Thursday, June 24, 2021

Comments by Richard D. Lewis

Showing 1459 of 1482 comments. Show all.

  • l_e_cox says: “When am I going to hear news of someone using a Locational or similar process and what their experiences were with it?”

    I sincerely hope we do not hear too much about “Locational processes.” because Scientology is a dangerous cult that has harmed many people.

    And I would warn MIA readers that while Scientology is a major critic of psychiatry, they are equally as dangerous, AND they are competing with each other for the same base of very vulnerable potential victims.


  • Fifty percent of all opiate (including heroin) overdose deaths involve benzos being part of the cocktail that ends up killing people. In fact, I would argue that benzos are THE MOST DECISIVE killing agent in the cocktail. That is because most opiate addicts know how to use their opiates, INCLUDING FENTYNYL but they often forget exactly how many Xanax or Ativan pills they had earlier in the day.

    Benzos are highly desirable drugs for people addicted to opiates because benzos magnify the effect of the opiates, but sadly this can be deadly because it can totally shut down breathing and the heart.

    Yes, I know that they have to sedate someone who goes on a respirator, but this particular cocktail of drugs probably killed many people before the Covid had a chance to complete its deadly effects.


  • Kerry

    This was a great summary of EMDR therapy.

    When I was doing active therapy (including EMDR) with people (until 2015) I found EMDR to be especially helpful for trauma victims. In some cases I saw remarkable positive changes take place in just a few sessions.

    People expend a great deal of energy throughout their life trying to avoid and/or “outrun” their memories of trauma experiences. These efforts are often labelled and falsely *medicalized* as “depression,” “anxiety,” or “Bi-polar” etc….

    EMDR can allow some people to finally “slow down” and look at these past events in a safe place, AND with an adult mind that’s more capable of reprocessing these events in a way that appropriately assigns “responsibility” and allows for more self empathy.

    When bad things happen to children they often “take on the badness as if it were their own.” This fills children with enormous amounts of guilt and shame at an early age that they often carry into adulthood. EMDR can sometimes finally provide the safety and necessary distance from these events to more appropriately access true responsibility and so-called “blame” for events that the trauma victim blamed on themselves.

    We now know that each time someone remembers past events they are actually recreating new memories, because there is a process of reprocessing going on that re-edits these past events with the current *adult* outlook and moral capabilities and standards.

    With EMDR people do not forget the past trauma events, but are often much more able to tolerate and “own” the memories. and especially NO LONGER have to expend so much self defeating energy running from those past memories.

    Understanding this about trauma and the positive qualities of EMDR therapy (when carried out appropriately) helps explain and expose just how harmful psychiatry’s (and their colluding partner, Big Pharma’s) Medical Model (with all their labeling and drugging) is to trauma victims in the world.

    Kerry, your work helping people who have experienced trauma is very difficult, and I salute your compassion and efforts to do this work and educate others who may wish to pursue it in their counseling career or their own personal work in therapy.

    All the best, Richard

  • KS

    Those are very interesting and scary links you provided. Before this I was not aware of any connection between tick borne illnesses and bio warfare labs etc. – it never even entered my mind. Although I did find it strange that widespread existence of ticks in New England (I grew up in southern Me. and now live in southern Ma.) was never a problem when I was growing up, or in my middle years.

    I have had Lyme twice now and was fortunate to have early symptoms and thus was placed on a quick course of antibiotics which (so far) has precluded any further symptoms.

    My wife and i have each (so far this year) removed two ticks that had already begun to bite into our legs. And just this morning I found a dead tick in my bed, which probably fell off one of our dogs who like to cuddle with us in the bed in the mornings. The dogs are given some medicine that eventually kills ticks that stay on their body for a certain length of time.

    Please let us know if you learn anything substantially new on this topic in the future. I am sure the government and military will do everything possible to not allow anything about ticks and bio-labs to become public knowledge.


  • Lisa

    This was an extremely powerful story of the horrible odyssey your family has endured related to some of the worst forms of psychiatric abuse. I wish you and your son all the best in future efforts at recovery and also restitution from those responsible for these crimes.

    This story needs to be publicly told and exposed well beyond the scope of Mad in America. I would hope you and/or other contacts you have in the creative world, could write and produce a movie on this entire subject matter. The world is in desperate need of another movie with the creative power of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

    I would hope you would view (and spread on social media) this brand new 11 minute video called “Prescripticide.”

    This powerful video highlights the powerful connection between psychiatric drugs and the rise in suicides and the violence connected to mass shootings. This is information that has been systematically hidden from the public.

    Your story, together with the “Prescripticide” video, would make for a very interesting conversation with documentary film producer Michael Moore.


  • KS

    There are some things we need to be cautious about when it comes to these genetic testing and metabolism theories regarding psychiatric drugs. You may have addressed this in other comments, but I will make a few points here for discussion.

    We have to be VERY CAREFUL that Big Pharma and psychiatry do not use this science about genetics and metabolism as a way to actually EXPAND their prescribing of psychiatric drugs. Example being: they do the testing (and makes tons of money on testing) and then prescribe like crazy to all those not testing positive.

    There may be some people who are genetically more sensitive to psychiatric drugs and will have the more extreme “akathisia” side effects etc. BUT that does NOT mean that on some sort of continuum of effects, millions of others will have various lesser levels of “akathisia,” AND a host of other negative effects from psychiatric drugging.

    We have to make sure we expose the totality of harm done by these drugs when discussing or promoting these genetic tests for metabolism issues with psychiatric drugs.


  • rebel

    I have great respect for you and your heroic struggle escaping from the clutches of psychiatry and their oppressive Medical Model. And I am very inspired and have deep respect for the fact that you have chosen to be active against the Medical Model by writing here at MIA.

    My challenges to some of your words here are not meant to be disrespectful to you or your religious beliefs. We are all on a journey to uncover the truth in the world and try to use that knowledge to help liberate us from all forms of oppression. This journey requires the struggle over words and belief systems, and this can be very challenging, and even uncomfortable at times.

    My belief system, including my understanding of history, tells me that various forms of superstition, including some of those held within certain religious doctrines, have been very harmful to humanity, and that these superstitions stand as a roadblock to human progress.

    When I see contradictions in certain statements in the comment section, I sometimes choose to point this out. I try to conduct these discussions in a respectful way. I would be dishonest if I hid my beliefs on these questions, and a coward because I somehow feared people’s reactions to my strong views on these questions.

    My view on “spirituality” is very much related to human connectedness. That is, the powerful feelings one experiences when being part of a movement to change the world for the better. In my experiences going back to the 1960’s, I have felt emotional highs (empathy and love) when participating in some political movements, where “the whole felt much greater than its particular parts.”

    Rebel, I hope in the future we can agree and disagree on some things respectfully without taking personal offense to each other’s comments.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Steve

    Yes, your logic makes sense only if you believe in a “supreme being” that can only be accepted as truly existing based on “faith.” There is no science that validates the existence of a “Creator.” And this concept of a “God” or “Creator” would also have to be “infinite.”

    It makes FAR MORE sense, within the scope of science, to believe that “matter in motion is infinite.”


  • Oldhead says:

    “I’m guessing you and other MIA commenters who have gone against the grain on COVID over the past year and have been attacked for doing so are feeling a sense of vindication as more & more “conspiracy theories” are being borne out — with more to come. I know I am.”

    There are real “conspiracies” in the world, and then there are “conspiracy theories,” which has taken on a more specific meaning in contemporary society.

    (from Wikipedia)
    “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,[6][9] whereby the conspiracy becomes a matter of faith rather than something that can be proven or disproven.” (from Wikipedia)

    There is ONLY ONE THEORY regarding Covid 19 that for a period of time was INCORRECTLY labeled as a “conspiracy theory,” and that particular theory was related to the actual origin of the virus – that is, a virus directly coming from animals, or an escaped virus from a lab.

    The more evidence that is revealed, indicates that Covid most likely came from a lab. But even this has not yet been definitively proven.

    As far as I know, ALL THE OTHER “conspiracy theories” related to Covid, are still proven to be false, AND are quite harmful to humanity’s efforts to eradicate this devastating disease.


  • rebel

    You said above “…allowing each one of us the freedom to be who we are created to be by Our Creator and the “free will” to choose whether or not to follow the path Our Creator has set for us.”

    These words are filled with contradictions. How can there be “free will” if our path to the future has already been “set for us” by “Our Creator”???

    And BTW, who created “Our Creator,” and what does this all say about the scientific theory of evolution?


  • rebel

    “There is a difference between what the Declaration actually says and what the Founding Fathers meant to say.”

    “Many of the signatories of the Declaration were slaveholders who considered black men their property and, obviously, not their equal. Native Americans were only referred to in the Declaration as “Indian Savages.” Also, the Founding Fathers’ initial idea of who controlled the rights described in the Declaration was the very small circle of male Anglo, Protestant land owners that they represented.”

    So it is obvious that the Declaration of Independence was NOT a document that sought to eliminate all forms of human exploitation. Any critical examination of U.S. history will clearly see that as America developed into a world dominating imperialist empire, its degree of human exploitation knew no bounds.


  • Rebel

    We may agree on some things about psychiatric oppression, but I would say: NO ONE should be learning any lessons (except by negative example) about “freedom” from Thomas Jefferson.

    He owned 600 slaves over his lifetime, AND made most of his income through the buying and selling of human beings. And it would be safe to say that there was some sexual exploitation going on along with his international human trafficking.

    You said: “… applauding “free will” and “freedom” as it is meant to be in America…”

    Where is the “freedom” in a country founded (and expanded for 100 years) on a foundation of slavery and also the brutal exploitation of the working class. So much for the “…freedom guaranteed to us by the Creator no matter our alleged social class…”


  • Kevin

    You have absolutely nothing to apologize for. Your astute comments started off a very insightful and necessary critique of Dr. kelmenson’s writings here at MIA. Throughout many of his writings (go back and review his other blogs and the comment sections) there has been a consistent theme of “blame the victim” type thinking. Many writers here are correctly criticizing this counter current to some of his better ideas.

    All of Dr. kelmenson’s writings have failed to address the important fact (and overall context for examining the Medical Model) that we live in a profit/class based economic and political system. This type of system is filled with multiple forms of trauma and inequalities that sets the stage for various forms of “learned helplessness.”

    Libertarian, and other anti-socialist theoretical perspectives, will often posit the concept of “free will” as almost completely abstracted from the material realities facing the “under classes” within modern capitalist societies. How can we really understand and deeply critique the Medical Model without making direct connections to the type of economic and political system that sustains AND directly benefits from psychiatry’s role as an institution of social control?


  • Yes, you are both right about this.

    The “mental health” system has now become an essential component of class control by the top one percent of profit seekers.

    The psychiatric labels and drugs target the most potentially rebellious sections of our society. The labels become psychological chains, and the drugs numb anger and other emotions that can be channeled into various forms of resistance.

    Overall, these “genetic theories of original sin” that form the basis of the Medical Model, are used to focus people’s attention on so-called personal human flaws, as opposed to the inherent “sickness” in the capitalist institutions and unequal class structures within our society.

    It is very important in all future organizing efforts to link the struggle against psychiatric oppression with the struggle against a profit based capitalist system.


  • Frank

    I don’t think anyone here has said that an anti-psychiatry stance or an anti-psychiatry political position by itself is “dogmatic.”

    Being anti-psychiatry and calling for the elimination of psychiatry as a medical specialty is a legitimate position to take in today’s world. It can be backed up by real scientific analysis, and by an objective assessment of how psychiatry functions as an oppressive institution in society.

    I think the point that Steve and KS are making, is that any legitimate political movement or ideology can be incorrectly understood and carried out by veering into a form of “dogmatism.” That is: rigid or mechanical applications of a set of principles or beliefs that ignores context and nuance related to specific circumstances and people.


  • I am glad that people are actively engaged in the process of “rethinking psychiatry.”

    Because some people (hopefully more and more) will end up drawing the same conclusion that I have made over the past decade.

    That is: psychiatry (as a medical specialty) should be abolished. It is based on pseudoscience and causes FAR MORE HARM than good in the world.


  • “The data was analyzed to determine whether the monthly suicide rates (which ranged from April 1st to July 31st, 2020) changed after the pandemic began.”

    I agree that ANY conclusions on this question (that is, “no increase in suicides during the pandemic”) is, at best, extremely misleading. This is especially true since it only examined a 4 month period early in the pandemic. And of course, they (the scientific and psychiatric establishment) would NEVER want to analyze the potential causal effects of increased psych drugging on suicides and social violence in society.

    Oldhead says: “The first thing that crossed my mind was not the accuracy of the claim about suicides not being related to the lockdowns (which also increased transmission by forcing people inside to share infected air)….”

    When someone examines the overall psychological effects of the pandemic, they are NOT just looking at the issue of “lockdowns.” There are several other issues related to fear and anxiety about contracting Covid, AND, especially trauma regarding the loss of loved ones to the disease. We are now approaching 600 thousand deaths in the U.S.

    And there is simply NO EVIDENCE that “lockdowns….increased transmission by forcing people inside to share infected air…” What agenda does this unscientific and unsubstantiated statement serve???

    It is very clear when looking at the near disappearance of the flu in this country over this past year, that mask wearing and decreased social contact related to “lockdowns” LOWERED THE TRANSMISSION of any, and ALL, diseases.

    Any FAIR analysis of “Lockdowns” (see my above comment) would conclude that they had both positive and negative aspects in trying to fight against a very REAL and dangerous pandemic threat to humanity.


  • 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.


  • “… 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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!”


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

    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.


  • 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.”


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?


  • 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.


  • 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!


  • 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?


  • 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???


  • 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.


  • 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?


  • 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:

    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.”


  • 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.


  • 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!”


  • 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.



  • 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.

    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?


  • 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?”


  • 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?


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.”

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


  • 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.


  • 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!”


  • 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.


  • 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?


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?”


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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: .


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

  • Since we are in a national moment in our history where both the most obvious and more subtle form of racism are being examined, SHOULD WE NOT BEING DOING THE SAME WHEN IT COMES TO THE TREMENDOUS HARM DONE BY THE MEDICAL MODEL’S LABELING AND CONCEPTS OF “MENTAL ILLNESS!!!”

    How is this posting any different than saying “all lives matter” or “buildings matter too.”

    This posting which belongs on NAMI’s website, should be removed from MIA’s website immediately. I don’t think the person who posted it should be fired, but instead, let’s use it as a very important teachable moment about everything that is wrong with the Medical Model and the related “liberal” perspective in society that perpetuates it.


  • Sara, Oldhead, and ALL

    To break INTO the tension here, I just want to say that I LOVE both Sara Davidow and Oldhead!

    That form of LOVE is often referred to within political movements fighting oppression, with the affectionate name or greeting of “COMRADE.”

    Wikipedia says: ” ,,,Political use of the term was inspired by the French Revolution, after which it grew into a form of address between socialists and workers…
    When the socialist movement gained momentum in the mid-19th century, socialists elsewhere began to look for a similar egalitarian alternative to terms like “Mister”, “Miss”, or “Missus”. In German, the word Kamerad had long been used as an affectionate form of address among people linked by some strong common interest, such as a sport, a college, a profession (notably as a soldier), or simply friendship.[5] The term was often used with political overtones in the revolutions of 1848…’

    I have spent precious time wrangling (criticism/self-criticism) with both of these “comrades” because they are brilliant writers and such deeply passionate fighters against human oppression.

    I have learned from them both, AND ,at times, taken the risk (cause it sure ain’t easy) to struggled with them to help make them be BETTER at what they already do WELL.

    Damned it, don’t we ALL have to get better at fighting this incredibly powerful system of capitalism/imperialism that simply has such infinite ways to crush the human spirit.

    Oldhead, I would NEVER EVER want the past blog “A Racist Movement Cannot Move” to be removed from the archive. Everyone here should most definitely read and reflect on that blog and comment section, because it is so deeply rich with political lessons.

    To quote Oldhead from above:
    “It’s important for white people to understand racism, both what it is and what it isn’t.”
    Reading that particular blog and comment section (and this one) provides many deep lessons that can help us in future battles against systemic racism.

    Now back to the work at hand: trying to find ways to build off of the tremendous opportunities provided all radical activists by the powerful uprising in America and around the world over the brutal murder of George Floyd.

    Our ENEMY has been weakened and exposed in these tumultuous times. We must seek to advance AND link all these struggles against systemic racism, psychiatric oppression, climate destruction, sexism. classism etc.

    Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!.

    Comradely, Richard

  • Sara

    You completely misinterpreted my meaning in the following quote:

    “While your intent here is to combat various forms of racism, and some of your particular examples you used (in the past blog) to highlight your intent were exactly that – crude forms of appropriation that do come off as racist, and just plain stupid.”

    Here I was actually AGREEING with you that some of the particular examples you had used in that past blog were CORRECTLY pointing out examples of racism and political stupidity.

    My essential point was (and still is) that in some of the OTHER situations, and examples I presented, there is a definite need to carefully examine the political context and political purpose of how white activists are using certain words and taking certain actions, before declaring them *out of bounds*, or possibly labeling them “racist.”

    While I did mention the struggle over the “psychiatric slavery” analogy, I deliberately chose NOT to use that issue in my main example of where you failed to take into consideration “context” and “political purpose” when examining how white activists can correctly use significant quotes from past Black activists.

    I don’t know if your misinterpretation of my above quote has now created a level of emotion, and a resulting atmosphere where dialogue can no longer continue.

    I do believe that my Frederich Douglas example (in the above comment) was both important, and helpful, feedback about when “absolutist” language and certain types of “dictates” to white activists (that ignores certain contextual information), will NOT help us in our fight against racist thinking and behavior.

    Sara, I am not sure WHAT you overall think my motivation is in raising some of these criticisms of a very FEW aspects of your many writings here at MIA.

    Even as an older and very seasoned revolutionary activist, it is not easy (and frankly,very uncomfortable at times) raising these issues with you. I take no pleasure in pursuing these types of discussions. I do it because I feel some sort of moral and historical responsibility to seek the truth and a path to human liberation from oppression.

    In past MIA dialogues over your blogs, other critics of your writing, either dismiss you outright, or just argue with you about how you are wrong. Very few people, if ever, actually try to offer you constructive feedback by carefully analyzing where you are right and suggesting where your logic and/or political pronouncements may have drifted off course.

    I make the effort (and tolerate the discomfort) with you, precisely because I see you as a gifted and very consequential writer on the internet, around the issue of psychiatric oppression and other important political struggles. I am not sorry I made these efforts to dialogue with you and attempt to give you constructive feedback, but I am saddened and disappointed that this discussion may end on such a negative vibe.


  • Oldhead

    When you said about RW:

    “His position is essentially that since “people” see the notion of anti-psychiatry as unscientific and conflate it with Scientology we should reject it.”

    By itself, this description of RW’s views does not exactly imply that he is against the concept and meaning of “anti-psychiatry.” It only means that he possibly believes that to be public about such a position at this time in history, especially for a journalist, would undercut his role (and that of MIA) in the struggle against psychiatric oppression and the entire Medical Model.

    I applaud the spectacular forum RW has created at MIA for us all to learn, debate, discuss, and organize against psychiatric oppression.

    Oldhead, it is up to US to do a better job in the coming years of exposing and attacking psychiatry for its oppressive and criminal role in the world today.

    We must create favorable conditions in our anti-psychiatry political work to make it possible for many people, including RW, to grasp the necessity and importance of taking a clear and public stand for the abolition of psychiatry.

    Of course, Oldhead you know that I believe the destiny of psychiatry is intimately connected and dependent upon the future of the entire capitalist system. So we need to do a better job in our anti-capitalist work, as well, in making these links to social control and all other forms of psychiatric oppression.


  • Sera

    Whether or not the meme (REPEAT AFTER ME…) you posted in your current blog were your specific words, is not the essential point I am making here. They were used in same manner, and used partially for the same purpose as some of your “dictates” and “admonishments” in prior blogs.

    I’ll mention two prior such dictates:
    “Stop Comparing Psychiatry to Slavery (or similar) and

    “Stop Appropriating the words of Black People to Support System (or anti-system) Messages

    While your intent here is to combat various forms of racism, and some of your particular examples you used (in the past blog) to highlight your intent were exactly that – crude forms of appropriation that do come off as racist, and just plain stupid.

    However, your use of “absolutist” language in your “dictates” often totally lack CONTEXT AND POLITICAL PURPOSE by some of the radical activists using the language and analogies you decry and condemn.

    For example, I applaud radical activists of ALL colors and nationalities who correctly use a famous quote by Frederich Douglas to expose the hypocrisy of U.S. patriotism and flag waving on July 4th in a country built on the backs of slavery, and the vicious exploitation of working class people (of all colors) here, and in many Third World countries. Once again, it’s all about “context” and “political purpose.” when evaluating someone’s particular use of a famous Black person’s words.

    And some white political activists (anti-psychiatry and anti-capitalist) here in the MIA comment section, have correctly used the words of the Black revolutionary, Mumia Abu-Jamal (and other Black revolutionary leaders) to make important political points on numerous topics, including fighting psychiatric oppression.

    And Sera, I have seen the video (and read the accounts) of a Black city official in Ferguson (in the rebellion related to Michael brown’s killing) tackle and assault a white revolutionary giving a revolutionary speech in the streets supporting the uprising. This same Black official (“fire extinguisher”) attempted to incite the police and other Black people against the “white outside agitators destroying our community.”

    Bear in mind that this same white revolutionary is part of a larger group that also has Black members in the organization fighting for a socialist future in this country and around the world. That particular Black official needed to be condemned and called out for his attempts to suppress (and limit) multi-racial and multi-national unity fighting a common enemy. And yes, I am aware that there are some right wing elements acting as provocateurs in these situations. But this was definitely not the case, and this official knew that.

    Sara YES, some more backward and ignorant white people need to be justly put on the defensive, and yes, they need to listen to, and follow the lead of Black people in some of these struggles.

    However, there is far more nuance to be considered here when you print and repeat various absolutist “dictates” and “admonishments” to white radical political activists. It all boils down to CONTEXT AND POLITICAL PURPOSE when evaluating the role of white people in multi-racial political struggles.

    Sera, I would never expect you or anyone else to defer to someone merely because of their age or political experience in political movements. But there are some people writing in this comment section with literally decades of radical activism, and some have been in the forefront with other Black radicals in some of the most significant struggles in this country’s history against systemic racial oppression. I’m in my fifth decade, and I know of others who equal that experience ,or come close.

    So once again, Sera I ask you to reconsider the “absolutist” type language in some of your “dictates” and “admonishments” that have, at times, lacked NUANCE and CONTEXT, and result in potentially tarnishing very good radical activists with a tag of “racism.” And it can also have the effect of shutting down much needed debate and discussion.

    Don’t get me wrong here, I am ALL FOR provocative political commentary and slogans, IF,they appropriately leave room for both political nuance and political context.


  • Sara

    I believe I “get” what you are talking about when it comes to finding ways of creating a better environment for “inclusion” and greater participation of marginalized people etc. Some of your suggestions about “listening” and at times “stepping back” so others can come forward and speak etc, are especially important when you have new people, and others who might feel “out of place.”

    But I am wondering if you are open to some criticism/feedback about some of your choices of language (at times) when you post “dictates” or “admonishments” to white people about what they can or cannot say, and/or do, in certain situations. And if someone were to disagree with some aspect of the “warning,” then the implication is that they must therefore most certainly be a “racist.”

    For example, in this blog you posted a big black box warning with the following admonishment:


    First off, I would not tell anyone how they should “feel” or “mourn.” Personal feelings are unique to the individual and generally flow from someone’s belief system and cultural influences. Mourning behavior and thoughts are also very much related to the the nature of a person’s “feelings.”

    However, to say that people who are not minorities do not have the “right,” or even an “obligation,” to enter into a discussion and/or debate about the best ways to struggle (protest) against systemic racism, is just plain wrong.

    As I mentioned in my above comment, there are many minority spokespeople (in this current uprising) from all sectors of society, representing many different class and racial viewpoints. Some of these people are acting (as I pointed out above) like “firemen” and “fire extinguishers” trying to stifle and limit the scope of the struggle within acceptable parameters for the “powers that be.” They must be challenged and struggled against.

    We must ALL find ways to join with more radical elements within these minority movements and uprisings to oppose reformism and other dead end strategies. The fact that this is not easy to do correctly, and is filled with all kinds of potential minefields, should never preclude us from trying. History demands this of us.

    And if the struggle against systemic racism does not ultimately link up with other struggles, such as ending climate destruction, women, psychiatric oppression, classism etc., we will never defeat the “powers that be” and their class based system of exploitation and oppression.

    I believe you have made a few other bad choices of language (with several dictates and admonishments) in the past blog “A Racist Movement Cannot Move.” I do take issue with how you characterized that particular comment section as “too ugly and out of control.” Within that very long comment section there was some very respectable and legitimate feedback/criticism of some of your choices of language and particular admonishments to MIA readers and commenters.

    Now that some time has past since that past struggle, do you see that there may be a similar problem connected to your black box warning (REPEAT AFTER ME…) in this current blog.

    Again, you know I am a big supporter of your prolific writing here at MIA, and anyone writing several dozen blogs on any website is definitely increasing the odds that they might make a few mistakes here and there.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Sara Thanks for your response. I may have more to say in the very near future. But I thought I would post a link to a very powerful post that is circulating on the internet.

    Here is a black women (Kimberly Rice Jones) “speaking truth to power” where she actually DOES use the words “rioters” and “looters,” but she provides a powerful historical and political context. She also references the the Tulsa and Rosewood massacres of several hundred Black people that has largely been hidden in the history books. I believe that Robert Whitaker has written in the past about this topic.


  • Thank you Sara for being the first at MIA to write about the historic rebellion and uprisings (worldwide) against the death of George Floyd and its’ direct connection to systemic racism.

    Sara you have always led the way at MIA in writing on the difficult and necessary topics that often make people uncomfortable while living with much greater privilege in a wealthy class based capitalist society. Especially, since there would be no U.S. imperialist empire, and such enormous wealth, without the oppressive legacy of slavery, and the on-going exploitation of those sectors of society on the bottom rungs of the ladder (especially people of color) both here in the U.S. and in the Third World countries dominated by the U.S.

    And I am so glad you did NOT mention the words “riot” or “looting” since they only serve to demean, denigrate, and distract from the truly historic nature of these uprisings. The police were “rioting,” and “looting” takes place on a daily basis in this country by the one percent who have a foot on all our necks in one form or another, including with their Disease/Drug Based Medical Model that is at the route of all psychiatric oppression.

    And yes, just as with Covid 19, people of color are disproportionately harmed by today’s so-called “mental health” paradigm of “treatment.”

    Systemic racism is intimately connected to the entire history of the U. S. capitalist/imperialist system,and we ALL must find ways in a post Covid 19 world to politically target a profit based capitalist system in ALL our struggles against all forms of oppression. In fact, this has now become a “moral imperative” for those who “know better,’ or should I say, “know more.” I will soon write a blog titled “Psychiatry and Capitalism in a Post Covid 19 World” where i delve deeply into this profoundly important “moral imperative.”

    Sara, I was so glad to see you mention the word “revolution” in your blog as a direction we need to seek in our political struggles in the future. But once again, the enormous ELEPHANT (not mentioned) in the room, the fact that ALL of this oppression we are talking about, not only takes place in a CAPITALIST system, but is both given sustenance and powerfully generated by capitalism. And systemic racism, and all other forms of human oppression, cannot end unless humanity ultimately moves beyond a capitalist system.

    Now back to the issue of ALL people engaging with Black people, and other people of color, about the way forward out of this systemic insanity. We could plainly see in these recent uprisings MANY different political viewpoints coming from ALL sectors of society and ALL sectors within the Black community. This includes Black politicians, mayors, police chiefs, spiritual leaders, political commentators, and others with various credentials who were sometimes seeking ways to limit the scope, intensity. and political targets for this historic uprising.

    In the 60’s, we use to call these type of political interventionists (of all colors and political persuasions) as “firemen” or “fire extinguishers.” They are genuinely afraid of these rebellions going “too far” with too much revolutionary content. These are the same people who choose to focus on “looting,” “property destruction,” and “law breaking” to denigrate the political significance of the righteous rebellion taking place against systemic oppression. These are some of the same people afraid of the terms “dismantling” and “defunding” who now just want to see a few so-called cosmetic reforms to policing and other institutions within our society. All of which will do nothing of consequence to end racist oppression.

    Of course, I (and others) should always listen extremely carefully to the political perspectives of all minority people’s, including those who are representing the current power structure and/or status quo. We must always engage in respectful struggle (being very mindful of the long legacy of historical racism in this society) when we have different ideas or views regarding making radical change in society.

    But white privilege, and any other class or sexual identity privileges we were born into, should never lead us to hold back from any, and all, opportunities to make radical change in the coming period – the world demands it!

    Nor should we engage in any kind of patronizing behavior towards minority people’s (which, in itself, is a form of racism), where we hold back our political perspectives for fear of challenging or “offending.” someone of a different race or ethnic background.

    All of these struggles involving systemic racism, climate destruction, women’s liberation, sexual identity, psychiatric oppression, classism etc. must increasing find ways to increasingly come together with a singularity of purpose, with clear targets, and common strategic and tactical goals. This WILL NOT happen without very deep and intense struggle WITHIN, and AMONG, ALL the people fighting those at the top rungs of society. Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!


  • Sam

    Thank you for validating my art work. It means so much to me when psychiatric survivors, and others harmed by psychiatry, find some type of connection to my song.

    Sam, I have been reading your comments at MIA for some time now and always find them to be very educational and emotionally moving.

    We all have much work to do in order to sweep psychiatry and their oppressive Medical Model into the “Dust Bin of History.”

    Carry on! Richard

  • Malcolm

    Sorry for your loss, and I, too, share your very powerful critique of the oppressive forces in society that were directly involved in leading your beautiful son to his untimely demise. Thanks for sharing such a well written and emotional tribute to his life.

    I wrote this song ( ) after working 22 years in community health in the U.S., and I witnessed all the damaged done by psychiatry and their Medical Model. I hope my song provides some level of beauty and emotional catharsis to your loss.

    All the best, Richard

  • Steve

    Thanks for the response.

    You just said:
    “… it is certainly obvious that our populace is so far away from even asking that question that, in order to meet people where they are at, we have to answer less overarching questions…”

    I believe this type of approach (of lowering political expectations and dumbing down our analysis) is EXACTLY what leads people into all kinds of reformism and failed “piece meal” approaches to political change.

    If ANYTHING (over the last several decades) has opened up people’s minds to ask very fundamental questions about the viability of a profit based capitalist system, it is the Covid 19 pandemic.

    OMG. Steve, even the current ruling has been forced to discuss (and in some cases implement) some policies that would have been clearly labeled as “communist inspired” prior to this pandemic crisis.

    Every (and all) the weaknesses, inequalities, vulnerabilities, and overall immorality of the capitalist system has been laid bare for all to see.

    There is no better time than right NOW to raise all the BIG questions about the need for major systemic change in the world. Seize the time! Humanity can’t wait much longer for these type of revolutionary changes to occur.


  • Oldhead

    You said:
    “At first glance my impression is that Lieberman may be on the right {sic} side here”

    I think you might want to consider taking back the above comment for it it totally contradicts the very consistent and correct logic you have applied in all your above comments.

    Lieberman is only taking his position against Lee and others because he believes it might potentially threaten the political and “scientific” credibility of psychiatry as a professional enterprise.

    Oldhead, I would stick with your later comment which says:

    “Simply put, we should not be getting involved in psychiatry’s internal disputes. A pox on all their houses!”


  • Steve

    I strongly agree with Oldhead here.

    Steve you said above:
    “I think rather than “diagnosing” Trump, what is needed is a coordinated effort to honestly evaluate his behavior in terms of whether he’s doing his job and adhering to his oath of office.”

    Trump IS doing his “job” quite well representing one particular (more openly fascistic) faction in the U.S. capitalist ruling class.

    And as far as “adhering to his oath of office,” this particular faction Trump represents believes their current agenda is absolutely necessary to protect and extend the economic and political interests of the U.S. Imperialist empire at this time. And why should WE ever want to quibble with their Imperialist based strategic perspectives???

    And Steve, why would you want to give ANY credibility to a Presidential “oath of office,’ when the very nature of that office is to oversee and continue the oppression of millions of people around the world? The Covid 19 pandemic has exposed (for those who could not already see) the incredible levels of inequality and oppression in a class based capitalist system, and also why this system must be removed for humanity to have any chance of future survival.

    Steve then you said above:
    “We have a means for removing incompetent or corrupt presidents from office. If Congress doesn’t act to remove him, the voters have a responsibility to do so. If they do not, well, as they say, people get the government they deserve.”

    Who is the “we” in this paradigm? Here you are completely confining the chances for future political change totally in the realm of “voting” in an organized capitalist class based electoral process. This has proven historically to be an utter failure in bringing about necessary systemic change in the world. And the same will be so in the future.

    And finally Steve, when you say “…people get the government they deserve” (in the above context)

    This is the essence of a “blame the victim” type statement. This completely ignores ALL the brutally oppressive instruments of power and control (including psychiatry and all forms of social media) used by the “powers that be” to maintain their class based rule.

    Steve, I appreciate many of your above comments, but these particular comments must be critically analyzed for remaining totally within ruling class type logic and overall framework of thinking.


  • You completely lost me with the title to this blog.

    Who the the hell is the “WE” in the title.

    The curriculum in ALL the schools training psychiatrist today is 100% controlled by a colluding alliance between the leaders of Big Pharma and the American Psychiatric Association – end of story.

    What should WE expect to be the result of such oppressive power and control?


  • Phil

    A simply simply brilliant deconstruction (complete annihilation!!!) of the so-called scientific underpinnings of modern psychiatry.

    You have taken the preeminent, and very top scientific thinker (and spokesperson – Dr Kendler) for psychiatry, and revealed their profession”s extremely unprincipled and desperate search for a “science” to justify their existence.

    This quote from your article captures the essence of psychiatry’s motivations for a way to justify their existence:

    ” Didn’t most of the great errors of science stem from efforts to justify the status quo often for the benefit of various powerful conflicting interests?”

    Phil, please carry on your totally revolutionary intellectual pursuits! They are SO very valuable to the human pursuit of truth and justice in a very oppressive world.


  • Thank you Bob, we all needed that.

    In this case the New York Times defended the economic and political interests of Big Pharma and their colluding partner psychiatry. These are both extremely valuable institutions for maintaining and expanding a very oppressive status quo of a class based capitalistic system.

    Long Live the Spirit of Bonnie Burstow!


  • Thank you Don for such a fitting tribute to the life and activism of an amazing warrior for the oppressed.

    Bonnie Burstow represents the very best of humanity. She never settled for just enjoying the privileges available to those of us living in a first world country. She was a tireless fighter for ALL the oppressed who gave of herself to her last breath. We should all be inspired by her example to do even more to make this world a better place.

    In addition (and very much connected to) her advanced anti-psychiatry activism and radical feminism, she was a major critic and fighter against the capitalist system. She was very aware of the deep connections between all psychiatric abuse and a profit based/capitalist system.

    While I have corresponded with Bonnie in the past, I only wish I could have engaged with her in person to strategize and plan more activism to end ALL psychiatric abuse and help move the planet beyond the crippling effects of a profit based/capitalist system.


    Comradely, Richard

  • Bob and All

    Thanks for sharing such a deeply personal story (from both Zel Dolinsky and you, Bob), and I want to express my condolences to all who knew this very courageous man.

    This story, in so many ways, concentrates EVERYTHING that MIA and “Anatomy of an Epidemic” has been about for the past 8 years.

    We (those who live in the U.S.) must constantly remind ourselves that we live in a trauma based society, and the Medical Model does everything to steer us away from understanding the connection between psychological pain and the surrounding environment.

    We have a long road ahead; psychiatry and the entire Medical Model are so deeply embedded in every pore of this very sick society. Truly Revolutionary type change is necessary to move the world in an entirely different direction.

    Thanks to the Zel Zelinsky’s and Bob Whitaker’s of the world who dare to speak the truth.

    We love you Bob – Carry on!


  • Rachel

    Thanks for the response.

    I would say that the concept of “original sin” imposed on society by various religions. has actually done FAR MORE harm to people in the world (up to this point in history) than the harm done by psychiatry and their genetic theories. Although psychiatry is doing its best to catch up.

    When you look at how children, in particular, respond to trauma experiences by deeply internalizing toxic guilt and shame, you can see the tragic results of this religious doctrine. People (especially children) feel completely abandoned by the adults they are taught to respect and obey, and who are suppose to protect them in the world.

    They also end up not feeling worthy enough to be protected by their “God” and negatively judged, as a “sinner,” by their “God,” and ultimately “punished” by this same god. These kind of very harmful beliefs are often repeated by many trauma victims in multiple ways, and carried into adulthood.

    Rachel, you said:
    “the doctrine of “original sin” goes along with the doctrine that all human beings are special beings who bear the divine breath within. And have basic rights to life and liberty by nature of our common humanity. Regardless of intelligence, strength or beauty.”

    This comment ignores the fact that the Bible is filled with quotes that promote harmful patriarchy against both women and children, including stoning and death as a punishment for various types of so-called disobedience and disrespect. And one of the 10 Commandments actually upholds slavery. Overall, there is very little “rights to life and liberty” depicted in the morale standards of the Bible.

    I believe there is no such thing as “sin,” which implies some type of eternal “good AND “Evil” in ALL human beings and in the world.

    There is, however, “right and wrong” in the world as determined by an evolving code of human morality that has fortunately evolved far beyond (in some places on the planet) than the more primitive standards laid out in the Bible.

    I have to say that the uncritical and blind interpretations of biblical scripture and religious doctrine that some engage in reminds me very much of the uncritical and blind interpretations of the DSM Bible and the entire Medical Model.

    Rachel, I love almost all your comments and your overall presence at MIA, but I just can’t let these contradictions in thinking slide by without responding in a direct and honest way.

    Respectfully, Richard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Steve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Steve

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

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

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

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

    Steve, are you denying this possibility?


  • Syd

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

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


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

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

    Long Live the Spirit of Stephen Gilbert!


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

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

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

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


  • To RW and All the MIA Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard D. Lewis

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

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

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


  • Noel

    Great blog.

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

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


  • Andrew

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

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

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


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

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


  • Steve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    So the answer to all this is SIMPLE.

    1) Do not ever knowingly work with Scientology

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    This is not rocket science!

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

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

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

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


  • Bruce

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

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

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

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


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

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

  • Lawrence

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

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


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

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

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

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


  • Someone Else

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

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

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

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

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


  • Phoebe

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

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead says:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    I think Julie Greene’s comment – – and reaction resonates strongly with my views on this topic.


  • JanCarol

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Sera and Caroline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


  • Rosalee

    Thank you for those kind comments. Here is a second song you may be very interested in:

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


  • Lauren

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

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

    Take a listen. I hope you find this as meaningful to listen to as it was for me to write and perform. (or google “Benzo Blue”)

    All the best in your journey, Richard

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    Great blog, Melody. Richard

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

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

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


  • Bruce

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard (BTW, Great blog!)

  • Rosalee

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

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

    “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!


  • Fred

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Dr. Moss

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

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

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

    You stated the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Kindredspirit

    No that does not answer the question.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    And when Oldhead states the following:

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

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

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

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


  • Alex

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

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

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


  • Rachel

    I agree with you.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Keep writing!


  • Lawrence

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Alex

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    What happened to you?

  • Alex

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

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


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

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

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

  • Steve

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

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

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


  • I would add these slight changes to your summation:

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

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

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

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

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

  • Lee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Comradely, Richard

  • Lee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Michael

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Respectfully, Richard

  • littleturtle

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

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

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

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

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


  • Bricew

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

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

    All the best, Richard

  • Sera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Carry on! Richard

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

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


  • CatNight

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

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

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


  • Kindredspirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Kindredspirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Frank

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    And I will repeat part of my above comment:

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

    You said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    We are better than this.


  • Sam Ruck

    you said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • littleturtle

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

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

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

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

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

    Maybe, but who the F#%k cares?

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


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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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


  • Kumininexile

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • shaun f

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • shaun f

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

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

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

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

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


  • Kindredspirit

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

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Kindredspirirt

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

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

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

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

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


  • Kindredspirit and Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

    Comradely, Richard

  • Thank you Zenobia Morrill for this great article.

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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


    Very good blog – contains much wisdom.


  • And Steve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Happy New Year!


  • Maradel

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

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

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


  • samruck2

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

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

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

    Samruck2, you have a nice Holiday as well.


  • The cat

    The author made no mention of the “state.”

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


  • Thank you Sharna Olfman.

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

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

    The author states the following:

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

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

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

    Happy Holidays, Richard

  • PuppyLove

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

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

    All the best, Richard

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

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

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

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

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


  • In response to Steve (moderator)

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Have a great holiday season!


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

    Oldhead, you are still minimizing sexual exploitation here.


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

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


  • The good in this blog:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • To all

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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


  • Hi Monica

    Great blog with many important insights as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Steve

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Philip

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


  • Bob

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

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

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


  • Bob and All

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Carry on, Richard

  • All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • LavenderSage, Steve and others,

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Respectfully, Richard

  • To ALL,

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


  • Frank

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Steve

    You said:

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

    I agree with this statement COMPLETELY.

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Alex

    Thanks for your comment.

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

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

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

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

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


  • Dragon Slayer

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Frank

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Dragon Slayer

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

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

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

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

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

    Exactly what human rights struggles are you now supporting?


  • Steve and others

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

    You said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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


  • To All

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

    I would answer emphatically NO!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • shaun f

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

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

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


  • Chris

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

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

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

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

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • shaun f

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

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

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


  • JanCarol

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

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

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


  • Nancy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Hi Bonnie”

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Respectfully, Richard”

  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Oldhead and All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • shaun f

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

    The key question is “regulation by whom?”

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

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


  • Lawrence

    Thanks for responding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

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


  • BigPicureAwareness

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

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

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


  • Bradford

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Lawrence

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

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


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


  • Ben

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Respectfully, Richard

  • To Don And Irit

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

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

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


  • To all

    Since I made my above comment to Oldhead regarding major questions of strategy, I do want to comment on the above blog as well.

    As to “Prescripticide: A Proposal for Action and a Request for Your Help”:

    This effort can and must be supported as a potential blow against psychiatry and the Medical Model.

    It is not a perfect strategy nor necessarily where I would want to focus my major energy, but I will support it wholeheartedly.

    I agree with the essential content of Sylvain’s above comment.

    And to further add to his/her class analysis, I now believe that psychiatry and their Medical Model has become a necessary and essential means of social control defending and propping up modern day capitalism, AND that the fate of BOTH have become inseparably linked.

    So, adding to my above point to Oldhead, any advanced political organization against psychiatry must have (if it wants to have an important political role in the world) a clearly LEFT political stance and program. Which means it should contain some language linking the oppressive nature of psychiatry and the Medical Model to capitalism, and see the importance of opposing both because they are an impediment to ending ALL forms of human oppression in the world.


  • Oldhead

    Why would such an organization have to be composed ONLY of survivors?

    Why in this stage of political movements in this country can’t we move beyond a form of “Identity Politics” which implies that only survivors can fully understand psychiatric oppression and be able to strongly unite together with a clear anti-psychiatry basis of unity.

    Such a “united” organization of ALL people opposed to psychiatry, psychiatric oppression, and the Medical Model, would clearly be led by survivors in both numbers and promotion of leadership. This would especially be true if this was made an important organizing principle right from the start of such an organization.

    Yes, we must be aware of the past contradictions with “professionals” (related to power differential and credentials etc.) that occurred in past organizing efforts. And yes, we should address these potential problems right from the beginning.

    BUT why make such a principle out of these differences (by organizing around “identity”) that it prevents us from uniting on higher levels of unity and strength through both numbers and connections to the “mental health” system?

    Where is the evidence today that separating people off as “survivor,” “professional,” and others , including leaving out FAMILY MEMBERS harmed by the Medical Model, is somehow necessary for political organizing in this historical period?

    Obviously, from my questions you can assume that I believe this would represent a step backwards today to approach anti-psychiatry organizing from this type of “separation” principle.


  • Shaun

    Thanks for reading the blog and your positive feedback.

    I get the clear sense that you are trying to do the best you can for the people you work with, and that your education here is a work in progress.

    Just be aware that merely expanding the depth of your explanation of “informed Consent” does not in any way solve all your the ethical dilemmas here, or does it necessarily absolve you of responsibility for possible harm done to people affected by this system.

    First off, there is no such thing as true *informed consent* given all the major power differentials and the billions of dollars spent each year to propagandize the Medical Model.

    And there can never EVER be true *Informed Consent* when it comes to Electro-Shock. And your comparison of ECT and EMDR, would be like comparing the “stoning” of a person to giving someone a sauna bath.

    I have used EMDR to help people, and I am convinced by all the testing that has been done, and by the benefits I have personally witnessed.

    Electro-Shock (ECT), on the other hand, is barbaric, and there is more than enough evidence (both scientific and personal stories) to abolish its use forever. I think you need to go into MIA’s archives and read up on the numerous articles on this topic.


  • To Kindredspirit , Sera, and others

    I believe it is both possible AND necessary (in the course of building political movements today) to raise issues of racism, including the horrible history of slavery and all its remaining legacy that is still VERY MUCH alive today.

    I also believe that most white working class people can AND will (over time) be able to recognize the unique history of racial oppression, while also waging struggle with POC to transform the world into a world free of ALL forms of exploitation and related forms of racial, sexual etc… divisions.

    HOWEVER, this will NOT happen by either white or Black activists insisting NOW that ALL white people must FIRST renounce their *White Skin Privilege* and then blindly accept what may be questionable definitions of racism, such as using the “slavery analogy” as it applies to psychiatric oppression and/or “wage slavery” that references higher forms of slavery in the capitalist system.

    All of these sort of changes (including understanding white privileges in society) in thinking and institutional transformations will be a long complicated process with many twists and turns.

    Kindredspirit is correct to raise the importance of a class analysis here, but part of that very important class analysis IS, and MUST BE, a recognition of the unique position and critically important role of Black people (and other POC) in the overall struggle to build socialism and a truly classless society.


  • Oldhead

    I completely “get” what you are saying, and this is pretty much exactly how I responded to this issue in the above mentioned blog. And at that time my comment and overall analysis was completely ignored.

    This “movement,” and people such as political activists like myself, all contain elements of racism and other birthmarks from this class based capitalist system. HOWEVER, this DOES NOT in any way characterize the principle aspect of their identity and/or their overall role in the world, which is definitely NOT “racist.”

    The following comment linked here is my best summation of what was wrong with that past blog and Sera’s role in it:

    And this linked comment also addresses how unfairly you, Humanbeing, and others were treated in that blog comment section.


  • Sera

    Thanks for responding.

    Let me clarify something about my “feelings” in all this. While I am not immune to effects of labeling, I have far too much experience in revolutionary politics over 45 years to take things too “personal” in these kind of struggles.

    I am mainly “hurt” by the divisiveness of this particular political struggle, and the potential damage that this form of *Identity Politics* can do to important political movements, including right here at MIA. And I am deeply invested in the struggle against psychiatric abuse, and genuinely care for the people I have become acquainted with through my involvement here at MIA.

    And that “hurt” involves seeing how this well-intentioned effort to expose racism, so quickly devolved (because of the political errors related to *Identity Politics*) into pitting formerly united (on some limited levels) activists against each other. This went far beyond people just being defensive because you and the other authors said they don’t REALLY understand racism.

    And that disappointment also involves my particular relationship with you, which has a history of mutual support at MIA, and includes certain social interactions on other levels you are aware of.

    If you carefully examine how that blog comment section progressed, you can clearly see that very important opportunities to educate people about racism in America were sidetracked, and ultimately derailed by some of your own blind spots, including a failure to combine and apply a genuine class analysis to your noble efforts to combat racism.

    I hope you will also admit that you just might have some “blind spots” when it comes to adopting the correct methods and approach to advancing the political struggle against racism, sexism etc.

    And I do wonder if you have attempted to read, or have been exposed to any genuine Marxist type historical analyses of *Identity Politics.* And to clarify here (as Uprising has suggested), I am not using the term *Identity Politics* in the same way Liberals used it to sum up the defeat of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

    And do you even believe that *Identity Politics* has any negative connotations, or that it can ever become a problem in political movements?

    And finally, as to the “racist label” I would ask the following two questions: Is the current movement against psychiatric abuse (with all its limitations and different and divergent strands) a “racist movement?” And leaving aside all my personal feelings, is Richard D. Lewis “racist.?”

    I believe how one answers these two questions says volumes about some of the important political questions being debated here.


  • Uprising

    I agree that sometimes these political terms are co-opted and misapplied by Right Wing or or other backward forces. So yes, there might be a need in some discussions to clarify its definition and meaning so as to avoid any misunderstanding.

    Although. I would say that if Sera read ALL the comments (and deeply thought about them) she should know that we were NOT misusing this important political terminology.

    If people were to read the above mentioned blog (and I think we all should reread it even if we were involved in the discussion), AND especially the entire comment section, they would have a fairly in depth lesson in the nature of *Identity Politics* as it manifests itself today, and why it is so divisive and harmful to political movements trying to change the world.


  • Sera

    I find it amazing (though not totally out of the ordinary in political movements) how I can be so completely in agreement and emotionally and politically touched by your most recent blog, “Suicidal Tendencies, Part III”, and at the same time be so in disagreement with a major theme in your joint blog with Iden Campbell and Earl Miller, titled “A Racist Movement Cannot Move.”

    My role in the comment section of that blog is one of my proudest moments as a blogger/commenter here at MIA. I say that not necessarily because it was the best of my writings here, but instead, because of just how complicated, delicate and potentially treacherous that dialogue was through all its twists and turns. AND most importantly, how dangerous and divisive *identity Politics* can be when it takes hold in any particular political movement, and why it must be vigorously opposed. I am convinced that this type of political trend at MIA could have a disintegrating effect, on a similar level as allowing Scientology to become a presence at MIA.

    Again, it saddens me that we agree on so many other important issues here at MIA, but are currently still at loggerheads on this issue.

    AND I will also say that I am still saddened, and yes, hurt by the fact that you have never apologized and/or retracted your statements in that comment section that essentially labeled me as a “racist.” I will post here a link to my response in that particular dialogue challenging your “racist” labeling of certain people (including me) and of the “movement against psychiatric abuse,” of which we are both a part of.

    Here is the link to my past comment in response to that inappropriate and politically wrong labeling: To be fair, for anyone interested enough to draw thorough going conclusions regarding this topic, it would require reading the entire blog AND comment section.

    Sera, you are correct in most all of your attempts to point out the harmful effects of the use of certain terminology,words, phrases etc. that continue to reinforce racism, sexism, psychiatric labeling and all other forms of bigotry and divisiveness in the world. I have been very supportive of almost all of your writings on these topics and will continue to do so, even if you never seek resolution of the above mentioned slurring of me and my political position on *Identity Politics.*

    But I would also add, that if you do not find a way to further investigate and seek some study and understanding of the corrosive nature of *Identity Politics,* it will come back to bite you in future political encounters and undermine your ability to maximize your overall impact on ending psychiatric abuse and all other forms of human oppression in the world.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Shaun

    And as a further commentary on your above comment: you said: “Most people in the system, both clients and staff, believe that it’s a helpful system overall.”

    Unfortunately, we all know this to be the case at this time in history. The KEY question here is: What do YOU think is the true and accurate assessment of the current “mental health” system.

    If you believe, as I do, that it causes FAR MORE harm than good, then you MUST (as a moral imperative) act accordingly. And this means (if you carefully analyze the overall situation) that you NEVER EVER use any ‘force’ on those you are entrusted to help.


  • Shaun

    You said: ” I think that it’s unrealistic to ask clinicians to not follow the law. We have invested time, money, and energy into getting education and training to do what we do.”

    My response to you is as follows: Is it unrealistic to ask clinicians and other professionals to TO NOT HARM the very people they claim they are helping!?

    DO NO HARM is the most fundamental precept that should guide ALL our actions when entrusted to be a helping professional.

    AND if it can be proven that the overall use of ‘force’ causes FAR MORE harm than good, than you MUST (as a moral imperative) take all the ethical and legal risks to protect people from harm by NEVER subjecting them ANY forms of ‘force.’

    And Shaun, based on your above response, it is very clear to me that you have not yet read the blog I provided a link for above. Please read this blog along with the entire comment section and THEN tell me it is okay to continue using ‘force’ in your job.

    And BTW, my above short comment clarified my misuse of the “mandated reporting” terminology.


  • Sera and Shaun

    This is exactly true. Where I use to work a clinician could have less than a 5 minute conversation with a doctor and this could lead to a chain reaction of events that would strip a person of all Constitutional Rights, force them in a hospital, which could then lead to being tied down to a gurney and forcibly drugged. And who knows how long this horrible odyssey would continue and how damaged that person would become if they were able to physically survive.

    This is the state of present day “freedom and justice” in America.


  • Sera

    I agree that my use of the terminology “mandated reporting” here was confusing and did not consider the whole issue of protecting children and the elderly.
    Thanks for pointing that out.

    I believe it is more correct to say that there are ethical standards in our profession that say we are “mandated” to report individuals (to doctors, police, and/or crisis centers) who are suicidal, which is what I was trying to focus on.


  • Steve and ALL

    Everything you say is true. So why mess with some fundamental principles and a particular format that got us here? Once again, I am NOT against changes that improve things, but there is simply NO reasonable justification to suddenly hide the comment section from readers, and create a COMMENT BAR that readers must click on to see other readers comments.

    Since you still have an independent voice here, please give me one good reason that makes any sense for making THIS particular change at this time. Again, I am not talking about all the other proposed changes.

    At first I was NOT inclined to think (as some of the other people’s criticisms have suggested) that some of the other proposed changes were meant to diminish and/or limit certain more radical perspectives here at MIA. Now I am not so sure.

    What reason (please tell me, some one out there) could there be for having a COMMENT BAR, other than to have readers avoid seeing the very first (or first few) comments in the comment section?

    Now since there are a certain relatively small number of regular readers and commenters that are more often on the anti-psychiatry (or close to that perspective) side of things, AND they often can be very politically incisive (IMHO, usually very insightful), and that includes their ability to point out problematic formulations and ideas, there is a higher probability that they might end up being the first, or one of the first commenters under a blog.

    This is really a random phenomena, and I am often surprised when it happens that I end up having the first opportunity to be the very first to comment under a blog. I try to take full advantage of this opportunity, but I approach EACH AND EVERY COMMENT the same.

    Which means, I always point out things that are positive in the blog and that I agree with, BEFORE I move onto any particular criticisms. But I can sometimes be harsh on what I view as very harmful or arrogant perspectives. However, in all this I believe I am quite civil in my discourse and dialogue.

    My comments number well over a thousand, and I believe I have only been moderated maybe three times in 7 years or so, and this involved some form of sarcasm. And even though I am politically on the anti-psychiatry side of things, one of my moderated comments was actually directed towards another anti-psychiatry commenter (that’s a whole other story).

    So my major point here is that there is a higher probability that a more radical perspective may end up in the very first comment under any particular blog. This raises the question: is this policy meant to avoid having “sensitive” people see these very first few comments for fear that it may somehow “drive them away” from MIA.

    I say then , WHAT ABOUT all those people who read a mediocre, boring, or politically “bad” blog, and want to leave (or give up on) the MIA website, but are suddenly intrigued, then impressed, and then highly stimulated to become a regular reader after seeing the very HIGH LEVEL of critically thinking commenters that can break down concepts and politically dissect ideas that help lead to a higher understanding of psychiatric oppression, and then use that new understanding to help work towards changing the world into a better place.

    Yes, let’s ALL be more civil here, but let’s not forget about what’s at stake here, and exactly what kind of political discourse and struggle is truly necessary to bring about genuine change in the world.

    Think about about the decisive times in your life when you went through very profound changes in your world outlook. Did these changes come about without some personal discomfort and/or cognitive dissonance?

    Think about those individuals who challenged and inspired you to reconsider your viewpoints? Were these people always gentle, patient, overly civil, NAMBI PAMBI with you. OR were these kinds of conversations often contentious, and even sometimes outright argumentative, that set in motion the kind of political groundwork necessary for seismic shifts in your overall thinking.

    Again, please reconsider this very first backward direction change.


  • James

    Thanks for your response.

    I still stand strongly with my above comment.

    Any MIA policy promoting MORE commenting and discussion would definitely WANT the comment section to be visibly part of the reader’s experience right from the git go. Something that appears in their face (if you will) at the end of every blog. And I use the phrase “in your face” with some humor associated to it, because in the grand scheme of things this is hardly an example of ANY kind of internet pressure or “force.”

    Yes, I believe that there are some people that have certain issues and strong reactions to how the comment section at MIA is conducted. HOWEVER, I cannot believe that there was a SINGLE PERSON responding to the survey that complained that somehow they were FORCED to look at comments “against their will” because their was no COMMENT BAR to click in order to give them some sort of so-called CHOICE! to face the “unwashed hoard of demon commenters.” I hope you can appreciate and understand a little use of sarcasm here to make this very important point about “choice.”

    You said: “… what we aim to do with all of our changes here is enable more choice for the reader/commenter…”

    This kind of so-called “choice” (involving how MIA situates the comment section) cuts right to the heart of MIA’s mission in the world, and how it evolved out of the historical struggle against various forms of psychiatric abuse in the world. This “choice” is completely different than when someone chooses (by clicking) to see a podcast or read some scientific article circulating on the internet.

    MIA does NOT give its readers a “choice” of what the titles of the blogs will be, or where on the webpage certain articles will be featured. Both writers and MIA editors/staff make these very important AND very political decisions AND choices on these journalistic issues of design. Many of these titles are, by themselves, provocative, politically charged, “triggering,” intriguing etc. etc.. as they should be, on any important and socially relevant webzine.

    After all, MIA and most of those people regularly active on the website, are not JUST interested in understanding the world better (important as that is), we also very much WANT the world to change for the better. And we are looking for every opportunity and means for this to happen, including the very necessary need for more dialogue and discussion in the world. AND yes, including sometimes very contentious and cognitively dissonant discussions that at times makes us, and others, uncomfortable. AND yes, I believe in the importance of “civility” in those discussions.

    To now somehow say that the mere positioning of the comment section at MIA must conform to the “wishes” (which again, I believe no single reader complained they were “forced” to view comments “against their will”) of the most sensitive of its readers, is both gratuitous and very misguided. It clearly comes across as appealing to the “lowest common denominator” and giving in on very critical issues of political principle.

    This new approach (on the comment bar) is NOT going to achieve the desired result of increasing readership AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, bringing more people into the type of activism that could potentially weaken the very oppressive Medical Model and hopefully change the world for the better.

    Those of us who might find this first change very off putting and misguided, are NOT somehow stuck in an old routine and afraid of change. We have very real concerns about the very essence of the intent and ultimate result of these changes.

    You said: ” The reader survey told us that there was dissatisfaction, it seems wrong to ask people to tell us about their experiences of commenting if all along we planned to do nothing about it.”

    I am NOT saying, nor do I believe others who have raised concerns, that changes should NEVER be made OR that we should not listen to readers thoughts and feelings. I support the moderation policies and I support the efforts to increase readership AND participation, BUT NOT at the expense of very important political principles. Political principles that have been tested over many centuries of important social upheaval that has pushed the world towards a trajectory of more freedom and social justice.

    This is a very BAD start to a possibly necessary process. Please, please think again and reconsider this initial comment bar change. Yes, do all your other changes and THEN come back to this at a later date after further discussion and consideration; AFTER we have had time to digest these other changes.


  • Shaun and Sera

    Sera has written a very powerful piece here that is filled with enormous wisdom and courage regarding how to relate to people who are in such emotional distress that their very life may be on the line.

    The decisions about how to relate to (not “treat”) someone in this kind of emotional distress where they are suicidal, is almost identical to the decisions involved in the whole “sectioning” debate (that is, forced “treatment” and/or incarceration) that will occur if you (as a professional) notify any doctor and/or psychiatrist of suicidal or violent thoughts on the part of the individual.

    Over several years, as a professional, I have come to (with the help of MIA) the exact same conclusions as Sera, regarding how to handle suicidal thoughts and the related issues of forced “treatment.” Here is a link to a blog I wrote a few years ago on this same subject titled “May the Force NEVER EVER Be With You! The Case for Abolition.”

    Shaun, in response to your question about being a “mandated reporter” with the so-called professional “responsibility” to report someone with this level of psychological distress, and possibly suffer professional and legal consequences if you choose NOT to report that person:

    If you want to take a morally and politically correct stance here, you MUST take the risk of losing your job and/or suffering other legal consequences, by NOT reporting this person AND relate to the troubled person in a similar fashion as Sera has so eloquently demonstrated here.

    The reality here is that If your actions cause someone to be forced into a form of incarceration in a hospital, there is a GREATER overall risk of immediate and/or long term harm, including INCREASING the future risk of this person ending their life by suicide at a future date BECAUSE of the very chain reaction of events that you started by making the initial report.

    Ironically, if that person DID take their life after getting out of a forced hospitalization (that you initiated by your actions) you would suffer absolutely NO professional or legal consequences. Instead, you would only be praised and consoled by other professionals, who ALL want to self justify and reaffirm the workings of an oppressive system that they knowingly AND unknowingly continue to “enable” with “mandated reporting.”

    My blog mentioned above makes it very clear that once you start saying there are extreme circumstances or exceptions where some type of “force” may be necessary, you start reinforcing a slippery slope into a deadly abyss. You might want to read the very long comment section that follows this blog for it is both rich and extremely comprehensive covering every possible argument for and against the use of “force.”


  • Hi James

    I did not comment on the proposed changes because I was not sure how these changes would positively or negatively impact MIA and its overall mission.

    HOWEVER, I already have a big problem with one of your VERY FIRST changes you’ve made here. Why should I, or anyone else, have to click on the COMMENT BAR in order to see and participate in the comment section. Respectfully, this is totally ass backwards and cuts against any, and all, of the proposed efforts to promote discussion of published blogs.

    We should definitely WANT people to clearly see that there IS a comment section and hopefully be intrigued enough to at least start reading the comments. It should be up to those who definitely DON’T WANT to participate and/or EVEN SEE (God forbid!) the comment section, to HAVE TO make the effort to make a click in order to totally avoid this process. I cannot possibly see ANY justification for this particular change. Just because there are other websites that do it this way should have no influence what so ever on the direction and choices of MIA.

    I am willing to give the other proposed changes a chance over the course of the coming period, but I must say that I was immediately put off and offended by this first change.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Steve

    It is impossible to provide the statistics you are looking for because most likely close to a 100% of those with serious pain issues are being drugged in one way or another. That is, with either opiates and/or psychiatric drugs, including huge cocktails of both categories of drugs.

    Very few people are ever introduced to well designed programs to mitigate pain, such as those involving motion exercises, meditation, diet changes, and/or CBT or other forms of talk therapy, BEFORE they are given drugs. And I would also speculate that very FEW people give these alternative approaches a serious chance to work over a long period of sustained effort and guidance.

    Part of the reason why good alternative approaches do not happen is because the ALLURE of the “quick fix” drug “solution” is so readily available and advertised everywhere in our society.


  • beckys11

    By itself, chronic pain has very little to do with suicide. It is all the harmful drug prescribing practices by mainstream medicine and psychiatry that push people over the edge.

    These drugs may have some short term positive effects, but in the long term they actually increase people’s sensitivity to pain and disable their own natural coping mechanisms.


  • No one should deny the fact that benzos might have a valuable role for someone in acute crisis, including some type of psychotic break. BUT they should only be used for a short period of time, probably no more than one week, if that. Any longer period of time has a HUGE risk of causing major dependency, addiction, and/or withdrawal problems.

    There are millions of benzo victims (mainly women) in the world today searching desperately for a way to safely taper off of these dangerous and harmful drugs.

    Jeffrey, you are dead wrong to say that it is a myth that the over prescription of opioids has fueled the opioid crisis. I have seen figures of at least 60% of all heroin addicted people since the late 1990’s came to use the drug AFTER having developed an iatrogenic dependency on opioids from dangerous prescribing patterns by doctors, encouraged and pushed by Big Pharma.

    There are a hundred million prescriptions every year for benzos, and a sizeable percentage of these drugs end up in the street and purchased by, and/or given to opioid addicted people. There is a lot of blood on the hands of certain top leaders in medicine. psychiatry, and Big Pharma.

    AND there will be no justice and/or an end to these crimes in our society unless. and until, we live in a world that outlaws these behaviors and puts people like this in jail.


  • Steve

    Welcome to a very difficult job and position at MIA, but I am confident you will be fair and do a good job.

    I am also glad that individuals who work at MIA, at the same time, can be open and honest with their views in blog submissions and comments while still working within the agreed upon parameters at MIA. Why should someone’s voice go silent just because they work within an organizational structure? We need all the voices we can get, especially those who are passionate and articulate in their beliefs.

    The most difficult area of moderation will often be when evaluating the use of sarcasm. Sarcasm definitely has a positive role in these discussions as a way to delineate the different political and philosophical viewpoints. However TOO much sarcasm may sometimes go over the line where it can become a way to personally attack or degrade someone’s character. This will be one of the most challenging parts of your moderation role at MIA.

    And finally, one of my biggest concerns at MIA (which I wrote in my evaluation) would be if “Identity Politics” were somehow to take hold, and it resulted in the literary police banning certain political terms and phrases (such as the “slavery” analogy) because some people found it distasteful, or claim it is not permitted if you do not have the “correct” or proper “identity” credentials etc. I am very glad that this kind of “identity Politics” approach has not reared its head for sometime at MIA, and that is very refreshing.

    And finally, Steve, the next time there is a “Scientology” discussion you and I are going to have to find a way to “settle up” outside somewhere. Perhaps we could “beat” on each other with some wet pages form a ripped up DSM V. Carry On! We have much work to do!

    Comradely, Richard

  • Benzos have always been a crisis on the level of the poly-drug (opioid) crisis. They are both deeply intertwined and have undergone a parallel path of exponential growth in prescriptions. .

    There is documented evidence that benzos are involved in fatal opiate drug overdoses at LEAST 30% of the time.

    My best estimate woulld be that this figure is closer to 50% of the time. Benzos are highly sought after drugs by those people using opiates on a regular basis.This is because of the synergism between the two drugs where benzos will greatly magnify the effect of the “high.”

    In fact benzos are often THE decisive drug in the cocktail that ends up killing people. This is because most opiate addicted people know how to use their opiates, but often they forget how many benzos they consumed on any given day. It is only a matter of time before the “Perfect Storm of Addiction” will come around.


  • bcharris

    You just revealed in this comment why it is SO WRONG for this author to continue to use the term, “scientism” repeatedly in his titles and subtitles throughout his blogs. The use of the word, and people’s interpretation of it, usually make no sense at all.

    This blog is NOT exposing any kind of MISUSE of science or exposing someone being TOO scientific (although I’ve never understood how that can be a problem) where science does not apply. This is exposing nothing more, or nothing less than, “bad” science, “corrupted” science, “phony” science, and/or simply “pseudo-science.”

    The author does use this latter phrase “pseudo-science” in his last sentence when he drops the phrase “pseudo-science scientism.” This ends ups being some type of gibberish phrase, like saying “bad bad” or “phony Phony” etc. etc.

    Dr. Timimi’s blogs contain some very important scientific and political exposure of Biological Psychiatry. But when he uses the term “scientism” (which he has NEVER carefully defined) he detracts from, and undercuts, the heart of his message. There is NO USEFUL PURPOSE for his use of this term in his critiques of psychiatric oppression.

    The term “scientism” is MOST OFTEN used by people who want to attack the legitimate use of science in its exposure of superstition, climate change, and other controversial topics such as certain religious myths. Here it is understandable why someone might resent people being TOO scientific when they are relying on faith to determine reality, and holding onto some type of Right Wing agenda.

    Both psychiatry and their colluding partner, Big Pharma, operate under the cover of alleged legitimate science, but this blog (along with all the other exposures at MIA) have revealed that these institutions only distort, pervert, undermine, and corrupt the scientific method in order to arrive at their false pseudo-scientific, and ultimately harmful, conclusions.

    Please leave it all at “pseudo-science” and drop the nonsensical term “scientism.”


  • Kindredspirit

    Great comments in this thread.

    There is another explanation, or social theory, for understanding the behavior that gets labeled “manic” or “mania.”

    Some believe that it can be a person’s attempt to desperately “outrun” their depression.

    A person can become very desperate to NOT have to slow down and think about and face some very difficult and painful things going on in their life (such as traumatic experiences), that they become super focused and involved in various types of behaviors or activities as a major strategy and tactic of avoidance.

    Behaviors such as talking real fast, increased physical activity, obsessive creativity, not sleeping, grandiose scheming etc. etc., all have the very REAL purpose to AVOID having to dwell upon and confront the reality of very real and/or perceived psychic pain and/or physical pain.

    All this can be a a person’s tactical and strategic (both conscious and unconscious) behavior to avoid a horrible reality. This adaptive (and sometimes very creative and successful) behavior can often help a person survive difficult circumstances, and even prevent people from taking their own life as a final solution to avoid the psychic pain.

    But this adaptive form of behavior is not without its many risks. People can eventually become totally physically and emotionally exhausted, and eventually “crash and burn” as they hit a wall by encountering much conflict and resistance from their environment (the people they encounter and the boundaries and limits they have crossed). And they can often fall into a deep depression when they eventually must slow down and think about (and even dwell upon) those painful things in life they expended so much desperate energy trying to avoid.

    More “food for thought.” This is why environmental context is SO very important to understand in these discussions, which many above commenters have pointed out with much insight. I also agree that this approach was very much lacking in the above blog.


  • Great review of an important book.

    I believe there is an important role for those dissidents working inside this oppressive “mental health” system.

    It is a very difficult and treacherous road to travel, but it can be appropriately navigated IF one is willing to stay connected to a system critical movement on the outside, AND also be willing to continuously self-interrogate themselves so as to avoid any form of “enabling” of the System and the ongoing dangers of “burnout.”

    I also liked Noel’s broader description of the word and meaning of “trauma.” This class based capitalist system has a million and one ways to alienate people and transform all human relationships into some form of “commodity” type relationship, which perverts our human essence.


  • Kirk

    Thanks for responding to my post.

    You said: ” If the oppressed have absolutely nothing in common with their oppressors I see the potential recipe for what we saw in The Terror of the French Revolution or in Stalinist Russia or Maoist China. Reversals of oppression can be just as oppressive as those who originally oppressed…”

    So what should I conclude from this statement – that it is FOOLISH or ILL ADVISED for oppressed people to rise up against their oppressors??? That it is FOOLISH AND ILL ADVISED for oppressed people try to bring into being a new type of system that moves beyond all the inequality and trauma inherent in a profit based class system??? Or that oppressed people should not attempt to move history forward because there is the risk of defeat and/or failure in the first or second time around.

    Summing up the historical experiences of the Russian and Chinese Revolutions in one extremely brief VERY NEGATIVE sentence does a great disservice to importance of understanding these first attempts at building socialism (including all their weaknesses) and moving beyond capitalism, while denying all the very important POSITIVE lessons.

    I still strongly contend that your theoretical approach lacks a genuine class analysis of the world.

    I agree that no Revolution or genuine radical political movement should EVER base its approach (or vision of a new world) on revenge or fear.

    Most oppressed people know their oppressors are human beings, but in reality their class interests in the world are diametrically opposed. In today’s world those people who run this system are guided by the capitalist economic Law of Value which views other humans as a pragmatic means to increase profit by any means necessary, including Imperialist wars. This systems turns human beings into commodities and distorts and traumatizes our human social relationships in so many ways. This reality must be at the HEART of any attempt at explaining extreme forms of human psychological distress in the world.


  • I like the fact that someone is trying to situate these human problems most fundamentally in the environment, rather than in genetics or brain diseases.

    I DON’T LIKE the name (and what it implies) the, “polarized mind,” that this theorist came up with to explain psychological distress. It seems to contradict the essence of what he/she is arguing for, by once again focusing on the individual mind.

    The author is quoted as saying: “Schneider expects that these types of interventions will allow people to broaden their perspectives and find points of commonality with others, which could reduce polarization.”

    Frankly, this way of approaching human conflicts totally negates a class analysis of society and WILL NOT lead to a world where true equality abounds.

    Class polarization is actually a GOOD thing IF it can ultimately lead to the upper class having its power overthrown and removed from the neck of the oppressed. AND this will NOT happen unless those people in the under classes begin to see they have absolutely NOTHING in common with their oppressors and need to take power from them.

    All this requires the masses to be won over (through education and struggle) that a profit based capitalist system stands as the major obstacle to the advance of all science and an obstacle to all human beings achieving a true commonality of purpose and a sharing of the world’s resources.


  • The author of this article has created a “straw man” argument for those critics of the over prescription of opiates. No reasonable critic would just say “accept your pain.”

    The author states: “Pain patients are not trying to avoid pain or medicate it away—we are simply trying to get some relief from the daily grind of constant pain.”

    The author CANNOT speak for ALL pain patients. This above statement ignores the reality that today’s medical establishment (and Big Pharma) has definitely encouraged pain patients “to avoid pain or medicate it away.” This is why their are millions of people dependent and/or addicted to opiates, and a significant percentage of those people transition to buying illicit opiates in the streets. AND far too many of these people die from overdoses.

    Long term use of opiates to treat chronic pain is an overall harmful treatment strategy that is NOT successful or backed up by science. There is research that shows that people will have worse outcomes and actually become MORE sensitive to pain (opioid induced hyper-algesia) over time.

    There are other alternatives to using opiates and other drugs to treat pain, such as meditation, CBT therapy, motion exercises, and other forms of physical therapy. Unfortunately many pain patients have become so invested (physically and psychologically) on the opiates, that they will often reject these other strategies. Here we need to blame the medical establishment (and Big Pharma) for this problem.

    No chronic pain patient should EVER be ripped off their opiate drugs. The medical establishment must invest money, time, and effort in correcting a problem of their own making. And in the mean time some of the Big Pharma CEOs should be put in jail for all the deaths and harm they have caused.


  • Oldhead

    Rachel’s link above says only 17% of the surveyed psychiatrist listed no religion when questioned.

    “Original sin” permeates the Bible and most religions.

    Why do you equate atheism with “sophistication” instead of merely the ability to think rationally and scientifically about how the world works and how harmful various forms of superstition can be to the human race.


  • bcharris

    You said: ” I’m afraid we’ll have to endure this until we consistently have to endure repeat disasters from this pseudo-science.”

    I think you completely missed the essence of this article which was summed up in the last line.

    “But in all likelihood, the problems will continue until the root cause is addressed — that is, until capitalism no longer dominates the university, and the society that sustains it.”


  • Emily

    BTW, in my reference to the blog “A Racist Movement Cannot Move,” I did not mean to only highlight one comment. You would have to read ALL my comments and those of the authors (and others) to get a clear sense of the different positions, AND the VITAL distinction and political importance of those differences.

    I still have not received an apology for essentially being called a “racist.”


  • To all those who promote the view that there are “No Victims” are also, by defining logic, saying there are “No Oppressors.”

    All of which, is taking “relativism” to its extreme.

    This get us nowhere and makes the “Powers That BE” very happy and free to continue ALL forms of human oppression.


  • And I would add this point.

    The essence of the LGAT position that bad things that happen to people in the world are essentially part of “THEIR OWN FAULT.” is very similar to the “LAW OF ATTRACTION” promoted in the popular book (several years ago) “The Secret.”

    If someone is raped or abused then they must somehow accept the fact that they “attracted” this behavior. What a F#$king “blame the victim” philosophy! That book, “The Secret,” and the philosophy it promoted was very harmful.


  • Emily

    Thanks for those comments.

    If you have the time you might want to read the very long comment section to a very controversial blog ( ) that appeared at MIA perhaps before you arrived here.

    I believe there were some elements of a harmful group/think approach in the form of “Identity Politics,” that if taken to their extreme, and then codified here at MIA, it would have had disasterous results for the future political role and growth of MIA.

    I don’t really expect you to comment on that here, but sometime I’d like to hear your assessment of this important debate and dialogue.


  • Hi Emily

    Your more direct presence here will be SORELY missed, both as a moderator and your decision making presence on the future editorial and political direction of MIA.

    I share Oldhead’s basic points in response to the essence of your blog. When it comes to music the term “polyphony” has a clear meaning and application. BUT as to politics and making Revolutionary change in the world, I believe it only has a very limited meaning and application. To make a “principle” out of “polyphony” in political activism has the very real danger of promoting “relativism” – there are no “absolute truths” at any given historical time that require necessary and decisive action in the real world, including in the area of establishing humane “laws” that end certain harmful institutions, behaviors and practices.

    I would also say that I detected a certain amount of pessimism in your blog regarding the future possibility of real Revolutionary change in the world. At the very least it (big change) came across as very remotely distant, and this could be related to your emphasis on the need for “polyphony” in future political discourse and activity in the world.

    HOWEVER, after just now (I must have missed this when it first came out) reading your past blog on your horrible cult experience with “Large Group Awareness Training,” I now more fully understand some of the evolutionary development of your philosophical and political approach to things.

    My reaction to this blog on the LGAT experience is, HOLY SHIT!!! what a horrible traumatic experience. Not only did this group traumatize you with their oppressive cult group/think methods, but they most likely totally destroyed the relationship you had with your then, fiance. I am so sorry you had to endure this, and in some ways it sounds as bad, or almost as bad, as what you experienced with this oppressive “mental health” system.

    The LGAT group sounds very much like the cult, Scientology. And if you had continued with them you might have experienced even greater thought control and coercive methods employed by them at higher levels. AND they would have definitely taken a lot more of your money to boot (once again, the negative role of the profit motive f$#king things up in the world).

    I refuse to call Scientology a “church,” and I am very dismayed at some commenters here at MIA that continue to minimize the danger of Scientology, given all their monetary, property, and legal resources that are very much at their disposal.

    Emily, I hope to maintain contact with you, especially when I spend more time in your area of Florida (in the winter months) while you attend school there. I would like to meet some of the other ‘critical psychiatry” and/or “anti-psychiatry” people in that area, and hopefully engage in educational endeavors, social activities, and other forms of direct political action. My brain tends to turn to “mush” when I am in Florida, and I need more provocative political stimulation to prevent that from happening and to be a part of some radical movement activities.

    All the best, Carry on! Richard

  • Dr. Peter Breggin does not always make good political decisions about who to associate with. After 9/11 he took a bad political turn to the “Right” and made several appearances on Michael Savage’s nationally syndicated radio show.

    Michael Savage does promote some critical ideas about psychiatry’s over drugging of people, especially children. BUT Michael Savage is clearly one of the most Right Wing Neo-Fascist talk show hosts in the country. Any internet search of some of his quoted ideas will clearly show what a vile and sickening outlook he promotes on his radio show.

    Lawrence, you haven’t responded to my other comment below.


  • There are major problems with this article. Twelve Step approaches to addiction AND Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) are flip sides of the same “Addiction is a Disease” coin. BOTH are flawed approaches which promote confusion and ultimately undermine (for many people) their attempts to obtain a life free from addiction.

    Yes, AA and NA has helped some people, but no where near the exaggerated claims trumpeted by Twelve Step zealots. Attempts by some people to conform to their Disease Based Model (the “One and Only Road”) has harmed their efforts to become drug free, and caused many people to become pessimistic about the possibility of permanent abstinence.

    Medically Assisted Treatment – MAT, is the new EUPHEMISTIC name for “Opiate Replacement Therapy.” This new name is now calling synthetic opiates a form of “medicine” treating the “disease” of addiction. And they more often encourage people to stay permanently on these mind altering drugs for life.

    Yes, methadone and suboxone have a positive role to play in helping to stabilize people addicted to opiates. And yes, these synthetic opiates have a positive role to play in helping people detox and/or slowly taper from their opiate addiction. But these MAT programs are often profitable enterprises that encourage and promote “maintenance” rather than a goal of abstinence. They promote another version of the “disease” concept of addiction that is merely the flip side of the same coin promoted by Twelve Step AA and NA programs.

    See my link below to a blog I wrote a few years ago on the suboxone and methadone MAT programs.
    And also see another link to a past blog of mine critically analyzing Twelve Step programs.


  • Lawrence

    Psychiatry and their entire Medical Model is now firmly embedded within a profit based capitalist system and serves a very critical role in reinforcing and preserving this systems superstructure – ideology and class based institutions. And part of that role is to label, drug, incarcerate, and marginalize any and all potential political deviancy.

    You said: “We should be getting desperate here in the U.S., since pro-medical model propaganda is getting increasingly entrenched in our schools, government, scientific circles, media, and entertainment. Trillions of dollars have been spent on promoting/expanding the psychiatric system, which is drawing in an ever-rising percentage of our population – We’re losing the war, and “Brave New World” is quickly approaching… Are you really interested in stopping psychiatry from destroying our whole country, or are you content to just complain and chat about it with each other?”

    The desperation you describe here (which is very real) SHOULD NOT be directed towards drawing in other despotic individual or groups that promote and support FASCISTIC social and political agendas, no matter how anti-psychiatry they appear on the surface.

    Lawrence, we need to consider Revolutionary approaches to political change BEFORE this planet is destroyed. AND anti-psychiatry political action can be a vital part of this worldwide uprising that needs to take place.

    In past discussions when I have brought up an activist anti-capitalist perspective, you have been dismissive of these politics and claimed the mantle of some type of so-called “nonpolitical” approach. Yet here you are proposing the development of political alliances with neo-fascist groups like Scientology.

    I believe your anti-psychiatry writing and activism will NOT go very far, unless and until, you link up with an understanding of the oppressive Medical Model’s connection to maintaining and preserving a class/profit based economic and political system.


  • Thanks Steve and Oldhead

    Both responses (serious and humorous) are necessary critical responses to this blog. While the author has good intentions in his criticisms about the “over” diagnosis and drugging of depression, this still leaves the door open for harmful psychiatric labeling and drugging of those determined to be “clinically” depressed.

    There is NO way to determine this imaginary “line” between “healthy” depression and “clinical” depression.
    And doesn’t this second designation sound rather “clinical’ to everyone here.

    Depression is a necessary and healthy evolutionary response to human conflict with the environment and various social injustices that surround us. It is an important coping mechanism that can unfortunately get stuck in the “on” position for some people in certain circumstances. And yes, this can be terribly painful and debilitating and should NOT be minimized.

    BUT many people have (and will continue to ) find their way out of this morass with the right combination of social supports and time healing personal insights that emerge through difficult struggle.

    Let’s NOT leave the door open for psychiatry and their oppressive Disease/Drug Based paradigm of so-called “treatment” to somehow determine what is a so-called “unhealthy” level of depression that we all need to pathologize with a “clinical” designation.

    Here, in this discussion we once again have a clear distinction between what is “critical psychiatry” and what is genuine “anti-psychiatry.” And it should be obvious from my comment that I stand firmly with the latter.


  • Mark

    I hope you take the time to read some of the above referenced blogs here at MIA that I provided in earlier comments. There is a wealth of valuable analysis in the writings of both Dr. Hickey and Dr. Joseph.

    Nobody has deconstructed modern psychiatry better than Dr Philip Hickey. People cannot, and should not, promote themselves as being knowledgeable, or learned, in this field without a willingness to suffer the cognitive dissonance encountered when reading these writings with an open mind.


  • Mark

    Thanks for engaging on these question.

    You said: ” To submit that there have been no reputable studies demonstrating brain changes in patients diagnosed with mental disorder runs counter to reality.”

    Mark if somehow you only thought about sex (or engaged in sex) for 16 hours a day for a certain period of time, there might be some sort of change in your brain activity and/or structure. And then after you stopped for a period of time your brain would most likely return to its “normal” state.

    When or if some changes in the brain took place, this proves NOTHING about so-called “mental illness” or “disorders.” It only means that the brain adapts to abnormal circumstances.

    Mark, you said above that there was an “abundance” of evidence for the biological pathology in so-called “mental illness.” Even some staunch Biological Psychiatrists lament the fact that this evidence has NOT yet been discovered.

    I will provide you two links below that refute the biological model and deconstruct the phony evidence provided so far by psychiatry.


  • Hi Mark

    Why would you want to continue to quote Ronald Pies as some authority on the issues of whether or not “mental illness” exists?

    He is the same man, who of recent years, has been a major apologist for psychiatry since it has come under much overdo criticism for its pseudo-science and oppressive forms of so-called treatment.

    He is the same man who called the “chemical imbalance” theory an “urban myth,” while he himself has continued to promote his own version of it. And isn’t he the same apologist who said the “chemical imbalance” theory had some pragmatic value as an explanation (to so-called ignorant patients) even though it has NO validity, because it helped convince them of the viability of psychiatric drugs if the doctor deemed them necessary? I suggest you read some of Dr. Philip Hickey’s scathing blogs (here at MIA) directed towards deconstructing Ronald Pies role as an apologist for psychiatry.

    And Mark you said:
    ” even the purest Szaszians would admit that there has been an abundance of research in the past few decades linking what is called “mental illness” with certain biological changes–to a greater or lesser degree depending on the condition.”

    NO, no, no, this is not a true statement. There is still no discovery of so-called “biological markers” for “mental illnesses” or “disorders.” Please show us the evidence of these “biological changes.” Even the pet scan analyses and brain scan analyses that have evolve into some pseudo-scientific explanations have been blown apart by legitimate scientific appraisal.

    The only verifiable biological changes found over the past two decades that make any sense are those in which the “treatment” by psychiatry, with psychiatric drugs and/or Electro-shock, has seriously (if not sometimes, permanently) perturbed brain function and/or other neuro-chemical processes.

    No major anti-psychiatry critic here at MIA (except those few who want to somehow “romanticize” “mental illness”) denies that there are people deeply disturbed by trauma and other stressors in the environment and present themselves with different behavioral and thought manifestations that reflect this level of psychological distress.

    These are NOT “illnesses” that should in any way be treated in a medical sense, nor are they necessarily permanent conditions. And we need NO medical terminology or biological explanations for them. And there is no scientific evidence up to this point (nor will there ever be, in my view) that in any way undermines the essential positions put forth by Szasz that “mental illness” is a myth.

    And Mark, I would ask, are your suppositions that there really is bio-physiological evidence for “mental illness,” more of a HOPE on your part that someday someone will find them?


  • Yes, while there are a few minor examples of where some people on the Left have used the term “Libertarianism” to define their politics, OVERWHELMINGLY those who promote this ideology are PRO capitalist and worship individual rights OVER the collective whole.

    Just because some Nazis chose to occasionally use the term “National Socialism” as a descriptive term DOES NOT mean there is ANY association between socialism and fascism.


  • Chris

    You cannot get around the fact that psychiatry invented the term “Bipolar’ and went on to define its meaning within its oppressive paradigm of Disease/Drug based “treatment.”

    Let them completely own the term with all its contradictions of science and morality. Let them stutter and squirm when they attempt to explain their NONSENSE that can’t be proven OR justified. Let’s NOT engage in verbal gymnastics to somehow confuse this very important debate and area of contention.

    Chris, you said:
    “The diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder is merely a set of symptoms; hopefully we agree on that. I am saying that these symptoms do not exist in pathology of the individual, but rather exist between an individual and systems.”

    Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are somehow different or odd from the norm (but completely understandable human responses when the true circumstances for their emergence are understood) are NOT “symptoms.” This is their attempt to “medicalize” a normal response to abnormal conditions in the world, and/or pathologize necessary human conflict with one’s stressful and often oppressive environment.

    Chris, this is exactly another way of saying what you meant with your following words:

    “The extent to which people experience arousal, dissociation, agitation, elation, madness, etc.—in similar conditions—is an expression of diversity, driven by the demands of the conditions.”

    Using “Bipolar” to define the above conditions, ultimately allows the enemy to develop and define the language and terms of the discussion within their oppressive and corrupt Medical Model, and forces us into various forms of verbal gymnastics. This ends up allowing them to control the terms of the debate and overall battle. This is NOT a winning strategy here.

    Chris, the beauty of your narrative and the depth of your powerful analysis is undermined by the use of THEIR terminology. Please reconsider dropping their language and getting into a more complete “deconstruction” mode.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Frank

    You said: ” Libertarian merely means placing a high value on liberty.”

    This is both very naive and very wrong.

    You CANNOT abstract Libertarianism from the current way in which the necessities of life in the world are both produced AND distributed throughout society.

    Libertarians worship at the alter of “Free” Market capitalism, and all that goes with this type of economic and political system. This includes the so-called Darwinian social concepts of the survival of the fittest and placing rugged individualism on a cultural pedestal.

    We should ALL know (especially you, Frank) what class in society this type of ideology and philosophy will end up serving. We can all see where this type of thinking has already taken us.


  • It is amazing how some so-called learned people can write some pretty good scientific and political summations regarding the significance of someone like Thomas Szasz, AND THEN completely abandon logic and journalistic honesty with a few bogus concluding remarks.

    This author stated the following in his concluding remarks:

    “And the growing research on the pathophysiology of severe mental disorder paints a more complex picture than Szasz let on.”
    “Sixty years ago, Thomas Szasz did the profession—and the world—a great service by pointing out the gross abuses of power perpetrated in the name of psychiatric treatment…. But his claims regarding the nature of mental illness seem to be based on flawed logical and epistemological assumptions. They certainly seem to run counter to the clinical reality.”

    This author provided NO scientific or theoretical evidence to back up his claim of the “pathophysiology of severe mental disorders [sic]” or of the so-called “flawed logical and epistemological assumptions” of Thomas Szasz.

    Yes, Szasz’s “libertarianism” was flawed in many ways, because “libertarianism” is a flawed ideology, but his analysis of psychiatry and psychiatric oppression has essentially stood the test of time and any legitimate scientific analysis.

  • Chris

    This is a powerful blog filled with many insights about the multiple forms of trauma and personal difficulties of life in modern capitalist society. It is also a clear indictment of how this insane “mental health” system of psychiatric labeling and drugging is itself a form of trauma and only perpetuates a sick system.

    Your point about how this society promotes the “pathologizing of empathy” is so true and is very connected to the promotion of the capitalist view of human nature, that is, “dog eat dog, look out for number one” type of mentality. We can see how deadly this view of human nature has become.

    BUT this analysis does NOT go far enough, and remains stuck within the confines of the very paradigm it criticizes.

    There are many ways to be critical of the “Bipolar” label WITHOUT trying to “reclaim” it and/or “transform” its meaning. While one can understand why people might want to attempt this strategy of “appropriation,” it is ultimately a dead end that takes people down a “rabbit hole” of political and cultural contradiction.

    This is no different than the troubling history of Black people attempting to appropriate the “N” word, or women somehow trying to “reclaim” and/or “transform” the “B” word or the “C” word. This is NOT a revolutionary strategy, but one that ends up in some form of “reformism.”

    Chris, you said:

    “I see psychiatry as a necessary component to the problems we face, but the field must be transformed by empowered consumers, just as we now need science to undo the catastrophic blunders technology has brought about.”

    Again, Chris you are not going far enough in your analysis. Any true scientific analysis of psychiatry would revealed that there is NO basis for a so-called medical specialty that allegedly “treats” illnesses that do not exist. Psychiatry is based on pseudo-science and serves an oppressive role in society to shift attention towards “genetic theories of original sin” and AWAY from seeing the actual oppressive forms of trauma and inequality inherent in a class based capitalist society.

    And I would add that your choice of the phrase “empowered consumers” was both mistaken, and also an oxymoron. Anyone who “consumes” what psychiatry has to offer in our society can NEVER be “empowered.” We all must puke it up and spit it out, and the sooner the better.

    Chris, I hope you are open to some critical appraisal of your writing. You have a very important story to tell and I love many aspects of your writing and critical insights. I just believe it is vitally important to take things several more steps forward. We need a revolution, not some form critical reformism.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Bob and Kindredspirit

    Bob, great blog and further development of your critical scientific analysis of the overall harmful effects of psychiatric drugs throughout society. You have made a great case for the importance of NNT’s in analyzing the available data for the dangerous risks involved in the promotion and use of these mind altering drugs.

    Kindredspirit, you also raise some excellent points about how people in general are so willing to take risks (sometimes enormous risks) to get some perceived benefit from potentially dangerous drugs and/or some other gambling type activities in society.

    What has been left out of this discussion is how ALL of these important questions (of risk vs benefit) are both magnified, and their eventual course determined by a capitalist/profit based market place.

    Big Pharma (in collusion with psychiatry) is able to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to control the overall narrative while advertising and hyping the so-called benefits of these drugs, while downplaying the harmed caused. The counter narrative of forces such as MIA and other critics, is allowed to promote its counter perspective, but it is a mere tadpole swimming in a sea of sharks.

    Here the “Powers that Be,” that control the entire status quo, can say there is “free speech” and that the public has so-called “equal access” to a counter narrative, but we all know that the access to the “truth” is NOT on an equal playing field AND NEVER WILL BE as long as we live in a profit based capitalist system.

    Here it might be important to look at the history related to the FDA approval of the drug Vioxx (for arthritis and chronic pain) which was removed from the marketplace in 2004 due to dangerous side effects (or main effects) on the heart. It was determined that this drug probably caused anywhere between 88,000 to 139,000 heart attacks with 30 to 40 percent of those resulting in death. The pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., who produced this billion dollar blockbuster drug, was guilty of hiding valuable data that actually revealed the dangerous potential of heart damage, but continued to market and sell the drug.

    Interestingly enough, in 2005 the FDA and Canada’s equivalent agency voted to allow this drug to once again be sold in the marketplace DESPITE these serious heart consequences. Merck has not pushed for this to happen because of the high number of lawsuits and settlements proving major harm done to high numbers of people.

    However, it has been rumored that Vioxx may soon once again appear in the marketplace because both Merck & Co and the FDA may argue that its benefits outweigh any of the major risks involved in its use, and they may find a way around having to pay any more for legal damages.

    AND it should be quite apparent that they, (Big Pharma and the other powerful medical institutions), have enormously powerful financial, legal, political, and advertising resources at their disposal. These institutional forms of power and control are clearly based in a profit based/capitalist system and are driven by a set of economic and political contigencies that we have virtually no control over.

    All of these same institutional forces mentioned above, ultimately control and govern the entire course of how ALL psychiatric drugs are both viewed and dealt with by millions of people around the world. We cannot make fundamental change in how all forms of psychiatric abuse are addressed in society without confronting the very nature of the economic and political system we all live within.

    It is clear that MIA and the entire worldwide backlash against the psychiatric drug “revolution” has a significant number of credentialed experts, along with a powerful number of credible published stories by psychiatric survivors, yet the number of drug prescriptions and psychiatric labeling increases by the day throughout the world. Incremental reform (while both noble and necessary) is NOT going to lead to any fundamental change when it comes to ending all forms of psychiatric abuse.

    Just as with the enormous level of cognitive and political dissonance between Trump & Co. and those who oppose his rule, this System, can and will, tolerate vastly different narratives in the “marketplace” of ideas and regarding the sale of certain commodities, as long as it DOES NOT threaten the fundamental nature of a profit based system and those that rule it.


  • Hi Brett and Everyone

    I realize that I am way late to this discussion/debate. I found it very interesting and educational, and despite the fact that there was no clear resolution, it IS an important topic to be discussed.

    It is too late for me to go back into the main points, which were all covered quite thoroughly by many commenters. As with many discussions, we MUST continue to thrash them out (perhaps again and again) because the world needs solutions.

    Brett said the following (out of frustration and disappointment):

    ” I do not belong here, according to the culture of the comments section at MIA, and I’ve finally come to understand that. People who share my scientific values do not belong here. This helps to explain why MIA has made basically no inroads, and indeed has no chance of making inroads, in the world of non-biomedically-oriented “mental health” professionals who care about science, as long as the present culture remains intact.”

    Of course Brett belongs here and his presence has ALWAYS been positive and educational.

    However, his/your assessment that the “present culture” of the commenters at MIA IS the reason that more inroads have not been made influencing “biomedically-oriented “mental health” professionals,” CANNOT be supported by science or any other method of analysis.

    We must first look at who has “STATE POWER” in society and controls the media, educational system and all other significant institutions involved in the promotion and control of the current paradigm of so-called “treatment.” They spend billions of dollars YEARLY to carefully control public opinion and maintain the power and authority of psychiatry and their entire paradigm.

    This class based capitalist system needs psychiatry (and all that comes with it) to maintain its existence, and it WILL NOT give it up just because some minority group can now prove the harm that it causes.

    Again, there are BILLIONS being spent here, and it is of tremendous importance to those in power that psychiatry and its ” genetic theories of original sin” continue to be accepted widely throughout society and its legal and “scientific” authority sustained.

    I am not saying that the culture of the comment section at MIA has zero effect on its participants. But we must put all this in the perspective of what we are truly up against here, and what it will actually take to end all forms of psychiatric abuse.

    People participating in discussions at MIA SHOULD NOT EXPECT that a highly rational discussion will always lead to a resolution, and then be deflated or demoralized if they feel misunderstood or don’t reach the desired conclusion. This rarely happens in the comment section.

    Sometimes we must just finish our main arguments and then move on. In the mean time, there is growing chaos in the world and scientific and political struggle (of all kinds) breaking out all over the planet. Tomorrow will be a new day, with new conditions and opportunities for us to make trouble and possibly small inroads against those in power.

    Everyone get a good nights sleep and get ready to do battle in the new day.

    Carry on! Richard

  • Slaying The Dragon

    It was wrong of me to use caustic sarcasm to your above comment that literally equates psychiatry to the “Devil.” I apologize for the tone of that past moderated comment.

    The point to be made here is that by equating psychiatry to the “Devil” you end up totally abstracting psychiatry from the actual MATERIAL CONDITIONS in the world that gave rise to this profession, and NOW continues to sustain AND increase its power and control.

    Yes, psychiatry does evil things in the world, but it is not “pure evil” in the sense that it has always existed as in the myth of the existence of a “Devil.” Human beings are capable of doing terrible things, but in the best of environments they can be very cooperative and loving.

    For when you so narrowly focus on characterizing psychiatry as “evil” or the “Devil,” this lead us AWAY from finding the path to eliminating psychiatry and its oppressive paradigm of so-called treatment. This approach will NOT reduce the rise in suicide or end psychiatric oppression.

    Right now in the world, psychiatry (with its “genetic theories of original sin”) makes people focus on bad genes, brain diseases etc. and wants us all to NOT look at institutionalized forms of trauma and inequality in the world. This clearly serves the interests of the rich and powerful, that is the pharmaceutical industry and those who want to suppress dissent and other forms of rebellion.

    Just look at who are the most highly labeled and drugged segments of our society. In the past these segments of our society (minorities, women, prisoners and other system outliers etc.) were always the most rebellious and more willing to challenge the status quo.

    We all need to broaden our analysis of psychiatric oppression and get to the heart of where it comes from and how to uproot it from the actual material conditions in the REAL world.


  • Slaying the Dragon

    Yes, it is correct to target the critical role of psychiatry in these deaths, but your emphasis on ONLY psychiatry obscures the central underlying message in this blog. In fact, in my view, your total focus on the surface phenomena of psychiatry tends toward leading people away from finding the solutions to the problems of suicide and human alienation.

    Psychiatry and their paradigm of so-called “treatment” exists in a certain environment (type of society) and we must ask (and answer) the following questions:

    1) How did psychiatry come to gain its pervasive power in our society over the past 4 decades, and whose class interests does it serve?

    2) What is the origin and ultimate source of this obsessive focus on INDIVIDUAL success and achievement in society (that is so alienating), and how does it connect to the nature of our economic and political system?

    3) AND what systemic economic, political, and cultural changes need to take place in society to reduce emotional trauma and alienation, and give people more of a reason to live and contribute to making the world a better place?

    And BTW Noel. a good and timely blog. I am deeply grieving the loss of Anthony Bourdain. In his own unique way, he was truly breaking down WALLS and revealing through his travels how most human beings on this planet want and need the same fundamental things in life.


  • Oldhead

    You said: “Though I didn’t make this clear, when I said “we” it was in reference to a specific project geared towards identifying aspects of psychiatric oppression which cross ideological boundaries.”

    Psychiatric oppression is pervasive throughout all of our society. ALL psychiatric oppression cuts across ideological boundaries.

    The key question here is: why would a revolutionary activist want to create ANY advanced political organization OF ANY KIND (including an anti-psychiatry organization) in this historical era, that was NOT clearly delineated as Left (anti-capitalist)???


  • Oldhead

    You said: “…we should be looking for is an anti-psych analysis which encompasses or transcends “traditional” left-right dialectics in a way adherents of otherwise conflicting philosophies can embrace.”

    There is NOTHING in the world today, including any type of liberating ideology, that can (or should attempt to) “transcend” left-right dialectics.”

    Oldhead, using your own prior definitions where “Left” is defined as “anti-capitalist” and NOT as “liberal democrat” etc., why would anyone seeking a better world want to escape the “dialectic” you describe above?

    This is especially true when a profit based capitalist system is THE major historical roadblock to the advance of human progress seeking an end to ALL forms of human exploitation and oppression.

    Psychiatry and today’s ‘mental health” system is intimately interwoven within the overall capitalist/imperialist framework. For you to somehow suggest that a current day liberation movement can develop a theoretical or organizational presence that “transcends the left-right dialectic” is a utopian dream at best, and as a strategy, it can only lead toward “reformism” and liberal compromise.


  • Oldhead

    You said: “Therefore, for MIA as a non-survivor led organization to be pushing a “mad studies” approach reflects its own perspectives, not those of any organized survivor movement, and the latter should not be implied.”

    I am sure that MIA like any organization, has different and sometimes conflicting ideologies and perspectives that are reflected in its public presentation. There IS clearly a representative current of psychiatric survivors at MIA who are involved in the overall workings of the webzine, and it IS very much reflected in the content of the blog articles and other postings.

    Since, as you say, there is no clearly defined organized anti-psychiatry movement or organization, what is so wrong with there being a “mad studies” course promoted on the website where these issues can be discussed?

    Doesn’t this type of educational series provide a forum for an anti-psychiatry position to be delineated, and for contending viewpoints to be debated?

    If some of us don’t like the fact that there is no defined anti-psychiatry theoretical and organized presence in the current political landscape, then let’s stop complaining and do something about it!


  • Emily

    Where we agree:

    NOT telling people that their different (from social norms) behaviors and emotional states are “bad” for them and others, and therefore must be “treated,” and

    NOT telling someone that their fatness is “bad” for them and they should make “healthier” choices in their life and/or be “treated” for this condition.

    Both of these situations (as currently addressed in today’s society) I described above come across as judgemental, shaming, and fit into a category of “blaming the person” for whatever problems and/or distress they may experience related to these states of being. Both harm people in extreme ways at times, and do not help them.

    And yes, capitalism has convinced us that there is a too broad of a definition of obesity (culturally imposed norms regarding both health and beauty standards), AND (as it will ALWAYS do) seeks to profit from the very problems and/or conditions they themselves have a direct role in creating.

    I often refer to their type of pseudo-scientific theories as so-called “genetic theories of original sin.” (As if these are inherent flaws in human nature, instead of representing major flaws in the way society is organized around ownership, production and distribution). This was a phrase coined by the famous sociologist, Ashley Montagu.

    Where we disagree:

    I believe there has been a significant rise in obesity/fatness over the past 60 years that, overall, has diminished the health of the broad masses of people. And I belief legitimate science can back this up.

    Yes, some heavy people are quite fit and meet many of these legitimate health standards. But when it comes to heart health and overall effects on joints etc., many overweight people fall short of healthy standards and will suffer negative effects from this, in both the short and long term. Most people already know this to be true.

    BTW, my having said the above statement, does NOT mean it is okay to go around shaming people or telling them they are unhealthy. Here we are talking about general trends in society, that frankly the “Powers That Be” do NOT want people knowing the actual origins of these kind of societal problems. (see below)

    This is directly related to the “for profit” capitalist food industry producing and advertising foods with higher and higher levels of salt, sugar, and saturated fats. All this is combined with higher stress levels related to other forms of alienation and trauma within a class based society.This has all been done, similar to the cigarette industry, knowing that these ingredients have addictive qualities to the human brain and body, similar to other addictive drugs in society, and that people will be “forced” to continue using them at higher and higher levels over time.

    So here I am making the point that there is, and needs to be, a QUALITATIVELY DIFFERENT approach to addressing (OR NOT ADDRESSING) these issues when dealing with people who might be labeled as “obese” and or “fat,” AND when we start discussing these issues as broader questions confronting society as a whole. This is ESPECIALLY true when we start talking about issues of “blame” and “responsibility” in society for the existence of these sorts of problems, and for how we might find solutions.


  • To All

    I would hope that people would respond to my above point about trends in the for profit food industry over the past half century.

    Where I might disagree with the authors, is whether or not we should talk about obesity as a general social phenomena in late stage capitalism. I think having these discussions is fundamentally different than “fat shaming” and “sizeism” that gets directed towards INDIVIDUALS.

    This trend in higher rates of obesity is reflective of increased stress and oppression in society, and is not an overall healthy trend for both physical and psychological reasons for the broad masses of people..

    Here I am talking about addressing these issues of food production and advertising on an institutional and systemic level. People must be made aware that the “for profit” capitalist system DOES NOT have their best interests at heart (in a million ways) when it comes to promoting so-called healthy lifestyles.


  • Oldhead

    You said: “Also is it perhaps worth pointing out that “shaming” is impossible if you don’t give a shit what someone thinks of you?”

    The reality is that we are all SOCIAL human beings who need and require positive social interaction with others. And people can CLAIM that they don’t give a shit, but THEY DO! Shaming matters, and must be opposed as the authors have so eloquently advocated.

    Here I am talking about caring what people think from social groups we are attracted to and/or tend to hang out with. Of course I don’t really care if the far Right Wing dislikes me, and if they don’t dislike me, then I am probably not doing my job as a moral and justice seeking human being making my voice heard.


  • Gabi taylor

    You said: “a person who is consumed with pain and indignant and injustice, and then drowns the feelings in a doughnut is less likely to go out and right the world, than someone who acknowledges the pain and uses it as a motivator to action. Would you not agree?”

    No gabi, I agree with very little of what you are saying in this thread. And since you have missed the total essence of the blog I would hesitate to even validate any of your secondary points here.

    And BTW, there are many people here at MIA, and out there in the real world, who would “down the doughnut” and then march out in the street, or write a kick ass blog, that takes on this oppressive system, especially the oppression of women.

    And gabi, while you may not be eating the doughnuts, you have clearly imbibed a heavy dose of this sytem’s Kool Aid way of looking at the world. And when people point this out to you, you only tend to “double down” on these backward beliefs.

    And as I remember in a previous blog discussion you definitely steered clear of the “feminist ” label, AND clearly showed your lack of understanding of women’s oppression by opposing women’s right to control their own bodies and their reproductive rights, with your anti abortion stance.

    It is now clearer to me why you would also not understand women’s oppression as it pertains to “sizeism.”


  • Oldhead

    You said: “outlawing it [prostitution] absent the current exploitative milieu would be extreme I think, and partly grounded not in economics but in puritanism.”

    Prostitution ALWAYS takes place in an “exploitative milieu.” It has always been one of the major pillars of historical patriarchy in human history.

    Oldhead, my position on ending prostitution has absolutely nothing to do with “puritanism,” and everything to do with ending capitalist oppression and creating a truly classless society where all forms of human exploitation, AND the material conditions in the world that gives rise to that oppression, are totally eliminated from human society.

    And I am still waiting for Emily, or anyone else to somehow defend the statement that prostitution is “empowering” for some women.

    I am sure that Kitty Dukakis would say that Electro-Shock was “empowering” for her. The fact that she said that, and/or believes that to be true, does not make it so.


  • Sarah

    Your disdain for making a principle out of “laws” is only understood for me when you look at the sham democracy we have in this country. The biggest joke of all is that, in theory, there are suppose to be laws against “monopolies” in this capitalist system. And the reality we face today is that economic and political power is more and more consecrated in the hands of a tiny elite.

    HOWEVER, laws in a truly socialist society will mean something totally different after such a revolution takes place, AND they will represent an historical achievement that involved enormous struggle and sacrifices by millions of people. And yes, after a revolution it will still take enormous struggle to maintain the viability of the new laws in order to advance towards a truly classless world.

    But new revolutionary laws will be absolutely necessary as a way to codify our achievements and set new standards of acceptable behavior until human nature advances to the point where cooperative forms of behavior become a more natural part of human nature.

    If we reach a point in history where there ARE laws that outlaw all forms of human exploitation, this would be a great thing, and represent a very important step in human progress.

    And you are to be commended for getting out of the law profession. I am reminded of the Al Pacino movie “And Justice for All” which is a true exposure of so-called American justice and the crazy making aspects of working in that profession.


  • Yes, Sarah, all very good points.

    And just as Emily made the point that maybe there could be a seemingly unconscious desire on the part of fat people to take up more space as a form of “in your face” to those who promote the “thin is good and beautiful,” there ALSO can be an opposite form of these tendencies as well.

    For example, I have heard people who work in this field theorize that anorexia can represent a desire to “disappear” by getting smaller and smaller. And also, as a way to remove any outward signs of female sexuality (smaller hips and no breasts) to avoid being viewed or pursued as a sexual object in our society.

    The same could be said for fat women, who are also removing the more overt physical forms of sexuality, as a way to avoid conforming to cultural standards of “beauty” and as a way to avoid being approached as a sexual object in our society.

    All of this is such a sad commentary regarding the high rates of sexual abuse and trauma in our society, and what people are forced to do consciously, or unconsciously, as a way to cope with this madness and the related cultural norms regarding the treatment of women.


  • gabi taylor

    You seem to be venturing into some sort of version of “positive psychology,” where perhaps you believe all people can and should find a way to “happiness” in this world, IF they just make the right choices (or think the right way) in life. This new trend and form of therapy actually does great harm to people who have very good reasons (suffering from real oppression) feeling depressed or being socially and psychologically detached from the world in some way.

    Depression, “psychosis,” manic behavior, fatness etc. etc. – they all represent a form of social protest, and they serve as a major public indication that we live in a very oppressive world. These forms of protest are not necessarily consciously carried out or planned, but they are a form of protest never the less. Some people may live their entire life in this state of being. Should they be made to feel shamed or somehow responsible for maintaining this form of coping mechanism within a difficult world?

    The first three examples I gave might, at times, preclude a person from engaging in actual more conscious forms of protest due to their debilitating effects. Someone who is overweight, according to socially acceptable standards (or even medical standards that calls them obese), can still become an active participant in any, and all, forms of organized protest to confront all forms of oppression and seek systemic changes in the world.

    I am going to stop telling (or judging) people (including my own grown children) that they could make better choices in their life regarding food and exercise. They have already been judged as “less than” in this world, and I don’t want to, in any way, contribute more to their oppression.

    People can be decent loving human beings AND full participants in revolutionary change regardless of their size. When a true Revolution occurs in this world, we will then be fully free to explore (without the profit motive corrupting science and everything else) what it means to be “healthy.” And when all oppressive institutions are torn down then (and only then) will people be truly free to make fully informed and non-pressured choices that will benefit both them and their community in a better way.


  • gabi taylor

    You have totally missed the main points in this blog and have now resorted to giving “advice” to the authors, and to some commenters, about how they could be “happier” and “healthier” in their lives. This really ends up shaming them for their past choices and/or future choices, and it fails to understand the essence of “sizeism” and “sanism.”.

    The bottom line is that we live in a very oppressive society that “others” and “isolates” all those who have developed all types of socially unacceptable coping mechanisms to manage and survive in this extremely oppressive and insane world. Both “sizeism and “sanism” are just two forms of oppression in this sick society that ends up “blaming the victims.”

    My earlier points (and more recent comments) are not meant, in any way, to undercut the main essence of this blog. I do have some problems with a much more secondary current in this blog that tends towards a form of
    “hyper-individualism” and “Libertarianism.”

    I totally agree with Katethewolf’s comment:

    “Sunsets are nice, justice would be better.”


  • Emily

    You said: “I am a staunch abolitionist of paternalism.”

    Does this mean that any new revolutionary societies that come into being in the future should NOT have any laws that outlaw human exploitative behaviors?

    Yes, I know that it will be a difficult process to determine exactly what are all the “exploitative” practices by which one individual or group exploits another. But is it not possible for human beings to ultimately figure this out, AND don’t we now have more than enough evidence when it comes to examining the nature of ECT, Conversion Therapy, and prostitution?

    Emily, I agree that suicide should be legal in ANY society, and I would fight for that right.

    You said: “I also think that the criminalization of sex work only leads to more exploitation and violence…”

    Yes, IN THIS SOCIETY, the criminalization of prostitution does end up coming down heavily on the women engaged in this practice. My reference to outlawing the practice of prostitution was in a REVOLUTIONARY society. And here as I’ve stated, great efforts would be made to aid all the women and men who were previously forced (or driven) into this practice.

    You said: “I know many sex workers who find this job empowering.”

    Any in depth examination of prostitution would reveal that the vast majority (if not 90% or more) of the women engaged in prostitution were victims of some forms of sexual abuse and/or other trauma in their life. It would also reveal that the “choice” to be a prostitute was driven by the experiences of both economic violence and other severe forms of emotional violence (many of which you [Emily] have revealed in your writings at MIA) from their position as oppressed women within a patriarchal society.

    I would also say that selling one’s body as a commodity, to be used and objectified by a man, does not really fit any historically moral and just definition of the word “empowering.”

    And as to your upholding the legalization of Electro-Shock, Emily, is their really such a thing as “Informed Consent” when people (mainly women) allegedly “choose” to have ECT in today’s world???

    As I stated in a prior comment, some of these political positions contested here are falling into some type of “Libertarianism” and “Individualism” that divorces human behavior from any moral standard and political compass that we can ultimately judge what is “exploitative” and “oppressive” in society.

    Without such a moral and political compass, we will be prevented from making the kinds of changes in the world to eventually eliminate all forms of human exploitation and oppression once and for all. I am NOT suggesting that the path to obtaining this “moral and political compass” will be easy, but it is POSSIBLE!


  • Emily

    I have tremendous respect for your writing here, but I think you should definitely reconsider the following comment related to conversion therapy:

    ” I said it should be legal, if freely chosen (I definitely don’t think it should be legal for parents to coerce their kids into it, for example). At the end of the day, WHAT EVER HAPPENS [my emphasis] between two consenting adults is none of my business and certainly not the state’s.”

    In the current status quo, we live in a very oppressive and exploitative capitalist/imperialist “state.” By “state” I am referring to the government and institutions that corresponds to this form of economic and political system.

    Yes, living in the CURRENT oppressive “state” we should question every, and all, intrusions into people’s lives and the laws that govern people’s behaviors. We should have no confidence that their laws are in place for our benefit.

    But your above view that “anything goes” if it’s between “two consenting adults” is very problematic. Your falling into some type of “Libertarianism” that divorces human behavior from any moral standard and compass that can ultimately judge what is “exploitative” and “oppressive” in society.

    Of course you know that the term “consenting” is extremely problematic as well. Should we NOT outlaw Electro-Shock, if it’s between so-called “consenting” adults.

    And to pose another provocative question to you: suppose we have a socialist revolution in this country. Do you think it would be wrong for the new “state” (which is now based on non-exploitative institutional structures) to outlaw prostitution.

    Prostitution is clearly the ultimate personification of objectifying and commodifying women in society, and a fundamental pillar of historical patriarchy.

    Any just and moral NEW society would definitely, as a beginning step, outlaw prostitution, while making every effort to provide emotional support, housing and monetary support for those women who were previously forced into this form of behavior. And it would criminalize those men who were found continuing to pursue women for this practice.


  • Oldhead

    I would add to your point by talking about the evolution of food production and standards in America, especially over the past 60 years.

    It is very clear that the American food industry (to raise their profit levels) very consciously became aware of the addictive nature of producing food with higher levels of salt, sugar, and saturated fats. These food substances very clearly access the hedonic pathways in human brain chemistry, very similar to a brain and behavior process that occurs with other more commonly used addictive drugs.

    It is no accident that millions of people on the planet are attracted to these foods and obtain some level of comfort in consuming them. Just one more reason why capitalism must be eliminated to advance human evolution through Revolution.


  • Emily and Sarah

    Thank you so much for this very educational and extremely challenging blog. I say, “challenging,” because of all the kinds of prejudices in our sick society this is the one (if I am willing to be honest) that I struggle with the most.

    Having been a radical political activist since the 1960’s I try to be a critical thinker about all forms of oppression and seek to take the most advanced political and morally correct stand that I possibly can, and then act accordingly.

    You both have deepened my understanding about this form of oppression (from your personal and political perspectives) and it has definitely changed my thinking, and I hope it will manifest itself in my future behavior.

    Now to my questions and concerns. Emily, you write very passionately about your own aspects of “thin privilege” and “fat phobia” throughout your life and how this has caused a great deal of anxiety and pressure in life. I am sure this whole issue can be quite different for women in this society (where the women’s body is “objectified”) and the resulting related trauma is so much higher than it is for most men.

    For me the issue of “fat phobia” and health standards “divides into two.” Yes, I have been deeply affected by our culture and all the pressures and the standards of beauty. However, at some point in our life we each develop our own sense of personal identity (and it is always in flux) that, yes, is shaped by these cultural norms, but also has its own individual character that we may grow comfortable with in both our mind and body. And it may end up conforming to how we, as an individual, define what it means to be “healthy.”

    For me, being athletic from a young age and desiring a goal of physical fitness became something that made me feel good about myself in my own body. That is, a sense of physical awareness about the various muscle groups and a positive feeling from the sense of muscle contractions (through weight training type exercises) and a sense of muscle tone and aerobic conditioning from the sports I was playing. In fact, I would say that my involvement in sports in high school may have been one important thing that shielded me from some of the negative effects of all the other kinds of pressures that push many youth over the edge during this very vulnerable part of their life.

    And as to the way some people maintain a certain weight standard that might be labeled “thin” or “normal.” For some people like myself this may evolve (over many years) into some type of internal body “set point” that allows a person to stay at the same “lower” weight. I am now 70 years old and only 10 pounds heavier than my high school weight. Of course, I am flabbier and more wrinkly in appearance, but still have the overall sense of body awareness (that I had as a youth) in regards to the weight I feel most comfortable with and the one fits my sense of personal identity.

    I believe this point I am making about my “set point” and sense of body awareness can overall manifest itself in eating behaviors that tend to offset each other. For example, If I overeat or over indulge in certain foods on one day I subconsciously tend to back off the next day as a way of maintaining this “set point.” This is NOT a process of self shaming or berating myself about so-called bad behaviors the prior day, it just happens (a behavior pattern that has evolved over 70 years) to allow me to sustain the “set point” of weight that I feel most comfortable with and that corresponds to my self identity.

    I do NOT separate all this from cultural norms and societal influences, but neither do I choose to call myself primarily “fat phobic” because these thoughts and behaviors (about food and exercise) have evolved in my life and help keep me aligned to those standards that I value as “healthy.”

    When humanity reaches a stage in history when there is no class oppression and all the other forms of trauma and human degradation are eliminated (a stage of history well beyond a profit based/capitalist system), I do believe human beings will evolve to a point where we will both understand what “healthy” standards are (for eating and exercise behaviors), AND most importantly, EVERY ONE will have the freedom to access those standards.

    And while there will be a multitude of personal differences in the categories of size and eating behaviors, there will NOT exist the types of behavioral and emotional extremes that pervades our current society and that bring with them all the related forms of oppression and human degradation.

    What does it say about American capitalist society (the richest and most powerful country on the planet with overall less than 5% of the world’s population) that it concentrates the highest rates of people labeled as “obese” and the highest rates of people labeled as “anorexic.”???


  • Frank

    I cannot believe you stand by these statements:

    “I am indifferent to consensual psychiatry.”

    “Psychiatry is not the problem.”

    You say you are against “non-consensual psychiatry” because it takes away people’s rights and harms and oppresses people, but you are “indifferent to consensual psychiatry” and do not believe it is “the problem.”

    What if I could prove to you that “consensual psychiatry” throughout the entire world actually causes overall (in terms of numbers and degree of harm to human beings) FAR MORE harm and FAR MORE damage than “coercive psychiatry”? Then what would you have to say to justify such twisted logic where you are “indifferent” to “consensual psychiatry.”

    Of course, “coercive psychiatry” cause enormous harm; this is well documented. However, it is safe to say that exponentially FAR MORE people worldwide are exposed to “non-coercive psychiatry,” and it also WELL DOCUMENTED how much harm this causes to human beings.

    Frank, you are correct to say that merely abolishing psychiatry will not stop the harm perpetrated by this oppressive “mental health” system. And yes, the power structure running this profit based capitalist system would find other ways to carry out all the labeling, drugging, and incarcerating of people.

    I do get where you are coming from on that part of your position, but to make the other statement I’ve highlighted above defies all moral and political logic.

    As you know from my prior blogs and comments, I do not believe it is possible to eliminate either “consensual” or “non-consensual” psychiatry under the current capitalist/imperialist system.

    Psychiatry’s power and control of dissident sections of the population, along with the enormous profit margins of Big Pharma, makes the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial/Complex now an indispensable component of the entire System. Each is now interdependent on the other’s existence and their future together are permanently linked.


  • Thanks for writing your story.

    Another blog documenting the horrible “treatment” by psychiatry and mainstream medicine when it comes to DSM labels and the subsequent psychiatric drugging of people.

    The author only answered the first part of the question as to why there is almost total ignorance in medicine when it comes to benzos. Her answer was “a lack of education.” True, but a more important question to ask AND answer is : WHY is there a lack of education???

    Here we have to examine the entire corrupt history for the FDA approval of benzos that involves collusion, of a criminal nature, by psychiatry (APA) and Big Pharma. The author of this blog needs to read the books of Robert Whitaker and Peter Breggin. These books document a history revealing that the above mentioned institutions have all kinds of economic (profit levels) and political (power and control) reasons to keep people in the dark about the harm done by benzos, including the horrible withdrawal symptoms.

    If the entire history of the worldwide benzo disaster were revealed, it would be the one of the biggest medical scandals in the last 100 years.


  • Steve

    You are correct to say that until this form of deadly abuse is made illegal, and those who perpetuate such crimes are duly punished, this will NEVER stop.

    A key question to be asked: can those type of legal interventions occur under a profit based capitalist system?

    I would argue a definite, NO, to that question.


  • So McB18 wishes to self identify as a “troll” (what does that say about one’s character), and somehow believes they have won [buried their opponent] in an argument, or ended a discussion, with a half baked analysis that is essentially dismissive of a true class analysis of society and its problems.

    I have responded with two major comments above that reveal the significant weaknesses in your position.

    What happened to your shovel, McB18?


  • McB18

    And to add to my above comment, while you have added depth and passion to the argument that ALL children (cutting across class lines in capitalist society) can and will often suffer various forms of abuse, sometimes very horrible forms of abuse, your overemphasis on this point does, in fact, tend to negate a true class analysis.

    Children are NOT going to lead a Revolution to transform an oppressive profit based /class system of oppression. Nor is the issue of family oppression and child abuse going to be a DECISIVE dividing line question (like racial, women’s, and anti-war struggles etc.) leading to critical forms of mass struggle challenging the overall system.

    I say this NOT to diminish, in any way, its [child abuse] importance in the overall scheme of things and in understanding other forms of exploitation in our society.

    But I do say this to highlight a class analysis and a more accurate view of what MAJOR sources of resistance are likely to arise in the coming years that will fundamentally challenge this system to its core..

    Yes, FORMER CHILDREN, will lead the Revolution, and all politically active people coming to terms with ALL the various forms of oppression in capitalist society, will come to the conclusion that the entire System, including those things wrong within the nuclear family, is rotten to its core and needs to be replaced with a NEW form of socialism.

    It is this fundamental transformation in society that will end the nuclear family, and all its own forms of oppression, and bring into being NEW forms of institutions and social arrangements in society that can end exploitation (over many generations) forever.

    And those FORMER children in particular, especially those coming from the upper classes, will have to ideologically and politically BETRAY their own class interests and privileges, in order to play a true revolutionary role in transforming society in a thorough going way.


  • McB18

    You said to Uprising: “Are you just not paying attention to what’s being said here, OR DO YOU DRINK HEAVILY [my emphasis] while writing your comments?”

    How was this not anything but a flip personal attack meant to instigate and/or bate an emotional reaction, and the exact opposite of promoting civil dialogue?

    You said: “While I’m sure Richard Lewis would wholeheartedly agree with my position in theory, I detect a real emphasis on his part on societal sources of oppression (capitalism, for example) over oppression within the family, much less any real discussion of the universal risks of being a child. I could go through his piece and pull out statements to support this if you like.”

    Yes, please go through my comments and pick out where I have denied child abuse.

    Uprising is correct in saying that oppression in the family IS very much connected to overall oppression in society. And certainly my emphasis in singling out the need to end “patriarchy” (as part of the struggle to end capitalism and all forms of class oppression) which very much includes the oppression of children, was a legitimate response to many of the past points you were making.

    McB18, your repeated negative remarks about leftists and those upholding a “class analysis” of society, make me wonder if you truly accept that a “class analysis” matters when trying to transform society into a more humane era.

    I would ask you the following questions:

    Which class in society (in terms of its interests and material position as a class) is in the best position, if able to seize power, to end all forms of oppression, including patriarchy and all forms of child abuse?

    And what form of economic and political system provides the best (and only) opportunity to truly end ALL forms of exploitation and oppression in society?


  • Hi Laura

    Congratulations on the successful launch of the ICI internet support system and educational website. And glad to see your internet writing presence so prominently displayed again.

    The growth and success of ICI will surely strengthen our movement to end all forms of psychiatric abuse and advance the cause of all human rights struggles.

    Carry on! Comradely, Richard

  • Oldhead

    I am “diverting” nothing here. I am responding to a major attack (by gabi taylor) on women’s rights which is a significant part of the current Right Wing agenda.

    Oldhead, since when do you start calling a defense of an important dividing line question for women’s rights in the world today a, {“diversion.”}???


  • phoenix

    I believe “moving on” means finding a way to reprocess past events in a safe and supportive way.

    There is new evidence that one’s memory is very malleable and undergoes a transformation each time a person revisits past trauma events. So instead of someone expending a great deal of energy trying to run from, forget, and/or numb out these past events, the person can actually begin to use adult/rational thinking to review the nature of these events from some place of emotional distance.

    EMDR is one such approach that helps people revisit past troubling events to help sort out issues of shame and guilt and become clearer about those people and institutions ultimately responsible for creating the trauma.

    Once someone begins, through this reprocessing, to doubt and/or question the earlier decisions they made as a child (and sometimes as an adult) about the sequence of events and thought patterns that led them to believe they were “bad,” then healing and “moving on” has a chance to progress forward.

    In this case “forgiving” may be more like “cancelling the debt you think your owed” and getting on with one’s life.

    This could include grasping the understanding that these past troubling experiences, while certainly horrible, actually created conditions for the person to turn these life challenges into transforming themselves into a more compassionate person who understands, in a deeper way, the human condition and the need revolutionary change in the world.


  • phoenix

    Thanks for the positive feedback on my first blog.

    I will add this point about the trauma/forgiveness question. While the actual act of forgiveness may never occur for various reasons, it is important for people to work toward finding a way to move beyond their past traumatic experiences. This does NOT mean forgetting, but trying to find ways to not be stuck in anger or revenge type thinking. And anger can often be channeled into some type of constructive activity or cause that is working to help eliminate forms of abuse and make the world a better place.


  • Fiachra

    You might want to read up on the history of the use of the terminology surrounding the battle over defending the right of women to have an abortion. Their insistence on the use of word “baby” (to describe a fetus) is very important to all those trying to deny women control of their reproductive rights.

    In fact, I would equate its political significance to those who are very invested in calling psychiatric drugs, “medications.”


  • gabi taylor

    You say you are not Right Wing but you are promoting one of their most important political positions – the subjugation of women.

    You certainly can’t call yourself a feminist since you advocate for women NOT having any control over their bodies or reproductive rights, which is absolutely fundamental to feminism or support for the equality of women.


  • Someone Else

    You raise some important points.

    What about this quote from “Psychiatric Times”?

    “Burdening pharmaceutical companies to conduct such research before granting them license to sell would certainly slow down the development of many new and helpful medications.”

    Given the millions of people HARMED by these drugs, this statement sums up in a powerful way the truly criminal nature of Big Pharma and Psychiatry and those apologists who wish to cover up their crimes.


  • Steve and LavenderSage

    Thank you for those necessary comments. While this blog has many strengths it also has some glaring weaknesses, some of which which you have correctly critiqued.

    The author of this blog tended to demonize depression by abstracting it from the real life experiences in the world that bring it on. He also made no distinction between the more milder experiences of depression and the severe forms of the experience. ALL experiences of depression by women are often routinely “treated” with mind altering (and cellular altering) drugs after a 5 minute discussion with a doctor and/or psychiatrist.

    AND I will repeat a criticism I have made of this author”s previous blogs when he continues to alternate between using the word “baby” and “fetus” to describe a developing fetus.

    This misuse of language is very contentious and politically volatile in a world that is increasingly restricting the rights of women to control their bodies and reproductive rights. Right Wing forces in society, of course, want the word “baby” to be used to describe a developing fetus so as to claim a “murder” has been committed when a women makes a righteous choice to end a pregnancy due to its enormous impact on the trajectory of their life.


  • McB18

    I hear your intense anger towards those responsible for your’s and all other children’s trauma and neglect. Anger can become a force channeled for major political change. Cynicism becomes a deadend.

    Since you seem to almost mock those of us who seek major systemic change as an important first step in reshaping the world, I would like to hear what solutions you would propose for political activists in today’s world.

    Exploitation and oppression is inherent and endemic to capitalism at its very core. Workers must SELL their labor power to the highest bidding capitalist. Economic crises are a periodic inevitability in this system leading to layoffs and recessions and/or depressions. War (one of the highest forms of trauma and death) is an an inevitable product of the competing Imperialist powers fighting over spheres of influence in the world.

    This system creates and encourages divisions between races, men and women, and other minorities and system outliers. Children also have no respected voice and are subjected multiple forms of exploitation that often have some form of profit at the origin of the various forms of trauma. Just look at the labeling and drugging that is occurring among young people subjected to Psychiatry’s and Big Pharma’s Medical Model.

    So I definitely think major systemic change is necessary AND good place to big focusing our attention for social and political change.


  • McB18

    Yes, patriarchy and other forms of traumatic experiences that affect all children and young people is endemic to capitalist society and cuts across class lines. And when i use the word patriarchy, I believe it covers both the oppression of women AND children, and penetrates all classes, although the oppression is far greater and pervasive within the under classes.

    While patriarchy and poor treatment of children has existed in socialist experiments, it is more a part of the birthmarks remaining from the previously existing class societies. Socialism and communism provide the material basis (if the necessary political struggle is carried out over many generations) to ultimately eliminate patriarchy and the oppression of children once and for all.


  • McB18

    Yes again to what Steve said. You must read more of the blogs here at MIA. I am squarely on the nurture side of things. After billions of dollars of research they have found NO biological markers for what gets labeled as “mental illness” diagnoses.

    My blogs (over a dozen) and comments at MIA have always discussed and pointed out the daily traumas and neglect that exists in this society. Classism (with its poverty), patriarchy (which oppresses both women and children), racism, homophobia etc. are all endemic to this system and add the kind of stress that leads to severe psychological distress.

    Check out my very first blog at MIA 5 years ago:

    Here I lay out very clearly the source of all this pain and sadness and criticize all the Systems’s “genetic theories of original sin.” And I discuss very clearly a better way to understand addiction and so-called symptoms of “mental illness.”

    All the best. I am glad you are reading here and challenging us regarding the content of our writing.


  • Frank

    My belief is that if this word becomes accepted and more commonly used in these discussions that it would be a set back for our movement. This is why I have made a big deal out of the misuse of this term.

    There are many attacks going on against science in this world and I believe this is one of the less obvious and more subtle ways people undermine the belief in legitimate science.

    Dr. Timimi could have written all of his recent blogs without ever using this term and still made all of his political points very clear to everyone. We should ask WHY does he insist on using this term even in all the titles of his blogs as well as some subtitles and within the text?


  • Steve,

    You were supporting the phrase: “…autism is not a scientific term because it’s not definable…”

    Wouldn’t it be more correct to say that “autism” or its related phenomena “is not YET definable?”

    We may just not know enough about this phenomena or have the science and/or knowledge to describe what is going on here. There is so much we don’t know about how human beings and the human brain is affected by the environment and its related culture.

    I think we are both in agreement that all the so-called “treatment” for these labels is in most cases harmful and not advancing our understanding of how to help ALL people make progress in life.


  • Steve

    There is a much better term than “scientism” to describe people who blindly follow anything that has an alleged scientific label or credential behind it, and that is “BLIND FAITH.” These are people who don’t understand science, or know how to correctly use the scientific method. This is all closely very related to the phenomena of “blind faith” in authority. which we know is very dangerous in these times.

    I would also say that the terms such as “dogmatism,” pragmatism,” “reductionism,” and “mechanical materialism” are also useful terms to criticize poeple who distort the scientific method by using incomplete methodology, narrow interpretations, shortterm gathering of data, and the isololating of phenomena and components from their intrinsic whole. These are just a few of the distortions of the scientific method.
    The term “scientism” does nothing but sow confusion whem trying to correctly criticize psychiatry and the medical model, AND may actually lead to diminishing people’s belief in the importntance of genuine science.

    It is both funny and ironic that everyone here (including the author Dr. Timimi) who is criticizing the autism diagnosis (and promoting the use of the term “scientism) is actually using SCIENCE AND THEIR UNDESTANDING OF THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD to deconstruct what is wrong with those who are promoting the “autistism” and “Aspergers'” diagnosis. Friends, you can’t have it both ways.


  • Neil

    Thanks for that response. I notice in that definition you provided they use the word “faith,” which is ironically in major contradiction to the scientific method. It once again shows how confusing this term really is.

    And while you provided this confusing definition you ,as well, have offered no valid justification for using this term.

    Exposing and critiquing what is wrong with psychiatry and the medical Model is difficult enough without using controversial and nonsensical terms.


  • To All

    ONCE AGAIN, Sami Timimi ruins a potentially good blog on the pseudo-science related to the Autism diagnosis by continuing to use the nonsensical term “SCIENTISM.”

    He even has a subtitle, “Scientism Defines What Autism Is,” but NOWHERE” does he EVER really provide a workable definition of “scientism” that makes any sense. He is guilty of the very same criticism he makes of those that claim there is somehow legitimate science or a legitimate definition backing up the autism diagnosis.

    Dr.Timimi says the following in his first paragraph:

    “I am aware that some think my use of the term ‘scientism’ as opposed to, say, ‘pseudoscience’ or ‘corrupt science’ is a mistake. I think scientism is a more useful term as it can cover many aspects: It can refer to an over-emphasis on the use of scientific knowledge and techniques, but can also refer to the corruption of science.”

    Here he just makes up his own justification for why this term has some apparent meaning without providing ANY scientific evidence that it has ANY useful purpose or ANY clearly agreed upon acceptance within the scientific community.

    First, he continually shows how the pro autism crowd has NO definitive or useful science to back up their diagnosis, so I ask how is this an example of “… an over-emphasis on the use of scientific knowledge and techniques…” which Dr. Timimi claims is an example of “scientism.”???

    There are a dozen other words such as “pseudo-science,” “corrupt,” “unverifiable,” “half-baked,”etc. etc. that have far more useful meaning when criticizing the lack of a legitimate scientific model for describing autism.

    Once again I will say the following, any web search on the the meaning of “scientism” will provide MULTIPLE meanings of the term and hugely contested debates from all types of scientists and philosophers and other academics. There is NO accepted meaning OR agreement that this term has any validity.

    I will remind people that the term “scientism” is MORE often used by those who want to UNDERMINE the role of science in the world (including by Right Wing global warming deniers) and those that are particularly upset that almost all scientists challenge the fundamental basis of religious belief systems. Dr. Timimi’s insistence on using this term, without ANY clear definition, or useful purpose, makes me wonder if he is part of those academics who resent scientists (and the scientific method) from entering into theological discussions.

    Now on the issue of autism, I am not prepared to say that autism can ONLY be defined in a “cultural” sense as Dr. Timimi has implied. Until MORE LEGITIMATE SCIENCE is developed, I believe that we’d have to say it is most likely a combination of environmental and genetic factors. It is correct to be very critical of how the Medical Model has made a entire profitable industry of the autism diagnosis, and yes, millions of these children and adults are heavily drugged with mind altering chemicals.

    And I hope that in this blog, Dr. Timimi will actually participate in the discussion that he has provoked with such a controversial topic.


  • Oldhead

    My “allowed to fail” point is stressing that this system needs psychiatry and will only tolerate resistance to this “mental health” system up to a certain point. Neither psychiatry or the “mental health” system can be eliminated or dismantled as long as a profit based system with a capitalist class is running the show. The same would apply to those people who want to break up the big banks etc.

    My use of the phrase “alternative support systems” is only stressing that there is much value to those people working to find ways to help people in psychological stress while still living within an oppressive status quo. I think you know that I view psychiatry as being without redemption and/or providing people with nothing other than more distress and harm.

    You said: “More realistic than what?” to my following sentence:
    “But at least this strategic approach represents a more realistic and truer picture of what we are actually up against”

    “More realistic” than those who believe we can reform the “mental health” system and/or eliminate it within a capitalist/profit based system. Again, the future of psychiatry and the Medical Model is inseparably bound to the future of the entire capitalist system. And of course you cannot reform something that is harmful to the core and promotes a belief that there is something called “mental illness.”

    You said: “The last few points sound a little more idealistic and abstract than the others.”

    Are you saying that revolution is “abstract” and an “idealistic” dream, or that it is impossible to link the struggle against psychiatry with other human rights struggles against oppression within the capitalist system?

    The fact that most advanced revolutionary groups on the Left do not currently understand our movement (against psychiatry and the Medical Model) should not deter us in the least in pressing forward with advanced demands and organized resistance against this system. It is precisely this kind of activity that will force all revolutionary minded people to pay attention and take careful notice of the important significance of our movement. We have a dual task here in not only educating the broad masses about the overall illegitimacy and oppressive nature of psychiatry, but also educating the “Left” as we press forward.

    I believe that the movement for LGBTQ/gay rights faced the same kind of resistance, that is, a history of homophobia and ignorance within past socialist/communist movements. So this is nothing new, and we can say that the LGBTQ movement has forced the “Left” to seek a more advanced perspective on human sexuality and the importance of these human rights struggles.

    Certainly we should NOT let this pervasive ignorance in the “Left” stop us from seeing the importance of having an “anti-system” perspective in ALL our organizational formations when taking on psychiatry and the Medical Model.


  • Steve

    I would avoid using the words “crony capitalism.” It is a frequently used term by the “Right Wing” to obscure the true nature of capitalism.

    They want people to believe that somehow there is a “pure” form of capitalism that is fair and humane. The capitalist “law of value” necessitates the inevitable formation of monopolies and the consolidation of power and wealth in the hands of a smaller and smaller elite.

    It also necessitates international competition that leads to inevitable wars for control of markets and natural resources.


  • Bradford

    You said: “…“capitalism” certainly *allows*, even “facilitates” the authoritarian excesses you decry. But it does NOT *require* them.”

    Fifty years ago that may have been true, but times have changed, and I believe I have correctly outlined its necessary role in preserving the system today. Today the labeling and drugging is at levels never seen before.

    You said: “I believe that capitalism is slowly becoming more humanized, even as it becomes more un-equal.”

    With that comment you have turned reality upside down. The millions harmed by this system would seriously challenge this bogus claim.

    And where is the evidence of “…capitalism jettisoning the dead weight of psychiatry.”


  • Someone else

    Thanks for the compliment on the song. I agree with some of your comment.

    You said: “And I will point out, Richard, that the goal of those bankers is a socialist/communist type system, of course, with them at the top.”

    I don’t think we want to mix up definitions of key words. All these banks and the banking system are operating in a profit based capitalist system., where the law of value and the drive for profit dominates the economic landscape.


  • Auntie P

    Thanks for the positive remarks about the song.

    I do not think psychiatry’s PR machine “will bring the whole rotten facade down.”

    I believe we will have to tear it down ourselves. Society is becoming more and more polarized AND it seems to tolerate many extreme viewpoints in the so-called “market place of ideas.” Just look at how the System is tolerating and legitimizing Trump’s alternative universe of modern day fascism – “alternate facts” are allowed to stand next to the truth. It’s all part of the “marketplace.”

    Psychiatry’s “alternate universe” is allowed (because it is useful to the preserving the status quo) to stand right next to very devastating scientific critiques and personal stories that detail the horrors of the Medical Model. I have come to realize that the “Powers That Be” will NEVER allow this to all somehow be resolved (one way or the other) under this current political and economic system.

    Remember who controls the media and who benefits from psychiatry’s role in society.


  • Slaying the Dragon

    Thank you very much for the compliment and your comment. I am not sure Frank believes a humane form of socialism is impossible.

    I know you restrained yourself from going off on socialist ideas, and I also know on many subjects you respect and use science in your critical thinking skills, especially when you critique psychiatry.

    I genuinely would like to know what it is about your view of human nature, or of the human species, that somehow makes socialism and cooperation on the highest level impossible for human beings to achieve. Yes, there were many problems with prior experiments, but do you have some scientific evidence that these kind of systems are unachievable by the human species. And, if so, what is that specific evidence. And keep in mind that many great discoveries by human beings failed in their first attempts, only later to succeed.


  • Thanks for the comment Steve.

    I would say that genuine socialism and/or communism CANNOT be a “top down” form of governing.

    Humane and forward thinking leadership must be the kind that creates the most favorable conditions in a socialist system for more and more people from the masses of people to grow and evolve into leaders themselves.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with socialism as a system, or anything that guarantees that it will fail and/or become authoritarian.

    We are still learning and summing up past mistakes from prior revolutions. AND the we must face the fact that these experimental socialist systems were surrounded by capitalist governments whose main mission was to make sure that socialism was defeated and/or failed.

    Do you believe that capitalism and psychiatry have now become inseparably bound with the same future?


  • liittleturtle

    Thanks fr that comment.

    My “spirituality” is the human connectivity of people fighting to both understand and change the world for the better. Being a part of radical and revolutionary movements (in addition to loving family members) since the 1960’s has help keep me sane in this very insane world – it is a day to day struggle. Fortunate for me I have never been labeled (accept as a troublemaker) or drugged by the system.


  • Mi

    Psychiatry is bad where ever it is, but now we face a capitalist world where psychiatry and Big Pharma are governed by the law of value. They seek the highest rate of profit by any means necessary, including corrupting science in order to justify their pseudo-science for a bogus Medical Model. They also need to maintain social control of people and find psychiatry very useful for this purpose.

    We cannot end psychiatric abuse unless we face the reality that capitalism stands as a roadblock for ending these kinds of Human Rights violations. Capitalism is NOT the highest pinnacle of human social organization. We can do FAR BETTER than this kind of systemic insanity.


  • Lawrence

    Stop with this form of exaggerating people’s comments and putting your words in other people’s mouth. The jury is out on the question of “irreversibly damaged.”

    The question being discussed here: Is there damage from psychiatric drugs that can lead to various forms of disablement?

    Ever since I have written and commented at MIA I have ALWAYS promoted the concept of “neuroplasticity” and promoted a belief that people can get better from harm caused by psychiatry.

    You have been unfortunately promoting a mixture of “damage denial” and “blame the victim” with some of your other more appropriate criticisms of psychiatry and appropriate belief in people taking control of their lives.

    We are calling you out on these negative undercurrents in your blog and you are defensively doubling down on your inappropriate remarks. How about really listening for a change?


  • Steve

    Thanks so much for that comment. I appreciate all of your critical thinking skills when deconstructing the Medical Model. I also appreciate your willingness to be self-critical when you miss a point or misinterpret someone’s comment.

    When will Lawrence be self-critical and admit that he was promoting a theme of “blame the victim” in part of his blog?


  • Lawrence

    You said: “So by your insisting that people don’t have any of these capabilities when in reality they do have some, you are being pro-psychiatry…”

    Stop putting your words in my mouth and/or creating “straw man” arguments to cover up a wrong position. Where have I EVER said people do not have the capabilities of “choice” and “responsibility?”

    What the whole argument centers around here is: where do we place BLAME for these problems? You are making a strong case that the blame should be SHARED by the victims. Bullshit!

    So I guess women who are raped should have known better than to have worn provocative cloths and/or drank too much alcohol, and/or been alone with the rapist. According to you, they must SHARE the blame – bullshit!

    So I guess the millions of Jews should have refused to “willingly” get on the trains. They should have known better; they should have known better that the Nazis were up to no good. They should have put up more resistance, and therefore they must SHARE the blame for their ultimate demise – bullshit!

    And Black people should know better than to show attitude towards cops, show up in high risk places, and/or display any behavior that might be suspicious in any way, and therefore they must SHARE the blame for being gunned down by the cops – bullshit!

    People stuck in poverty could have made different choices in their life, and/or “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and therefore they must SHARE the blame for remaining in the bottom rungs of society – bullshit!

    You sound like Bill Cosby (we know where he ended up) when he used to moralistically preach to other Black people about SHARING blame for their remaining stuck in poverty, on welfare, and having children without two parents etc., etc. – bullshit!

    Again, in ONE TO ONE conversations with individuals in any of these particular situations we would most definitely help someone carefully sum up their choices and options in life, so they might do their best to avoid risky situations, danger, defeatist type mentalities etc.

    But on a societal level, we are talking about institutional and systemic forms of violence. In these conversations and public positions we NEVER EVER place ANY blame on the oppressed. This only serves to reinforce the ideology and programs of the oppressor.

    Lawrence, you are NOT being anti-psychiatry when you “blame the victims” of psychiatry by saying they must SHARE responsibility for their position as victims. This is bullshit!

    I usually don’t use this strong form of language in my comments. But you have refused to be self-critical of your comments, and have doubled down on your arguments while deploying specious methods of debating such important issues.


  • To Steve, Oldhead, Julie and All Others Minimizing the “blame the victim” theme in this blog:

    Reread the following quote from the blog:

    “In seeking psychiatric treatment, clients transfer responsibility for dealing with life’s struggles to medical authorities….They thus commit to and get locked into lifelong dependence on psychiatry.”


    This is a straight up “blame the victim” bullshit. There is no such thing as genuine or real “CONSENT TO TREATMENT” when people are sucked into, through false advertising and billion dollar PR campaigns, and/or coerced into psychiatry’s web of lies and oppressive forms of so-called “treatment.”

    Of course, if I had a ONE TO ONE counseling relationship and/or friendship, with someone caught up in the system, yes, I would be challenging them to take control of their life and find ways to not get caught up in any forms of “learned helplessness.

    But I would NEVER EVER make ANY broad blanket like public statements that put ANY AMOUNT of blame on the millions of victims of these oppressive institutions, like psychiatry, which both cause and perpetuate poverty and disability.

    I can’t believe some of you can’t see the serious problems with this blog, in addition to its denial of specific forms of harm done by psychiatric drugging.


  • Lawrence

    You said: “There have always been, and will always be harsh experiences in all societies, partly because man’s nature is often harsh.”

    It seems you are saying that human nature is INHERENTLY AND FOREVER “harsh?”

    This is an UNSCIENTIFIC AND STATIC VIEW of human nature that serves those who cannot see beyond a class based profit system with all its inequalities and daily forms of violence.

    A much more scientific view (both dialectical and historical) would say that human beings have the capacity to be both loving and cooperative in their nature, IF surrounded by an environment that provides for their basic needs, encourages full participation, and maintains a high level of safety.

    If the surrounding environment cannot provide the above mentioned basic conditions, then, of course, human beings can be “harsh” and even quite violent.


  • Lawrence

    No where in any of your comments do you address the fact that children and other people living in this society experience daily traumas that have their origins in various unequal and oppressive institutions OTHER than psychiatry.

    Lawrence do you believe that poverty can be a form of violence perpetrated on human beings?

    If psychiatry disappeared today, there would still be thousands of other human stressors (“Me Too” moments) arising out of the bowels of this society that would still push human beings over the proverbial edge.

    These are issues that neither you or “Slaying the Dragon” seem to want to address in your commentary.


  • Lawrence

    You are rather quickly undoing all of the “good will” and support you accumulated with some of your past blogs critical of psychiatry.

    You are clearly DENYING the growing body of evidence that psychiatric drugs perturb, alter, and disable the serotonergic, norepinephrinergic, and dopaminergic neuro-chemical processes in the brain (and in other parts of the body, especially with serotonin being in the gut system). There is clear evidence that SSRI’s reduce the number of serotonin receptors in the brain, and neuroleptics (anti-psychotics) add to the number of D2 dopamine receptors (and cause harmful metabolic changes in the body). The latter (increased D2 dopamine receptors) is the basis for the supersensitivity theory (leading to psychosis) when people too quickly taper off of anti-psychotic drugs. And benzos do serious harm to the gaba receptors in the brain, that can last for long periods of time. Some people may have permanent damage – the jury is still out on the very long term effects.

    You said “In seeking psychiatric treatment, clients transfer responsibility for dealing with life’s struggles to medical authorities….They thus commit to and get locked into lifelong dependence on psychiatry.”

    Who is primarily to blame for this dependence and what are its major components? You have presented a very strong current of “blame the victim” in the way you have characterized people’s disablement due to psychiatric mistreatment. Of course, “learned helplessness” is a factor in some of the cases of those harmed by today’s “mental health” practitioners, but this is only one small piece of the problem.

    In past discussions you have tried to say you were apolitical and you avoided addressing larger political questions. But it sounds like you might be presenting arguments here that back up Right Wing (blame the victim) views of those people stuck in poverty etc. You can’t have it both ways, that is, openly avoiding larger political discussions yet seemingly trumpeting a “conservative” analysis of why people are stuck in the underclasses.

    And finally, you said: “And drug effects can’t explain why antidepressant users decline over time, since they’re placebos.”

    You have this ALL wrong – antidepressants are ACTIVE placebos. They have a placebo effect, both because they are prescribed by a doctor and advertised as successful, AND because they are chemical agents that intrinsically make people feel different and actually alter neuro-chemical processes. This is one reason why double blind studies are corrupted because almost everyone (including the patient) knows who is actually getting the tested drug.

    Lawrence, usually I would say “you can do better than this”, but now I am not so sure where you are coming from with this type of analysis.


  • Au Valencia and All

    A very positive blog that raises many important questions.

    You said: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

    Here is where this blog falls way short in an analysis that can lead us towards ending all forms of psychiatric abuse.

    Who is the “master” and what is his “house.”

    Your blog makes no mention of the critical role of a profit based capitalist economic system in setting the terms for the perpetuation of class inequality and the violence of poverty pervading our society, and of course, extending (through Imperialist exploitation) around the world.

    Psychiatry and their entire Disease/Drug based Medical Model has evolved in to an essential component of the entire capitalist system. The pharmaceutical industry is a vital (highly profitable) cog in the U.S. economy, and the entire “mental health” system has increasingly become an important means of social control on the more volatile sections of our society.

    Labeling and drugging people is a crucial way to control and eliminate dissent.

    “Genetic theories of original sin” turn people’s focus away from institutional forms of oppression by focusing attention on inherent “genetic” flaws that need so-called “medical” solutions, and “band aids” that become new forms of mental and physical chains.

    And there can be no legitimate use of science as a liberating force for social change in society when it is constantly controlled and corrupted by those forces in society who place the bottom line of profit ahead of the search for the truth.

    Psychiatric abuse in ALL its manifestations cannot be ended within a capitalist system.

    Au Valencia, please raise your head and your sights just a little higher and begin to address these much bigger and essential questions that necessitate answers before we can truly create a world WITHOUT any form of a “mental health” system.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Bonnie

    Happy Birthday! You are indeed an inspiration to all of us.

    I really identify with how you feel such a strong sense of an historical moral imperative to guide your behavior and choices in life. These moral imperatives are obviously guided by your own personal experience in this world, and most certainly by having educated yourself politically about how institutions and power relationships operate in the world. AND of course, most fundamentally, by a deep sense of love for your fellow human beings.

    Your efforts to end Electroshock are noble, and I wish you great success in your work on the artistic front with “The Other Mrs. Smith.” Perhaps I should consider writing a new song. Soon I will be posting at MIA an anti-psychiatry song that I have been singing for the past year.

    Bonnie, keep up the great work and dedication towards liberating all of humanity from all these shackles of oppression. And especially, how you are able to focus in on the extra forms of oppression heaped upon women in this world. We must all acknowledge that tomorrow is International Women’s Day – “Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution.”

    Comradely, Richard

  • Frank

    You said: “Medicalization [of human thought, feelings, and behavior] is an example of scientism in practice.”

    This is nonsensical verbal gymnastics on your part to fit a specious argument.

    The “medicalization” that Psychiatry promotes and practices is *mythology* in practice. They have to distort and subvert scientific methodology in order to arrive at their wrong and harmful conclusions and practices. Why even give them (and it) any so-called scientific trappings by even using a word like “scientism.”

    I suggest you and Oldhead read some of the in depth debate about the history of this term, and how contentious, confusing, and politically charged many of the arguments are surrounding the use of this term.


  • Oldhead

    I see intuition, and the feelings associated with it, as representing partial knowledge (little bits and pieces of knowledge combined with one’s past experience) that leads to embryonic forms of thought and conclusions about what may or may not happen, or be anticipated to occur in someone immediate future.

    I don’t think we can separate it from past experience or one’s logic about probable events in the real world based on that experience.


  • Frank

    You said: “We don’t need more people applying the scientific method where it can’t, or shouldn’t, be applied.”

    Once again, please tell me where are those places where it can’t or shouldn’t be applied?

    You said: “Logic is not the truth. Logic is a method for determining what the truth actually is, and of distinguishing that truth from falsehood.”

    Exactly Frank, and that is also exactly what science is suppose to do.

    And you can never be TOO good at either logic or science. And to say you can be, is a way (for some people) to diminish the importance of science, and thus leave the door open for superstition to guide one’s thinking. And we see all the dark places where that has led human beings in the past.

    And Frank, behaviorism denies the role and importance of consciousness. I would never deliberately do that. Please tell me where you think I might have done that in any of my writings.

    The use of the nonsensical “scientism” term is a backward step in ANY discussions critiquing Psychiatry and psychiatric oppression. It cannot be justified, and no one here has come close to making a legitimate case for its value in these discussions.


  • Frank

    I would truly like to plead guilty to “scientism,” but the nonsensical, contradictory, controversial, and inconsistent use of the term, prevents me from doing so.

    Even the defining type quotes you chose above make my case for why this term should never be used in these discussions.

    “excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.”

    We need MORE people being scientific, and thinking scientifically in this world, NOT LESS. Just look at the horrible crimes perpetrated against other human being by those who follow superstition.

    Let’s take the words “rational” and “logical,” can there really be such a [negative] thing as being “too rational” and/or “too logical”? You could only answer, yes, in instances where people somehow lacked an understanding of other people’s emotions. And even here we can draw “rational” and “logical ” conclusions about how such behavior may need to explore a deeper understanding of how humans are effected in these situations.

    Frank, what are those things in the world to which we cannot somehow apply some aspect of the scientific method? And for those things to which TODAY we cannot seemingly do this, who says that TOMORROW we may not find a way to explore these questions in a scientific way?

    And Frank, for those things that you do not think science is currently useful or helpful for, are you willing to trust religion, or some other faith based and/or superstitious belief system to provide the answer?


  • Oldhead

    First you quote me as follows:

    “They are instead being dishonest, manipulative, deceptive etc. etc. etc. and the list goes on.”

    Then you follow that up with a one liner that reads:

    “Exactly. And they have it down to a science.”

    You know damn well that YOUR USE of the word “science” here is NOT the meaning of “science” throughout the two blogs in question. Come on, let’s have a dialogue that reflects the essential meaning of these words.

    Then you ask me the question:

    “Are you suggesting though that “science” should replace religion in determining what behavior is “moral”?

    I would ask you: do we need religion to have morality? Were human beings acting in moral ways BEFORE the advent of religion? Can atheists be moral human beings?

    And if we look at the essential content of the Bible, we can hardly call this a bastion of morality. And if we look at a sizeable percentage of those who strictly follow religious teachings, can we call them people who act in moral ways, or even profess a set of behaviors that could be classified as consistently moral?

    You already know what my answers are to these questions.

    And since you threw the ultimate bate here, YES, if science was somehow used to help determine those behaviors and material conditions on earth that would afford human beings the very best opportunities to live a free, non exploitative, and just human existence, it would be FAR superior than what any so-called religion could offer.

    And any careful examination of the historical role of religion and its overall effect on human beings would bear out my above statement. And I have no reason to not think this will be the case in the future.


  • Oldhead

    You described “scientism” as the following: “…I would read the term as referring to the embracing of “science” as some embrace religion, i.e. as a dogma to believe in rather than as a tool to help understand the material world…”

    Even your attempt at defining this highly misused and confusing term in NO WAY shows how it represents, or helps explain what is fundamentally wrong with Psychiatry’s approach to developing the disease/drug based Medical Model.

    They are not way using science in a “religious” way. That is, believing in science too strongly or with too much fervor etc. They are totally DEVIATING from the scientific method and using very distorted and corrupted methodology to arrive at their bogus conclusions. The only sense that your use of a religious analogy would be, is that they base all of their conclusions on FAITH, not real scientific evaluation of facts in the real world.

    And Psychiatry is NOT being “scientific,” or “TOO scientific,” when they deceive the public with their pseudo-scientific claims. They are instead being dishonest, manipulative, deceptive etc. etc. etc. and the list goes on.

    Oldhead, don’t forget that there is a whole segment of the population that is very much threatened by legitimate science (or TOO much science), and they need to place certain limits on its acceptance as an important way of analyzing the world around us. This is, because it seriously challenges and threatens those who place a great deal of dependence on faith based belief systems to determine behavioral and moral choices in life. More often than not, these same people will fall out on the “conservative” spectrum, that is, defending the status quo and criticizing those seeking Revolutionary change in the world.


  • To all

    Once again Dr Sami Timimi has ruined a potentially good blog by repeatedly using the term “scientism” (even in the title) to describe psychiatry’s pseudoscience as it applies to the ADHD diagnosis.

    The term “scientism” is completely nonsensical and confusing in this context and undermines the goals of anyone who is trying to present a critical analysis of the oppressive disease/drug based model of Psychiatry.

    noun: scientism

    thought or expression regarded as characteristic of scientists.
    excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.”

    The term “scientism” is most often used as a way to criticize GENUINE scientists for over emphasizing the power and role of science in seeking truth and creating a more just and moral world.

    Modern Psychiatry is in NO WAY being TOO scientific in their efforts to convince people that human psychological distress is based in faulty genes and brain diseases, AND allegedly requires psychiatric drugs (not “medications”) to “fix” all these “chemical imbalances” in the brain.

    The reality here is the exact OPPOSITE of what Psychiatry has both posited, and executed in their theory and practice. They are NOT using a real scientific methodology in their psychiatric diagnoses, and they are guilty (in so many ways) of totally corrupting the scientific method throughout their entire efforts to promote their Medical Model.

    I am amazed and dumbfounded as to why most of the commenters here at MIA seem to suspend all their critical thinking skills and allow the use of the term “scientism” to go completely unchallenged. Using this term is not just utterly confusing, but also undermines our efforts to expose this oppressive Medical Model.

    Dr. Timimi says the following:

    “I was astonished to realise that ADHD had been conjured into existence by a few people’s imaginations without evidential basis. The evidence then brought forward avoided the scientific methodology and ignored the ‘null hypothesis’ (the basic and starting assumption that ADHD does not represent a characteristic natural entity, which should be assumed until concrete evidence is presented that shows that this null hypothesis cannot be true).”

    Using Dr. Timimi’s own words here, WHERE THE HELL is there even a USEFUL definition of the term “scientism” that has ever been used in either of his two blogs? And he has even placed this term in the title, as if it were somehow a negative critique of Psychiatry. He has, in no way, even attempted to prove that the word “scientism” has ANY legitimate meaning when critiquing what is wrong with the Medical Model.

    The word “scientism” is a highly contested and confusing term which leads ALL of us away from our goals of applying a consistent and accurate analysis of Psychiatry’s negative and oppressive role in the world.

    And as a secondary criticism, Dr. Timimi continues to use the word “medication” to describe psychiatric drugs. Once again, I will point out that both Psychiatry and Big Pharma has spent several hundred billion dollars on the the world’s largest PR campaign attempting (quite successfully) to convince people all over the world that their mind altering drugs are some form of “medication.” We should never concede them the ability and right to use this false terminology. Changing language is a critical part of any historical movement for social change. Let’s start NOW!

    I wanted to like Dr. Timimi’s blog; he does provide some very good critical analysis of the ADHD diagnosis. But his reckless and cavalier use of the term “scientism” sticks out like a sore thumb and undermines the essential content of a potentially good blog.


  • Lawrence

    Good blog.

    Agree with Oldhead; better without the American chauvinism and the promotion of “American Exceptionalism.”

    AND, you/we don’t need Freud to explain the underlying basis of “free will.”

    In the “five stages of change” theory, the “pre-contemplation” and “preparation” stages are a far better explanation for brain activity preceding any actual behavior change.


  • Joanna

    You raise some good points.

    I believe this is where the term “consensus reality” has some serious limitations and problems in meaning.

    If the “consensus” is based on an inaccurate interpretation of the real world (the material world independent of our own individual thoughts reflecting that world), and/or the “consensus” is based on the social groupings of humans promoting and allowing any forms of exploitative and/or potentially traumatic type experiences to exist among them, then all forms of human “validation” will now be corrupted and ultimately lead to more extreme forms of psychological distress.


  • Oldhead

    You sometimes bring nit-picking to absolutely absurd levels. Instead of going after and deepening an analysis of the American chauvinism and narrowness displayed in some of these above comments, you wasted time and space on trivial points in my comment.

    Anybody truly aware of what is taking in this country knows that Trump, AND his overtly fascist agenda, represents a dangerous leap in efforts by the ruling class to clamp down within this society.

    And it was Trump who tried to say there were “two sides” to the fascists who marched in Charlotsville. Posing the above question to Lawrence, using Trump as an example, was necessary and very appropriate in making comparisons in the above political challenge to him.

    And today’s modern psychiatry IS Biological Psychiatry. This terminology has very important historical meaning an implications for what is going on in the world today.

    Yes, all psychiatry is scientifically and philosophically flawed and oppressive as an institution in society, and must be abolished. But we can’t ignore the level and totality of the newer forms of oppression brought forward by the advent of BIOLOGICAL Psychiatry.

    If you can’t, or do not want to, engage in a deeper analysis of what developed over the last 4 decades, then this is your loss. But please stop wasting time and focus from what is important here.


  • Lawrence

    You said: “I don’t have strong political views. I can see both sides’ points.”

    We live in a world where it is becoming more and more difficult for people to straddle fences. Especially when those fences are becoming as sharp as razor blades. Fence sitting can soon become a dangerous and bloody mess in these kind of times. Just ask those Germans who stood aloof and hesitated in the 1930’s. AND what do you currently see (or want to unite with) on Trump’s side of the fence, or rather, wall?

    Political indecision, political “neutrality,” and/or intellectual laziness in these times, is to abandon any kind of moral compass and eventually morph into becoming part of THE problem.

    You said : “We seem to have achieved this without oppressing people as much as in other nations (with the obvious exception of slavery). That’s why so many people have always wanted to leave their lands to come here.”

    This statement contains a great deal of American chauvinism and/or ignorance. The U.S. is an Imperialist empire whose high standard of living has been accumulated over the last century on the backs of many Third World countries.

    U.S based atrocities did not somehow end with the Civil War. What about the 2-3 million Asian people who died because of the U.S. led Vietnam war of plunder? What about the 500 thousand to one million Iraqi people who died from the largest “drive by shooting” on the planet earth?

    AND what about the political despots propped up in El Salvador and Guatemala who unleashed (U.S. trained) death squads and mass political terror on indigenous populations resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths?

    Do you REALLY wonder why desperately poor people from those above mentioned countries (that U.S. Imperialism has kept in a state of enforced backwardness) want to come to America???

    Is it because they truly worship the American Dream and all the so-called (partial) freedoms we have? Or are they making a basic human survival choice enforced on them by the inherent inequalities of profit based systems that divides up a planet in to “have” and “have not ” countries.

    Lawrence, I respect your work here at MIA, and support many of your critiques of everything that is wrong with Psychiatry and their entire paradigm of so-called “treatment.”

    You said: “My goal is thus to correct psychiatry’s lies so people will realize they have the power/ability to choose/pursue their own paths.”

    I would argue that you (and anyone else joining you) will fail miserably at this goal if you attempt to remain politically neutral and/or aloof from the political realities facing us all. And this means drawing very clear links between Biological Psychiatry and the oppressive profit based system from which it was spawned, AND whose existence depends upon it ability to help maintain social control of its people.


  • Lawrence

    You are conducting this entire discussion about “desire” and “ability” to work in the U.S. without EVER mentioning or discussing the huge elephant sitting in the room.

    What is the fundamental relationship of those potential workers (who are labeled and/or acting “disabled”) to the means of production, and to those who own and control the means of production?

    This is would be like discussing the lack of “motivation” and “desire” of a certain number of slaves (prior to the U.S. Civil War) who may have been crushed by their position as slaves, or engaged in some form of resistance by refusing to work.

    Most workers in this country (even those not politically conscious) are aware on some level that they are being exploited.

    Remember that under capitalism workers are given wages that reflect only a PARTIAL portion of the value that they have created and impart on the goods they produce. Also, relationships between people in such a society are also quite often turned into commodity type relationships that are highly alienating.

    While this level of oppression (for wage workers) does not compare to the forms of oppression under chattel slavery, it is still VERY MUCH an exploitative relationship. AND it MUST be taken into consideration of ANY discussion of “motivation” and “desire” of those living in this society, including ALL those coming into contact with Psychiatry.

    Any genuine scientist must examine ALL FACTORS in the environment in which the experiment (and the evaluation of such an experiment) is taking place. You consistently seem to want to avoid such discussions. If you are serious about ending all psychiatric oppression, you are going to have to start addressing these issues.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Bob

    Great investigative journalism that reveals some very important kernels of change (of worldwide significance) emerging within the Israeli “mental health” system.

    I would like to raise 3 questions/concerns regarding some of the particular details revealed in this blog. I raise these to promote further discussion and debate regarding some contentious issues involved in trying create a paradigm shift in the world. These are NOT criticisms meant to undermine the overall importance of this great blog.

    1) Bob you said: “If this initiative succeeds Soteria homes will become a centerpiece of Israeli psychiatry.”

    I think this statement tends to overestimate what this experiment is doing within the Israeli “mental health” system. Even though there are clearly some more open minded visionaries working in this system willing to experiment, they are up against some powerful forces in the pharmaceutical industry and the APA. All it will take is a few serious setbacks for THE System to discredit these alternative programs (and its leaders) and to reinforce the value of hospital incarceration and drugging as a quick and easier form of social control.

    We cannot forget that we here in the U.S., and those citizens in Israel, live in despotic/pseudo-democratic regimes built upon a foundation of profound forms of imperialistic oppression. Changes of the magnitude required to fundamentally end all forms of psychiatric oppression, ultimately run up against an inherent need by current governments and institutions to maintain maximum control of any forms of social unrest. This statement is NOT meant to undercut these developments but only present a more sobering approach as to what may be required to actually achieve this paradigm shift.

    2) Pesach Lichenberg is quoted in his description of the Soteria experiment by saying “…What could be done, he wondered, to exploit the placebo to its maximum? Couldn’t a different setting help achieve that?”

    It must be pointed out here that the Soteria environment is NOT an example of the “Placebo Effect.” Everything described about this radically new environment for recovery, is the exact antithesis of what can be expected from a psychiatric hospital experience, including with the massive amount of psychiatric drugging. In fact, it is vitally necessary to make the point that there are huge differences in what participants in these programs will experience related to the characteristics of “respect,” “love,” “nurturance,” “boundaries,” “safety, and especially, the absence of no (or very little) psychiatric drugging.

    3) And finally, Bob, I need to continue an important contentious dialogue regarding the use of the language describing psychiatric drugs as “medications.” While this might seem like nit-picking, or very trivial when looking at the importance of promulgating the lessons of the Soteria experience, I strongly believe it is necessary to once again raise this issue.

    In this article, both you and others go back and forth using the terms “psychiatric drugs” and “medications” interchangeably. When “psychiatric drugs” is used it is very clear what the meaning is and does not somehow make your comments sound like an “outlier.” In fact, I often read hardcore biological psychiatrists use the term “psychiatric drugs” when describing their prescriptions as the centerpiece of their so-called “treatment” modality.

    However, when you and others slip back into referring to these drugs as “medications,” it is reinforcing one of the centerpieces of the entire Medical Model of so-called “treatment.” Bob, everyone of your books has exposed the myth of these drugs being some form of “magic bullet medication” targeting “diseases” or “chemical imbalances” in the brain. Your books, along with those of Peter Breggin and other critics of Biological Psychiatry, have exposed the fact that Big Pharma and other Medical Model proponents, have literally spent several billion of dollars on highly crafted PR campaigns convincing the worldwide public that their mind altering drugs are “medications.”

    Bob, wouldn’t it be a good thing, if every so often someone said to you (and others, avoiding the “medication” term), “Hey, I noticed that you seem to always use the term “psychiatric drugs” and avoid saying “medication,” why is that?”

    Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to explain the huge difference in this terminology, and why you choose not to want to reinforce, or somehow support, the dangerous myths promoted by the Medical Model. By doing this you WILL NOT in any way be undermining your credibility (or scientific credentials) by somehow avoiding the term “medication,” but you will only be maintaining a clear consistency of a well thought out scientific and political narrative.

    We cannot underestimate the overall importance of making specific language changes (from “medication” to “psychiatric drugs”) in our efforts to seek a paradigm change on a world scale. Any serious examination of prior significant historic movements, would validate the importance of changing language as part of these historic shifts. Let’s start the consistency of this language change NOW!

    Great work, Bob. Carry on! You inspire us all.


  • Tom Petty’s death was NO accident!

    The title should be: “Mainstream Pharmacy is Causing the Poly-drug Crisis.”

    Calling this crisis an “opioid crisis” is a misnomer that leads people far away from solving these problems. Very rarely does anyone die from a single dose of a single drug.

    While it is a good thing that other drugs like benzos are now being exposed as a major factor in the poly-drug overdose crisis. there is absolutely NO ACCOUNTABILITY for these crimes of medical negligence.

    This article still repeats the lie that Tom Petty and all these other famous, and not so famous people, died from “…an accidental drug overdose.” These are NOT ACCIDENTS. When someone like Tom Petty is prescribed multiple forms of opiates AND TWO benzos, this is criminal negligence or manslaughter by a medical establishment and pharmaceutical industry that knows better and continues to puts its own power and profit above public responsibility.


  • Ron

    You said: “It’s kind of humbling to many to recognize that our “sanity” is not based squarely on rationality, but on a mix of rationality with more arbitrary factors, something perhaps even more like spiritual revelation.”

    Your reference to “spiritual revelation” needs to be clarified. I do not view this “spiritual” necessity in a religious sense, but in the sense of the need for “human connectivity.”

    In order for us to truly believe that our “rationality” about the world makes complete sense, is to have VALIDATION from other human beings in our social group.

    It is very difficult to sustain oneself as a “voice in the wilderness” for an extended period of time. Loss of sanity usually comes when someone is engaged in a perpetual dialogue within themselves with no “validation” from other people around them.


  • To All MIA Readers

    This is a great series of articles on the poly-drug (opioid) overdose crisis. It clearly breaks journalistic ground by expanding the research and depth of reporting on all types of drugs involved in this crisis. We should encourage everyone to spread these articles far and wide.


  • Lawrence

    You said: ” And someone’s behavior, unless it’s the result of a real disease like seizures, is the result of their CHOICE.” [my emphasis]

    I completely disagree with this implied meaning; it falls into a “blame the victim” view of troubled behaviors prevalent throughout our society.

    For example, the most obvious disputed description of addiction, is that “addiction is a choice.” In fact, someone actually wrote a book with this title. Even though I agreed with the main themes of the book which were taking on the “disease” theory of addiction, I thought the title was terrible.

    When someone experiments with drugs at age 13, they are NOT making a choice to become an “addict.” “Yea, I think by the time I’m 21, I want to be totally dependent on heroin, living in the street and stealing for my next fix.”

    Addiction is a process, that may occurs over many years, and can sort of creep on some people BEFORE they really know what is happening to themselves.

    However, once someone becomes more fully aware of their addiction and begins to understand the possibility of recovery (or has experienced some period of abstinence) then, YES, further use of the substance (or a relapse), is a now clearly a Choice. They must understand (as an individual) that their ability to change is largely in their own hands, so to speak. Of course to rid society of addiction on a broader scale, will require major systemic changes in our overall society.

    If you don’t understand the difference I just outlined above you will fall into a “blame the victim” approach to describing society’s “symptoms” that manifest themselves in people’s behaviors.

    This same above description would apply to ANY of the so-called “mental disorders” and behaviors that get psychiatrically labeled, including “EDs.”