Monday, September 28, 2020

Comments by oldhead

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  • We do not operate according to what people will accept, but according to what is true and false.

    When one realizes that “mental illness” is literally impossible there remains no further reason to debate the legitimacy of psychiatry, only to strategize its demise. And this has nothing to do with MIA one way or another.

    Once one realizes that the basic precepts of psychiatry are fraudulent it doesn’t matter how many people are “depressed or anxious or suicidal or end up with strange beliefs”; it is clear that psychiatry is not the answer.

    MIA doesn’t necessarily use those terms in order to promote psychiatry (even if that inadvertently ends up happening)


  • While it’s good to have a platform for an anti-psychiatry discussion, I am far less concerned with the VICE article’s speciousness, or with arguing about fallacious “research” (and all research into “mental illness” and “medication” is fallacious by definition) than I am about some misrepresentations of the anti-psychiatry movement.

    Its historical roots go back to the 1970s, when ex-patients published newsletters and organized protests that spoke of “freedom” from a system that forced treatment on them and locked them up, and of “liberation” from this oppressive arm of American society. This was, at its heart, a Civil Rights movement, and the book that served as their clarion call was not The Myth of Mental Illness, but Judi Chamberlin’s On Our Own. Ex-patients, who dubbed themselves “psychiatric survivors,” wanted the right to be the authors of their own lives.

    Yes, the mental patients liberation/anti-psychiatry movement does go back to about 1970. But we need to stop speaking in past tense, because although the movement was defeated and forced underground for 30 years, we are finally reorganizing ourselves.

    I don’t know why Robert puts “liberation” and “freedom” (from psychiatry) in quotes, as they are not figurative terms for us. Anyway, while some of us in the 70’s & 80’s saw ourselves as a “civil rights” movement, many also considered it a genuine liberation movement (and still do), fighting psychiatry as a form of domestic repression and cultural imperialism.

    I was good friends with Judi Chamberlin throughout the time she was writing On Our Own and for years thereafter. (Coincidentally I was just filing away some of her old letters I found; people actually wrote letters then.) I can assure everyone that Judi was highly familiar with Thomas Szasz’s work and had great respect for him, and I’m certain they shared the same stage on occasion.

    I have no idea why or on what basis RW would try to “distance” Judi from Szasz; by his own account psychiatry as an issue had never crossed his mind until 1998 — 15 years after the anti-psychiatry movement had been defeated and its most opportunistic “leaders” co-opted. There is no good reason to pit Judi’s book against Szasz’s work, or to say Judi’s book alone was the “clarion call” of the movement (which was well underway as she was writing it). Both On Our Own and The Myth of Mental Illness, and the writings of numerous others, had a seminal influence on the early movement (which was more than a few people gathered around Judi’s feet).

    If RW is attempting to imply that the mental patients liberation movement was not anti-psychiatry — and I hope he isn’t — that assertion would be inaccurate. We were more militantly anti-psychiatry than anyone who wasn’t there could possibly imagine. While there were some reformist currents, as there tend to be in any movement, the thrust was not for “better mental health.” It was to end the concept of “mental health” — just as it is today.

    All of this was articulated in formal anti-psychiatry principles and demands formulated at the International Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression in 1976 and 1982 respectively, which described psychiatry as a “parallel police force” (among other things) which “cannot be reformed and must be abolished.”

    Also, we did not call ourselves “survivors” in the 70’s — we referred to ourselves as “psychiatric inmates,” as the focus of psychiatric repression was on locked institutions, and most of the activists had been inmates. Today at least as many of us have been psychiatrized via the CMH system, which I guess is the reason that “survivor” has taken over from “inmate” as the preferred term. (I personally prefer the term “outmate” for those in the clutches of CMH.)


    That founding moment in the 1970s has surely metamorphosed into many forms over the last forty years, with a diverse range of opinions now present among activists with “lived experience

    No no no. There is only ONE movement which represents the legacy of the Mental Patients Liberation (Anti-Psychiatry) Movement — that is the movement to abolish ALL psychiatry, still led by survivors of the psychiatric system.

    The Mental Patients Liberation Movement for all practical purposes was decimated by the end of 1985, though David Oaks heroically tried to hold together the remnants for a number of years thereafter with the Survivors Coalition International, Dendron Magazine, and finally MFI. But gradually the anti-psychiatry focus got watered down.

    In the current day, any purported “movement” which claims to be for “consumers,” or wants to “improve” psychiatry, is analogous to the Vichy government in occupied WWII France. Since 2017 there has been an active movement to resurrect what once was, but had been under occupation by psychiatry and its flunkies for so many years. A number of MIA survivors have worked with us in an “underground” capacity as we have sharpened our analyses and collectively articulated our demands and goals. We are almost ready to go public, and encourage any survivors who want to actively work to expose and defeat the psychiatric gulag to join us. If you want to get involved, or would like to see a copy of our basic principles, give us a shout at [email protected] .

    Let’s show them what a “movement against psychiatry” REALLY looks like! 🙂

  • OMG where to start? Maybe here:

    I told her we weren’t an antipsychiatry website, but rather that we were better described as a “critical psychiatry” website.

    And herein lies the main problem as usual. MIA is not only NOT an anti-psychiatry site — very unfortunately — it has the effect of PROMOTING psychiatry when it uses psychiatric terms such as “schizophrenia” with a straight face and talks about “research.”

    So many inaccuracies on both “sides” here, I’ll probably be adding comments all week. But we’ll start with this, which is the most basic.

  • Responding to Bowen:

    First, duly noted regarding your Asian heritage — though I don’t know why you couldn’t have been specific in the first place, since you made a point of stating that you aren’t Black. If a white person trying to be “woke” had said some of the same things I would have considered them racist, so I appreciate your providing some context.

    I’ve never – EVER – had a positive encounter with the police. Police in our communities exist to constantly remind us that we’re persona non grata. This is why I say I can’t have this conversation with white men

    This same statement uttered by a privileged white activist — which is what Bowen seemed to be saying he was — would come across as the same appropriatiing and presumptuous hypocrisy we see all the time from white people. (Such as his personal experience with cops or the reference to “our” communities.) Anyway I regret the confusion, though I didn’t “assume” Bowen was white, I surmised. Incorrectly.

    My main point remains valid however: Calls to abolish the police are rarely supported by the vast majority of those in poor neighborhoods, who have no other recourse for self defense in many cases, and risk being imprisoned themselves for exercising it. So if people want to feel radical and call for abolishing the police they might as well be honest, and consistent, and call to “smash the state” as well, which would be the near-immediate effect of abolishing the police. And without something functional and democratic to replace it with I don’t think too many people would enjoy that. It’s putting the cart before the horse.

  • @boans:

    The point made by Oldhead below about police doing both duties, protecting citizens AND Power and capital.

    To expand a little — the same cop who takes you to the hospital after you’ve been assaulted is also required to bust your head at a demonstration, which I’m sure bothers cops who join up out of a desire to help protect people from bad guys.

    At a higher level, the current state doesn’t protect citizens out of altruism, but because its support among the people includes an understanding that people’s basic personal security will be protected. NOT doing so would be very bad for business, which is why terrorists and guerillas often attack civilian populations — to demonstrate to people that the government can’t protect them and is not worth supporting. This is why I point out that protecting citizens is part of protecting power and capital.

  • This is why I say I can’t have this conversation with white men.

    I hope you’re not going to really say this while being white yourself, which would seem to imply that you consider yourself too beyond racism to even relate to other white men, whom you consider hopeless or something compared to yourself.

    ALL white people in america are racist, it’s not a matter of choice. White people who believe they have personally “transcended” racism but point fingers at others are in actuality more racist than those who recognize their own internal racism and try to fight it.

    Incidentally if you refer to people as “sociopaths” you are using a psychiatric narrative. So check your own contradictions.

  • Bowen’s “rebuttal” of Steve’s example is flawed, as Steve was responding to Bowen’s previous blanket statement, which bounces back & forth between a political abstraction and a personal dislike of police.

    Though I could easily be wrong I also would suggest that few regular readers of “Critical Resistance” and “Current Affairs” are likely to live in a neighborhoods in which their lives would be in constant daily peril without the existence of police.

  • Seeing a doctor and being deferential would be tantamount to lying.


    Taking some of what you describe to a collective/political level, some people still hope that liberation will come when finally, after 50 years, some reporter finally “blows the lid” on psychiatric fraud. Actually RW already has done that to some extent, except no one notices because MIA is blacklisted from corporate media attention. (Also because he doesn’t frame his conclusions that way.)

    As for those front page headlines in the New York Times (or Boston Globe) highlighting how the entire concept of “mental illness” has been deconstructed and proven fraudulent, along with the “chemical imbalance” hypothesis and other psychiatric narratives — we’re still waiting on them. Getting back to your point about “approaching doctors [or reporters] in a deferential way” (my brackets): It is ironic to me how, after 50 years of being ignored by the media, movement people still blame themselves for this rather than understanding that the role of the mass media is to disinform and confuse — they think if they had only phrased this or that point more clearly the reporter might have made the essential connection and written that big story that would have started the ball of yarn unraveling once and for all.

    So either the movement is (and always has been) collectively inarticulate and we should all start taking remedial English, or there’s a bigger issue involved in our historic lack of “good press.”

    I guess your last question was rhetorical, as is mine: “Who owns the media?”

  • I will preface my response to Bowen with an introductory quote from my sadly departed revolutionary mentor, Abbie Hoffman (from his book Revolution for the Hell of It:

    America Is Racist
    America is Imperialistic
    Police are Brutal
    Mass media distort

    Bah-Bah-Bah-Bah — Sheep talking rhetoric. People on the Left spend most of their time telling each other things like that. The point is, everybody already knows, so call it Rhetoric. The Left masturbates continuously because it is essentially rooted in an academic tradition. It is the rhetoric of the Left, its insistence on ideological exactness rather than action that has held the revolution back in this country as much as the actions of the people in power. The Left has the same smugness as the New York Times.

    [The above was written in 1968.]

    With that in mind let me examine some of Bowens’ statements. (PS I guarantee nothing I have said about defunding psychiatry is sarcasm.)

    …there are thousands of people across the world protesting law enforcement, and not many protesting psychiatry.

    Yes, this demonstrates the hypocrisy (or at best the cluelessness) of the “woke” Left, which I refer to as the faux-left. That there is very little resistance to psychiatry demonstrates the degree to which it has infused itself into the consciousness of the former Left, which supported the AP movement 30 years ago.

    Can you recognize that the strong feelings you have against psychiatry are similar to how many people feel towards the police?

    Since you don’t know me or of my history fighting for political prisoners and victims of police violence I will refrain from actual sarcasm here. The answer to the question is “yes”; however you still miss the point, which is that the police and the mh system are the SAME SYSTEM SERVING THE SAME PURPOSE.

    The police don’t protect citizens, they protect power and capital.

    They do both. Plus protecting citizens is PART of protecting power and capital. (See introductory quote re: “rhetoric.”)

    Again, the idea that “cops have no substantial social or political power” seems like it must have been intended in sarcasm, because being able to get away with murder is the definition of power.

    I’ll have to check Webster’s, I don’t recall that definition. Sounds more like an expression of impotence and frustration, even if it were routinely true. As for social and political power, you don’t see to many cops living in gated communities.

  • The specific principle I refer to here is: Psychiatry is a tool of social control which enforces conformity to the prevailing social order. It was conceived with the understanding that there are both written laws and unwritten laws.

    Although there is some overlap, written laws are primarily enforced by standard police agencies, and violations of unwritten cultural or societal laws by “mental health” agencies. So it’s all at least technically “law enforcement,” at least that’s what I mean when I say that.

  • Psychiatry cannot be reformed, it must be abolished. There is no “better” psychiatry. People should not take poison to alter their attitudes on life via brain chemistry.

    Is there anything else obvious I left out? If not, most of the rest of the discussion here seems like more of the same old to me. Just stay away from the shit, and if you need to get off it make sure you are advised by someone who has confidence in your ability to do so.

    Maybe such services could be a form of reparations once psychiatry has been abolished.

  • Just as problematic is the idea the there is some sort of medical or scientific consensus on all this. And there are areas where COVID started to spike AFTER mask mandates were introduced.

    No one is saying the virus is a hoax, though its danger is highly exaggerated and it is being used by someone (or many) to manipulate things on many levels.

    Here are two credible articles for those who want some alternate perspectives. One is by a presidential advisor, one by a highly regarded holistic expert; both have been suppressed by social media:

    As for Fauci, he is a longtime medical bureaucrat in cahoots with Bill Gates, who is responsible for spreading polio throughout Africa with his “vaccines”:

    Funny how COVID has found its way back into the comment section after all that effort.

    (Point of Information: US COVID deaths are currently at the lowest level since mid-June.)

  • We’re in basic agreement, though you could ease up on some of the “pig” rhetoric; pigs are nice animals, and if they eat shit it’s because they have no options (Rachel can you confirm this?); cops have no substantial social or political power, they are dehumanized employees of the system. They can’t even fire their guns without permission, at least theoretically.

    However your basic analysis is right on, with a few caveats. (Some of the following is consolidated in a soon to be released set of anti-psychiatry organizing principles and demands, collectively written by abolitionist survivors.)

    As you seem to agree, psychiatry is not a branch of medicine, but a tool of “law enforcement” and social control which assumes the trappings of medicine. The “mental health” industry cannot “replace” the police — psychiatry IS the police, literally. Many people have already taken up the slogan “Defund Psychiatry” based on this understanding, and I encourage others to do so as well.

    There is a subtle difference between the two “defund” campaigns however. Most people in poor crime-ridden neighborhoods don’t want to abolish the police, though many want better police and more community control. There is a legitimate social argument to be made in favor of police being needed to protect citizens (in any society) from bad people. How effectively and genuinely this function is performed is a separate question.

    However there is no comparable argument in the case of psychiatry. There is no legitimate social function to be served by an agency devoted to enforcing thought and behavior via absurd manipulations of logic and semantics, along with the assimilation of medicine.

    So we don’t need “alternatives” to psychiatry any more than we’re looking for alternatives to ICE. We just need it gone.

  • But every person should be able to step in and help someone in a time of need.

    Herein lies a subtle contradiction — referring to innate human capacities of empathy and support as “skills” and “expertise” to be employed by a “therapist” perpetuates the basic alienation of people from themselves (which is also a basic feature of capitalism). Something you seem to recognize with your above quote.

  • Rob,

    isn’t it expected and important that many of us go through anxiety, sadness, despair, trauma, and other inner distress—feelings that, hopefully, will ultimately help transform us and bring us together to build a more environmentally sustainable society?

    NO! Feelings are the enemy, and must be suppressed and/or discarded when they get to the point of interfering with business as usual.

    what happens if we instead label these potentially revolutionary feelings as pathologies, as brain disorders, as “mental health problems” and “mental illnesses” needing “treatment”?

    Though it’s unclear who you mean by “we,” what happens is that the system then has a go-ahead to deny responsibility for the trauma it creates, as usual. Because caring too much is a serious personality defect.

    However this is not unique to climate change; any organized effort to create structural change can be deflected by using the “mental illness” card against that movement’s leaders and activists.

    Which is another major reason that we must abolish psychiatry.

  • Btw I like this: “clients/patients/ program participants/whatever bullshit PC name they’re using for the human beings that pay their salaries and/or are subjected to the brutalizing processes that this culture still calls ‘treatment'”

    Maybe we could use that as an alternate term. (You forgot “consumer” btw, or maybe that was deliberate). 🙂

  • …this series of articles is about what people in the helping profession—that is, people with an inordinate amount power bestowed on them by themselves and an uneducated (thus, trusting) general public—say to their clients/patients/ program participants/whatever bullshit PC name they’re using for the human beings that pay their salaries and/or are subjected to the brutalizing processes that this culture still calls “treatment”…I am not talking about peer-to-peer interactions; those have entirely different power dynamics…”

    A vital distinction — thanks for making this clear, it makes your intent in writing the series more comprehensible.

    Mao wrote a 2 part essay on “Contradictions Among the People” vs. “Contradictions Between the People and the Enemy”; your clarification brought this to mind.

    Where I would take it next however is a critique of the entire concept of “professional human beings,” and of focusing on the suffering individual rather than the oppressive system perpetuating the suffering.

  • It’s quite disconcerting to see Richard, who claims to be a communist, taking a side in bourgeois “Democrat/Republican” politics, and to be so apparently invested in stoking COVID hysteria.

    On the ground 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.

    And there continues to be almost zero interest in tracking down and prosecuting those who design these viruses; if we don’t there will be plenty more.

  • NIJINSKI if you’re still around — damn, you have history! I’m starting a new sub-thread or whatever since the last one is unwieldy and the subject matter deemed inappropriate.

    I was no longer active during that hunger strike era, but would have opposed it as a tactic if I had been, as it was based on a convoluted gandhi-esque approach rooted in the idea that we need to suffer to achieve our goals. But fuck that, we suffer enough — let THEM suffer if anything! — in the form of lost profits, lost status and in some cases prosecution. I still believe that for survivors hunger strikes are masochistic and disempowering, and romanticize self-destructive behavior as they risk physical harm. And to what end — getting shrinks to unequivocally admit they’re full of shit? First it ain’t gonna happen and two why do we care? What’s important is taking their power away.

  • Posting as Commenter:

    I challenge you to find an objective way to decide whether someone’s comments are “shaming” or make generalizations based upon a label or are an attack on a person vs. on what that person said.

    Challenge not accepted, as you are basically making my point. There is of course no objective way to be subjective or vice versa, the question is more why one would try to do the impossible.

    Straying from the point a little, people need to realize that excessive “insecurity,” and sensitivity to whether or not one is being “shamed” or disrespected, is a form of egotism. Without such unnecessary concerns discussions could proceed in a more reasoned, logical and intelligent manner.

    The other side of this coin is that certain terms (including “bully” and “fascist” among others) have clear and highly charged ad hominem implications and should not be considered by the moderator as analytical; without sufficient explanation and documentation they should be deleted.

  • Not that you aren’t by far the best moderator MIA has ever hired, but if there are “no black and white rules” that’s a problem, since that means moderation decisions are subjective, hence biased. I thought the posting guidelines were supposed to be “black & white.”

    On the COVID thing all that needs to be done besides getting permission from RW is to institute a blog entitled “COVID discussion” and let it rip. The only difference would be that it wouldn’t get bumped off the page to make room for a newer blog.

  • So now we ARE discussing COVID? If so I want to know, if we’re discussing “science,” what Ty Bollinger’s views on cancer or Breggin’s views on Donald Trump have to do with anything. There are thousands of natural healers out there, with different sorts of practices, who nonetheless share a basic understanding of holistic principles and the workings of the immune system, and who hold views on all this contrary to those of the corporate Pharma/medical establishment.

  • It’s not that cut & dried though, and I think if the word “COVID” is used anywhere in an article then all bets are off in terms of what direction the discussion may be expected to take. For example

    there is a claim that COVID is somehow moderated by psychostimulants, so that would be the topic of the conversation

    Except there are tangential topics of concern evoked by such a supposition, such as “what sort of mentality would conjure up such insane claims?” — which then inevitably would lead into the conflicting narratives about what COVID is, where it came from and why, etc.

    This is why I think MIA should try something new and institute a thread entitled “COVID Discussion” with no time limit, that doesn’t fall off the home page, and in which people can express anxiety, outrage, questions, “conspiracy theories,” etc. Like I said, we’re going to be thinking about it anyway.

    The difficulty seems to come in when instead of sharing their perspective, folks begin to assert “truths” that are not objectively established

    And exactly how does this differ from any other MIA discussion?

  • So a fake disease is yet another addition to the list of COVID “co-morbidity” factors.

    We need serious guidance from Steve and MIA about exactly when and where we are allowed to discuss the COVID phenomenon, since doing so is frowned upon in most posts, even though it is in the background of everyone’s consciousness.

    I have suggested a running thread for MIA readers to discuss and debate COVID and COVID policies. Hopefully we aren’t supposed to ignore and compartmentalize what comprises the essence of our daily lives.

  • Also I see nothing medical going on here, “trained” or not. The most important principle to me is that the oppressed must define their own experience and their own goals, without being expected to argue for this right, or defer to “experts” to confer credibility upon themselves. Those who belittle the principle of self-determination should be confronted and challenged.

  • Uh, there is one more little thing folks — studies of psychiatric labels such as “schizophrenia” are all tainted and bogus from the start, since they falsely assume that there is a disease of “schizophrenia” which has “symptoms” that respond to “medications.”

    If people truly understood this basic misconception Bob W and lots of other people could save a lot of time reinventing the wheel when it comes to discrediting the psychiatric drug industry.

  • Good points stated well, Nijinsky. I intend this cumulatively, for all your posts in this thread. And while it’s hard to separate COVID from the rest, as they both involve the same advanced corruption, I’ll try very hard.

    There are other ways of seeing the chronically sad state of U.S. health and medicine from an anti-capitalist perspective than simply blaming “capitalism” for the spread of a virus, or cancer, or any other physiological condition per se. These are symptoms of varied systemic issues within the bodies of individuals.

    We live in a toxic stew created by capitalist industry, even though we are often complicit. Once we’re sufficiently toxified we exhibit “symptoms,” qualify for “Capitalism 201: The Cure” and are subjected to medical poisoning, mutilation and other abuses in pursuit of “treatment” (i.e. “symptom” suppression), designed so that the afflicted might return to the assembly line as soon as possible, literally or figuratively.

    All this is capitalism.

    Rather than trying to put the genie back in the bottle “anti-capitalists” should be focusing on and decrying how industry and corporate medicine has created a population of unhealthy immune-compromised people highly susceptible to relatively minor viral mutations. And, rather than calling for billions to be continually tossed to willing corporate medical receipients, maybe screaming for further viral manipulation to be discontinued completely.

    The general approach of all AMA/allopathic medicine is to suppress or eliminate “symptoms,” which are often part of the body’s innate healing process. And much if not all medical “treatment” adjusts one problem by creating another, and so on. Coincidentally the most organic cures tend to be the cheapest by far, so…Cha-Chng.

    Anyway it’s hard to draw the line in an article which is after all devoted to medicine and Pharma. But I’ll stop here. I’m tired anyway.

  • Thumbs up! This is a basic issue of self-determination. In fact you shouldn’t even be expected to explain why “voice-hearers” should control their own destinies, define their own experience, and lead their own movement. (And name their own “allies.”) This is true of all movements of oppressed people, including psychiatric survivors.

  • Sounds like you’re serious, Jocelyn — great news! I don’t detect any yearning for psychiatry to “improve,” or suggestions for “saving” it, just a deep desire to throw it off entirely. Which is as it should be.

    In addition to what you describe in your article, have you ever considered working in an organized way to expose and defeat psychiatry as a system of social control and manipulation?

  • I think what is important and to keep on top of is never to look at psychiatry as “history” until it and it’s practices become history.

    Good advice. I made that mistake back in 1985 when I left the mental patients liberation movement (or it left me) with a general feeling of “mission accomplished.” Was I wrong! We were about to enter our long dark night of occupation by the forces of “mental health consumerism,” a shadow from which we have only started to emerge over the past decade — and we’re still not back to square one!

    Still, the slogan “Make Psychiatry History!” still resonates.

    Auntie Psychiatry, come back, wherever you are!

  • The vast majority of the the public has no idea whatsoever what akathisia is, I second SPB. Whoever thinks this spends too much time around mh people and environments.

    There is a prevalent myth that simply exposing a grotesque or horribly unjust situation will cause people to rally to fight it. They also need to see it as a personal threat, individual “do-gooders” notwithstanding.

  • Justsayno — Interesting about the PDR. It’s only online now I guess? Wonder if the PDR will be banned by social media.

    If I drove a rusty nail an inch into my foot or got bit by a rabid animal I would get tetanus/rabies shots, out of terror, science be damned. But the general mentality behind vaccines is that our bodies need constant help from the medical industry to help them carry out their basic functions, which include an advanced immune system if we treat them right. So it seems logical that “vaccines” would make our immune systems lazy, hence vulnerable.

    While capitalism is totally the culprit here, it is not so in the ways propagated by “leftists,” who equate people’s exasperation with their lives and businesses being locked down with selfish “capitalist” greed.

    It is the corporate/capitalist “Standard American Diet” (SAD), with extra sugar and salt, that has left vast swaths of the population with weakened immune systems insufficient to fight COVID effectively. Along with generally poor health practices, including over reliance on the medical industry and its drugs.

    Hooking people on mass diets (with a few variations) not only benefits food corporations, but the ensuing disease is exploited by the medical industry. Profits all around. Plus a trimmer more manageable population.

  • There is no “real schizophrenia” vs. any other kind, and there is no category of experience which can be validly classified as such (or by any other label). Everyone’s experience is unique and cannot be put into categories with others’ based on outward similarities of expression. There are a million reasons someone might be running down the street naked & laughing.

    In practice your articles do much to expose the absurdities of psychiatry, but you stop short of rejecting psychiatry completely (in principle for now, as I assume your physical options are still limited). It is vital however to delegitimize psychiatry as an accepted branch of medicine, so it is important to not legitimize its labels by using them ourselves (however “figurative” we may believe we are being). I think you would be able to pursue your “alien” analogy even more effectively coming from a consciously anti-psychiatry perspective. Anyway, wishing you well.

  • I don’t see any use in continuing this discussion, for the time being at least. Many will buy into the official line and trust the medical establishment, and the neoliberal political establishment, no matter what (even though we were one of the unhealthiest nations in the world coming into this). Others will look at the enormous damage being done by the lockdown and continue to question, given the vast array of deadly diseases available, why this particular one is suddenly so special.

    I have provided resources for those who wish to look into this more thoroughly. I have also expressed my belief that left un-tampered with the epidemic (or whatever you want to call it) will subside fairly soon.

    However the proof will be in the pudding, so it doesn’t make sense to keep arguing about what the future may hold.

  • There were other comments (including some comments from your source person, Berensen) that suggested required mask-wearing was part of some larger conspiracy to gain control of people through fear.

    I thoroughly believe that, I think it’s obvious. Social control at its finest. Btw many people believe this will all end on November 4. I suspect it will be substantially earlier, unless they find a way to generate the famed “2nd wave.” Actually there may be a 2nd wave, but it will be likely much less severe as the virus loses strength and immune systems adapt; that’s what seems to happen as a general rule.

    Why now all the sudden with the masks & all? Why not with “American” flu, or swine flu, or H1N1? Everyone is swimming in viruses all the time, why not sew on masks at birth?

  • Again @KS:

    Here’s the rub, Oldhead, since I keep being maligned as “afraid” and needing “courage” and other equally condescending framings of my position…

    Hopefully you’re not referring to me; I’m trying to stick to factual discussion.

    However there is also a philosophical factor here. You speak of studying “vaccines” and go into very technical detail about why they don’t work — 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.

  • She pointed out the general recommendation of covering one’s mouth and nose when sneezing. Do you really think that recommendation is based on “conspiracy” to make people more anxious?

    @Steve — I think we’ve all known since early in our lives to do that when around other people. The question is why you would imply that I am accusing KS of conspiratorial thinking.

    I have never even mentioned a “conspiracy,” though I do have a take on the situation. I haven’t elaborated upon it because to some it’s obvious and to others it’s crazy, and because it would generate more heat than light.

  • I think the length of this thread suggests that we need a dedicated thread at MIA, one that doesn’t fall off the page like blogs do, specifically to discuss COVID, so people like Caroline don’t end up with their threads being hijacked (even though she cited the anti-lockdown protests in her article). It’s an emotional subject, but Rachel & I, and others, also feel much emotion from a different perspective. This situation was imposed on ALL of us, and we need to keep in mind who our friends and enemies really are. So I’m trying to be as reasoned and logical as possible. That said:

    Hey Oldhead, just want to point out that it is most certainly NOT an ad hominem attack to point out Alex Berensen’s previous distortion of facts as a reason I don’t want to waste any more time with whatever he has to say.

    I don’t remember you citing any previous distortions of fact, just asserting that he had made them. But even if he had it would not logically mean that everything he says from now on is also misstated. None of us would have any credibility if that were the case.

    I don’t think Sean Hannity’s opinion of Berenson is “related to the subject matter.” And in less crazy times I would more expect you to consider Hannity’s negative opinion to be an endorsement. To focus on Berenson as the issue is a “kill the messenger” reaction in my view, even though the “message” should be a reassuring one. Btw I pointed out he was a NYT reporter to demonstrate that he’s a liberal, not a MAGA afficionado; it wasn’t an appeal to “authority” (though maybe to basic journalistic competence).

    The masking and “social distancing” is just one aspect of this. The larger context is what is being done to people’s spirits, and how we are being conditioned to fear one another, in the name of the “new normal.” The benefits to the system in dividing people against one another seem apparent to everyone here, so I don’t see why more attention isn’t being paid to what this whole scenario is doing to our collective psyche.

  • @KS — I’m aware of the pot book. He’s married to a shrink for one, so maybe needs some slack there. Also this new designer pot may well affect kids differently than more natural versions.

    Still, this is an ad hominem approach. Even if he’s a broken clock being right twice a day, you need to see the actual statistical data (most of which he simply reprints) before drawing conclusions.

  • @Steve

    Also from your VOX article, a few disclaimers:

    Some scientists say the new findings should be viewed with caution.

    SchĂĽnemann said he and his colleagues have “low certainty” in their findings, because their observational review did not provide results as robust those that would come from a randomized controlled trial.

    Separately, some scientists have criticized the PNAS study, claiming that the researchers used “poor methods” to estimate the number of infections that were avoided because of face masks and coverings, the Post reports.

    In addition, the new studies do not make clear whether transmission of the new coronavirus declined directly because of face masks’ or coverings’ physical barriers or if other changes in behavior, such as people’s tendency to touch their faces less often when wearing masks or coverings, drove down transmission, according to the Post.

    There’s also this assumption that surges & declines of infections MUST be due to human behavior rather than the virus running its course; people like to think they’re more significant than they are sometimes.

    Incidentally today was the lowest national death count since June.

    And why don’t they provide daily death counts for other diseases?

  • No, OH, I did not nor will I ever check out anything Alex Berensen has to say. I already know him to be a crackpot extremist who manipulates and cherry picks data to suit his own agenda.

    This is not like you to base your conclusions on hearsay, which is all it can be without checking out the source directly. It shouldn’t even matter what Berenson’s interpretations may be; I would think you would at least want to look at the information from which he extrapolates. Then you could draw your own conclusions. I could provide links to the actual statistical info without including his commentary, but my sense is that you aren’t interested in pursuing this, so I will cease and desist.

    Maybe we can revisit this in a month or two.

  • @Steve

    What we CAN know is that there IS a virus and it IS contagious and we have some means of lessening the spread of it. That is not from the mainstream media, that is from direct research published in scientific journals.

    You can’t just claim this, especially the part about “lessening the spread.” Which journals, and what are their biases? (Many people would consider the CDC to be “scientific.”) And for every source that supports your conclusion you can find another to contradict it. If you were paying attention you would realize that many respected virologists, epidemiologists and others with expertise who challenge the official line are routinely deplatformed from corporate and social media. They are uniformly astounded, saying they’ve never experienced anything like this before in their lives. This is not even debatable, Twitter and FB even give their reasoning for such censorship.

    If you want actual data check out Berenson; you don’t have to read his interpretation, as much of it speaks for itself. And it is neither “left” nor “right,” just logical.

  • KS — There’s nothing to despair about, just take care of yourself. Don’t go places you’re concerned about. Even though I trust my immune system to a large extent I avoid subway cars during flu season, and since mass transportation is one of the 3 major vectors for transmission of COVID (along with medical settings and living with an infected person) I often wear a REAL respirator when I ride public trans.

    This debate is NOT going on only at MIA, it’s universal, with many firmly-held beliefs on all sides. Still, if I were walking through a park with you and because of your personal health situation you wanted me to wear a mask I would do so without question or hesitation.

    Still, I don’t understand how you can not see this as political, though I understand your fear, and if I had comparable physical concerns I would be more reclusive. But after being cooped up most of the time I cherish the opportunity to breathe fresh air a few times a day, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to breathe back in the air my body is trying to expel. Especially outside, where transmission is virtually nil. I don’t consider this a “little” thing.

    My personal opinion is that the function of the mask mandates is to signal people to “be very afraid.” My chiropractor & veterinarian don’t require masks, and look askance at the whole thing, as do many non-allopathic healers.

    Unfortunately anything I might say in hopes of reassuring you will probably have the opposite effect, since you presently accept the credibility of what I consider the “party line” put out by the medical establishment, and the neoliberal political establishment. But I’ll try anyway.

    — A “case” simply means someone has come into contact with the virus, and will most likely have minor symptoms or none at all.

    — In terms of “herd immunity” (though I bristle at the livestock reference) the more “cases” the better. By their standards probably 50 million people in the U.S. are already “infected,” which just means they have “met” the virus, not that they’re sick or are going to get sick. Even if your immune system immediately beats the virus back you will test positive. (Probably over 50% of the population would test positive for herpes, that doesn’t mean everyone is running around with oozing sores.)

    — The death rate seems like it’s going to end up being something like .25%.

    — Can’t fact check all those statistics you referenced but I note that they’re mostly all from corporate media sources, which I guess says more to me than it does to you.

    You can’t contain a virus once it’s out there, regardless of how catastrophic the situation is; it basically has to run its course. But we could take measures to prevent this from happening over & over. Peter Breggin alerted people to an article in the prestigious journal Nature, written by a Chinese scientist, in which he described a successful joint effort between China and the U.S. in 2015 to re-engineer a bat virus so as to be transmissible to humans (COVID 15 perhaps?). So we know this kind of thing is going on, and unless we do something about it will continue to happen. Given the existential threat to the human race I favor the death penalty for engaging in such research. (This represents a reversal of my former across-the-board opposition to such.)

    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.

  • KS:


    We’re just going to have to stay on different pages here I’m afraid. From what I have studied vaccinations do not produce herd immunity, in fact I question their producing any true immunity, and believe they are responsible for lowering our collective immunity. Most natural healers concur with this in my experience.

    Did you check out Berenson’s feed? That’s where I go for my information. Corporate media and social media are in the pockets of the neoliberals, and they shamefully distort information to promote their agenda. This should come as no biggie.

    Let’s just see what happens, it won’t take long to see how this is all going to play out, especially now that COVID is pretty much burning itself out in the South & West.

  • But can we both agree that the forces of rapacious corporate greed are indeed winning, hands down, and without any properly organised opposition the sort of which we used to have in the Labour movement and elsewhere. If I recall it may have been your good self who alerted me to what Warren Buffet, one of the world’s luckiest men, said that there is indeed a class war ongoing and the rich are winning – hands down and no dispute.

    Sounds like me. I remain a “commie without a home.” Not sure what this has to do with COVID though.

  • I honestly dislike dissing every story, article, or word. But there are weasels that get into every nook and cranny, so ultimately, nothing ever changes.

    That’s why we need to be here Sam. Since the vast majority of MIA articles support psychiatry in some way it’s inevitable that some will see our deconstructions as “negative,” however we’re just calling ’em as we see ’em.

    In this case we have a group of so-called “abolitionists” capitalizing on “peer” activities, and promising to keep the drug pipeline flowing in a “post-psychiatric” world. And we have Richard minimizing that, and ignoring that this is a group of “alternative service providers,” not anti-psychiatry activists. They may be “better” than many other “service providers,” but they still seek to replicate the structures of the system under a different name, still focusing on the individual while ignoring the system, except for some revolutionary rhetoric.

  • To help clarify what I have been admonishing Richard about (admonishing because it was not the first time this had been pointed out to him):

    The following was written by legendary movement writer and organizer Judi Chamberlin to explain the reasons that the then-“Mental Patients” Liberation Movement adopted its policy of excluding professionals as voting members (though we always have been open to working with non-survivors who have supported our goals).

    Guiding Principles of the Movement Exclusion of Non-Patients

    In the United States, former patients have found that they work best when they exclude mental health professionals (and other non-patients) from their organizations. There are several reasons why the movement has grown in this direction – a direction which began to develop in the early 1970’s, influenced by the black, women’s and gay liberation movements.

    Among the major organizing principles of these movements were self definition and self-determination. Black people felt that white people could not truly understand their experiences; women felt similarly about men; homosexuals similarly about heterosexuals. As these groups evolved, they moved from defining themselves to setting their own priorities.

    To mental patients who began to organize, these principles seemed equally valid. Their own perceptions about “mental illness” were diametrically opposed to those of the general public, and even more so to those of mental health professionals. It seemed sensible, therefore, not to let non-patients into ex-patient organizations or to permit them to dictate an organization’s goals.

    There were also practical reasons for excluding non-patients. Those groups that did not exclude non-patients from membership almost always quickly dropped their liberation aspects and became reformist. In addition, such groups rapidly moved away from ex-patient control, with the tiny minority of non-patient members taking on leadership roles and setting future goals and directions.

    These experiences served as powerful examples to newly-forming ex-patient organizations that mixed membership was indeed destructive. In attempting to solve these organizational problems, group members began to recognize a pattern they referred to as “mentalism” and “sane chauvinism,” a set of assumptions which most people seemed to hold about mental patients: that they were incompetent, unable to do things for themselves, constantly in need of supervision and assistance, unpredictable, likely to be violent or irrational, and so forth. Not only did the general public express mentalist ideas; so did ex-patients themselves. These crippling stereotypes became recognized as a form of internalized oppression. The struggle against internalized oppression and mentalism generally was seen as best accomplished in groups composed exclusively of patients, through the process of consciousness-raising (borrowed from the women’s movement).

    This should adequately explain where conscious AP survivors stand on professionals and other non-survivors having a hand in our decision-making. Also why we choose not to endlessly explain ourselves to non-survivors. And it is why I would prefer to continue this conversation in person with any survivors who see a need to pursue it further.