Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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  • I looked at the decision online, and, yeah. I was last incarcerated in 1997, years after this decision. Of course, it wasn’t in California, and states vary, with legal aid, in some instances, virtually nonexistent in some places. I have a little problem with the idea that people can be drugged after being ruled incompetent. I’ve seen people ruled incompetent, and such a ruling could have resulted (my cynicism) in more incompetency hearings and rulings.

    I agree about getting the information out there. I’ve seen people have seizures and heart attacks on neuroleptics, and you have those studies that have shown the high mortality rate. The drugs are crippling and killing people. The story that people need these drugs, or else they will commit some violent crime, is way over the top. Truth is, the drugs themselves are more dangerous, as a rule, than any of the people being targeted for treatment.

  • Yes, thanks Sera. I will have to see this.

    I really have a hard time though grasping the legal significance. Involuntarily committed a number of times, I didn’t consent to treatment, informed or otherwise. Is this about status, voluntary versus, or something else? I dunno. Once out of the hospital I was out of their hands.

    When big pHarma is getting bad press, and taking hits in the movie theaters, I think maybe MIA is having some kind of positive impact.

  • Abilify has been advertised as a “treatment” for “treatment resistant depression”. Abilify is, of course, a neuroleptic. My point is that if you are drugging 1000 or 100 people for every one person you might, according to theory, be able to “help”, that doesn’t make much sense. I would also suggest that there has to be a question as to how deeply entrenched, in that one percent, their “ailment” is lodged. We don’t know, for instance, how much of it might be antidepressant related, that is, maintained by a certain degree of toxicity in their treatment.

  • I disagree with the idea that “political ideology has no place in assessing the efficacy of antidepressants” because I agree with you when you say “I don’t think there is evidence for a subset we can identify for whom antidepressants work”.

    “Open dialogue and psychosocial and recovery projects” exist within the “middle health” bubble, but most professionals, let alone psychiatrists, just aren’t there, that is, they aren’t there in the ‘alternative medicine’ corner of that bubble. The “mental health” bubble pops when medicalization, exposed for the fraud that it actually is, given public education campaigns, meets massive populist physical resistance.

    I don’t think the vast majority of psychologists, as you say, “get it”. Psychologists don’t have such a big role because they don’t want a bigger role. They have restricted their activities, in the main, to treating less “serious mental illness”, so-called, leaving the business of playing a prominent role in the more totalitarian institutions to psychiatrists.

  • I’m not sure that would work, however, there is always the old fashioned way, that is, lie.

    Hmm. Really? Is that what that is all that is about? I didn’t understand what you were asking.

    You think they are going to have cops looking over your shoulder. I don’t think so.

    Did I? Really? How do you know? You have a detective checking up on me?

    Everybody has to make sure their alibi holds together, but, come on, it’s just a question on a form. I don’t see anybody doing a lot of time for giving a “wrong” answer.

  • Breach of privacy! They shouldn’t be doing this in public schools, not when it’s none of their business, and it’s none of their business.

    1. They’re prejudicial (Do you really think mental health treatment equals violent behavior?).
    2. Privacy is breached. (See above.)
    3. Another stupid law has been added to the books. (Stressing the need for a dumbest law prize to be awarded every year to state legislatures throughout the USA.)

  • Yeah, OldHead. Anybody who doesn’t think it’s alright to harm people with pharmaceutical products should get behind Peter Gotzsche. I was grateful to hear of him telling the truth about these substances in Europe, and now, the powers that be have done what you would expect them to do anyway. Hopefully they don’t succeed in suppressing that truth altogether. We know what is going on there, but resignation is not the answer.

  • My arguments are not being made from the perspective of operating within capitalism. If “mental illness” is bogus, it’s not going to be any less bogus under socialism. I’m just saying that in both instances the government doesn’t need to be paying for it.

    As for corporations, we’re talking multi-national corporations, that’s how you get run away industries and hidden Swiss bank accounts. They’re still there, even after socialist revolutions, you just hope your socialist government will maintain more control over their business dealings locally.

    I suppose that last line concerns “privatization”. “Privatization” of schools, loony bins, and prisons. Yes, you’ve got collusion there between business and government, however, if people mattered more than profits, we wouldn’t be going there in the first place. When government is mainly a place for a greedy elite to line their pockets, well, that’s what you get. We’re a long way from direct democracy, and so, with representative democracy, the joke is that nobody is truly represented.

  • If, OldHead, there is no “mental illness” as you keep claiming, then socialism cannot be a matter of the taxpayer subsidizing the “mental health” system.

    As for citizens and socialism, as most of us are required to pay taxes, it depends on who you ask, and here you get into those big government little government arguments that I am not going to get bogged down in.

    Corporations have received all sorts of tax breaks as business incentives under the theory that tax relief allows them to expand and build, and thus helps the economy, employment and all that. You’re not hurting big corporations, in other words, by taking government money. What do we keep hearing? Oh, yeah. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. So much for nanny state would be socialism.

  • Yes, Steve, from each according to, and to each according to, the problem is, who decides this issue of “need” and “ability”? It is never so simple as it might seem on paper. For example, given discrimination and prejudice, do we call that “need” or “ability”? Doctors decide it on the basis of the DSM, and a lot of people have issues with their decisions there. You can trash people by not giving them a chance, or you can give them a chance. It’s just a number in the DSM, and that number means a lifetime of disability and disability payments. Hey, the label, the condition, comes with a bill of goods, and, frankly, I’m not buying it.

  • Basically, OldHead, you seem to think socialism consists in paying people to subsist, and I don’t think that is the case at all.

    If people work for themselves, they aren’t working for capitalists. If people don’t work, well, they aren’t working class, are they?

    I’m not saying capitalism is a good thing, it isn’t. I’m saying capitalism uses its under and unemployed for more than merely a reserve labor force. Opting out of the work force can be a way of serving capital as well. It certainly isn’t forming a union and going on strike for better wages and conditions.

  • Excuse me, since when did leftists become advocates of not working. Nobody is stealing from the bourgeoisie if the bourgeoisie is stealing from everybody, and then laying aside this money to prevent trouble from the–what do we call it–not working class, maybe the dysfunctional class. Is THAT better than displaced class? I don’t think being dismissed from the labor force or significance, really, a good thing. In the case of such invalidation, re-validation can become difficult to achieve.

    I like to think people would like to be contributing to something besides the social burden, but, of course, I could be wrong. That national debt is growing all the time.

  • The false science of psychiatry supports this system of state subsidies. They are intimately linked. If you want to get rid of one, you’re going to have to get rid of the other.

    In the old days (the middle ages), you didn’t have so many ‘natural fools’ requiring ‘keepers’, but today, when the state is the official designated ‘keeper’, you’ve got ‘fools’ crawling out of the woodwork just to be ‘natural’.

    All I can say is, there has GOT to be a better way of doing things.

  • I just think there might be a way to get non-“sick” people to start thinking and acting like non-“sick” people again, for the benefit of society as a whole. Of course, we don’t have to do that, do we? Not when we can scrap common sense altogether.

    For example, rather than rehabilitation in which people pretend to be working, how about some of these places contract some kind of real public works project that would lead somewhere and produce something that would be lasting. Instead of “Oh, no, we can’t do that. You see, these people are totally dysfunctional.” Sorry, they’re all through, are they? Totally useless? What WAS I thinking!

    I consider, you see, job programs an improvement over permanent vacation programs. Of course, all kinds of people could be permanently “out to lunch” as they say. Whaddya do? Shrug ’em off?

  • Mental health treatment and insurance fraud go together like a horse and carriage, etc.

    How do you differentiate between malingering and “illness”? How do you distinguish between disability and insurance fraud? Well, actually, given psycho-social disability, you don’t have to do so as both are pretty much the same thing.

    Guaranteed basic income, are you kidding!? How does such compare with minimum wage? Is it above or below average? You gonna get 15 $ an hour for doing nothing? Call it zazen or something. Your view seems to be that a guaranteed annual income and the nanny state are the same thing. If so, to quote Groucho Marx, ‘I’m against it’.

    Jobs over nonsense! I really don’t think the “sickness” pretense an improvement over a meaningful existence.

  • There you go with that non-compliance spiel. How can the drug companies lose when not taking your drug is deemed such a offense…against who?…humanity? medicine? What an advertising scheme, and, amazingly, it’s one that works.

    You’ve got a billion dollar industry doing what billion dollar industries do. If you were looking for Mr. Nice Guy. Try the cubicle on the ward. He’s probably either shuffling the halls, playing cards, or glued to the community TV set drooling all over hisself.

  • This is where the system is, was, and will be at, and so no surprise as far as I’m concerned. A belief in the great god “mental illness” requires the ritual sacrament of a periodic pill at the altar of devotion. It is not, and it never has been, health that drives people here. The driving principle is business interest and profitability. How do you sell drugs? If Johnny goes off his “meds”, he’s going to go loony, and that means, in the sensationalized media and industry propaganda, violence. If you don’t keep doctors with drug company ties off your boards and out of your organizations, this is the general direction in which things proceed. Science? Medical science, if it ever had anything to do with medical science, lost out a long time ago. This is all about appearance, not substance.

    I think you could improve outcomes, lessen harm, save lives, and so forth by eliminating drug use altogether, but 2 % instead of whatever excessive figure it is today would be a great improvement.

  • Marxian class analysis is about relationship to the means of production.

    Sure, and where you stand in that relationship. Do you own the means of production, or do you sell your labor to operate that means of production?

    Pardon me if I resort to Wikipedia by way of explanation.

    The view that identity politics rooted in challenging racism, sexism, and the like actually obscures class inequality is widespread in the United States and many other Western nations; however, this framing ignores how class-based politics are identity politics themselves.

    The source is listed if you want to look into it.

  • You, Richard, and OldHead, have been complaining about identity politics. I realize that you are going at it from a Marxian perspective, but I also realize, as pointed out before, that Marxism can be critiqued as a brand of identity politics itself when it comes to proletariat versus bourgeoisie.

    While identity politics in itself is divisive. One group realizes that it’s interests do not necessarily correspond to the interests of another group. It can also be unifying in that various groups can see where their interests are joined with that of their fellows who belong to other groups. In this sense, it is simple realism.

    Alright. I’ve said my piece. While we do not agree, I respect your opinion, I think you are entitled to it, and I await your blog post. I wouldn’t expect, if you were doing so, that such a article is likely change many minds, but it should be good for some interesting discussion on the subject nonetheless.

  • I picked up 4 definitions from the internet, Oldhead, that I laid out there in an earlier comment. We could go back to it if you wish. I really don’t think Richard is under any obligation to define his terms when anybody can resort to the dictionary.

    Anti-psychiatry survivors doesn’t work for me, however, if you had written anti-psychiatry psychiatric survivors that would have done it. I’m sure psychiatry might point to a whole bunch of anti-psychiatry casualties, but, you know, those folks are pretty biased, turning a blind eye to the casualties for which they are directly responsible.

  • What is the premise behind “mental illness” labels? “Mental health”, of course. If “mental illness” is only a metaphor, a figure of speech, so is “mental health”.

    I’m gratified to see demonstrations erupting all over the UK. They should be erupting all over the rest of the world as well. The Global “Mental Health” Movement is a actually global medicalization movement, and, as such, it needs to be opposed.

  • Not being a “mental patient”, nor a “psychiatric inmate”, I don’t think your language game sufficiently clear in that regard, which is to say, I’m not going to identify as an “exmate”. “Exmate”, to my way of thinking, is too close to “peer”. You have the “mental health” authorities trying to control people through specialized language. The language of disease and the language of treatment. Okay. The only language I need is the language that exposes that system of social control for what it is. I prefer to severe myself from the “mental health” system completely and to put it behind me.

  • Both. I think theory grows out of practice rather than the other way around. Theory without practice is kind of very lame.

    Do I equate action (without quotations marks in this case) with “demonstrations, arrests, screaming mobs, etc.”? Not exactly. We’ve been talking about conferences, too. Conferences are actions. Conferences and periodic meetings. Things that can lead to other actions. Meetings that come up with agendas. Agendas that can then be carried through. Checking off items on a list is, I would think, better than no items and no list.

  • I’m a quarter of the way through Resisting Illegitimate Authority now, and all I can say is, if the rest of the book is like what I’ve already read, I’d highly recommend people read it. I think it directly speaks to what a lot of us are going through, and to what we have to deal with in life. I’ve got another of Bruce’s books on my shelf, but, by way of contrast, I’d have to say this one takes the cake.

  • I’m not out to bash theory, OldHead. I really didn’t realize this discussion you were having was so very theoretical as you would suggest. Nothing wrong with emphasizing theory so long as you don’t over emphasize it. Let me just add that I wouldn’t want to neglect practice either. Without practice, if it were music we were making, I don’t think we’d be getting very far beyond cacophonic noise, and sometimes it would leave me with the feeling that we really needed to work on our harmonies.

  • I don’t have a high opinion of experts, OldHead, I have a much higher opinion of members of oppressed groups. I know some members of oppressed groups who got to be members of those oppressed groups solely on account of the opinions of so-called experts.

    I think practical matters always outweigh any theoretical considerations. If we’re going to build a broad based movement, we don’t want to put too many obstacles in the way of doing so. This “definition” business is one of those obstacles that we just don’t need.

    “Plus before you can have a “rank & file” you need an organization.”‘

    Wrong. Before you can have any leadership you need an organization. The rank and file is out there. You are having discussions with them right here and now at MIA.

    Also, you want to identify your opponents. You want a position paper composed. You want those definitions you are talking about. Those are things that come out of an organization. They could be the results of committee meetings. A movement in minutiae, or a few small particles of it. When you have that organization, doing so is no longer theoretical, no longer an abstraction.

    At this level of abstraction, should you want to be heard, your only recourse is literary, publish or perish, otherwise, without the collective effort of an organization, it’s going to go nowhere.

  • Who? You’ve got the “C/S/X” movement, as it has been called, to blur that line.

    I call myself a survivor just the same as people who have experienced rape, assault, torture, and everything short of murder call themselves survivors. Anybody else can call themselves what they will. Thing is, I don’t see encouraging people to “consume” or “use” therapy, especially drug therapy. It’s like a tit that they just can’t get over, only the poison this mental health treatment tit lactates is deadly.

  • Well, calling people “outmates” is why I had to pull back from what would be your terminology, OldHead. If the contrast is between inpatients and outpatients, I reject the mental patient role entirely. Survivor is relative, but some “consumer/users”, or “outmates”, if that’s your term for the same, have survived psychiatry only in so far as it hasn’t yet killed them. They’re psychiatric victims who have not yet completely succumbed to the ravages of harsh circumstances and excessive doping.

    Were the world to stop locking up people for being different, there goes your precious mental health system. I don’t think people should be criminalized and medicalized (disempowered, marginalized, etc.) in such a fashion. You only have so very very many outpatients because inpatient incarceration started in the first place. Get rid of the system, and such people, left to their own devices, will once again be free to be themselves.

  • That, coupled with “mental”, is what we were called, and so we countered with a demand for mental patients’ liberation.

    There was a point when I was a psychiatric prisoner. I dunno? Does ex-psychiatric prisoner work any better for you? I think ex- or former mental patient sufficient. Everybody knows what “mental patient” means, and everybody has some clue that the whole “mental illness” thing is mostly bogus. I was never ‘patient’, nonetheless, you play the game or you don’t leave the prison, uh, I mean “hospital”.

  • Realistically, every oppressed group is likely to see its own interests as superseding those of any other oppressed group, and when it comes to waiting for the most oppressed to receive justice before starting the struggle of your own, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    You don’t want the person with the anchor tied around their ankle to drag you under with them. Usually, it’s a situation of, as the song goes, “live and let die”. Enough people go, and you’ve got extinction. Not a good result at all I would imagine.

  • Admittedly, I’m not out to challenge Richard over his position although I think it is the wrong position. I’m not sure how possible survivor-led antipsychiatry would be anyway, our numbers being somewhat slim. I don’t see a specifically survivor antipsychiatry movement taking off anywhere, although there are a few groups that would try to be such. I think it is going to take an alliance with dissident professionals, and other like minded people, to make any kind of real movement of it.

    As for identity politics not having a consistent meaning, I can give you a few dictionary definitions, and anybody who wants to can reach their own conclusions about consistency. I tend to think that the psychiatric survivor movement itself arose out of identity politics, and so my view is probably not so consistent with your view.

    I particularly liked the definition given by Dictionary dot com, so let’s start there.

    identity politics

    noun (used with a singular or plural verb)

    1. political activity or movements based on or catering to the cultural, ethnic, gender, racial, religious, or social interests that characterize a group identity.

    Then there is Google.

    i·den·ti·ty pol·i·tics

    noun: identity politics

    a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics.

    Also Merriam-Webster.

    identity politics noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction
    Definition of identity politics

    : politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group

    Finally, Wikipedia.

    Identity politics are political positions based on the interests and perspectives of social groups with which people identify. Identity politics includes the ways in which people’s politics are shaped by aspects of their identity through loosely correlated social organizations. Examples include social organizations based on age, religion, social class or caste, culture, dialect, disability, education, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender identity, generation, occupation, profession, race, political party affiliation, sexual orientation, settlement, urban and rural habitation, and veteran status.

    Alright. Yeah, Something like that, and I’m done.

  • Definitions are out there, OldHead, and the internet gives us easy access to them. It’s not like that is something we have to come up with by scratch. You just go to a search engine, type ‘identity politics definition’ into the search box, give a click of the mouse, and see what this or that dictionary or encyclopedia says. There’s no need for anybody to fabricate anything just to please you. Want an idea of what I’m getting at? Google, Lycos, Yahoo, whatever people use these days… It’s out there somewhere. Trust me.

  • Let me get this straight, if CMH is an acronym for community mental health, you are praising outpatient, for lack of a better word, institutionalization. I suggest that CMH, if it means community mental health, and community mental health system by extension, is not non-institutional, but is very institutional bureaucratic, and something someone might, if that someone could at all do so, strive to avoid. I think there is a place for safe houses and that kind of thing, but even there, mostly outside of the conventional mental health system entirely, even if that mental health system is in the community.

  • When class struggle can actually be conceived as an identity politics conflict, I have my doubts about your way of perceiving this matter, OH. All politics, and especially all identity politics, in other words, is not a matter of white privilege. And I don’t think the self-indulgence argument flies where we are talking about assemblies of oppressed people, identifying as such, collectively seeking redress.

  • I have a big problem with the notion of the world as a minimum security prison. It just doesn’t sit well with me at all. I prefer prisons you can bust out of. Outmate as the obverse of inmate doesn’t take us far enough out of that confined and suffocating environment. I think I would prefer freedman rather than some modification, as I take outmate to be, of prisoner. I’d have much the same reaction if it were a modification of the word slave that we were using. When my shackles are gone, I like for them to be gone, thank you very much. Even a shackled mind is a little too much of a burden, that is, fettering, to suit me. You can keep to your cell if you prefer, me, I making my way unto some kind of more spontaneous situation. I’m not in favor of imprisoning myself, and when I’m at liberty, well, I’d rather remain at liberty than punish, in one fashion or another, as an innocent party, myself.

    Community “mental health” is BS, too, isn’t it? The outpatient system? Now there’s another word that is too close to psychiatric prisoner for comfort. I’d skip the patient business instead. Let somebody else pretend to be “sick” for the length of their time on this planet. For my part, I’m well (Dig the pun!) over it.

  • I don’t have any more faith in the God of the Christians than I do in “mental illness”, the God of the “mental health” religion and the church of psychiatry. Superstition, last time I looked, was still superstition, and disputed by the empirical evidence as revealed through logic, the scientific method of research, and plain common sense. This quarrel between reason and folly, between faith and philosophy, between skepticism and devotion, has been going on a long time. You stick to your side and I will stick to mine, and we will see where we end up eventually…with the worms, or with the angels. Or maybe we won’t see, as the borg moves in mysterious ways.

  • A quick internet search gives me two definitions for outmate, neither one of which I have much use for.

    First the slang, or urban dictionary, definition.

    A technical term used by homeless shelters and social services to refer to homeless in their day service programs, that avoids euphemism such as “guest” in order to sound tough. inmates, outmates, just like inpatient and outpatient.

    attention b-ms. all outmates must report to the intake officer before being admitted to the feeding facility.

    As if people were stuck in social services for a lifetime. I suppose you could put on a tombstone Wayoutmate, presuming, of course, one attained heavenly services rather than damnation services.

    Hmm. Would that make the opposite conclusion, Wayinmate? I really don’t know.

    I don’t like social services, inpatient or outpatient, preferring good old self-reliance and wily resourcefulness, or human ingenuity instead. Middle finger somebody else, thank you.

    Second definition.


    Uh, perhaps, or, as with heavenly versus damnation services, perhaps not. Especially not if you meet someone even more proficient at whatever game it is you happen to be playing, and quadrupal especially not if that game happens to be the game of living a life.

    I don’t mind psychiatric survivor. I use it as one would the word holocaust, or the word rape, coupled with the word survivor. It contrasts sharply with non-survivor, casualty, or, in plain English, cadaver. Some people don’t seem to realize that certain other people are not cadavers without a little bit of reminding.

  • Generally I think identity politics has more to do with the identity of the group having the discussion than with that of any individual. Definitions are out there, no need for Richard to fabricate one, but if he does come up with something, okay.

    I haven’t wanted to enter the fray on this issue because of the flack identity politics has received of late coming from at least two directions that I know about. 1. The right of the Democratic party has used identity politics as a scapegoat for the Trump victory. Laughable, perhaps. 2. Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white Supremacist groups, have appropriated the term to suit their own nefarious purposes, agendas, and designs.

    Those right-wing groups aren’t doing so well. They are a minority group even in the area of identity politics. I guess that gives identity politics of other groups some clout, and an edge.

    Way back when there was this thing about ‘the personal’ being seen as ‘political’. So long as ‘the personal’ is ‘political’, I think there will be a place for identity politics. Also, I don’t see how identity politics doesn’t relate when it comes to the matter of gender identity. For some groups, where is the political action, as a group anyway, without identification? I’ve seen the psychiatric survivor movement as a matter of identity politics, too. Cease to identify with that movement, and either you’ve found a “cure” (for the illusion of “illness”, not “the illness”, of course), or you must be perfectly content in the “patient/consumer/user” (obedient submissive) role. I think that, beyond class warfare, there is something to be said for standing up and fighting back beside ones compeers.

  • I don’t think anyone wants to exclude psychiatric survivors from any antipsychiatry organizing efforts, nor do I think it would be possible to organize without confronting issues concerning power disparities, and, ultimately, social justice issues. We need both psychiatric survivors and professionals on board if we’re ever going to get anywhere as a movement. I think Richard understands this, OldHead, but returning the psychiatric survivor movement to the positions it took in the days before the government funding Alternatives debacle, I don’t think that is going to happen. The movement we once had is kaput, dead. It has been co-opted, totally hijacked, and so that leaves forging an entirely new one among the holdouts from the days before that usurpation took place with their allies and potential allies as our only viable option.

  • If the movement is the opposite of itself, we’ve got a contradiction, maybe hypocrisy, certainly dishonesty. I think we’ve got more than one movement here anyway, and I’m picking sides. I don’t know who YKW is unless you’re blaming everything on Joseph Rogers, and that has got to be a joke. I’m focused on fighting medicalization, medicalizatin borne of the “mental health” movement (and industry). I don’t see psychiatry as a power without the “mental health” movement. As I’ve said, there’s a whole psy-complex out there, and to blame EVERYTHING on psychiatry is to wear blinders, but, perhaps, in this instance, stylish blinders of your own design.

  • Then you see no purpose in most patient advocacy groups. (Me, too. I’m certainly not advocating bondage to the “mental patient” role.) My point, among people impacted by the system, we’re the minority, but then there are others out there among the general public that we can appeal to, and that see the absurdity of the system. 75 – 80 % of the population needs no long term “mental health” “care”. It doesn’t seem to me that most of those people are pro-psychiatry, not when the mental health system threatens to upset their particular apple-carts. If they were, why, then they’d be “in treatment”, wouldn’t they?

  • Exhaustion, OldHead, I think the steam just ran out. Otherwise there would have been an International Conference on Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression in 1986. I think there was a little bit of a betrayal on the leadership end, too, but you’re talking about the people who had been doing all the work, and so too much can really get to be too much.

    Also, the government knew what it was doing in buying off the movement. Trade conferences we paid for with those financed by the federal government, and what have you got? No, not traders. Traitors is more the word I had in mind.

    As I’ve said, I think we need to oppose the “mental health” movement. It is not a “mental health” movement at all, it is a “mental health” treatment promotion movement. Alternative medicine is still medicine, or rather, quackery. Whatever the movement became has made a heavy investment in medicalization in recent years. We need to realize that we’re back at square one, and that we should start over again clean, as I was saying, like in 1969/1970. We need a movement against what the movement has become.

    More to the point, there is that distinction to be made between the psychiatric survivor movement and the antipsychiatry movement. Overlap occurs, sure, and that is good, but we can only expect so much from those who are weak (or perhaps the more precise term is dishonest), and determined to err.

  • Perhaps I need to clarify. If the slogan went abolish institutional psychiatry! I’d be totally on board. I have no use for medical facilities designed to serve people without medical conditions. If that’s what is meant by abolish psychiatry then I’m with you, however go beyond that, and I think it is matter of coming up with another stupid law with which to infringe on peoples’ basic freedoms, and I have a real problem with that. I can’t see maintaining psychiatric prisons pretending to be hospitals. If a person wants counseling (or fellowship), that’s another matter. Etymologically shrinks are “soul doctors”, and in my book, that’s not science, that’s religion, and you know the kind of trouble governments get into when they try to prohibit religious practices.

  • Abolishing slavery was a much simpler matter than abolishing psychiatry ever will be. Psychiatry is not only what’s in the hospital system, or the public “mental health” system, it’s also psychoanalysis and private practice. All psychiatry is not coercive. I don’t say abolish psychiatry because I think you’ve got the revenge motive at play there, and it can become a matter of overkill. Infringe on the freedoms that we all share at the world’s peril. I do say abolish coercive non-consensual psychiatry, abolish forced treatment. I don’t say treatment must be forced on psychiatrists.

    Richard connects psychiatric treatment with the capitalistic system, and says you have to get rid of capitalism to get rid of psychiatry. I see a connection in that capitalism can make survival difficult, and thereby contributes to the “mental health” morass we currently have to contend with. I don’t think ending psychiatry would bring down capitalism, nor do I think we must wait for a socialist revolution to abolish coercive psychiatry because that is unlikely to happen. Connecting both these matters is a way to complicate bringing about either.

    I think equality and social justice are important issues that we will all eventually have to deal with. I’m a left-winger. I think it is up to us to influence the left on the matter of doing something about psychiatric oppression, and not the other way around. I do see the struggle of people impacted by the “mental health” system as being connected with the struggle of oppressed people everywhere against their oppressors, and for a meaningful place in the world.

  • I don’t think medical model psychiatry is entirely an invention of capitalism, and I don’t think the end of capitalism would mean the end of psychiatry, and vice versa. I do however agree that we can and should “move forward in some kind of political unity”.

    I think your political approach, Richard, is, in some regards, doctrinaire and dogmatic. I also feel that the antipsychiatry OldHead envisions would itself be doctrinaire and dogmatic. I myself am out of the box, and I’ve scrapped the book. I would like to see us working together for those ends in which we are in favor.

    The reference to # 369 is merely a reference to anyone who is not an authority figure or a big name bozo in the system, say, someone who has a physical deformity, or someone who is of a minority race, or perhaps someone who doesn’t conduct him or herself in what is thought to be a proper manner. # 369 is just a number from among the many in the crowd. You could have a Q and A sometime, but intentionally or not, cut it off before # 369 is even heard. Get me right, # 369 is not Everyman, # 369 is # 369. # 369 could even be a mailbox number. Sometimes that happens.

  • I think Bonnie has got something there about maintaining this distinction between the antipsychiatry movement and the psychiatric survivor movement. There is cross-over, but these movements are never going to be identical. When it comes to leadership roles, I’m wouldn’t make any assumption not borne of practice.

    Basically, Richard, I don’t think the fall of capitalism means the fall of psychiatry, nor vice versa. That ‘problems in living’ are connected with the economic system goes without saying. I think though we can agree in desiring and working for the fall of both psychiatry and capitalism. Your position itself is a little too authoritarian for my tastes. Sure, Marx and Engels stacked the deck in favor of their own philosophical system, however, # 639 has got a lot to say, too, if only we’d listen. I think leftist radicals need to work together, and that’s the only thing that gets to the heart of the matter here as far as I’m concerned.

  • If you look at the lists of pseudo-sciences online at Wikipedia you will not find Chemical Imbalance Theory among those listed, however you will find Alternative Medicine and Psychoanalysis have made the list. Could it be that we have an example of pseudo-science versus pseudo-science here? There is even, among those listed, a place for parody pseudo-science, but at no point does it mention pataphysics. I guess it’s official then, pataphysics is science.'Pataphysics

  • We’ve basically got a non-anti-psychiatry survivors’ movement as is, in the states, the question is how to make an anti-psychiatry movement out of parts of it. I think that’s a big problem. Right now, psychiatric survivor movement, “peer” movement, “consumer” movement, recovery movement, “disability” movement, etc., are thought of as the same thing. Do we need a psychiatric survivors’ movement against the psychiatric survivors’ movement? I think, indeed, yes, in a sense, we do.

    Libertarian and capitalism don’t of necessity go together. Some people value liberty AND social justice. I don’t, in other words, equate libertarian with leissez faire “free” market capitalism, nor do I equate it with multi-national corporate imperialism.

    Those of us who are left-wing could see a more organized anti-psychiatry movement as a way of influencing the left as well. When you have leftist anti-psychiatry organizations, well, the left is more likely to consider you part of its own, and out of that comes cross-pollination.

    A movement should involve many organizations–left, right, and center–but you know where you stand politically, and so do I. If we want to have an influence on the left, one way of doing so is by being friendly with it, and not trying to alienate that left-wing from us any more than it already is, as we could, in that matter, actually succeed.

    I’m not such an apologist for our current head of state as you, OH, seem to be. If you wanted, you know, you could always go alt right, but that’s not a direction that I would recommend. Of course, you are your own person, and you are going to go in whatever direction you see fit.

  • Where have you been? SAMHSA was funding Alternatives until the Murphy bill became law and took care of that. Now its funding is coming from the NEC. I didn’t say Alternatives had bitten the dust, it hasn’t done so. Alternatives is still around, it just isn’t funded any longer by the federal government. How long can this continue? No idea. Not my problem.

    I’m not as optimistic as you are regarding the movement we used to have. I don’t think it was killed by any conscious decision to do so. Pulling off those International Conferences on Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression was a lot of work that fell on the shoulders of a very few people. Also, they weren’t paying for themselves, they were finding themselves in the black, somebodies pocketbooks must have been hurting. Some raging radicals way back when aging into toothless moderates might have had something to do with it, too. When the NIMH started funding Alternatives, somebody must have been thinking, I don’t have to knock my brains out to make this other conference happen any more, this represents my retirement pension.

    Okay, here we are, and the only way to patch things up, more or less, is to fashion a movement against the movement that exists, that movement which has replaced the movement we used to know. As I see it, we’re at the point where the movement was before 1969/1970 when the Insane Liberation Front got off the ground.

    Of course, I think the “mental health” movement is a problem, and nothing but a problem, and there are all these people who think the “mental health” movement is everything. I see it as the enemy. No way to change that, and if they see it as their friend, we can’t be on the same page.

  • In part, perhaps, but there was this matter of exhaustion, too. I think there were people who actually thought that now that they’re taking government money, bribes, the struggle was over, the war had been won.

    In 1985, you still had a Conference on Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression. There was every expectation that another conference was going to take place in 1986. It didn’t happen. Then there was only “Alternatives”.

    At this point it is similar to a math equation. Now that you’ve got the corrupt, collusive, and compromised “Alternatives” movement, protecting human rights and ending psychiatric oppression are no longer the priorities they once were. It’s, like you say, a different movement.

    Now “Alternatives”, the conference, has been “unfunded”. Why? Too many antipsychiatry types is one excuse given. The other excuse is that money needs to be allocated to the theoretically under served “seriously mentally ill” the government is killing off with such rapidity and regularity. The “alternatives” conference was seen as a sanctuary for people with “minor mental illnesses” and thus a contributing factor in medicalization.

    Yeah, I know, without the discovery of any underlying physical “disease”, it’s ALL medicalization.

  • “Reformism” is “pragmatic”!? OH, I’m not knocking pragmatism, and I’m not attributing it to “reformers”.

    “A relatively small and easily manipulable clique”?

    Cynical, aren’t you?

    Manipulable, I don’t think is the appropriate adjective, unless, of course, you recommend psychiatry, otherwise, it is only a matter of simple realism. You start somewhere, and you don’t start ‘large’.

    I suppose one could add that there’s always Scientology.

    It looks like we’ve got a little gulf between the psychiatric survivor antipsychiatry movement and the antipsychiatry movement, but I’m not going to call it unbridgeable. The co-opted psychiatric survivor movement (mental patients’ liberation movement), morphed into the C/S/X (consumer/survivor/ex-patient) movement (mental patients’ movement), is not what it used to be. Ditto the antipsychiatry movement after much die off in the 80s and 90s. Most of the people in the sell out “peer” “alternatives” etc., movement are not antipsychiatry at all. They are exploitative “mental health” treatment hucksters. This is our reality, and the place I think we need to be starting from.

  • I’m not excusing capitalism, nor bypassing the establishment and development of socialism as a goal to be achieved.

    Szasz opposed collectivism, including communal living, to individualism. Individualism, and the market, don’t really go together. It takes a certain skill-set, and a social skill-set at that, to master the game of Monopoly. Monopolies are part of our present problem when anti-trust laws are no longer being enforced. Collective is not an antonym of freedom and/or responsibility, even if Szasz chose to treat it as such.

    Human rights are the other side of human wrongs. Inalienable, applied to rights, is overly optimistic. America’s “founding fathers” were in the main eighteenth century men, and children of the enlightenment. I’ve never read John Rawls, and I will probably never get around to doing so. All the same, his views look interesting, and maybe there is something to them.

  • I’m not against forming a left anti-psychiatry organization at all, Richard. I can agree with you on that. I just don’t think any anti-psychiatry organization need be leftist to have an impact. I’m saying I could see myself becoming involved in such a matter, but you have other people coming from different places who would, of course, see things differently. Any organization? I don’t know? If there were a left-wing antipsychiatry organization or grouping, yeah, sure, I’d want to participate. As for connecting ‘problems in living’ to capitalism…They are connected anyway, aren’t they? I’m saying though, that if you want a coalition, a mix of groups and organizations, you don’t want to exclude those people who sit on the opposite side of the issues seeing that, in this matter in some instances, the matter of toppling psychiatric tyranny, we are in agreement anyway. A left organization or group, sure, why not? All the same, I wouldn’t want to cripple our own efforts to overthrow that system by refusing to develop alliances with people with whom we might differ on other issues politically.

  • Why alienate potential allies when you don’t have to do so? I think making the overthrow of psychiatric oppression dependent upon the overthrow of the capitalistic economic system, and vice versa, throws in a completely unnecessary complication into the equation. If Slaying the Dragon of Psychiatry would weaken our movement by descrying alliances with other people beset by oppression, you do the same when you would tie getting rid of psychiatric oppression to economic and social revolution. I would be very wary of becoming too inflexibly rigid, and ideologically myopic. Were there a tunnel to be traveled through, we wouldn’t want it to become a living grave, would we? That which “the other world” and “the classless society” have in common is going to be with us for some time to come.

  • Elsewhere I read that O’Connor v. Donaldson fell short of being a “right to treatment” case in that it protected the non-violent from treatment, but it didn’t go so far as to force treatment on those thought to be violent.

    Note above, what it ruled was not that his “right to treatment” had been violated, what had been violated was his ‘right to liberty’.

  • Actually, if you look, the Donaldson case was about the ‘dangerousness standard’ more than “right to treatment”.

    “‘Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563 (1975), was a landmark decision in mental health law. The United States Supreme Court ruled that a state cannot constitutionally confine a non-dangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom by themselves or with the help of willing and responsible family members or friends. Since the trial court jury found, upon ample evidence, that petitioner did so confine respondent, the Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s conclusion that petitioner had violated respondent’s right to liberty.”'Connor_v._Donaldson

    “In terms of impact, Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563(1975) is probably the single most important decision in mental health law. It has been used by opponents of involuntary commitment (like the ACLU) to argue that it is unconstitutional to commit an individual involuntarily who is not (imminently) dangerous to himself or others.”
    The DJ Jaffe Channel

  • I’m not saying he was antipsychiatry, whatever that means.

    “While this book is primarily concerned with the overwhelming majority of state-hospital inmates who are not sick, the question always arises at my interviews and lectures what to do for the disturbed person, the so-called mentally ill.”

    Emphasis added.

    I’d say it was a little more than “right to treatment”, although that was involved, too.

    “The jury found that Donaldson was neither dangerous to himself nor dangerous to others, and also found that, if mentally ill, Donaldson had not received treatment”

    The “right to treatment” part worries me because that can become an excuse to administer neuroleptics, and, like I said, he wasn’t taking any of those.

  • Except for a short period, Donaldson had some sort of sweet heart deal with the hospital where he didn’t have to take neuroleptic drugs. I guess maybe this had something to do with his strength of character or the force of his will. There was never any indication, when I was confined, that not taking drugs was any sort of an option at all. (Maybe they thought I was dangerous.) I managed to tongue pills in the university hospital, but in the state hospital, they’d always check. I don’t imagine that anybody could have emerged from a hospital stay of 15 years relatively intact, and have taken neuroleptics consistently throughout. I’d say, if it was bad sitting it out for that much time, he was awfully lucky in that regard.

  • Some of my feelings about this matter have been influenced by my reading of Kenneth Donaldson’s Insanity Inside Out (1976). Donaldson weathered some 15 years confined to the hospital from the mid 1950s to early 1970s, challenging the system until he won his court case. His issue: the hospital wouldn’t release him because he refused to admit to having a “mental illness”. He was, in their view, not a danger to himself or others, but he wouldn’t admit to having a “mental illness”, and, therefore, the Mexican standoff. It took a landmark court-case to get him out of Florida State Hospital. Now I ask you. what does it take to stop playing the role of “mental patient”, and by “mental patient” I mean “mental patient”, “service consumer”, “service user”, “peer” and “psychiatric casualty” or victim? I’m really not one to excuse “chronic” mental health professionalism (adopting the oppressor role) in this matter either. “Liberation” or “cure”, you don’t get there by caving in. You can buy this notion that you’ve got a “disease”, and use it to get a job, treating other people for their “diseases”, or you can get over it (slander, abduction, incarceration, torture), and get on with the business of living. I just can’t see myself, in this instance, buying into the parasite paramid I see developing as a part of the infectiously expanding “mental health” treatment system–a system that can’t help but be medical model even when it denies being medical model.

  • “It was built in 1874, and opened in 1878…”

    ‘The entire campus was closed on June 24, 1992 and all patients were either transferred to the community or to other facilities.”

    “Chlorpromazine (CPZ), marketed under the trade names Thorazine and Largactil among others, is an antipsychotic medication.”

    “In December 1950, the chemist Paul Charpentier produced a series of compounds that included RP4560 or chlorpromazine.”

    “By 1954, chlorpromazine was being used in the United States to treat schizophrenia, mania, psychomotor excitement, and other psychotic disorders.”

    1954 to 1992. That adds up to 38 years of potential Thorazine use at Danvers. Thorazine, for a spell, must have been used to help Danvers manage it’s inmates.

  • By way of explanation…

    “Patient Critiques of the Asylum

    Despite numerous positive reports on asylum conditions, many citizens suspected that the new institutions hid terrible abuses behind their walls. First hand accounts published by disgruntled former patients fueled rumors of inhumane practices. Usually committed against their wishes, many patients did not believe they were insane and resented their treatment by relatives and physicians”…

    “Records left by patients describing their asylum experiences vary from letters expressing appreciation for the restoration of their sanity to bitter lawsuits against hospital and family. The complaints often centered around wrongful confinement: to commit a relative in the mid-nineteenth century families needed only to obtain a certificate from one physician (in some states, two) testifying that the individual was insane. Patient advocates, such as Haskell, whose family got their dentist to sign his certificate of insanity, descried the ease with which families could dispose of unwanted kin and take their property.”

    from Madness In America: Cultural And Medical Perceptions Of Mental Illness Before 1914. Lynn Gamwell and Nancy Tomes (1995), pg. 62

  • Oh, she did a lot to help the “disease” alright. She campaigned for more and more asylums. She thereby got more and more people locked up who could, by a slight stretch of the imagination coupled with a twist of phrase, be considered “afflicted”. and labeled “lunatic”. As for the “whoring”, I have absolutely no idea where her private life was at.

  • Alright. You should see some of the bozos who are among “the most honorable and respected men in the medical field” today. It would make one blush with shame.

    Francis Stribling of Western Virginia State Lunatic Asylum was friendly with Dorothea Dix, too. She, after all, is said to have been the inspiration behind the building of some like 40 such institutions. I, on the other hand, don’t care much for either of them.

    There weren’t THAT many institutions throughout the 18th century yet, but with the 19th century, chiefly on account of the moral reform movement, the numbers of patients were multiplied many times over. Just look at the great size of those Kirkbride monstrosities. Early in the 20th century, and riding on the tail-end of moral management, you have the mental hygiene/health movement. a movement that is still with us today in it’s efforts to medicalize every aspect of everyday life. Back up a few centuries. Maybe it was NOT such a good idea to lock up so many people?

    Ending restraints is a big problem for reformism. Two hundred since that began, with the demand to end restraints, and they still haven’t managed to do so. Why is that? I think it has something to do with the matter of not being serious about the matter in the first place. When you’ve got a captive population, if you haven’t got shackles, you’ve still got solitary confinement. Take off the restraints, and you’ve still got a prison inmate. Okay. When do we get around to talking about liberating all of the prisoner/patient/consumers. Seriously!

    I’m not against discussing history, I just want to stress that there is another side to it. Another side that you might miss altogether if you set your sights on doing so.

  • I guess we might have a problem with interpretation from my angle here, nonetheless, I don’t see antipsychiatry as a leftwing rightwing matter, that is, I wouldn’t want to unwittingly support psychiatry by encouraging divisiveness among us. I know Szasz had his issues with the east (and European) version of AP, however, I don’t think either should interfere with any efforts we make to blast that house of cards, institutional psychiatry, to kingdom come.

  • There are white supremacists and neo-fascists behind Donald J. Trump. He knows who helped put him in office. He can’t dis progressives without, at the same time, tossing a wink to the alt right. I’d say there might be a real danger of totalitarianism lurking about, but the danger is more pronounced from the right than it is from the left.

  • “Even those with the most cursory training in history and the most basic powers of reasoning comprehend that modern liberal progressives are the direct inheritors of Mussolini styled fascism and the very philosophies of eugenics that antipsychiatrists should most vehemently oppose.”

    Kinda don’t think so, Dragon Slayer. Doesn’t pass my smell test. The people who did the state the service of offing Il Duce were resistance fighters and communists, and I’m certain they would be very offended indeed with any effort made to connect them to the policies and actions of Mussolini.

    “On 25 April 1945, allied troops were advancing into northern Italy, and the collapse of the Salò Republic was imminent. Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci set out for Switzerland, intending to board a plane and escape to Spain. Two days later on 27 April, they were stopped near the village of Dongo (Lake Como) by communist partisans Valerio and Bellini and identified by the Political Commissar of the partisans’ 52nd Garibaldi Brigade, Urbano Lazzaro. During this time, Clara’s brother posed as a Spanish consul. After several unsuccessful attempts to take them to Como they were brought to Mezzegra. They spent their last night in the house of the De Maria family.

    The next day, Mussolini and Petacci were both summarily shot, along with most of the members of their 15-man train, primarily ministers and officials of the Italian Social Republic. The shootings took place in the small village of Giulino di Mezzegra and were conducted by a partisan leader who used the nom de guerre of Colonnello Valerio. His real identity is unknown, but conventionally he is thought to have been Walter Audisio, who always claimed to have carried out the execution, though another partisan controversially alleged that Colonnello Valerio was Luigi Longo, subsequently a leading communist politician in post-war Italy. Mussolini was killed two days before Hitler and his wife Eva Braun committed suicide.”

    Emphasis added

  • You want your own blog? Is that it? Or are you and SlayingtheDragonofPsychiatry merely nitpicking? I don’t think you or SlayingtheDragon would be excluded from participation if you were accepted for a scholarship, which would include your qualms and anxieties about this or that. As I read it, you object to the scholarship program being offered though because you think it’s going to have some horrendous aftereffect on the world in general. Personally, I don’t see that happening.

  • I rather see this as part of the struggle to get minority studies and other sensitive issues into the classroom. Blow-back, flack, shrapnel, etc., it all comes with the job. Bonnie mentioned the slanders directed at Peter Breggin, and Thomas Szasz was, of course, very familiar with the same. I don’t see doing so as becoming a real boon for eugenic, or nugenic type programs, but all things, they say, are possible. I rather think there is more danger in not offering such research than there is in pursuing the matter wherever it should lead.

  • What rubbish, Paul Keith. The context is that of slanderous comments made elsewhere from people antagonistic to the introduction of certain topics into the educational sphere, as if these topics should be censored, and thus excluded from academic exchange, examination, and scrutiny. Of course, you have no problem ‘clicking and dragging’ this slander back to MIA. What’s the matter? You don’t have the creativity and originality to develop an argument of your own? The context is the title and subject of the very article you yourself are commenting on. It doesn’t seem to me that you are coming in on the side of academic freedom, quite the reverse, it seems to me that you don’t want these items included on the curriculum. If so, you don’t have send us on such a circuitous journey in making your point. A simple I don’t think mad studies or antipsychiatry or violence directed at indigenous women should be offered as research topics in institutions of higher education will do.