors of aborting the on-going progress towards slowly eliminating the class based “birthmarks” from the old order. That is, there were so-called leaders WITHIN the communist parties who wanted to retain the old class based privileges and short circuit the progress towards a truly classless society.

    These so-called communist leaders ended up engineering Right Wing coups within these genuine socialist countries, REVERSING the progress towards a classless society.

    This is something that MAO wrote extensively about in his latter years before his death in 1977. He launched the Cultural Revolution, because he knew that Right Wing elements within communist party had gained in strength. And sure enough, upon his death in 1977 a Right Wing coup occurred, and the genuine Left within the Party, including Mao’s wife, were arrested.

    Very quickly following this Right Wing coup, socialist institutions within the Chinese society were dismantled and China was turned into a raging capitalist country seeking to compete with all the Western powers.

    Failure to correctly understand the lessons of the past dooms us to repeat them in the future. Interestingly enough, the American communist, Bob Avakian, who Susan totally dismissed as a “top down leader,” was one of the very first communist leaders on the planet, who CORRECTLY summed up that the Chinese revolution had been reversed.

    I*ve have not seen any attempt at someone being self-critical about using the term ”bullying” to describe myself and Oldhead. Now I am reading a comment that suggests we are instead being “tyrannical.”
    What else could the following statement be trying to say:
    “We must give everyone the room to choose how, when, and with whom they share their thoughts. Anything less is TYRANNY [my emphasis], and we have more than enough of that already.”

    I still hope that others following this discussion will engage on these important question of making genuine systemic change in the world, and finding the best strategies for doing so. While methods of communication within the Left are important, we can NEVER minimize or underestimate the absolute importance of having a correct political line and summation of past attempts at revolution.

    And to label people who want to have such a discussion as “bulling,” is counter productive and will move us AWAY from getting closer to making real systemic change in the world.

    Richard

  • And I will add the following point.

    Mad in America (MIA) has a pretty strict policy on maintaining “civil discourse” within its comment section of each and every blog. This is a policy I support and make every attempt to follow.

    Susan, for you to accuse myself and Oldhead of “bullying” (which I do not believe can be proven or defended) is to be implicitly criticizing the MIA moderators of tolerating “bullying” in the MIA comment section.

    We live in a world today where a fascist type president (Trump) is often (rightly) accused of “bullying” to promote a vicious Right Wing agenda. Susan, you must know the true power of the words you have chosen to use in labeling our legitimate questioning as a form of “bullying.”

    I believe the MIA moderators saw our comments and questions, rightfully, as a legitimate part of the political discourse on such hugely prescient issues of major “system change” in the world.

    Susan, a major component of being a true socialist/communist revolutionary leader in the world, is to engage in the process of criticism/self-criticism. Are you prepared to accept the “self-criticism” in this particular discussion?

    Richard

  • Susan

    Rather than continue what could have been a very necessary and fruitful discussion about the way forward for humanity, YOU have now become the person who has chosen to throw around very highly charged language and labels to disparage our attempts to seek out a deeper understanding of the historical and political essence of your outlook on socialist revolution.

    You have just labeled our attempts at discussion as follows:

    “…your responses to my comments display the kind of negative tone that turns people off to discussions about socialism.”

    “… I answered and was resoundingly criticized… I recognize bullying when I encounter it.”

    “I was hounded to elaborate my views…”

    “…pissing contests over who is right do not clarify; they alienate. This is a key difference between top-down socialists, who claim a monopoly on what is right…”

    If you remember, I FIRST asked you a simple question about what socialist trend you aligned yourself with, and if you were aware of the contributions of Bob Avakian towards advancing socialist/communist theory. It was then YOUR four sentence response to this question that contained the essence of what could be described as a highly “negative tone.” or perhaps more accurately, a highly “negative dismissal.”

    Susan, in just those four sentences you totally dismissed the five and a half decades of Bob Avakian’s contributions to socialist/communist theory and practice, AND you NEGATIVELY dismissed the historical accomplishments and sacrifices of hundreds of millions of people (in Russia and China) engaged in this planet’s FIRST attempts (warts and all) at socialist revolution.

    Why is it so surprising that we might choose to CHALLENGE some of these highly negative dismissals of very important people and historical events. And when we questioned (and asked for clarification) of some of your terminology such “top down leadership” and “managerial class.” and your avoidance of the word “communism,” you are now accusing us of engaging in “pissing contests” and “bullying.”

    Given the extremely high stakes in a very volatile world where there is such extreme poverty, threats of world war, climate destruction, racial upheaval. and a worldwide health crisis (all things, Susan, that you have highlighted in your own writings). the issue of political strategies for a massive systemic change (socialist revolution) is a LIFE AND DEATH type discussion. It is a “life and death” type discussion affecting the future for several billion people on this planet.

    Anyone truly serious about fighting to transform an oppressive capitalist/imperialist world to a socialist one, would be MORE than happy AND WILLING to engage in answering and discussing a few pointed questions about political strategy and how best to sum up previous historical attempts at revolution.

    Richard

  • Snead

    Great blog and powerful story of discovery and redemption.

    I think history will reveal that most experiences with some form of “psychosis” is connected to childhood trauma, especially sexual abuse.

    As you were telling your story of very elevated type feelings when you first began to come to terms with your trauma history (just prior to be hospitalized), you did not mention your sleep pattern. But I would guess that these elevated type feelings were most likely leading to periods of very little sleep. This can become one of the primary reasons for anyone (trauma history or not) to lose touch with consensus reality. And then once in the hands of today’s Medical Model (disease/drug based), things can quickly spin out of control in a very bad direction, and go down rabbit hole of oppressive “treatment.”

    And think about this for a moment, is it really that unusual (given the power of religion in society) for someone to believe they may be the New Messiah when coming to terms with profound sexual abuse trauma. In this situation one becomes deeply aware of how they were the focus of such horrible treatment on earth, that perhaps their own suffering might be that which saves others from such treatment – hence the connection to Jesus “dying and being resurrected for all our “sins.”

    Interestingly enough, the whole religious concept of “sin” is actually one of society’s deep sources of shame and guilt that creates powerful levels of stress and self hatred in the world. Which actually then becomes an initiating source of a desire to move away from consensus reality for some people being push over the edge by these overwhelming emotional feelings.

    And my final thought, is that sometimes analyzing and fighting back against the Medical Model that causes so much harm and pain for people, can also be very therapeutic and rewarding. That personal experience could teach others about the harm done by psychiatry and their whole Medical Model.

    Snead, just some thoughts provoked by your wonderful journey and story.

    Richard

  • Susan

    You have not responded to my questions regarding the definition of class, and the importance of a deep going dialectical summation of the Russian and Chinese revolutions. How can humanity move forward to socialism without a thorough summation (POSITIVE and negative aspects) of previous attempts at revolution?

    And while these revolutions made errors (and, at times, serious errors) isn’t a key aspect of such an evaluation, the fact that both the Russian and Chinese revolutions were surrounded by a world of capitalist governments that worked tirelessly to defeat these revolutions. This fact combined with a certain amount of ignorance, and yes, mistakes, led to their defeats.

    Anyone who simply dismisses these revolutions as failures, or suggests they simply did not apply your undialectical theory of “bottom up” leadership, will not be able to propose a way forward for future socialist revolutions.

    Bob Avakian and the RCP, from my readings, have made a major contribution to socialist theory by summing up these previous revolutions (upholding ALL that was positive and critically analyzing the weaknesses) while ALSO, MOST IMPORTANTLY, trying to advance the science of revolution, with theoretical and practical leaps in theory with the “New Synthesis/New Communism.”

    Susan, while I like your analysis of the urgency for replacing capitalism, and your dissection of the oppressive role of psychiatry in the world today, your dismissal of the RCP and Bob Avakian is extremely troubling.

    Richard

  • Susan

    Are you suggesting that was nothing positive in the Russian and Chinese revolutions?

    Of course there were shortcomings in both of these first time examples of socialist revolutions, but they were truly historic events of great importance, and the working and peasant classes had infinitely more say and involvement in running these societies than under capitalism.

    You say the masses in China were brutally exploited under Mao. How do you explain the fact that the average lifespan of Chines people doubled from 1950 to 1976 (from 35 yrs to 70 yrs) until when the revolution was defeated by a Right Wing coup in ’76?’ And the fact that massive famines and deaths due to hunger and massive amounts of opiate addiction (created by British Imperialism) were eliminated shortly after the revolution came to power.

    What is your definition of the “managerial class.” I understand class to be defined by both one’s relationship to the means of production AND by one’s ideology and practice towards eliminating all forms of human oppression.

    Pretty much all revolutionary uprisings in history were initiated by and led by individuals with access to education, and from a class of petty bourgeois intellectuals.

    Isn’t the key to determining the nature of their role as revolutionary leaders ultimately depend on whether or not their ideology AND practice (in developing various political formations) is actually moving towards a classless society AND educating and bringing forward more and more people from the proletariat to run the new society.

    And shouldn’t this same principle of bringing forward new leaders from the proletariat, also apply to the development of any truly revolutionary party attempting to lead a revolution. Your “bottom up” formation sounds like a type of “mechanical materialism” separate from the actual process by which revolutionary movements and leaders develop.

    Susan, are you not more educated (and had more access to education) than most people from the working class? Are you not hoping that working class people read your book and follow some of your ideas about bringing about socialism revolution in the world? Does that make you part of the “managerial class?”

    Richard

  • Susan

    What evidence do you provide that the RCP “promotes a top down ‘socialism’ run on behalf of the workers rather than by the workers themselves.”

    Do you say this because they advocate for the role of a vanguard party to lead the revolution, or is there some other reason for your negative assessment?

    And while the RCP has been around for many years, Bob Avakian’s writing on the “New Communism” is relatively recent.

    Richard

  • Sarah

    This was one of the best blogs I have ever read at MIA. Once again, the capitalist drive for profit reveals its inseparable connection to psychiatry and the oppressive Medical Model.

    I have a very close friend who is now only a shell of her former self due to ECT and psychiatric drugging. I did my best trying to educate her and her husband away from these destructive “treatments,” but in the end I couldn’t compete with several hundred billion dollars of pseudo-scientific advertising for the Medical Model by psychiatry and Big Pharma. This may be the single largest PR (brainwashing) campaign in human history. I still beat myself up for thinking maybe I could have done more to prevent this tremendous harm perpetrated against my dear friends.

    Sarah, you are a “force of nature” not to be denied, and I salute your courage and determination to fight for true justice in this world.

    Richard

  • In the authors concluding paragraph he makes the following statement:

    “…If the APA and the radicals are intending on paying more than lip service to the current crises, demonstrable action might take several forms. BESIDES FOCUSING ON INDIVIDUALIZED TREATMENTS AND PLACING TOO MUCH STOCK IN DRUG THERAPIES SUCH AS POSYCHEDELICS {my emphasis}, mental medicine should fully recognize racism’s impact on mental health as it did for the first time in 1969.

    This is such a WOEFULLY INADEQUATE summation of the problems with psychiatry over the past 5 decades! This is the equivalent of saying that THE problem with the fascist Trump regime is that they have put a little too much emphasis on the benefits of Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid 19.

    Where is the condemnation of the harm done by decades of DSM diagnoses, the hundreds of millions of prescriptions for toxic psychiatric drugs, the forced hospitalizations and drugging, the millions of shock treatments etc. ???

    It is hard to get into the question of racism in psychiatry when the author is so out of touch with the overall oppressive nature of psychiatry.

    Richard

  • In today’s world “radical psychiatry” is a complete oxymoron.

    This author recounts some history of a more politically conscious caucus that formed in the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in the 1960’s. He seems to have a fantasy wish that something similar could happen in today’s world.

    This author TOTALLY FAILS to analyze what took place within psychiatry (and the broader society) over the past 5 decades. With the growing collusion between the leaders of psychiatry and Big Pharma, along with their several hundred BILLION dollar pseudo-scientific PR campaign (DSM. “chemical imbalance theory,” and dozens of new psych drugs), we ended up with the complete take over of all “mental health treatment” with the oppressive Medical Model.

    This takeover included all the schools training new psychiatrists, where psychopharmacology and brain “diseases” became the core curriculum, and therapy now became only an elective. Psychiatry has evolved into one of the most oppressive institutions in society. It has always had major examples of oppression with its snake pit hospitals, lobotomies, and shock therapy, but today it wields infinitely more power to dominate an oppress people.

    Psychiatry cannot be transformed or reformed into something that plays a positive role in helping people with extreme forms of psychological distress. Psychiatry’s fundamental theoretical and scientific basis is illegitimate, and it should be stripped of its ability to practice medicine in society.

    Radical and dissident psychiatrist do have a positive role to play in exposing the oppressive nature of their institution, disrupting their gatherings, and helping people harmed by psychiatric drugs with more research and development of safer withdrawal protocols.

    Richard

  • Susan

    I strongly share your perspective on the urgent need to replace capitalism with socialism, and I strongly agree with your view on the decisive role of psychiatry in helping to maintain an oppressive status quo in the world.

    I am interested to know if you are part of a newer trend in socialist/communist theory and practice, and what is your view of the works of Bob Avakian, in particular, his writings on the “New Communism.” See the following link: https://revcom.us/avakian/index.html .

    Richard

  • Anomie

    Thanks for reaching out. You said:

    “We don’t need “mental health” alternatives. We need to end police brutality, end the war on drugs AND the wars overseas, end gentrification and provide affordable housing, provide anti-bias education in the classrooms and to adults, end capitalism and bring in Universal Basic Income, end the war on drugs, end food deserts, start worker-owned coops, break up the big banks, provide free holistic healthcare, etc.”

    Of course you have highlighted many particular forms of oppression that this system of capitalism engenders. And ending capitalism is the ultimate solution to these problems. NO AMOUNT of so-called reforms will bring about the changes we need.

    Under capitalism, when some reforms are actually put into place after some sort of social upheaval, the System inevitably eats away at these reforms, creates alternative forms of oppression, and co-opts most of the leaders into selling out the struggle.

    This does NOT mean we shouldn’t fight for radical reforms. We must do so without any illusions about what we are up against, and with a clear vision that full Revolution beyond capitalism is our goal.

    When we do fight for reforms, including ending psychiatry and all forms of psychiatric oppression, we must ALWAYS link that struggle to the need to end capitalism. Because any type of reform we accomplish will only eventually be eaten up and twisted upside down by the System.

    Fighting for radical reforms can become a process for educating new activists about how the System works and what it will take to actually bring about full Revolutionary change.

    You said: “…Mental Health professionals are the police.”

    Yes, many (not all) do, unfortunately function in this role in our society. There are a small percentage who do not function in this manner because they are in conflict with the Medical Model’s approach to providing support. People need to search for those who they can trust.

    But the Medical Model and its’ Disease/Drug Based approach is clearly dominant with billions of dollars and major institutions controlling the educational system and society’s narrative on the source (and solution) to major psychological distress.

    Richard

  • Will

    Thank you for this great blog.

    “Defund” and “Dismantle” the police are definitely important demands that could lead to some positive changes in the U.S. that will ultimately save innocent lives.

    HOWEVER, we must clearly recognize that we live in a class based capitalist society, and even significant reforms made to policing in American will not end all forms of violence to working class and dispossessed people in this country and around the world.

    Capitalism (by its very nature) leads to the violence of poverty, climate destruction, sexism ,racism, and inter imperialist type wars. These facts of political life will also ultimately lead oppressed people to confront the ruling classes enforcement of such and oppressive “order” of life in our society. Some sort of police force or military force in society BY NECESSITY will inevitably be sent out to brutally suppress uprisings against this oppressive “order” of things.

    So to Will and others, when we raise demands such as “Defund” or Dismantle” the police, we must also link these struggles to the need for humanity to rid itself of a profit based capitalist system.

    Richard

  • furies

    I think you are absolutely correct to bring up some of the dangers of *Identity Politics,* which is often used as a battering ram against a more revolutionary class based analysis of society. If you read this past blog authored by Sara (“A Racist Movement Cannot Move.”), and then carefully read all my comments (and those by “Oldhead” and “Humanbeing”) in the comment section, you will see a clear denunciation of the damage done by an “Identity Politics” political line.

    What you are be missing here, is that in these tumultuous times there is a much needed critique and condemnation of EVERYTHING in society (including all language and art forms) that are in some ways supporting and maintaining human oppression. AND it is inevitable in these kind of cultural upheavals that there will be EXCESSES. That is, certain situations where these criticisms an critiques go too far over the edge (often veering into the realm of “Identity Politics) and end up targeting and condemning good people and good ideas.

    We must nurture the desire AND the process for MORE revolutionary critiques of the current society, BUT carefully sort out each and everyone of these political debates to make sure that there are fewer “excesses” where good people and their good (actually politically CORRECT) ideas are falsely and mistakenly targeted.

    For example, I do like some things in general about Mike Taibbi’s writings, but I did not agree with the main arguments he made in the link you provided. However, I did like a lot of what I read in the link about The Vampire”s Castle” article.

    And I do respect the risks you have taken to bring up this difficult topic.

    Richard

  • Oldhead

    Perhaps you are correct to point out the “reformist line” within the MIA mission statement.

    It is fair to say that most people who post blogs and comments at MIA do ultimately slip into some sort of “reformism” most of the time.

    This occurs, both when they discuss what’s wrong with psychiatry and their Medical Model and then they propose *alternatives,* AND when they discuss making changes to the system of capitalism which both advances and sustains psychiatry and the Medical Model.

    I am extremely gratified that MIA leaves so much space for anti-psychiatry perspectives.

    All of this just makes it even clearer how much work we (those who are abolitionists and anti-capitalists) must do to move humanity closer to the point where both psychiatry and capitalism will only be featured in museums and history books.

    Historically, most people in any given societal upheaval will cling on to reformist tendencies right up to the last minute prior to when a revolutionary transformation occurs.

    Richard

  • I just posted a comment in the “Around the Web” section of MIA. Since we are in a heightened moment of societal (and self) examination and introspection about systemic forms of racism, should we not be just as vigilant about the harm done by the Medical Model. I put this message here because quite often people do not read or comment in that section of the MIA website.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/06/207074/?unapproved=174144&moderation-hash=776a53dae606193f5ecf0b0d5d219b37#comment-174144