Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Comments by Richard D. Lewis

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  • Beata

    You are a courageous woman who is, not only fighting against the enormous power of psychiatry (and Big Pharma) and their oppressive medical model, but also against the power of a state government apparatus that derives benefits from people believing in “genetic theories of original sin” and (in great numbers) numbing themselves against society’s daily traumas.

    On a world scale, the fight against against the medical model is INSEPARABLE from the fight against the inherent inequities in a profit based capitalist system that puts the profits and power of the bourgeois elites above the interests of the masses.

    Poland is just a more extreme example of authoritarianism in the world running amuck. In America the ruling classes are currently able to bury the truth about the medical model within a vast “market place of ideas,” and a competing media that is quite capable of passing on a narrative of multiple conspiracy theories that are believed by millions.

    Science, and the truth about how the world actually works in our daily lives, is under attack on many fronts. To all those people who want to compartmentalize the fight against psychiatry and the medical model, and separate it from all the other social justice battles in the world, PLEASE WAKE UP!

    The battle over the science of climate change, Covid 19 (masks and vaccines etc.), women’s right to control their own bodies, and racial theories of inferiority etc. can not (and should not) be separated from our need to expose the myth of the “chemical imbalance theory” and psychiatry’s promulgation of so-called psychiatric diseases and all their toxic drugs that allegedly “treat’ them.

    Beata Pawlikowska is “fighting the Good Fight” and needs all of our support.

    “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win”


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  • James

    Unfortunately, you have fallen into Healy’s “oh so charming” trap of pragmatic rationalizations for justifying oppression. And then you start repeating them back to me.

    Did you somehow miss his OPENING paragraph (in the quote repeated below) where he arrogantly ridicules our entire movement against the medical model as some kind of “romantic” notion. AND he is completely UPHOLDING AND DEFENDING the “disease” model of so-called “mental illness.”

    “…The call to ban ECT is linked to ideas that mental illness doesn’t exist – and indeed that disease doesn’t exist given the benefits ECT can produce in NMS and Parkinson’s disease. There is a romance to the idea that disease doesn’t exist but ninety-nine percent of the population just ain’t going to go there.”

    In other words: “Oh, come on you hopeless romantics, you’ll never end slavery, racism, women’s oppression, class distinctions, climate destruction ……… Let’s all be realistic and accept the “hard’ choices in life etc….because no one will ever agree with your fantasies of a better world. Just let me continue to stroke your moral pragmatism some more until you are truly ready to face reality as it really is”

    Mad in America has a WEALTH of archived articles that are well researched at a very high scientific standard exposing the harm done by ECT.

    Just go into their (MIA) search bar (top right) and put in “ECT archives – Mad in America” and then click on that where it appears.

    There are dozens and dozens of articles refuting everything Healy is minimizing and rationalizing about in his “oh so charming” moral gymnastics. And don’t forget to read the comment sections under these articles where ECT victim/survivors provide first hand knowledge of the harm done by ECT and psychiatry.


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  • James

    Thanks for responding.

    Yes, it would be “nice” if we could all “get along” and be “tolerant of different viewpoints” within our important social justice movement against the medical model.

    BUT I ask: what price do we pay if we fail to recognize that there are critical dividing line questions of principle within BOTH the scientific and political arenas at this particular historical juncture in America and throughout the world?

    AND these critical issues of principle (in the scientific and political arena) intersect on many levels, and they will have serious and dire consequences if they are not resolved in a direction of a more accurate scientific interpretation of how the world actually works, and also what social and political systems and institutions need to be developed to create a more just and equitable world environment.

    Yes James, more minor differences in both theory and practice (in our movement) should be tolerated and worked out over time through vigorous and respectful struggle.

    But ECT is NOT merely a MINOR issue of difference.

    You cannot be a vigorous opponent of racism, but then at the same time uphold the subjugation of women in society, and somehow expect people to seriously listen to your objections to racism.

    It is the same reason why Scientology should not be allowed and/or tolerated within our movement. Yes, they have made some scientific critiques of the harm done by psychiatry, BUT they are in reality a dangerous cult that perpetrates enormous harm to its members and other vulnerable people who get sucked into their cult. Any carefully reading of former Scientology member accounts will detail a litany of abuses and harm cause by this organization.

    David Healy creates much confusion, and ultimately harms our movement by his vigorous support and promotion of ECT.

    James, you said you only found one pro ECT quote from Healy. In my search, the VERY FIRST source found on the internet provided a plethora of pro ECT musings by Healy.

    To prove that he really DOES support and promote ECT, just check out (below) the incredible lengths to which he goes with such a myriad of moral and intellectual GYMNASTICS to justify the value of ECT. Dr. Philip Hickey would have a field day and make mincemeat of these half baked justifications for why ECT is not “as bad” as psychiatric drugs.

    I will now post some of Healy’s writings and then include the link below this comment. I will deal with the issue of Breggin in a later comment.

    (David Healy)

    “…The call to ban ECT is linked to ideas that mental illness doesn’t exist – and indeed that disease doesn’t exist given the benefits ECT can produce in NMS and Parkinson’s disease. There is a romance to the idea that disease doesn’t exist but ninety-nine percent of the population just ain’t going to go there.

    Romance might sound pejorative. I was going to say ethical nobility. When anesthesia was developed in the nineteenth century, it led some, who could not accept the idea of benefiting the many at the expense of the few, to agonies. There was an ethical nobility to such agonies in 1860, but most of us would regard their rehearsal now as romantic. Some of us split the difference and regard the bargain medicine has made as Faustian, but when it comes to the crunch of cancer or the maelstrom of melancholia we take the bargain and opt for anesthesia or ECT.

    See Sherwin Nuland’s extraordinary TED talk on ECT. But for every Nuland who gets the call right, the Devil probably wins in having ECT inflicted on someone who shouldn’t have it – but s/he wins even more comfortably when it comes to drugs.

    At the end of the day, I don’t see it as my role to decide for anyone what treatments they should or shouldn’t have. The message that the benefits you can get from me are linked to poisons, mutilations and shocks would reduce the use of all treatments across medicine, however anyone thinks they help, but they would still be given by some doctors to more than those who stand to benefit, or be demanded by some who don’t figure on meeting Dirty Harry.

    The resistance to the message that medicines are poisons is not confined to mental health. Delivered at a recent event at the Hay-on-Wye HowTheLightGetsIn Festival, the message was not well received but it’s difficult in any other area of medicine to imagine hostility of the type that the critics of ECT mount, unless orchestrated by the pharmaceutical industry.

    ECT is the most disputed treatment in all of medicine. This hostility was once actively fed by Pharma with adverts for chlorpromazine and other psychotropic drugs portraying a switch to their medicine as a way to eliminate Cuckoo Nest scenarios. Pharma have done some brilliant things in the mental health domain. One was their linking of concerns about the risks of suicide on SSRIs to Scientology. This was doctor Rope-a-Doping. The same has been done to ECT. From the 1960s onwards Pharma influence has made it steadily more difficult and its now close to impossible to get symposia on ECT into APA or other mainstream psychiatry meetings – this is activist Rope-a-Doping.
    A true story

    In one of the comments below, Johanna Ryan notes the mystique ECT has among some doctors. I’ve never really noticed it. It’s difficult to believe any doctors see ECT as anything other than Shocking. It would be great if they saw drugs as poisons in the same way. Some say they’d have ECT themselves if they ever became melancholic but an increasing number of them have never used it or seen it used. The only person recorded as seeing ECT as anything other than shocking was Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, who rigged an apparatus up in his garage thinking it might offer something similar to an LSD trip.

    But ECT is iconic in other ways. Clint Eastwood’s movie The Changeling opens with the line – This is a True Story. Not based on a True Story but an actual True Story. The Changeling portrays the horrors of psychiatry as they have been since One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest – through involuntary ECT, The problem is the heroine’s incarceration happened 10 years before ECT was invented. There is something about ECT that all but compels people to use it as a symbol of the horrors of mental health systems. There is something about health which means we ignore where the real problems are coming from when ECT and anything else is used.

    The people most likely to profit out of Dirty Harry turning into a pussycat or talking to an empty chair are Lilly, GSK and Pfizer. Sorting out the honchos who make the treatments that cause the most damage would take care of the problems linked to ECT en passant, but we’ll be a long time waiting for Harry to tell a drug company executive to make his day.

    Meanwhile in another part of town….”


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  • Yingyang, your response to James is absolutely correct.


    You said the following about asking Healy about his support AND promotion of ECT:
    “Why would it be done? To gratify the people who think he doesn’t know the truth? Or try to shame him? His opinion on ECT is likely just as relevant as any other psychiatrist. Do we have any evidence he is an expert(beyond any other doctor) on ECT or other electrical treatments? In either case it does not relinquish him from the responsibility of his actions either.”

    Dr. Healy is a major PROMOTER of ECT in the field of psychiatry worldwide. He should be challenged, condemned, and YES, SHAMED for promoting such a harmful and oppressive form of treatment.

    Consider this for a moment:
    when a medical authority such as Healy, provides such great scientific criticism of the harm done by psychiatric drugs, and THEN goes “off the rails” on his analysis and support of ECT, this does great harm to the worldwide movement against the medical model.

    Healy’s positive work criticizing psychiatric drugs could potentially convinced and influence some vulnerable psychiatric victims to try ECT, and thus put them at great peril.

    LACK OF SCIENTIFIC CONSISTENCY (by doctors, scientists, and other activists) in the movement against the medical model, allows the psychiatric establishment some leeway to ridicule and marginalize a legitimate social justice movement. This can be done in a similar way that they sometimes effectively use the cult of Scientology to smear us.

    Unfortunately, the movement against the medical model has some advocates who, not only lack scientific consistency, but have literally gone “off the rails” when it comes to analyzing the science around Covid 19, vaccines, and the value of masks etc.

    For example, Dr. Peter Breggin (who was a former champion in the fight against the medical model) is now so far “off the rails,” and so scientifically inconsistent in his recent writings, that he has become a MAJOR LIABILITY to our movement. We must seriously criticize such individuals, and clearly distance ourselves from their highly negative influence on our movement.


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  • Rasx

    You have a powerful story and very well told. You also present many insights into how psychiatry and the medical model divert people’s attention from the very direct experiences of abuse and trauma within family life that is at the heart of why people present with so much psychological distress that gets labeled as “mental illness.”

    However, I think it is essential for all of us to move this particular narrative to another level of analysis.

    Most of these dysfunctional and abusive parents and their entire backward family cultural did not develop out of nowhere, and is not, somehow, the product of “bad genetics.”

    Most abusive parents, themselves, were also the victims of traumatic and abusive histories. This does NOT excuse their behaviors, but should make us DEEPLY analyze all the inherent forms of inequality, prejudice, misogyny, patriarchy, daily trauma, and mind crippling forms of poverty in a class based and profit based economic and political system.

    At the highest level of assessment of all that is wrong with psychiatry and the medical model, is how it DOES EVERY THING POSSIBLE to divert our attention and finger pointing away from examining all the many oppressive institutions that prop up this system.

    For in the final analysis, if we really want to end the medical model (and all its forms of oppression) we will need to make major systemic changes throughout the entire society.


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  • To Jay Joseph, Marie, and others

    I think it is more correct to say that on some level, genetics is a factor in ALL aspects of human behavior. HOWEVER, it also critically important and more correct to emphasize that any kind of so-called “human predisposition” (expressed in genetic makeup) is TRIGGERED and then reinforced by the surrounding environment.

    For example, human beings are capable of behaving very violently and selfishly, especially in highly threatening and highly competitive environments where trauma is a common experience. Are there gene combinations in the human species, that allow for humans to express these behaviors as a necessity of evolutionary survival? Yes!

    At the same time, there is CLEAR evidence in the sociological history of the human species, that in some more egalitarian, less competitive (for natural resources etc.), and with less traumatic experiences, that human beings have behaved in highly cooperative and loving ways, with extremely RARE instances of violence and so-called selfish behaviors. Are there gene combinations in the human species, that ALSO allow for humans to express THESE TYPE OF BEHAVIORS (triggered by the surrounding environment) as a necessity of evolutionary survival? Yes!

    Another important example to consider: If we take two people from roughly the same environment, and subject them to extreme forms of torture – one of the those people might start to mentally breakdown (with forms of psychosis – psychologically splitting off from reality etc.) after (let’s say) 16 hours of such treatment. The OTHER person being tortured might take (let’s say) 21 hours before psychologically splitting off etc.

    Are both environmental history AND GENETICS somehow involved in the difference of the 5 hours that it took to achieve a psychological breakdown for these two individuals. Yes, I believe it correct to posit that analysis.

    HOWEVER, why!!! should our society spend one dime (instead of billions of dollars), and even one minute of time on trying to find some genetic difference between the two individuals in the above scenario???

    We SHOULD INSTEAD be spending ALL our time on finding out why we have a society with all the kind of sociological structures (in the environment) that allows for the existence of these anti-social behaviors to even exist in the first place. AND then focus ALL our attention on creating a social ENVIRONMENT that will bring forward and reinforce the very BEST qualities of the human species.


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  • James, I REALLY respect your open and humble response. Many writers here would NOT have even responded to the criticism in my comment.

    In this type of interview situation, many journalists might hesitate to raise certain controversial questions for fear of being accused of “setting up” a surprise attack on the person being interviewed.

    One way to avoid this from happening, is to alert the person ahead of time that you will be asking a few tough questions on “such and such” issues, in addition to the main topic.

    I am not suggesting this approach always has to be done ahead of time, but there might some occasions where it works best. Just more food for thought for future interviews.

    Respectfully, Richard

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  • Let me preface my comment by saying, I love the writing and interviewing that James Moore does at MIA, including the majority of this piece with David Healy. HOWEVER, someone MISSED talking about the enormous “elephant in the room.”

    James’ very last comment above COULD HAVE BEEN the necessary tough (and sugary) introduction to an essential question by a truly fearless journalist.

    First, I will provide James’ words and then add my own in Italics:

    “Before we wrap up, I do just want to acknowledge that I am so grateful to you because you are one of the few doctors who will get down in the weeds with people like me who have experienced difficulties and have an eye-level conversation with people about their experiences and what they might have learned.
    There is so much humility in doing that that’s missing from many doctors that I’ve interacted with who just put themselves on a pedestal. Also, your long history of curiosity and of looking at these things through a fresh lens and a different perspective.”

    {But I must now ask you a question on a very controversial and serious topic. For years you have been a major advocate and torch carrier for an often highly condemned and criticized so-called “treatment” for depression. Over the last decades reams of new evidenced (including significant numbers of personal horror stories) have emerged citing the extreme dangers of electro-shock, including long term or permanent brain damage, especial severe memory loss and processing issues.
    David, are you willing to be self-critical at this time about your past support for electro-shock, AND also,would you be willing to take the lead in calling for a moratorium on this form of so-called treatment, while a new comprehensive AND independent scientific evaluation could be done on the overall safety, and/or dangers of electro-shock?
    Isn’t this form of self evaluation in keeping with the need for true scientific rigor and upholding a doctors’ pledge “…to do no harm.”}


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  • Well, Brett and Steve

    Now that you mention it, there are indeed drug companies who produce BOTH “anti-psychotic” drugs (major tranquilizers,) AND drugs that treat diabetes.

    Just as there are ALSO pharmaceutical corporations who both produce opiate type pain killers AND the alleged drugs that are meant to “treat” opiate addiction, like suboxone etc. HOW CONVEEENIENT! said the “church lady.”

    Oh, capitalism, what a simply wonderful system!!!


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  • Steve

    I’ll repeat my question:

    “So does your sarcastic humor {mocking human attempts at building a classless society} imply that you believe that a class based profit system FILLED with multiple forms of exploitation (including the medical model) is the very best that human beings are capable of?”

    Human societies need to have both a political and economic structure. If you choose to belittle socialist type solutions, than what system do you propose?

    Steve, you say (about Marx’s socialist/communist model):
    “I am not sure his solution is workable based on the fundamentals of human nature. And to date, history has proven my observations to be accurate.”

    You say your “not sure”, but apparently you’re sure enough to use crude humor to mock those who have attempted to build a more equitable society.

    And you use the phrase “fundamentals of human nature” as your over simplified reasoning for one reason why socialism won’t work.

    What are these so called “fundamentals”? Haven’t we heard a lot about “fundamental of human nature” from the proponents of the medical model to justify their “genetic theories of original sin.”

    And finally, you resort to the false argument “…And to date, history has proven my observations to be accurate.”

    If human beings adopted the view that since prior “history” was unable to successfully create something new and revolutionary, therefore “it never will,” than nothing innovative and truly revolutionary would EVER be discovered.

    Human nature throughout history has proven to be quite malleable, and will clearly respond to the surrounding environment with behaviors of a high degree of “cooperation” or its opposite, “aggression and greed.”

    Historically, non threatening type environments with higher degrees of cooperation and egalitarianism etc. have brought out the very best of human qualities.

    Can’t we learn from these examples? And isn’t it our human responsibility to try our best to find economic and political structures that will truly move humanity forward and reinforce our best qualities as a species?

    Can we say that modern capitalism/imperialism has clearly become a failed experiment that threatens the very existence of the planet. If so, than we need to desperately find a new alternative. What is that alternative?


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  • Steve

    Your other comments above were very on the mark and educational.

    Why resort to joking (using Mad Magazine) about the serious and courageous attempt by human beings (millions who died in these struggles) to try and design and create a classless society without any forms of exploitation?

    The very definition of a stateless and classless communist society is one DEVOID of ANY forms of human exploitation.

    There has NEVER been any truly communist societies YET created on the planet earth. You know this to be true.

    There have been only a few serious attempts at building a “socialist” society. They only lasted, at best, possibly 30 years or so. They were viciously attacked and surrounded by hostile capitalist countries, and also had internal weaknesses related to their newness and ideological shortcomings.

    So does your sarcastic humor imply that you believe that a class based profit system FILLED with multiple forms of exploitation (including the medical model) is the very best that human beings are capable of?


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  • And BTW, Marie. you used the phrase “…and all sorts of other evil traits,” to describe certain human behaviors.

    These behaviors are NOT “evil” – they are ADAPTIVE behaviors that arise when human beings are placed in a highly competitive and often threatening environment. Sometimes certain of these behaviors can be quite necessary and helpful for survival in a very hostile environment.

    I don’t think you would be calling the socially unacceptable (and quite often self-defeating) behaviors that get labeled as “mental illness,” – “evil.”
    Are they not “adaptive” behaviors to a very stressful and often traumatic world?


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  • Marie, you say: “Humans are filled with love, but also with hate, envy, a desire to dominate, and all sorts of other evil traits. And those despicable traits are dominant throughout history and in all sorts of systems.”

    Yes, human beings are capable of both very loving and compassionate behaviors, as well as, selfish and violent behaviors. Are you therefore presenting some sort of “genetic” justification for us to accept exploitation and oppression as a fact of life we must ALWAYS live with?

    Human nature has proven to be an extremely malleable historical entity. The earliest tribal/communal societies were based on very HIGH levels of cooperation out of NECESSITY for their survival.

    Our ultimate goal in rebuilding the world as a better place to live, is to design an economic and political environment that brings out, and reinforces, the very best qualities of the human species, AND diminishes (over time) the more negative qualities.

    Capitalism by its very nature AND design is built upon a hierarchical structure of unequal classes and inherent exploitation of one class over another. The working classes are NEVER paid the full value of the labor they create. They often live in the barest of subsistence levels of survival, and ultimately are made to fight (and die for) wars of political and economic domination over other nations and peoples.

    Socialism (by design) is an attempt to build a society that (over time) can eliminate all class oppression and forms of exploitation. Socialist experiments on this planet are LESS THAN 200 years old. New and emerging societies on this magnitude CANNOT be expected to succeed on their very first attempts.

    Without referring to human genetics, please explain to me what is inherently wrong with the theoretical model of a socialist society?


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  • “This article is almost funny….I wish MIA would no longer publish articles like this, which are ideological, show little insight and have only a marginal connection to mental health.”

    I say:”What’s so funny about peace , love, and understanding.?”

    Of course, capitalism was an advance over feudalism, but that does NOT mean we shouldn’t take a cold hard look at the state of the modern capitalist/imperialist world.

    You say: “Under capitalism in the United States children are educated and most people have health care and housing.”

    The United States has LESS THAN 5% of the worlds’ population. Tell me where and how did this country accumulate all its wealth to create such a high standard of living? Have you ever heard about imperialist domination of Third World countries and their natural resources and cheap labor?

    You say: “Were conditions better under Mao…”

    Well frankly, if one could ask the people living under British controlled feudalism how it compared to life in China during Mao’s last 30 years of life. The average life span of a Chinese person DOUBLED between the 1949 successful socialist revolution, and when Mao died in 1977.

    Yes, China today is a very repressive state capitalist government and system competing for world dominance with other Eastern and Western imperialist powers.

    Where is YOUR nuance when it comes to analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the very first socialist systems historically attempted in a world where they were surrounded by hostile capitalist powers hell bent on their imminent destruction? Why can’t systems built upon “cooperation, peace, love, and understanding” be made to work for the betterment of human kind?

    We live in a capitalist/imperialist dominated world where mental health systems in EVERY country are part of the status quo that both reinforces and uses an oppressive medical model as a critical institution for the “powers that be” to maintain power and control over the masses.

    I am GLAD that MIA chooses to have articles that deeply contextualizes the current state of the medical model.


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  • How about ADDING a NUMBER 8) explanation to the number 7) (which seems to make the most scientific sense).

    How can this entire article be written WITHOUT making reference to the kind of world human beings are currently living in???

    “7) The final explanation is that antidepressant drugs (or treatment in general) may be responsible for more harm than benefit. Thus, even if a small number of people experience a short-term benefit, this may be offset by long-term failure and an increased number of relapses.”


    8) Human beings live in a very stressful and traumatic world filled with economic, political, and social inequality, with ongoing daily stressors that continuously push people over the edge of psychological tolerance. NO AMOUNT of so-called “treatment” or other social support systems can overcome this environmental disadvantage. Make the world a more hospitable and compassionate place to live, AND THEN the depression rates will start to decline dramatically.


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  • This was a very well written indictment of psychiatry’s position on prescribing antidepressants. It does reveal some of the very limited information and faulty research which some psychiatrists use to still defend their prescribing of these highly dangerous drugs.

    Dan Kriegman said: “There appears to be a tendency for antidepressants to reduce emotional reactivity which for some people may include a significant decrease in distressing thoughts and feelings.”

    I would disagree with the word, “significant.” The actual research show a “minor” reduction in so-called “symptoms.” AND I would definitely add the word “short-term” to describe the so-called “decrease in distressing thoughts and feelings.”

    All of this research is based on a relatively short-term period of analysis of those people receiving these mind altering drugs. And all of this research IGNORES the significant number of people (victims) who end up going down the “rabbit hole” of a seemingly endless number of new prescriptions of other drugs, including dangerous drug cocktails.

    Higher doses of a new and different SSRI (with different sets of bad side effects), and then benzos (dealing with akathisia and the higher amounts of anxiety as their depression fails to remit), and then mood stabilizers (to deal with the SSRI caused mania etc.), and then anti-psychotics (to deal with the drug induced insomnia and related psychosis etc.), and the list goes on, with perhaps multiple hospitalizations and failed suicide attempts.

    AND what about all the SUCCESSFUL suicide attempts – who in the field of psychiatry and Big Pharma are actually interested to know and report those oppressive statistics?

    Psychiatry and Big Pharma keep using the “blame the victim” phrase, “TREATMENT RESISTANT DEPRESSION” to describe patients who either don’t get better, or who will most likely get worse over time from their drugging.

    Let’s start turning this phrase back on these criminals, and called it more accurately, “TREATMENT CAUSED DEPRESSION.”

    My only criticism of this blog is that it does not go far enough. When we consider the millions of people harmed by psychiatry and ALL their mind altering and dangerous drugs, the only moral conclusion we can arrive at is to abolish psychiatry, and hold some of their leaders (along with the Big Pharma CEOS) criminally responsible.

    AND lastly, psychiatry is now too big and important to the survival of the profit based capitalist system, to be allowed to fail, or have its power diminished. Mere perseverance of exposure and rational thinking or writing (THOUGH IMPORTANT AND NECESSARY) will NOT be enough to stop all forms of psychiatric abuse. Revolutionary systemic change is essential to finally end this type of institutional oppression.


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  • Bravo! This is a very scientific and well researched blog.

    I would differ with the “pillar crumbling” analogy for the “chemical imbalance” theory AND for current psychiatric genetic theories.

    We cannot underestimate how much power psychiatry and their medical model wields in today’s world. They have become crucial “pillars” in propping up and sustaining a profit based capitalist system.

    In today’s world it is now quite possible for “alternate realities” to co-exist in the vast “marketplace of ideas.” Major systemic change will be required to bring down these “pillars ” of oppression.


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  • Kindredspirit

    (I posted this recent comment in another very old thread that you might not have seen)


    I am so glad you are posting here at MIA again. I read some of your past comments regarding your decision to step back for a while.

    I wholeheartedly agree that MIA has lost some of its past activist edge, and has somewhat retreated into a more limited “educational” role. This “educational” role has unfortunately been divorced (and consciously steered away) from some of the more volatile polarizing developments in the broader society.

    It is a mistake to separate the intense battles over science (on many fronts) and “alternative realities” in the current political realm, from what is happening in the overall battle to end psychiatric oppression and the medical model.

    I DO understand the intense political pull (“on the path of least resistance”) to steer things away (and separate out) these struggles, for fear of losing part of your audience. I also believe all this was happening (at the same time) as the earlier wave of anti-psychiatric activism was suffering an overall ebb from a previous high water mark of activism – that is, the 6-8 years following the 2010 arrival of RW’s path breaking book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic.”

    During those years there was a failure on the part of existing activists to consolidate some type (or types) of advanced anti-psychiatry organizations to take advantage of the current crest of political exposures and activism at that time. These rises and falls (ebbs and flows) are a natural occurrence in long term political struggles, and we have to analyze and sum up these developments (and our mistakes) in light of current political developments.

    I don’t have to tell you just how polarized and dangerous the current political climate is, and how important it is for us to chart a course that will move things away from a devastating form of Right Wing totalitarianism.

    On a positive note, I do notice a growing deeper political frustration and anger in MIA content, that reflects the awareness that simply doing more and better exposures of psychiatry and the medical model will not just somehow cause their “house of cards” to fall.

    Psychiatry and their medical model has now evolved into such an important cog in the maintenance of the profit based capitalist system, that simply doing more scientific type exposures (and desperately seeking the broadest audience) will not fundamentally bring down psychiatry. Anti-medical model critiques will just be labelled as another “alternative reality” in the vast “marketplace of ideas.”

    The struggle against psychiatric oppression and the medical model IS (by its nature) and must (more and more) become connected to all the other major struggles for social justice in an overall oppressive world. And this will require activism and political exposures, that are willing to risk losing part of ones audience, in order to uphold the truth and draw the very real connections between all of these important struggles. I certainly hope this is the direction things are going, and I will do my best to encourage things in this direction.

    Carry on! Richard

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  • Kindredspirit

    I am so glad you are posting here at MIA again. I read some of your past comments regarding your decision to step back for a while.

    I wholeheartedly agree that MIA has lost some of its past activist edge, and has somewhat retreated into a more limited “educational” role. This “educational” role has unfortunately been divorced (and consciously steered away) from some of the more volatile polarizing developments in the broader society.

    It is a mistake to separate the intense battles over science (on many fronts) and “alternative realities” in the current political realm, from what is happening in the overall battle to end psychiatric oppression and the medical model.

    I DO understand the intense political pull (“on the path of least resistance”) to steer things away (and separate out) these struggles, for fear of losing part of your audience. I also believe all this was happening (at the same time) as the earlier wave of anti-psychiatric activism was suffering an overall ebb from a previous high water mark of activism – that is, the 6-8 years following the 2010 arrival of RW’s path breaking book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic.”

    During those years there was a failure on the part of existing activists to consolidate some type (or types) of advanced anti-psychiatry organizations to take advantage of the current crest of political exposures and activism at that time. These rises and falls (ebbs and flows) are a natural occurrence in long term political struggles, and we have to analyze and sum up these developments (and our mistakes) in light of current political developments.

    I don’t have to tell you just how polarized and dangerous the current political climate is, and how important it is for us to chart a course that will move things away from a devastating form of Right Wing totalitarianism.

    On a positive note, I do notice a growing deeper political frustration and anger in MIA content, that reflects the awareness that simply doing more and better exposures of the psychiatry and the medical model will not just somehow cause their “house of cards” to fall.

    Psychiatry and their medical has now evolved into such an important cog in the maintenance of the profit based capitalist system, that simply doing more scientific type exposures (and desperately seeking the broadest audience) will not fundamentally bring down psychiatry. Anti-medical model critiques will just be labelled as another “alternative reality” in the vast “marketplace of ideas.”

    The struggle against psychiatric oppression and the medical model IS (by its nature) and must (more and more) become connected to all the other major struggles for social justice in an overall oppressive world. And this will require activism and political exposures, that are willing to risk losing part of ones audience, in order to uphold the truth and draw the very real connections between all of these important struggles. I certainly hope this is the direction things are going, and I will do my best to encourage things in this direction.

    Carry on! Richard

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  • “The so called mRNA COVID vaccine was a total failure.”

    Huh! Where is the science to back up this statement?

    Yes, vaccinated people can be infected with Covid, but the vaccines have literally saved MILLIONS of lives across the planet.

    There is clear evidence that vaccines (and certain drugs) prevent serious Covid disease, reduce hospitalization, and YES, reduce the overall number of deaths by a significant factor.

    And this success of the vaccines has NOT been offset by any significant amount of serious side effects.


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  • “Human life begins at CONCEPTION, not birth….”

    Says who? Scrapping cells off of the uterine wall is NOT ending a “human life.”

    Contraception that interferes with an embryo’s ability to attach to the uterine wall is NOT ending a “human life.”

    These so called morality debates CANNOT be separated from a women’s right to control her own body and reproductive rights.

    If you support the human rights of all people to absolutely determine what drugs or other psychiatric procedures are performed on their bodies, than you must also support that same right for women when it comes to contraception and abortion.


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  • Russell

    Thank you so much for that reply – I am glad to support you in any way I can.

    You know I was thinking about another very sad and enraging aspect to your story. If you sent this blog summary of your daughter’s murder to EVERY single doctor, nurse, hospital administrator, judge etc. who were complicit in her murder, they would most likely (perhaps secretly) express relief that her death occurred “on your watch” so to speak. This would (in their minds) potentially absolved them from any financial and/or moral liability related to her death. AND I am convinced they would actually blame you and your wife for her demise for not fully buying into (or in so many ways resisting) their Draconian and thoroughly oppressive forms of so-called “treatment.”

    This would just be another very pernicious form of a “blame the victim” approach, so they can avoid any type of moral, legal, or financial responsibility for her murder. I hope it is somehow possible for you to legally sue these criminals, and then use that money to help lay bare the oppressive nature of psychiatry and their bogus medical model.

    Your daughter was blessed to have such courageous fighters standing in her corner (doing the very best they could) during this horrendous nightmare.

    Carry on! Much Respect, Richard

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  • Russ and Carol

    So deeply sorry for your loss.

    I must say that this personal story represents the worst kind of torture and psychiatric abuse imaginable. It reads like a modern day horror story that renders “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and Chucky in “Child’s Play” seem like simple nursery rhymes with playful characters, next to those real life characters upholding AND practicing psychiatry and the medical model.

    I skimmed through this story because I’ve heard the story before (having read several HUNDRED psychiatric abuse horror stories) and also having a dear friend who suffered similar types of psychiatric oppression. I also worked 22 years in community “mental health” (as an LMHC) and know the cruelty potential, and harm done by psychiatry and their entire medical model.

    I simply cannot read EVERY detail ANYMORE, because I just become totally enraged . . . Can there be ANY DOUBT after reading this, that there needs to be major systemic POLITICAL solutions to end this horrific madness engineered by Big Pharma and psychiatry.

    Psychiatry must be targeted and ultimately abolished. And this can only happen if we are willing to challenge the future existence of a profit based capitalist system, that feeds off of, AND reinforces its existence.

    I deeply admire Carol and Russ Stence for speaking out about this horrific abuse, and for refusing to allow themselves to be crushed by the psychiatric murder of their precious daughter, Catherine – may her spirit live on in your heroic efforts to seek justice for all psychiatric victims.


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  • Joanna and Mark

    So glad you shook up the establishment with your recent research and written articles. AND they (psychiatry and Big Pharma) will seemingly NEVER cease to come up with excuses and bogus arguments to justify their past 30 years of rotten science and harmful “treatments” when it comes to depression (and SSRI drugs).

    What stands out most of all in all of these debates is just how desperate those in power are to NOT have people seriously examine what is wrong with their profit based societies (and related culture) in which they have so much power and privilege. For them, it ALWAYS has to be faulty genes and biology to explain troubled human psychological states of mind and related behaviors.

    And when we talk about environmental stressors or other trauma type events in people’s lives, yes, some of these events will exist (through chance happenings) in every society or system.

    However, some systems, have inherent forms of class divisions and other forms of exploitation and trauma built in to their systemic DNA. This creates an environment with overly intense stressors that more often pushes the human genetic genome to its extreme limits of ability to cope in normal ways.

    Of course, most likely all neural chemicals (and their processes) in the brain are somehow connected to depressive or psychotic type thought patterns, HOWEVER, that says nothing about true causation and/or about how to safely resolve (in a positive way) those kinds of extreme human psychological states.

    Human beings have the genetic capability to be very violent, AND also to exhibit very compassionate and loving behaviors. Certain DIFFERENT environments will trigger both of these examples of human thought patterns and behaviors.

    Our vitally important historic task, is to create the environment that will ultimately bring out the very best of what the human species has to offer the planet and the Universe.


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  • “In fact, well-known mainstream psychiatrists now claim that anti-psychiatrists have promoted the chemical imbalance myth to make psychiatry look stupid.”

    This is the equivalent of Trump and all his Right Wing fascist supporters blaming the insurrection on Antifa and left wingers etc.

    Some of the most important things to take away from this new report are the following:

    1) Mad in America has been reporting this same type of science for over a decade. This should add some credibility to all those critical of psychiatry and their medical model.

    2) Over 90% of the public still firmly believes this myth about “chemical imbalances.” The public needs to know that Big Pharma and psychiatry literally spent hundreds of billions of dollars in the world’s largest PR campaign (for over 3 decades) to spread this lie about serotonin, and promote their oppressive diagnoses and harmful drugs – all at the altar of a profit based capitalist system.

    3) Big Pharma and psychiatry know they have spread lies about “chemical imbalances” and have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to correct this erroneous thinking so prevalent in the mass consciousness. And we know perfectly well why they have done nothing about this, and will continue to do nothing.

    4) Unfortunately, this new report will most likely not in any way reduce the prolific prescribing of these dangerous antidepressant drugs. The power of psychiatry with their medical model and mass drugging is just TOO IMPORTANT for maintaining the status quo to be allowed to suffer any profit or power losses.

    “Come to the Cabaret”


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  • Unfortunately, Twelve Step programs promote circular reasoning type arguments that end up “blaming the victim” for their inability to “get sober.”

    For example, if someone keeps relapsing they are told, “you’re just not working the Steps the right way.” So there can be NO questioning of their “disease concept ” of addiction, or their religious moralizing with slogans like “Just Let Go. and Let God” – “You Haven’t Turned Your Will Over to God Yet” etc…

    This type of moralizing makes people feel like they are “personal failures.” INSTEAD of looking for and developing the actual mental and physical skills needed to break a serious addiction.

    Millions and millions of people have developed the necessary skills to stop self destructive habits without 12 Step groups, religion, or counseling of any kind.


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  • AA is just another “disease” model that lacks any scientific proof that a true “disease” process exists within the human body.

    Yes, AA and NA does help some people, but unfortunately its model dominates 90% of the rehab industry. This becomes a major “turn off,” and quite often a “turn away” for people who need desperate help for addiction problems.

    There are other alternative self help groups that neither push religion or the the disease model of addiction, such as Smart Recovery and Rational Recovery.


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  • “Not sure what this has to do with psychiatric diagnosis and treatment?…It’s a very complicated issue.”

    No, it’s really not all that complicated. Especially when you consider that HALF of the U.S. population just had a fundamental human right (the control of reproductive rights and one’s own body) taken away by the mere stroke of a pen.

    Taken away by so-called “justices” who once again are trying to impose their “theology” on people’s “biology.” This is an example of patriarchy in one of its worst forms; not fundamentally all that different than what we criticize in those countries ruled by extreme forms of Muslim theology.

    I applaud Madison and MIA for publishing this important summary of author Kevin Carriere’s journal article on a reproductive justice framework.

    And this issue (just like racial oppression) has EVERYTHING to do with psychiatric diagnoses and the medical model. Both minorities and women in this society are more likely to become victims of all forms of psychiatric abuse than other segments of our society.

    AND this recent SCOTUS ruling will only ADD additional social and economic stressors to both women and minorities, especially those without the economic means to pursue appropriate medical care.

    One CANNOT really call themselves a feminist OR believe in equal rights for ALL human beings, unless they firmly uphold the fundamental right of a woman to have an abortion – ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY!


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  • Rebel

    We are ALL political – whether we want to be or not.

    We are either “political activists” – trying move society toward certain political aims and goals.

    OR we are “political fodder” – people being moved by OTHER forces in society who MAY NOT necessarily be doing so in our best interests.

    If someone chooses to go off by themselves (as an “individual”) and just meditate or pray for change, then I would argue that they will be subject to the “political” whims of those in society who are actually engaged in political activities affecting the very institutions we must live under.

    Yes, “politics” can be risky, but I would argue that it is FAR MORE risky to let others do it for you.

    BTW, “politics” does not necessarily mean “running for office,” but can involve ANY TYPE of effort we make to influence how people think and act in the world around us, especially as it pertains to certain established institutions in society.


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  • Rebel says:
    “With all due respect, “theoreticality is not practicality.” The comments made speak almost of “genuine socialism” as a “utopia.” Sadly, “utopias” are just that “utopias” and exist only in fiction and fantasy.”

    Nowhere have I EVER referred to socialism as any kind of “utopia.” These are your words, and a “straw man” argument about the nature of socialism.

    I spoke above about the GRADUAL elimination of exploitation under socialism. Socialism as a TRANSITIONAL SOCIETY (on a long journey to a truly classless society) will take many generations of education and transformation of both the young and the old.

    This period of “transformation” will require continuous struggle within all political and social structures. The “birthmarks” from the past history of capitalist divisions and exploitative thinking within society will require continuous debate and wrangling over new ideas and a total “breaking with the past.”

    This will be a dynamic and exciting process of political change – never boring – with the the constant risk of some people in society trying to take things back to past forms of exploitation and domination.

    Rebel says:
    “The answer always resides in each individual and his or her relationship to Spirit. …In my way of thinking, it seems almost delusional to even consider that “socialism” can do it either.”

    Unless “individuals” become part of an actual political movement for major systemic change against all the oppressive institutions within a profit based capitalist society – NOTHING will change.

    The “spirit” we need is that which is can only be derived from the collective struggle of humanity for a better and more egalitarian world. This kind of struggle (creating a new and fertile environment) is what has the potential to bring out the very best in the human spirit, and an evolving human nature.

    In fact we are now in real danger of losing what little democracy actually exists in the U.S., and descending into full blown fascism.

    What would truly be “delusional” in these circumstances, is to expect the current status quo of a profit based capitalist system to solve the very problems it has inherently created itself. Psychiatry and the medical model are an essential feature of this status quo.

    To Rebel and others:
    it is time we begin to explore brand new political and social options in the world. Climate destruction, world war, and the developing second “civil war,” demands we think “big” and “outside the box.”


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  • Birdsong

    There are NO genuine socialist or communist countries in the world today, so your comment above equating systemic flaws regarding psychiatry and these two types of systems, does not make complete sense.

    Theoretically, there is NO contradiction between capitalism and psychiatry. Capitalism is a class based system that, by its very nature, has built in mechanisms of exploitation and oppression – it was NEVER intended to be fair or egalitarian by its own design.

    Theoretically, genuine socialism is, by design,, meant to gradually eliminate classes and all forms of human exploitation. So psychiatry (by its true nature) is in total contradiction to these goals and systemic aims.

    Yes, it is possible in a newly emerging socialist society for there to still be leftover forms of psychiatric type abuses. After all, the medical model (and all its pseudoscience) has a deep hold in the thinking of most people in the world today.

    The struggle against the medical model will be an important struggle within the newly emerging socialist societies. HOWEVER, it will be FAR EASIER to argue against psychiatry and the medical model under a socialist system, because it DIRECTLY contradicts the fundamental aims and goals of socialist theory and practice.

    In contrast, psychiatry and the medical model, has become an ESSENTIAL FEATURE for the future existence of capitalism. It serves the profit motives of Big Pharma, along with the power motives behind expanding the guild interests of psychiatry. AND IMPORTANTLY, it shifts people’s attention away from the inherent exploitation, alienation, and trauma within a class based profit system to make people focus on “bad genes” and “personal flaws.” AND of course, it drugs and anesthetizes potentially rebellious sections of society.


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  • lookingUP

    I have been a political activist since the late 1960’s; that’s when I first began to question the myth of the American Dream and American Exceptualism. I quickly became a critic of the U.S capitalist/imperialist system, and I am still a firm believer that a new form of socialism is the next step that humanity must take to save the planet.

    I first became a critic of psychiatry and the medical model in the early 1990’s, and I fought its takeover of the community “mental health” system while working in a New Bedford MA. clinic (as an LMHC counselor) for 22 years. I worked with hundreds of people facing all types of severe psychological distress. I did my best to keep people away from psychiatry and their disease/drug based approaches to so-called “treatment.” In this period of time I think I helped some people – but only they could fully answer your inquiry.

    Since MIA stated a decade ago. I have 17 blogs published at this website – the very same number as Niall McLaren. You should check through these blogs to compare our approaches to not only “helping” people , but also proposing a way forward.

    I have some respect for Niall McLaren and the work he has done to help people.

    In this historical period where class contradictions in the world have reached such a perilous point of intensity, I have little patience with people (who should know better) pointing everyone in the direction of *reforming* institutions and systems (like psychiatry and capitalism) when the real world evidence says they now belong in the dustbin of history.


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  • Jim Phelps says: “To be truly helpful, Mad in America should help readers with these kinds of decisions, not fan flames.”

    This statement is not only UNTRUE, but also defamatory towards any FAIR evaluation of the content of Mad in America (MIA) over the past decade.

    MIA has published an enormous amount of content that provides real world examples (both theoretical and practical) about how to survive and overcome mental states of severe psychological distress. This includes a plethora of alternative types of NON-psychiatric drug related therapies, AND personal stories of recovery (that includes stories of those who were harmed by the medical model approaches).

    At times, MIA published numerous stories of those people who found the short term and very cautious use of psychiatric drugs helpful in their journey to “recovery.”

    An absolute necessary part of that information MIA published over the past decade has been the dangers associated with the use of ALL psychiatric drugs. This is because NO ONE ELSE on the planet (except for a tiny group of authors of books and activists) was alerting people to these dangers.

    We cannot discuss this entire topic without addressing just how pervasive and prolific the entire medical model has become in the world, AND how this creates a gigantic “path of least resistance” even for more well informed clinicians.

    I worked for 22 years in a community health clinic in New Bedford MA., and watched the takeover of the medical model and the rampant uncontrolled growth of psychiatric drug prescriptions I worked with more than two dozen psychiatrists and nurse practitioners in that period of time.

    The few drug prescribers that I respected (including several who read Robert Whitaker’s books etc.) STILL, despite all their attempts at being a careful prescriber of these drugs, would get caught on a dangerous “path of least resistance.”

    There were so many people coming into the clinic in distress (many already on these drugs) and already deeply indoctrinated by psychiatry’s and Big Pharma’s “chemical imbalance” theory.

    This is a PR campaign never seen in human history before, to the tune of several hundred billion dollars, that has come to totally dominate the public narrative around anything related to “mental health.”

    Even the so-called informed drug prescribers could not avoid getting caught up in the “RABBIT HOLE” of psychiatric drug prescribing. This is where one drug is not “working” and causes all kinds of uncomfortable (and sometimes intolerable side effects like ‘akathisia”), and one NEW drug, or COCKTAIL of drugs is prescribed to deal with the so-called “symptoms” caused by the initial drug.

    Neither Robert Whitaker OR Jim Phelps discussed (above) how so-called more benign and “careful” prescribing of psychiatric drugs on the “path of least resistance” often leads to the extremely harmful and dangerous “RABBIT HOLE” of drug prescribing.

    There have hundreds of stories and comments by MIA writers and readers detailing stories of the harmful and dangerous “rabbit hole” of psychiatric drug prescribing that has led to sometimes decades of personal suffering and anguish.

    When Dr. Phelps says: “When to use an antidepressant, and for how long, requires careful, personalized decision-making—which MANY [my emphasis] psychiatrists do (granted, not enough. Find a young one if you can).”

    This is simply wishful thinking on his part, and a fundamental untruth about the state of his profession. Anyone who has worked around psychiatrists in hospitals and clinics knows that they are clearly on the “path of least resistance ” of drug prescribing and more often than not, start people down the dangerous “rabbit hole” from which many victims never return. This fact includes even a few “well meaning” and partially informed (about psych drug dangers) doctors.


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  • Niall and others

    Let me prefaced my following comment with this statement. Niall McLaren comes across as a well meaning critic of psychiatry with some partial truths about what is wrong with the medical model. If I ever encountered a psychiatrist (God forbid!) in a hospital or jail, I would much prefer it were him (and a few other writers at MIA) than anyone else out there. BUT, when it comes to proposing the way forward, there are serious problems and contradictions in his analysis.

    Niall said: ” Despite the claims made on his {Szasz} behalf, he had no positive effect on psychiatry as it exists, I think he actually made things worse because it hardened attitudes all round.”

    What should we make of this highly confused comment?

    First off, Szasz’s greatest accomplishment was his brilliant presentation of the “myth of mental illness.” Should we really expect it to have a “positive” effect on such a backward and oppressive institution, other than educating the public and other potential victims, and perhaps, creating conditions within psychiatry for it to begin to split apart and be rendered less able to cause harm to people.

    AND, the second half of Niall’s above comment: “…he [Szasz] actually made things worse because it hardened attitudes all round.” is simply a recipe for telling people to AVOID exposing the truth about something because it could potentially polarize people who become more firm in their belief system.

    So what should we conclude from this? That it is better to remain silent and NOT tell the truth about oppressive theories or practice, and essentially “bury our heads in the sand” and hope things somehow get better by presenting tiny “bits and pieces” of truth, with the wish that people MAGICALLY put it altogether somewhere and sometime in the future. With this type of approach in the historical account of political change movements, NO human progress would have ever occurred.

    Yes, Szasz’s shortcomings were many – as I outlined a few above. BUT his exposure (as far as it went) of the “myth of mental illness” should be UPHELD AND CELEBRATED, because it has helped create more favorable conditions for true anti-psychiatry (and anti medical model) activists to unite that struggle with other social justice movements for more revolutionary systemic change in the future.

    Niall can talk about the “profit” hungry drug corporations and the fact that psychiatry and Big Pharma have misused their “power” etc. etc… BUT he is not willing to ever identify the fact that ALL THIS is taking place within a highly oppressive class based – profit based – capitalist/imperialist system.

    QUESTIONS: 1) Can psychiatry and the medical model be fundamentally changed and/or eliminated (your choice) WITHIN the current evolution of modern capitalism?
    2) Are they (psychiatry and capitalism) so mutually dependent on the other, that their future existence and trajectory in history cannot be separated?
    3) Isn’t it beyond the time to educate people about the truth of this symbiotic relationship, instead of FEARING that it’s TOO POLITICAL or might somehow lead to more POLARIZATION etc.?

    For Niall (to knowingly) leave out this kind of analysis and fail to address these kind of issues, is MISLEADING, and sadly ends up essentially LYING (regardless of intentions) to the masses about what we are truly up against in this insane world.

    The “polarization” that Niall and others fear so much, is happening at an accelerated pace (for many reasons) in this country (and others in Europe), AND BY REMAINING SILENT OR HALF STEPPING WITH THE TRUTH, it will do NOTHING except allow the forces of oppression and MORE authoritarianism to get STRONGER!

    We can and must do better than this!


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  • Nicmart

    You said: “Szasz also supported economic freedom for all people.”

    What if a section (or class of people) representing 10 percent of the population controls 70 percent of all the wealth in a country, and the bottom 50 percent of the society controls only 2 percent of the wealth?

    AND what if this same class (at the top) makes all the rules in society, that more often then not, totally benefits the interests of that same top 10 percent?

    Is this really “economic FREEDOM [my emphasis] for all people…”?

    It is these sort of very vague political platitudes (throwing around words like “freedom”) repeated by Right leaning Libertarians (like Szasz), that have no real meaning when tested in the concrete world.

    OR should I say, they really become political justifications for continuing all the enormous inequalities in a class based “*free*market” capitalist system.


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  • Nicmart

    There is a huge difference between being tolerant of people’s right to their own spirituality, AND the existence of a highly oppressive institution. such as psychiatry. When it comes to evaluating and acting against oppressive institutions, a “live and let live” approach is a cowardly moral abandonment of principle.

    Yes, I would give kudos to Szasz for his stance on homosexuality and his related criticism of psychiatry. BUT I would hardly call his stance on the cold blooded murderer, Dan White, some sort of courageous moral high ground. This is just plain moral sensibility – 101.

    As to the so-called use of psychiatric oppression under socialism, your historical definition of countries that were indeed genuinely “socialist” would probably radically differ from mine. The Soviet Union, for example, was a “state capitalist” type regime when they used some of these oppressive means of social control.


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  • Birdsong

    I never used the word “conspiracy,” but I do frequently use the word “collusion” to describe the relationship between Big Pharma and psychiatry.

    Psychiatry in the 1960’s (as an oft disparaged and dwindling profession) was a “would be” medical specialty in a desperate search for a “science” to justify its existence and increase its power and influence.

    What they found (and unfortunately implemented on a grand scale) was a highly oppressive and harmful “pseudo-science.” And as things evolved over the past four decades, the capitalist system (as a whole) was more than a willing participant AND beneficiary in these developments

    Any careful reading of Robert Whitaker’s several books shows clear documentation of an increasing amount of collusion (on many levels) between psychiatry and Big Pharma beginning, in the 1960’s up to the very present. And all this required the ability to work within the political realm by finding the means to manipulate, and ultimately control decisions that took place at the FDA. Just examine the game of “musical chairs” that takes place where former FDA appointees end up on the boards of Big Pharma corporations and vice versa.

    People may try, in these troubling times, to focus more on the “personal more than the political,” but this is becoming increasingly impossible to do given the mounting political polarization and the high stakes in each and every political decision being made these days. We can no longer afford to NOT to be involved in the political realm of things.

    Birdsong, just listen to the Jan. 6 hearings. The word “revolution” has been repeated many times, representing many different political agendas out there. Do we want to go forward in history to a more humane and egalitarian society, or go backwards by just maintaining the status quo, or something FAR WORSE – which is where the Right Wing wants to take us?


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  • Szasz, would not declare himself as “anti-psychiatry,” perhaps because he was not really thoroughly opposed to the medical model, and/or did not want psychiatry to be stripped of its medical license or legitimacy as a so-called medical discipline.

    Szasz’s right wing (pro capitalist) form of libertarianism blinded him from uniting (in the 1960’s) his profoundly valuable and radical critique of aspects of the medical model with the rising anti-imperialist, Black Liberation, and rising women’s liberation movements. This was a major missed historical opportunity to advance the overall struggle against psychiatric abuse.

    Where was Szasz’s critique of Big Pharma colluding with psychiatry’s growing proliferation of psychiatric drugging and their totally corrupt way of testing (with ghost writers and manipulated data etc.)? After all, apparently everyone has a right to sell what they want, when they want, and make billions of dollars at the expense of doing enormous harm to millions of psychiatric victims.

    AND everyone apparently has a right to declare themselves a religion, even when they function in reality as a dangerous cult. AND why not work with, and unite with them against psychiatry, because (in their ‘religious” view) psychiatry competes with their same base of potential recruits. Never mind the fact, that connecting the movement against psychiatric abuse with this dangerous cult, has created enormous obstacles (including being discredited by association), which still plagues our movement to this very day.

    Szasz was a complex historical figure who made major contributions to exposing aspects of the medical model, but he also had major shortcomings that limited his ability to have a much greater impact on ending psychiatric abuse. Unfortunately today, Dr. Peter Breggin suffers from some of the same type (as Szasz) of ideological and political shortcomings that now makes him much more of a liability to our movement than an asset.


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  • To DW and others

    Thanks for your meaningful reply and question.

    I also strongly believe we SHOULD definitely fight for reforms and incremental changes as we militantly oppose the medical model and all forms of psychiatric oppression. We cannot and should not ignore (or put off to the future) trying to help those in the present moment being harmed by psychiatry and their medical model.

    HOWEVER, there is an important strategic orientation as to how best to carry out these day to day struggles for meaningful reform and basic protection from psychiatric harm.

    The struggle for reform MUST BE part of an overall strategy for genuine revolutionary change. AND I mean not JUST revolutionary change against the medical model, but MOST DEFINITELY to the overarching economic and political system (profit based capitalism) which gave rise to, and now perpetuates and sustains the medical model.

    If we fail to link to link these two struggles we are MISLEADING and, frankly, LYING to people about what it will actually require to end all forms of psychiatric abuse and the medical model. Without this broader strategy, people will gradually become demoralized and trapped within dead end reformist approaches to change.

    This demoralization and desperate type (narrow) reformist approaches is happening as we speak. Any careful reading of MIA blogs AND the comment section over the past decade, can see the slow (but obvious) spread of political demoralization and its impact on the content of people’s activism.

    We now have MORE THAN ENOUGH credible scientists and experts AND articulate psychiatric survivors, AND published books and journal articles, THAT THOROUGHLY EXPOSES the “chemical imbalance” theory, and ALL the harm done by the DSM, psychiatric drugs, and ALL their various components of the medical model.

    YET, psychiatry and their proliferation of drugging and forced hospitalizations, and overall public indoctrination of the “chemical imbalance” theory is continuing its spread and growth in exponential ways. THE MEDICAL MODEL IS NOW STRONGER TODAY THAN EVER AND STILL GROWING – HOW IS THIS STILL POSSIBLE?

    Those people who think psychiatry’s “house of cards” will suddenly collapse when we reach a certain mass of scientific exposures and reformist activism, are unfortunately, sadly deluding themselves and others.

    We must carefully examine the growth of the medical model (psychiatry and its colluding partner – Big Pharma) over the past 4 decades, and understand how it has evolved into a vital pillar of support for preserving the capitalist system.

    Drug corporation profits (fueled by the proliferation of psych drugging) has now become an important and necessary pillar for sustaining the U.S. economy.

    As the economic and political crisis (pre-civil war type polarization and threats of outright rebellion and possible fascism) expands in the the U.S., the medical model’s “genetic theories of original sin” take on even greater importance.

    They DO NOT want people to start examining the inherent flaws within the capitalist system, with all its trauma conditions, inequalities, periodic economic crises, and inevitable drive toward inter imperialist wars and destruction of the planet’s environment.

    They DO NOT want people to understand that their various forms of psychological distress, alienation, and despair are rooted within their daily conflicts with a grossly imperfect and traumatic environment. An environment that DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!

    The “powers that be” benefit tremendously from having people overly focused on so-called “bad genetics” and inherent personal human flaws.

    AND most definitely, the “powers that be” benefit tremendously from having major sections of the potentially rebellious masses anesthetized by mind altering AND mind numbing psychiatric drugs.

    Over the past 4 decades, psychiatry and their medical model, has evolved to the point where its future destiny CANNOT BE SEPARATED from the future of the capitalist system. They each need the other for their existence. The capitalist ruling classes will NOT allow psychiatry to lose its current role in society nor its level of power – it’s too valuable to them. To them, we are just an “alternate reality” and an “alternate set of facts” to be relegated to the back pages of the news in their vast “marketplace of ideas.” Kept within this “vast marketplace” we are of no fundamental threat to the status quo.

    So my concluding point is as follows: We will NOT succeed in ending all forms of psychiatric abuse, or eliminate the medical model, unless we are prepared to also end the very system that sustains and perpetuates psychiatric oppression. We cannot and should not separate these two struggles – they both need to be linked together as we take on the daily struggles to help and protect potential psychiatric victims.

    There are many people who write at MIA that are aware of the connections between the medical model and capitalism. HOWEVER, they either choose, or allow themselves to be constantly sucked onto the demoralizing and dead end “path of least resistance” – a path of very pragmatic and narrow incremental change.

    Keep in mind that all this is taking place in a country that is standing on the PRECIPICE of a civil war and a quick slide into outright fascism.



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  • This interview completely misses the mark, as do most of today’s critics of the medical model. It ends up being a partial expression of the truth that will sadly go nowhere, except to an unfortunate reformist dead end.

    “You quote Richard Buckminster Fuller in your book, and he said, “You never change something by fighting the existing reality, to change something, build a new model that makes the current model obsolete.”
    How do we go about making the current model obsolete when so much power shapes and controls it?”

    My question is: why use this insightful quote of Buckminster Fuller if you’re NOT GOING TO APPLY IT TO THE CURRENT REALITY WE FACE with the oppressive medical model and the enormous power of psychiatry and Big Pharma?


    The medical model and its future is now inseparably bound up in the overall future of capitalism. They now each need the other for their existence.

    The medical model shifts people’s focus away from examining the systemic flaws within capitalism, to so-called inherent genetic flaws in the human species as the basis for all human despair and oppression in the world. AND it drugs and anesthetizes those sections of the masses (who might potentially rise up against this status quo) to render them (physically and mentally) as no longer a serious threat. All the while Big Pharma makes enormous profits and psychiatry retains such enormous power over people’s lives.


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  • A good exposure of what is wrong and oppressive with the medical model.

    “chemical imbalances (now a discarded theory)”

    While a few psychiatric leaders have publicly disavowed the “chemical imbalance” theory, it is simply not true that this theory has been “discarded” by the medical model.

    There are still hundreds of so-called legitimate medical online websites and clinical service descriptions of “mental health treatment” facilities that repeat a version of the “chemical imbalance” theory.

    And I would rightfully speculate that the unscientific theory of so-called “chemical imbalances” is repeated literally hundreds of thousands of times every day in psychiatrist’s and clinical therapist’s offices in the U.S. and around the world.

    Promotion of the “chemical imbalance” theory is perhaps the world’s largest and most expensive (several hundred billion dollars worth of advertising) disinformation program in human history.

    All this rivals “the big lie” about who won the 2020 presidential election. So many people, including Trump himself, have repeated this lie AND SO DESPERATELY want to believe it, that IT IS NOW PERMANENTLY embedded in their consensus reality.


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  • Mark

    What a powerful story, and such passionate and melodic music to match.

    I related to your blog as someone who worked as an LMHC clinician for 22 years in the community mental system in New Bedford, MA., and I have fought against the oppressive Medical Model of so-called “treatment” for 30 years. I have 17 blogs on related topics in the catalogue of blogs at Mad in America.

    I also related to your blog as a performing singer/songwriter who is “Making Music to Change the World.” Here is some links to two of my songs on the topic of psychiatric abuse:

    Your story about identifying with Jesus is actually quite common among people enduring extreme forms of psychological distress. Sometimes this identification with Jesus relates to an individual’s belief that their level of suffering could not possibly exist, and/or be possibly endured, unless it somehow corresponded to the level of pain and suffering endured by Jesus, himself, on the cross. In other words, “how else could God allow such extreme suffering to occur for myself, UNLESS it had some devine purpose in life on earth.”

    I say all this not as a religious person, but as someone that is trying to understand the powerful impact that a belief in an omnipotent spiritual entity can have, along with the negative impact that a belief in “original sin” can have on people living in a traumatic world. After all, this is the same world where psychiatry promotes multiple “genetic theories of original sin” in their oppressive DSM “bible.

    And I loved your story in the song “Icarus Reprise” where the character “Daedalus stands outside the bedroom door singing to his son, being honest, compassionate, and giving him advice and hope.”

    This reminds of some of the work I used to do with EMDR therapy for trauma. It was always a significant sign of progress for a person when they achieved some sort of “distance” from their trauma history, when they would experience mental images of themselves “observing” or looking through a screen at themselves when they were a child, and at the same time experiencing strong feelings of compassion for what that child had to endure. This always represented an important step in overcoming the toxic feelings of “guilt and shame” that many victims of childhood abuse still feel within themselves as adults.

    Mark, I did check out your website and will reach out to you via email. I currently live an hour south of Boston, and perhaps we can meet up in the future and share some music. I do know some people that run some songwriters in the round at some local venues, perhaps that might be a good place to rendezvous.

    All the best, Richard

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  • Eric

    Yes, this sentence is pointing to the importance of environmental and solution focused factors in overcoming depression and sadness.

    BUT, we must also point out that in today’s trauma ridden and exploitative world, sadness and depression are normal reactions to difficult circumstances. And how a person eventually responds to these circumstances (without being drugged!) can potentially teach that person valuable lessons for how to survive in the future.

    HOWEVER, that sentence in which you chose to praise is also riddled with some of the worst and most oppressive language in the Medical Model’s arsenal – “diagnosis and treatment of individual diseases.”

    There is NO scientific evidence that these problems are actual “diseases.” And there is tons of evidence in the backlog of MIA articles over the years detailing just how harmful a psychiatric “diagnosis” can be to the self identity formation of a human being.


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  • To clarify my above comment, I do not mean to be dismissive of all of Dr Fava’s research and critical writings on psychiatric drugs. I have praised some of his past writings and believe he is one of the few psychiatrists today that is raising serious criticisms of the psychiatric profession.

    However, my above comment is meant to show how even the “critical psychiatry” adherents sometimes lapse into the same speculative pseudoscience that they often criticize.

    I am sure there is plenty of cognitive dissonance and defensiveness for today’s “critical psychiatrists” when it comes contemplating the elimination of psychiatry as a genuine and legitimate medical specialty.

    Until psychiatry finally disappears (through enormous political struggle), “critical psychiatrists” can seize the moral high ground by raising holy hell within their profession and helping the millions of psychiatric victims get off their harmful drugs and/or dramatically reduce their reliance on these substances.


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  • “Helping patients to overcome their difficulties requires excellent skills in differential diagnosis; deep knowledge not only of the potential benefits of treatments (ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS REMAIN LIFE-SAVING MEDICATIONS IN SEVERE DEPRESSION [emphasis added]), but also of their vulnerabilities; and awareness of the advances in psychotherapy that enable self-therapy.”

    In this blog Dr. Giovanni Fava wonders why we don’t have the science and commitment by today’s Medical Model to help people get OFF of antidepressant drugs. Well, he needs to look no further than his OWN failure of rigorous scientific consistency when it comes to Big Pharma and psychiatry’s myth about the so-called “benefits” of these drugs.

    Where is the scientific evidence, after more than 3 decades of prolific prescribing of hundreds of millions of prescriptions for SSRI drugs, that they are in truth, “LIFE-SAVING MEDICATIONS?”

    The collusion between Big Pharma and psychiatry (with their world’s largest and most expensive PR campaign in human history on the “benefits” of psychiatric drugs) is nothing but pure speculation and wishful thinking. MIA has published dozens and dozens of scientific analyses of drug studies over the past several years refuting the MYTH of the so-called “benefits” of these drugs.

    Dr. Fava ends his blog by saying, “We have serious problems and we need a different psychiatry.”

    Yes, I agree we do have serious problems in a capitalist world that turns literally everything and everyone into a commodity (to be bought and sold) for the almighty bottom line of profit. BUT I SAY, we DON’T need “a different psychiatry,” – we need NO PSYCHIATRY and a new economic and political system.


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  • I am glad someone has taken the time to summarize the important parts of Joanna Mongrieff’s recent blog. I will repeat the same comment I wrote at that time.

    “This blog is a very good overview of the history and the role of the “mental health” system in a Neoliberal capitalist world.

    BUT it does lack the necessary urgency needed to understand and respond to the current intensity of world contradictions within these systems that is placing the planet in great peril.

    And we must emphasize that this world is based on (and cannot exist without) the fundamental underlying principle of *exploitation* that is inherent within a class based capitalist society. AND this *exploitation* leads to ALL SORTS of stressors and forms of trauma that push humanity and the human mind to very extreme forms of psychological distress.

    This psychological distress is “medicalized” (and drugged) by psychiatry and Big Pharma in order to serve the larger power structure’s need to control and contain ANY form of disruption and dissent within the larger social order.

    The proliferation of psych drugging of the broader population, and the incarceration of “malcontents” within psychiatric prisons, has now become an absolute NECESSITY within today’s capitalist societies for its future survival. AND the high profit margins and growth of Big Pharma’s psych drug industry has also become an essential feature within the stabilization and growth of today’s capitalist economy.

    In today’s world the future of psychiatry (and their entire Medical Model), and the continuation of a class based capitalist system have an inseparable destiny. They are both totally interdependent, and CANNOT exist, OR continue on the planet without the other.

    All this has VERY important implications when developing strategies for trying to end all forms of psychiatric abuse in the world.

    It is essential when analyzing all the problems within the “mental health” system to make the very DIRECT connections the Medical Model has to the very existence of capitalism and imperialism in the world.

    To NOT do this, is to promote the ILLUSION that somehow we can reform psychiatry and their Medical Model, and we can also make “adjustments” to capitalism whereby it will magically become something it can never ever be – a fair and just society. You CANNOT ask (or expect) Dracula to suck water or some other liquid besides blood; he WILL NOT, and CANNOT exist without blood.

    With bourgeois democracies in the world facing imminent threats, along with the dire existential threat of climate collapse and inter imperialist nuclear world war, it is BEYOND THE TIME, when we must reevaluate alternatives to the class based capitalist systems of social organizations that will NO LONGER work (or exist much longer) on this planet.

    The first socialist experiments on this planet, which only lasted a mere 5-6 decades at best, MUST BE *reimagined* by summing up past shortcomings and mistakes. If we we fail to make these efforts, then the entire planet is doomed to destroy itself.

    Human nature has much greater diversity and potential than “dog eat dog” and “look out for number one.” This is the human nature taught and nurtured within class based capitalist societies.

    Human beings also have the capacity for high levels of cooperation and human compassion for others. Doesn’t the Russian invasion of Ukraine reveal to us both extremes of human nature? It is imperative for us to find the type of environment (and related societal structures) that allow the very best form of human nature to flourish and thrive in the world.

    Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! Richard”

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  • Karin

    Great blog – a truly powerful story of recovery from psychiatry and their oppressive Medical Model. Yes, the language in the “Song of Psychiatry” does severely oppress people, but the language of other songs can point towards struggle and liberation.

    I hope you consider these two songs as representing the important struggle of overcoming psychiatric oppression: (“How Long a Time”) and (“Benzo Blue”)


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  • This was a very good interview on a very important social justice topic.

    I have great admiration for the hard work and dedication Sonja Styblo gives to the psychiatric survivor movement.

    And to Tim McCarthy,Gianna D’Ambrozio, Sonja Styblo and others – here is a link to an entire blog I wrote at MIA on the issue of the intersection of benzo dependency and addiction, called “Bridging the Benzo Divide: Iatrogenic Dependency and/or Addiction?”


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  • This blog is a very good overview of the history and the role of the “mental health” system in a Neoliberal capitalist world.

    BUT it does lack the necessary urgency needed to understand and respond to the current intensity of world contradictions within these systems that is placing the planet in great peril.

    And we must emphasize that this world is based on (and cannot exist without) the fundamental underlying principle of *exploitation* that is inherent within a class based capitalist society. AND this *exploitation* leads to ALL SORTS of stressors and forms of trauma that push humanity and the human mind to very extreme forms of psychological distress.

    This psychological distress is “medicalized” (and drugged) by psychiatry and Big Pharma in order to serve the larger power structure’s need to control and contain ANY form of disruption and dissent within the larger social order.

    The proliferation of psych drugging of the broader population, and the incarceration of “malcontents” within psychiatric prisons, has now become an absolute NECESSITY within today’s capitalist societies for its future survival. AND the high profit margins and growth of Big Pharma’s psych drug industry has also become an essential feature within the stabilization and growth of today’s capitalist economy.

    In today’s world the future of psychiatry (and their entire Medical Model), and the continuation of a class based capitalist system have an inseparable destiny. They are both totally interdependent, and CANNOT exist, OR continue on the planet without the other.

    All this has VERY important implications when developing strategies for trying to end all forms of psychiatric abuse in the world.

    It is essential when analyzing all the problems within the “mental health” system to make the very DIRECT connections the Medical Model has to the very existence of capitalism and imperialism in the world.

    To NOT do this, is to promote the ILLUSION that somehow we can reform psychiatry and their Medical Model, and we can also make “adjustments” to capitalism whereby it will magically become something it can never ever be – a fair and just society. You CANNOT ask (or expect) Dracula to suck water or some other liquid besides blood; he WILL NOT, and CANNOT exist without blood.

    With bourgeois democracies in the world facing imminent threats, along with the dire existential threat of climate collapse and inter imperialist nuclear world war, it is BEYOND THE TIME, when we must reevaluate alternatives to the class based capitalist systems of social organizations that will NO LONGER work (or exist much longer) on this planet.

    The first socialist experiments on this planet, which only lasted a mere 5-6 decades at best, MUST BE *reimagined* by summing up past shortcomings and mistakes. If we we fail to make these efforts, then the entire planet is doomed to destroy itself.

    Human nature has much greater diversity and potential than “dog eat dog” and “look out for number one.” This is the human nature taught and nurtured within class based capitalist societies.

    Human beings also have the capacity for high levels of cooperation and human compassion for others. Doesn’t the Russian invasion of Ukraine reveal to us both extremes of human nature? It is imperative for us to find the type of environment (and related societal structures) that allow the very best form of human nature to flourish and thrive in the world.

    Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! Richard

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  • “Capitalism, hand in hand with democracy, is the only logical way forward as flawed as it is.”

    This statement above by Jack Murphy seems to represent the views of several writers, including Steve McCrea, here in this comment section.

    So much criticism and angst focused on a system of economic and social organization (socialism), that currently exists NOWHERE on the planet.

    In fact, a genuine socialist state has NOT existed on this planet since China in 1977 – ending after ONLY 3 DECADES OF EXISTENCE. BTW, the average lifespan of a Chinese citizen doubled (from 35 to 70 years) during that same period.

    AND the Russian revolution only legitimately lasted for little over 3 decades on this planet – 1918 to the early 1950’s.

    Where the HELL are people’s political priorities of criticism and human angst??? I am totally amazed at such MISDIRECTION of compassionate attention of importance!

    The fact that this planet is on the verge of total climate destruction AND possible inter imperialist nuclear war (by competing capitalist nation states), has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with socialism and communism – AND EVERYTHING to do with the current dominant capitalist form of social organization!!!

    So counting the years of the two socialist revolutions – socialism has only been tried on the planet earth for a mere 60 years of experimental practice.

    Where are people’s priorities? Is it not the Right Wing extremist’s ideology and talking points that wants people to focus on the “communist bogeyman,” and NOT on the realities of the inequalities and injustices that pervade modern capitalist societies.???

    Steve says: “Marxism as practiced has been a disaster…communism in practice was a total failure”

    Is this not an example of an “absolutist,” and rather undialectical historical evaluation of only little over 60 years of socialist practice on the planet? A mere tiny spec of time in the development of various forms of human organization.

    Would this viewpoint not be the equivalent of declaring heart transplants a FAILURE in 1967 because the first heart recipient only ended up living for 18 days?

    Look how far the science and the practice of heart transplants has progressed since the earliest experiments. Fortunately, some doctors and medical ethicists did not give up on these heart experiments despite “trial and errors,” AND much criticism heaped upon them at the time.

    Similar to a human transplanted heart that is surrounded by cellular activity that wants the body to TOTALLY REJECT the new organ, the conditions that existed for the new emerging socialist states in the world (first Russia then China) WERE QUITE SIMILAR IN NATURE.

    This enormous amount of economic, political, and military HOSTILITY that surrounded the experimental socialist states, combined with internal mistakes trying to create something new and innovative on the planet (like heart transplants), had EVERYTHING to do with why these efforts for a brand new form of social organization were unable to succeed.

    Steve says:
    ” Humans need to feel like they are competing in some way, that their individual efforts make a difference. They don’t do very well working for “the good of the collective,”…”

    Here we see the oft repeated argument that “it’s human nature” that is the problem with why socialist type cooperation cannot work in the world.

    Human nature is NOT a fixed entity, but is quite malleable under different environmental conditions. Human empathy, compassion and cooperation is just as prevalent on this planet as is competition, violence towards others, and selfishness.

    What is THE environment of social organization that is most likely to produce (and let flourish) human cooperation and compassion for others?

    Must I remind Steve and others in this comment section, that for many THOUSANDS of years of social organization (in primitive communal tribal societies) HUMAN COOPERATION WAS BOTH A NECESSITY AND THE COMMON PRACTICE OF SOCIAL EXISTENCE FOR SURVIVAL PURPOSES.

    Human groupings that FAILED to practice this form of cooperation would soon go out of existence.

    YES, (many of you are saying), these forms of “cooperation” based societies were practiced mainly out of NECESSITY (a forced choice, if you will), BUT what then took place when excesses were able to be produced within human society and we had the formation of classes. Now (you say) there were power struggles among those who wanted to CONTROL AND OWN the excesses of goods (food, products, livestock etc.)

    Yes, this is all true, and it was a contributing factor to the ultimate development (following feudalism) of early capitalist forms of economic and political structure.

    BUT NONE OF THIS, explains why it is not possible for human beings to combine that same early sense of NECESSITY (for existence) with the FREEDOM OF INTELLECTUAL AND HISTORICAL CHOICE now that we have the knowledge to solve the problems of production and construction of all the necessities of life AND the means to distribute them equitably on ONE PLANET.

    Soon more people on the planet will begin to realize that if WE DON’T begin to combine a NECESSITY of both human NEED AND CHOICE., then the entire planet CANNOT AND WILL NOT survive.

    Many people here are stuck in an intellectual box of simplistic and cliched explanations (after decades of political brainwashing) of why capitalism must be the highest pinnacle of human organization.

    Folks, it’s NOT WORKING! The planet is dying, and it’s time to explore political options and choices OUTSIDE the box of Neo-Liberal corporate capitalism.


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  • Bradford said:
    “Bruce Levine is either not being intellectually honest here, or perhaps too glib. Psychiatry doesn’t exist as it is today because it’s boring. It exists as it does today, because it makes money selling drugs to people society finds annoying or inconvenient, thereby helping solve, or at least abate, situations and people that society would rather not have to deal with….”

    Bradford and I often disagree on many subjects, but I think he is absolutely right to challenge Bruce Levine on his “boring” analysis of modern psychiatry. In fact, many of Bruce’s past blogs have provided some of the explanation for why many “critical thinkers” don’t intellectually take apart the entire oppressive Medical Model.

    Psychiatry is never “boring” to those suffering from its to multiple forms of labeling, drugging, and incarceration.

    And “critical thinkers,” from liberals to more genuine leftists and other social justice fighters who advocate for the causes of oppressed people in the world, have been overall fooled by a four decade long (highly sophisticated) PR campaign costing over several hundred billions of dollars.

    Many of these same people would still repeat the “chemical imbalance” myth, which continues to inundate all sorts of medical and “mental health” websites and medical texts. The genetic theories of “original sin” (and related DSM diagnoses) regarding various types of extreme forms of psychological distress, are still accepted by many “critical thinkers” who should know better.

    AND these same type of people (often with well meaning compassion) will eagerly support increased funding (as a knee jerk like reaction) for more “mental health” services to address the rapid rise in anxiety and depression in today’s world. They will support these measures WITHOUT doing any serious evaluation of the same status quo Medical Model that causes far more HARM than good.

    The ruling classes and their minions, and all the other fellow travelers of oppressive power mongering, know VERY WELL the value of psychiatry and their entire Medical Model in maintaining social control and class oppression. AND they have spent accordingly (to its value) on their several hundred billion dollar PR campaign, that (so far) must be declared a major success for our enemies.

    Bruce, you have gotten so many things right in your blog (and other writings), but you did miss the mark with that comment.

    It is up to us to continue to search for creative ways to break through the intellectual AND ACTIVIST log jam that seems to paralyze and fool most “critical thinkers” and social justice activists. There is much work to be done.


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  • “Szasz was a Libertarian, not a Capitalist”

    Szasz’s brand of Right Wing Libertarianism is the total personification of Neo-liberal individualism and defense of the capitalist “free market” system.

    And this represents the ultimate defense of both class privilege and social injustice (or at the very least, ignoring and/or turning away from acknowledging such injustice).


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  • rebel says:
    “To link anti- psychiatry with the particular groups mentioned is to link the anti-psychiatry movement with marxism, etc. Psychiatry is a tool of control as is marxism, etc. With all due respect, it is only legitimate for anti-psychiatry to be linked with a more libertarian point of view. I do not mean to be blunt.”

    I say: since when are all social justice movements, including those fighting against climate destruction and inter imperialist war – “Marxist?”

    This sounds like a ‘talking point” currently repeated over and over again by Right Wing Republicans and others of that ilk, in order to reject and smear all social justice type movements.

    There are no facts to back up this statement. Yes, there are people who label themselves “Marxist” involved in these movement, but the VAST MAJORITY are of many other different political persuasions, or people who currently remain undefined.

    I only WISH there were as many true “Marxists” out there as you seem to imply.

    “Marxism” is not “a tool of control,” but rather, an ideology that deeply analyzes the history of oppressive class based societies and charts a path for humanity toward a more eqalitarian societal structure (socialism leading to communism), that ultimately leads to a “stateless” and class free world.

    There is NOTHING inherent in Marxist ideology that advocates for “social control” other than controlling and preventing some people in society from exploiting other human beings.

    Marxist ideology AND practice in the world is about 150 years young. Just because its prior experiments were defeated and/or failed (with mistakes being made), DOES NOT negate the essence and value of Marxist ideology as a liberating force in the world.


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  • Great blog which raises many important questions.

    Yes, Szasz made enormous contributions to dissecting and dismantling the foundational thinking that props up the oppressive institution of psychiatry, and also for his opposition to all forms of forced “treatment.”

    Unfortunately, Szasz also pissed away major opportunities in the 1960’s to advance the overall struggle against psychiatric oppression, by failing to link his incisive exposure of psychiatry to the rising struggle against U.S. imperialist war, the Black Liberation movement, and the rising women’s movement.There are common threads of social control, class oppression, and the insatiable drive for capitalist profit embedded within the underlying causes for these forms of oppression.

    Szasz’s embrace of the standard form of Right Wing Libertarianism created huge blind spots that crippled his ability to carry some of his thinking about psychiatric oppression to a more revolutionary place, both ideologically, and especially for organizing and inspiring political activism as part of the rising wave of activism in 60’s.

    Szasz’s brand of Libertarianism leads to a form of hyper individualism that is running rampant in today’s society, and remains part of the underpinnings of the anti-vax and anti-mask movements that ignore legitimate science and completely pervert what it means to fight for *freedom.*

    The Szasz quote used above encapsulates some of this faulty libertarian thinking:
    “Anybody who wants to go to a psychiatrist is fine. Anyone who wants to take psychiat­ric drugs is fine with me… I am for freedom and responsibility.”

    His last sentence about being for “freedom and responsibility” totally contradicts his laissez-faire view towards people’s “choice” to engage with psychiatry and take their drugs. It’s NOT OK that the institution of psychiatry exists in this society to do all their dirty work, and be allowed to push their drugs on vulnerable people. Where was Szasz’s critique of the massive and corrupt collusion between psychiatry and Big Pharma in their promotion of DSM diagnoses and the enormous proliferation of psych drugging??? I guess Big Pharma should be “free” to make money and drugs however they choose.

    And what would Szasz say about the sweetheart deal (and lack of criminal consequences) that the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma have gotten away with for the negligent deaths of more 500 thousand deaths related to the opiate epidemic?

    Because Szasz had no problem with the capitalist system, he couldn’t see (or perhaps he didn’t care) that psychiatry was becoming more and more of a necessary tool for social control of the most volatile (and potentially revolutionary) sections of U.S. society. The future of both entities (capitalism and psychiatry) are now historically intertwined in a symbiotic relationship of mutual need – one can’t exist without the other, AND their final destinies cannot be separated.

    The other Szasz quote: “The libertarian philosophy of freedom is characterized by two fundamental beliefs: the right to be left alone and the duty to leave others alone.” This represents a prime example of the type of philosophy that embraces the “privilege” and tolerance of “injustice” that Bakunin called out in his criticism of Libertarianism.

    The current movement against all forms of psychiatric oppression MUST be linked to all the other powerful social movements for social justice AND for the survival of the planet against climate destruction and inter imperialist war. Any viable critique of psychiatry (as an oppressive institution) cannot be separated from a very much related critique of all that is wrong with a profit based capitalist system.


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  • Phil
    Great pair of blogs as usual.

    I had the same confusion and issue as Louisa with one of your uses of the term “mental illnesses.”

    In your comment you said the following:

    “So when we encounter a problem in thinking, feeling, or executive functioning, that has clearly been caused by brain injury, it is important to acknowledge this. During my career (I’m now retired), I worked in a number of nursing homes. Most of the people there were elderly, but there were also young people who had incurred brain damage, either from trauma or from illnesses (infections, etc.), and whose mental processes (thinking, feeling, and behaving) were markedly impaired. It seemed obvious to me that the brain damage was the cause of the impairment in mental processes.”

    Yes. I agree we should acknowledge that various forms of temporary or permanent brain injuries can cause problems in the realm of human feeling, thinking, and/or behavior.

    BUT, I think we should avoid the term “mental illness” to describe this phenomena for two reasons: 1) The term is too loaded and corrupted in meaning because of the many decades of use by psychiatry and their bogus Medical Model. 2) It is not clear that the “illness” part accurately describes what is actually occurring within a person suffering from certain forms of brain damage or impairment.

    “A disruption, disturbance, and/or distortion of mental processes and resulting behavior” might be a far better phrasing which allows us to avoid any of the terrible confusion and oppressive associations with psychiatry’s Medical Model language, and the harmful “treatment” that follows their unscientific “mental illness” labels.

    And I believe that a doctor with a neurologist’s credentials, perhaps assisted by a good therapist, could provide the necessary help for someone whose mental processes have been perturbed by some form of brain damage or injury.


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  • James, thanks for this great interview on a vitally important subject matter.

    Johann Hari has a brilliant mind, and the ability to penetrate well beneath the surface with very important cultural critiques of the degeneracy of modern capitalist society.

    Throughout this interview there are numerous references made to the role of profit (as an out of control entity) in the marketplace driving the tech companies and their CEOs to promote and develop technology for numerous forms of social control.

    AND we also know that profit and social control are the driving forces behind all forms of psychiatric abuse and oppression. Psychiatry (in collusion with Big Pharma) and their entire medical Model of so-called “treatment,” are just too important to the preservation of the capitalist system to be allowed to fail. Their future destinies are now totally interdependent.

    The “elephant in the room” question never really addressed in this interview (I have not read Hari’s new book, “Stolen Focus”) is as follows:

    Can any of these deeply disturbing problems facing society be solved WITHOUT ending the profit based capitalist system, and moving humanity on to a newly imagined form of socialism?

    We keep reading more and more critiques of the harm done by the role of PROFIT corrupting every aspect of our society, especially the moral choices and decisions made by those people in key positions of power and control.

    Is it really possible to REFORM capitalism and somehow place societal restrictions on all forms of exploitation?

    OR is exploitation (no matter how much you try to restrict it) inherently and forever a part of the genetic DNA of capitalism – something that will eventually and ultimately corrupt human intent, even when some people make enormous efforts to prevent this from happening?

    Can this planet and the human race survive another 100 years of class rule, and a profit based capitalist system?

    Anyone who has read many of my past blogs and comments at MIA, know my answer to these questions is a resounding – HELL NO!


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  • Lisa

    Thanks for sharing this incredibly powerful story of psychiatric abuse.

    You were such a compassionate ally of Kathleen, and you have so deeply honored her life by sharing her account of the horrors that the so-called Medical Model of “treatment” can cause for it victims.

    Kathleen Fliller’s story should be REQUIRED READING for anyone coming anywhere near another human being in the so-called “mental health” system.


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  • James

    This was a very educational and thought provoking interview, AND I (as an anti-psychiatry activist) have much respect for Giovanni Fava as a doctor doing such serious and important work helping people recover from iatrogenic damage done by psychiatry and their Medical Model of so-called “treatment.” And Dr. Fava’s book sounds like an important book for many reasons, including its exposure of psychiatry’s current crimes prescribing harmful drugs and “gaslighting” its victims.

    I was really pleased to read the analysis of anti-depressant drug toxicity after a period of time on the drugs, and the cascade of negative consequences that can follow these prescriptions.

    Important questions, concerns and comments about the interview:

    1) The assessment of the role of benzodiazepines in treating anxiety and anti-depressant withdrawal was seriously lacking in some important analysis and overall warnings about dependency issues.

    2) The interview left the impression that (as opposed to other benzos) clonazapem – klonopin was both safe and effective. While I am not totally opposed to ever using benzos in such cases (I know Dr. Shipko also advocates their use) I DO NOT believe it is helpful to leave the impression that clonazapem is without serious risks. We know that there have been millions of people who have suffered from klonopin dependency – just ask Stevie Nicks.

    3) How long does Dr.Fava advocate the use of clonazepam? AND then, how soon, and for how long does he recommend for a period of withdrawal?

    4) Dr. Fava seems to imply that psychiatry could have a prosperous future if it would somehow shift to a more educated psychopharmacology with less use of drugs, combined with psychotherapy.

    5) Under a profit based capitalist system the Medical Model cannot, and WILL NOT, make any fundamental changes in its oppressive “treatment” model. Psychiatry has become far too valuable in maintaining the status quo by reinforcing the belief that human angst and psychological disturbance is genetically based. AND the sedative drugging (and incarceration) of key sections of a potentially rebellious society, helps to stave off future uprisings that could overturn the “powers that be.”

    6) Dissident psychiatrists like Dr. Fava could play a VERY positive role for many decades helping millions of victims get off of toxic psychiatric drugs and exposing their potential dangers.
    AND dissident psychiatrists could also play and important role shaking up and exposing the psychiatric establishment and their collusion with Big Pharma.

    7) But, as a medical specialty (in the long term) psychiatry needs to be abolished. It remains, overall, a very oppressive institution that does far more harm than good. There is no legitimate science to justify its existence as a medical specialty. Some of these doctors will have to shift over to either neurology (a legitimate science of brain functioning) or client centered therapy.


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  • JanCarol

    I respect your history as a psychiatric survivor and your overall condemnation of the crimes of Big Pharma, especially as it pertains to the promotion of psych drugs and the related harm done to millions of people.

    You said: “It stuns me that anyone who has survived neuroleptics, benzos and “antidespressants” could accept anything Pharma says at face value.”

    Who here in these discussions about the medical benefits of Covid vaccines has accepted the words of Big Pharma “at face value”? I have not, AND do not, accept the words of Big Pharma “at face value.”

    First off, in the entire history of Big Pharma’s development of all types of medically used drugs in the world, what percentage of these drugs have overall been very helpful to humanity, AND what percentage have been harmful?

    Do you deny that SOME of these drug creations have saved lives and are positive ways to manage certain diseases and other serious medical problems facing humanity?

    Yes, it is reasonable and responsible in today’s world to have enormous skepticism about what drugs Big Pharma creates given their underlying drive for profits and unholy track record. BUT, unfortunately, we all must do our OWN research and evaluation to determine what is potentially dangerous, AND what is truly helpful in treating a dangerous virus or other medical problems.

    Back in 1995, I decided to take a highly toxic chemo drug (recommended by oncologists) to treat a particular form of testicular cancer. If I had not taken that drug, I most likely would NOT BE HERE today to write this comment.

    Did some drug company make money off of producing this drug? YES, but there are medical researchers and scientists who actually create things (and do so for the right reasons) that truly benefit humanity. The fact that the pharmaceutical industry makes money off of these drugs is an important, but separate question regarding their value as necessary medicines.

    You said: “The mandates that Richard speaks so highly of – are of a product which is leaky and short acting, at best, and provides temporary benefit which expires after about 6-8 months.”

    I still say, that despite the high profits accruing from Covid vaccines for Big Pharma, the legitimate scientific evidence indicates they are safe and effective. The people who are currently dying from Covid are the unvaccinated. AND there is increasing evidence that those who have recovered from Covid (even mild cases) can have long term negative medical consequences.

    A key consideration in all of these issues about Covid vaccines is the fact that the risk of death and serious disease process effects ALL classes of people. Some of our biggest enemies in the world all have the SAME fundamental desire to stay alive. Big Pharma CEO’s and their families, are ALL taking the Covid vaccines, and for good reason.

    When it comes to evaluating both the harm AND benefits of Western medicine, we must avoid “black and white” or other dismissive approaches to these questions; it could have life or death consequences for some people.

    Yes, it is truly sad that in today’s world we ALL must be “citizen scientists” and independent thinkers, because it is not safe to trust our government and large institutions, like the medical establishment. But for now we must sort out the reality, and the fact, that occasionally they say something that is true, and that should be followed for our survival and best interests as a species.

    Respectfully, Richard

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  • yinyang

    For your information, I am also against forced drugging in ALL circumstances, and that includes for any kind of drug, psychiatric or vaccines. And as far as I know there has only been a few examples of forced drugging with the Covid vaccines; this may have happened in some prisons.

    However, I am NOT opposed to vaccine “mandates,” which is completely different This is clearly a situation where someone’s personal rights are superseded by the SOCIAL RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of the broader society. If someone wants to work in a hospital, then they must comply with the mandate and NOT put others they are treating in that environment at risk of being harmed by Covid 19.

    If someone decides NOT to be vaccinated (which should be their right), then they should live isolated from making contact with any significant percentage of other human beings. This is a fair social requirement irrespective of anyone’s political evaluation of the overall political and economic fairness of the larger institutions.

    In other words, I am a huge critic of the U.S. imperialist empire (and seek its replacement with socialism), but I accept vaccine mandates because it is currently in the BEST interests of ALL classes in our society for health and survival.

    If someone chooses to live in a community and other larger gatherings of human beings, then the social rights and responsibilities of the larger group take precedent over individual rights, especially when it involves major issues of health and human survival for a significant section of the population.

    You may be correct that Covid 19 does not threaten the actual survival of our entire species, BUT it clearly threatens the life (and long term health) of a significant section of people who can have certain levels of vulnerability to the disease. The rising figure, which is currently at 700 thousand deaths for this country, is factual proof of this danger.

    As to your statement; “…the “vaccines” obviously don’t work…”, this is simply NOT TRUE by any fair scientific evaluation. I don’t think anyone would define “work” as meaning total prevention of contracting the Covid disease.

    The vaccines clearly, by ANY VALID statistical measure, prevent serious disease, AND most importantly, prevents death from Covid almost 100% of the time. By this measure, Covid vaccines clearly “work.”

    Two thousand people in the U.S. are still dying everyday, and they are almost 100% the unvaccinated members of our society. And this now includes a growing percentage of younger members of society, and not just those over 65 or in poor health.


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  • This represents a big loss to the psychiatric survivor movement. Chyrs was a tenacious fighter against all forms of psychiatric abuse, and a personality brimming with the very best qualities of humanity – she will be sorely missed.

    My wife and I had the privilege to meet and talk with Chyrs for a few hours in 2013. Our scheduled rendezvous took place at the Redhall Walled Garden on the outskirts of Edinburgh Scotland during a traveling excursion.

    I wrote a blog posting for MIA here: https:(// that details this wonderful encounter at an outdoor support center for people dealing with extreme forms of psychological distress.

    My condolences to her family and all those who knew her.

    Long Live the Spirit of Chrys Muirhead!


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  • “Why shouldn’t we see the vaccine rollout as following the same pattern as the one used for psych drugs?”

    There are very simple and important answers to your question.

    Covid 19 is a real “disease” by any genuine scientific analysis at the cellular level of the human body.

    Psychiatric disorders are made up by a committee with a show of hands, and reflect no scientific evidence of an actual “disease” process within the human body.

    Covid 19 vaccines are highly effective (one of most successful vaccines in human history) and mitigate the serious progression of the Covid disease itself, AND almost 100% guarantee the survival of those contracting the disease. AND the vaccines have proven to be extremely safe, with very few side effects of any consequence.

    Psychiatric drugs may provide SHORT TERM reduction of certain uncomfortable feelings for some people, but are highly toxic substances to the human body and brain, and can create severe disturbances in brain (and body) functioning for many years, even after stopping their use. There is NO reliable scientific evidence that they actually work in the ways they are falsely advertised. Overall, the main effects (and side effects) of these drugs cause FAR MORE harm than good in the world.

    While both the Covid 19 vaccines and psychiatric drugs make enormous profits for the pharmaceutical companies, there is an important and fundamental difference between the two.

    Covid 19 represents a serious existential threat to the survival of our species (as opposed to the myth of “mental illness”) that cuts across ALL class divisions in human society. The Big Pharma CEO’s (and their families) need the Covid vaccines for their survival just as much as the poorest sections of people on the bottom rungs of society.


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  • To Bob and others

    RW says:
    “As for whether the root source of the problem is capitalism, the problem is that there isn’t a regulatory requirement for honest, independent trials….It could still be possible to have a capitalistic system that required independent testing of new drugs, and didn’t reward psychiatrists and other “experts” for shilling for the drugs.”

    Any serious examination of how a class based capitalist system functions in the real world screams that this type of reform (leading to a fundamental change) is virtually impossible.

    Just look at the efforts in this country to eliminate and control “monopolies” in the corporate world. This has never been accomplished, AND never will.

    And then read this article about how the stock market is rigged with endless, and virtually UNSTOPPABLE, forms of “insider trading” (

    The people that make the rules and control ALL of the essential instruments of power in this society are from the upper classes. As long as classes exist, people will ultimately find the ways to maintain their privilege and financial advantage – this is an ABSOLUTE LAW flowing from the very nature of “capital” itself. That is, always seeking the highest rate of profit through its internal nature of “expand or die.”

    Human beings that function within such a capitalist system, and view their survival within these parameters, merely become instruments of these economic laws related to the existence of “capital” itself.

    Even well meaning people who struggle to behave with a higher set of moral standards, will be pulled in this direction like a “moth to the flame.”

    In other words, there can be NO completely “independent” evaluators found within such a profit based system to uphold the true interests of the masses. Those people who do struggle to actually be “independent” and uphold the true safety interests of the masses, will never be allowed to be placed in these positions of power and evaluation.

    AND if someone (with high standards of legitimate science and fairness) were somehow able to be in such a position of regulatory power, they would NOT last long. They will be isolated and ultimately eliminated. Just look at what happen to Peter Gotzsche from the Cochrane Collaborative. This is standard practice within a capitalist system, and we should not be surprised when this happens.

    This is NOT cynicism or negativity on my part, but I believe an accurate evaluation of the inner workings of the capitalist system in a class based society.

    This does not mean we shouldn’t fight for reform, but it needs to be done as part of a LARGER STRATEGY of seeking to move beyond a class based capitalist system.

    Given the current level of polarization, and the danger in this country of a fascist takeover, to still promote “reform” as a central strategy, is to promote potentially dangerous illusions and waste valuable time in our political activism for change.

    Respectfully, Richard

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  • Someone Else

    You said: “Capitalism may work just fine, if our government officials actually did their jobs, instead of being bought out, and doing the opposite.”

    Government officials are almost always from the upper classes who are imbued with the belief in the “survival of the fittest” and “look out for number one” mentality that pervades modern capitalist society.

    Anyone in government who tries to go against the interests of the capitalist class of oligarchs will eventually be isolated and somehow neutralized.

    The profit motive ultimately corrupts every nook and cranny of human society.

    We have been indoctrinated to believe that capitalism and its ideology corresponds with true “human nature.”

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Human nature is very malleable and will flourish with cooperation and invention when societal structures are built on a foundation of equality where classes and the profit motive are systematically eliminated over a period of time.

    In today’s society there are NO CONSEQUENCES (except perhaps a “fine”) for corruption that leads to human casualties. Look no further than the recent settlement “against” Purdue Pharma and the corporate CEOs responsible for half a million deaths with the opiate epidemic. They get to pay a “fine” and keep their billions WITHOUT spending a single day in jail. What a country! and what a justice system!!!!


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  • Bob, thanks for another uncompromising and well researched exposure of the totally corrupt nature of Big Pharma, and their promotion and sales of dangerous psychiatric drugs.

    How can anyone read this and not be outraged and sickened by the current state of psychiatry and their total collusion with Big Pharma?

    I hope such exposures keep being written and circulated throughout society. I believe this kind of reporting could help create new activists who will fight for much needed change in the future.

    HOWEVER, there are much more important conclusions to draw from these types of political exposures, beyond the fact that scientific research is consciously being corrupted by the role of money payoffs and the related high profit margins of the pharmaceutical industry.

    Here we are talking about corruption that is now practiced OPENLY “in the light of day” (with all the dirty deeds being published in various places online), and people like Robert Whitaker (RW) are ALLOWED to actually publish these devastating political exposures, AND circulate them in the VAST “marketplace of ideas.” NOW WHAT!!!

    ‘Business as usual” just continues and continues, with not even a hint of fundamental change on the horizon. RW’s scientific and political writings, and all the other great exposures written by “Critical Psychiatry” and “anti-psychiatry,” end up getting lost and swallowed up within this increasingly VAST “marketplace of ideas,” and treated as just another set of “alternative facts” among the other more powerful “alternative realities” touting all the benefits of the Medical Model, with all their drugging and DSM labeling.

    AND RW’s “alternative facts” will be published somewhere on page 17 in some newspaper or journal (besides MIA), AND the Medical Model’s “alternative reality” will consistently be presented on page 1 of newspapers and journals, AND with their billions in advertising, Big Pharma continues to plaster the benefits of their drugs and DSM labels EVERY NIGHT on prime time TV – day in and day out. The brainwashing is overwhelming, and it completely dominates and overshadows ANY chance for opposition thinking to have a legitimate opportunity of gaining a foothold in the public’s thinking.

    The capitalist profit system, with its omnipresent ability to buy off and ultimately control almost all scientific research, AND control the key structures within public media and their means to disseminate information to the masses, will tolerate a Robert Whitaker (and his writings), because it knows it has the money and means to ultimately control and dominate the public narrative.

    Some may think I am being cynical in my above analysis, I believe it is a very accurate and sober view of what we are truly up against in our struggle to end all forms of psychiatric abuse in the world.

    The current level of political polarization in this country, and the dangers of an outright fascist takeover, should give serious pause to anyone charting a course for serious institutional and political change in this country.

    Political exposures, like the one above, ARE very important to create conditions for change, but MAINLY as a means for gathering new forces for much bigger battles ahead.

    NOTHING fundamental will be changed with psychiatry and their entire Medical Model unless, and until, we are prepared to move beyond a profit based capitalist system. Psychiatry, with all its drugging and labeling, is very useful (and necessary) for the future of the capitalist system. It keeps the masses anesthetized and focused on personal genetic flaws, instead of critiquing the sick and outmoded system that surrounds them and consumes every fiber of their being.

    Their destiny (both psychiatry and capitalism) has now become completely intertwined and forever inseparable. Any strategy for future political change MUST take this reality into serious consideration, and incorporate that understanding into all forms of strategy and tactics.


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  • Katel

    You have a very powerful personal story of trauma and harm caused by exposure to psychiatry and their Medical Model. I looked back at all your comment history here at MIA (by clicking on your name, “Katel”). and there is a profoundly important set of comments describing in great detail specific examples of almost every form of so-called “treatment” abuse that you had to endure at the hands of these criminals.

    Katel, your writing is very clear and direct, with an extremely important message regarding the harm related to psychiatry. I would hope you could find a way (at some point) to work with MIA editors to write up your personal story related to psychiatric harm for publication as a blog at this website.

    Both your story, and your ability to dissect and expose (in an ongoing way) the fraud of psychiatry and their Medical Model is a gift to potential victims of psychiatric oppression, and a powerful weapon in creating more favorable conditions (over time)) to ultimately bring down this beast of oppression.

    The area of MA. in which you live does have many potential allies who have endured similar forms of trauma at the hands of psychiatry (I have met many great people from that area) and they are quite articulate and active in fighting this form of oppression. I would hope at some point you could seek out and find a way to link up with these people.

    I have no specific solutions to offer you for your personal journey, but I do believe in neuroplasticity as it relates to slow recovery from past harm done by truamatic psychiatric “treatments.” And I am truly inspired by your humanity and fighting spirit (which shines through in your writings here at MIA) when it comes to taking on the powerful institution of psychiatry.

    All the best – Carry on! Richard

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  • AP, yes it is very sad to say that you are quite correct about this.

    People have been under the false notion that after enough exposure of the fraud of psychiatry and their Medical Model, that the “house of cards” will simply fall – NOT going to happen!

    Psychiatry and their Medical Model (with drugging and psychiatric labeling) has evolved into a very important pillar propping up, and helping to maintain this profit based capitalist system.

    Psychiatry and their Medical Model CANNOT, and WILL NOT, fall until we remove and replace this criminal system with a people controlled socialist system.

    The future of psychiatry (and their Medical Model) have a destiny that is now permanently intertwined. So-called “reform” solutions are a tragic dead end and a waist of valuable time and effort, UNLESS they are fought for as part of an overall revolutionary strategy.


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  • Diane Smith says: “And I know that pharmaceutical companies spin their findings in the most flattering way but I am at a loss as to help people who desperately need more than talk therapy. I have seen people have amazing results with depression meds.”

    Talk therapy may not immediately help people (and bad therapy may actually harm people) because we live in a very traumatic and difficult world.

    And “mind altering drugs” do sometimes provide short term benefits for people suffering deep emotional pain, but this DOES NOT mean it will benefit people in the long term. The evidence shows just the opposite; long term use of psych drugs causes FAR MORE HARM THAN GOOD!


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  • Diane Smith says: “People should not be prescribed meds right away unless it is strongly indicated but for true clinical depression how does he propose that we help people function on a daily basis?”

    What is “true clinical depression?” This is just a made up term by psychiatry and Big Pharma. It has no provable scientific basis. And it fits well with those people doing therapy who do not have the patience and understanding to work with people struggling to survive in a difficult world.

    And what does “strongly indicated” really mean? Sometimes both the “client” AND the therapist are looking for the quick fix.


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  • Another great blog exposing some of the deeper elements within neoliberalism and its justification for a class based capitalistic system.

    Combine this exposure of the oppressive roots within Positive Psychology with James Davies’ book “Sedated,” and you now have a powerful pair of ideological weapons exposing the finer points of ruling class control and domination. Psychiatry and their Medical Model fits right into this paradigm of “genetic theories of original sin.”

    And we all must carefully examine many aspects of New Age Spiritualism, which also has a strong current of Positive Psychology meandering through its ideological underpinnings.


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  • Kindredspirit

    We should all be more than a little nervous about the current state of polarization in this country, which clearly seems headed in the direction of civil war type conditions and potential violent conflict.

    And unfortunately, the balance of political understanding and developed organization is NOT very favorable at this time to those on the “Left” who grasp the necessity for humanity to move well beyond the oppressive nature of a class based capitalist society.

    When I make reference to “revolution” I am clearly referring to both realms you mention, That is, “revolution of thought” and a total breakdown of the social order of things.

    For all those who want a better world, we must certainly be involved in “changing minds” in revolutionary ways and in a revolutionary direction. Helping ourselves and other people become more rational and empathetic about every aspect of institutional forms of human oppression, and seeking newer revolutionary alternative economic and political forms of social organization etc. beyond capitalism.

    As to the “breakdown in the social order of things,” that will not necessarily occur by human design or intention, but instead is the inevitably consequence of the intense class conflict over control of natural resources and necessities of life, fueled by international competition and related conflict of rising imperialist powers.

    And yes, we should be very concerned about exactly who has most of the guns at the present time, especially with the rise of organized Right Wing militias etc. HOWEVER, when there is a total breakdown of the social order, guns will suddenly be available to everyone who wants one.

    This is because this level of social breakdown will create major divisions within the military itself (creating different well armed factions) and within various police forces etc., and of course various parts of the country. And since there are already so many guns in this country, people will just end up confiscating them from WHEREVER they are stored.

    I say none of this lightly, and have some of the same fears you have, and especially for my children and grandchildren who are inheriting such a complex and divided world.

    I recently completed a new song (on the day after the last election) called “Second Coming.” In this song there are two Native American characters living on the streets of Birmingham, Ala. Here is my chorus:


    Shiloh says there’ll be a “Second Coming” / A reckoning all the sinners need not fear

    There’ll be no “come to Jesus moment” / When the “Strange Fruit” sadly reappears

    Yellow Bird can’t say if she’ll pull the trigger / When someone looks her dead in the eye

    Said, she’ll never ever stay silent / When the Klan, again starts to rise / Oh, they’ll be no compromise

    You know these wars are never “civil” / Especially the second time around


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  • I agree with those who have heaped a great deal of praise for this author and his penetrating analysis of neoliberalism as a guiding ideology for the current state of modern capitalism.

    James Davies (with his book “Sedated”) has taken concepts about all the enormous harm perpetrated by the medicalization of human distress that some of us have been critiquing for many years, and uncovered and revealed multiple deeper layers of both the institutional and mental chains of control this Medical Model has created in today’s world.

    For anyone hoping to make major, and/or revolutionary, change in the world. this is not only a must read, but also a must be discussed, digested and developed, and then circulated analysis.

    Here is just one of the more insightful parts of this interview:
    “…rather than saying ‘poverty generates multiple forms of human suffering and distress’ the word trigger invokes the powerful cultural symbol of ‘mental illness’ to denote something that poverty supposedly provokes and that the model can supposedly ‘treat’. This move does a couple of things. It ensures that the model remains relevant in the face of the social determinants of distress, protecting or even expanding the model’s jurisdiction over us, but it also allows the model to claim sophisticated ‘bio-psycho-social’ credentials, despite relegating social causes to mere ‘triggers’ and widely privileging biological/drug interventions in the management of what has been triggered – namely – the ‘mental illness’.”

    On the negative side of Davies’ analysis is the fact that after a such a devastating critique of modern capitalism, he still remains stuck in “reform” and “reformist” type solutions for all the economic and political problems that will require serious *revolutionary* solutions.

    Davies says:
    “Firstly, reform has to start with ourselves…until we have more accommodating political arrangements in our economy, reform will be significantly hobbled.”

    Davies appears only willing to hint at the need for larger systemic change leaving his readers to somehow believe that fundamental change is still possible within a class based capitalist system, even though he admits it will be more difficult in a post Covid 19 world.

    Here Davies states the following”
    “On the other hand, it is also true that socio-economic reform looks far less implausible than it did even in early 2020, given the economic effects that Covid will doubtless continue to exert in the coming years (an area I expand on in the book). So, and to finish by paraphrasing something I say in ‘Sedated’: when change arrives, and it will arrive as no economic paradigm has ever existed in perpetuity, alternative ideas in the realm of mental health will only be poised for implementation if we keep putting in the effort right now; if we work to defy the neo-liberal pressures and enticements, and if we develop interventions that put the needs of people and communities above our failing and now fading economic ideology.”

    All this type of analysis does is ultimately perpetuate the illusion that fundamental change is somehow still possible within a capitalist system. This follows earlier comments about so-called “socialist” elements within society that predated the Medical Model takeover that began the 1980’s. This sort of implies that early incarnations of psychiatry and the “mental health” system were somehow devoid of oppressive forms of power and control over its patients and potential victims.

    While forms of societal help in the past that involved principally counseling elements may have provided more support for people experiencing extreme psychological distress, we cannot forget the snake-pit hospitals, Electro-shock, Freudian misogyny and earlier incarnations of psych drugs like Thorazine etc.

    I bring all this up NOT to suggest that we shouldn’t fight for reforms in the current reality, but only that we should do so firmly with the perspective that this work is part of an overall strategy for revolutionary changes leading to a complete socialist transformation of society. Here I am talking about a new form of socialism (learning from past historical mistakes), that has never before been attempted in human history.

    Davies’ overall analysis in “Sedated” only reaffirms my belief that psychiatry and all forms of psychiatric oppression are firmly and FOREVER entrenched within the capitalist system. The Medical Model needs capitalism for its existence, AND capitalism now needs the Medical Model for its future existence. This symbiotic and deadly relationship between these two entities has evolved in a relatively short historical period over the past four decades.

    The power and control (the drugging, incarceration, and mental chains) that the Medical Model (psychiatry and Big Pharma) provides for keeping the potentially rebellious sections of society under manageable control is an ESSENTIAL INSTITUTIONAL NECESSITY for the future of capitalism’s existence. The future of BOTH the capitalist system, and psychiatry and their Medical Model, are now forever inseparably bound. All future efforts to end all forms of psychiatric abuse in the world MUST accept this reality AND strategize accordingly.


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  • Kerry

    You know I have great respect and support for what you are doing with EMDR. I hope you’re open to being challenged on a few points.

    You said: “Other non-EMDR trainings I have attended taught me “medication can be what allows the work to get done”. (Of course, it’s not right for everyone.)…One of the central tasks of EMDR therapy is keeping anxiety and dissociation “within tolerable limits”, which can be greatly facilitated by medication – and healing will be just as possible and just as robust for that person, if not more efficient.”

    I don’t deny that certain mind altering *drugs* can be useful to people in very SHORT TERM doses to manage and control excessive, or even out of control, feelings, emotions, and/or extreme psychological distress.

    That being said: when we examine the overall role of mind altering psychiatric *drugs* as it effects people with “PTSD diagnoses” and other so-called psychiatric “diagnoses,” we must acknowledge that the principle effect of these drugs is to numb emotions and interfere with (and often damage) necessary and appropriate cognitive functioning. All the things we need and depend on to navigate and better understand the world and our role within it.

    These *drugs* also create dependency and undermine a persons ability to actually develop and strengthen important coping skills to manage life in an extremely stressful world.

    The overall negative effects and role of these drugs in today’s world FAR OUTWEIGH any of the short term benefits that a small minority might obtain from their use.

    And what i have learned from my EMDR work and my readings on the subject is that when people do EMDR while on psychiatric *drugs,* they may have to actually repeat some of the same work when they come off of these mind altering *drugs,* BECAUSE they are now experiencing a FULLER INTENSITY of feelings and emotions related to past trauma events.

    And finally Kerry, notice that I never used the word “medication,” and always used the word *drugs* to describe these mind altering substances that are so prolifically prescribed in today’s world.

    I believe it is extremely important to make a clean break from all Medical Model thinking and use of language in order to promote more humane ways of helping people overcome trauma. There are no scientific medical markers to justify psychiatric diagnoses. There is no evidence of cellular anomalies that justify the word “disease” to describe extreme psychological distress. And thus: there is no scientific justification to use the word “medication” to describe what are in fact, mind altering *drugs.*

    We should NEVER concede psychiatry and their entire medical Model, the use of the word “medication” without a serious and quick challenge. Serious social and political change in the world has always necessitated the struggle over language and terminology. And the use of the word “medication” is one of those words we need to fight over and change NOW if we want genuine change if the world when it comes to overcoming all forms of psychiatric abuse.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.”


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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…”


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • “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.


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  • 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.


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  • “… 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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!”


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  • 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.


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  • 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.

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  • “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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.”


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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!


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  • 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?


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  • 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???


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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

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  • 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.”


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  • 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.


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  • 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!”


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  • 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.



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  • 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?


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  • 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

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  • 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?”


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  • 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?


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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!

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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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’


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  • 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.


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  • 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!”


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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?”


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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: .


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.

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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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!


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  • Catalyzt

    Could you provide more details about the “one particular powerful group session.” What was the group topic, and were you discussing the issue of sex drive and sexual dysfunction within this group?


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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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!”


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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!


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  • 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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!


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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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.”


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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 …………………..”


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  • 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.


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  • 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!

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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.

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  • 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.”


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  • “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!!!


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  • 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.”


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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!)

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  • 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.”


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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?”


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  • 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?”


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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!


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.”


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  • 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?

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  • 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.


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  • 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.

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  • 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.


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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.

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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.”


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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!!!


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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!”


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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!


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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!


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  • 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).


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.”


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • Frank

    I am glad we agree on that. We ALL have a lot of work to do. And I do think getting clarity on some of these questions is very important for moving forward.

    I hope Bonnie doesn’t think we are hijacking her blog in a bad direction. I would hope that Bonnie sees some value in these types of strategic discussions and would also put forth some of her views as well.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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?


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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.


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  • 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

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  • 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.


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  • 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?


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  • 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.


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  • 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”

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  • 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.