Sunday, July 12, 2020

Comments by oldhead

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  • The only way people will ever unite to march against psychiatry in effective numbers is to educate people to the fact that Psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine and Psychiatry is a tool of social control. So if people at MIA want to /approach this realistically they must realize that psychiatry IS the police. Those at MIA who wish to be consistent with the spirit of BLM should not be appropriating popular slogans without a viable analysis. They should recognize that MIA readers who wish to carry the “defund” theme into the sphere of “mental health” they should be demanding TO DEFUND PSYCHIATRY. BLM doesn’t need white liberals to lead it, or mislead it as in this case.

    As I and Anomie, and maybe others by now have mentioned, a grassroots anti-psychiatry survivors movement now exists and is growing steadily. Our goal is to “make psychiatry history.” As abolitionists we recognize that “reform” of psychiatry is a contradiction in terms, as it is designed to oppress and repress us. We have two primary demands:

    ⦁ An end to all forced psychiatric procedures and “treatments,” including but not limited to incarceration, solitary confinement, physical restraints, drugging, and electroshock.

    ⦁ An end to all state support for psychiatry, including but not limited to the use of psychiatric testimony in legal proceedings; psychiatric screenings in schools, prisons, and workplaces; licensing; and the use of public monies to support psychiatric programs or research.

    As can be seen, the last demand is essentially saying DEFUND PSYCHIATRY.

    At this stage of history and with the growing level of anti-psychiatry consciousness among survivors, to demand anything less would represent a sellout.

    We don’t want to appropriate the Black struggle, but to help advance it by exposing how — just as the initial role of the police was catching escaped slaves — psychiatry and the entire eugenics movement have been and continue to be an enforcement tool for white supremacy and capitalist exploitation.

    “Mental health workers” who support the above demands should make their positions clear, or else get off the bus.

  • But it isn’t enough to criticize the super rich. They got to that position by the same tokenism to the poor that the comfortable have always given.

    I’m basically in synch with the gist of your comments, but this one tends to put the onus for the continued existence of capitalism more on the moral choices of individuals, when it is the very nature of the capitalist system itself to concentrate more and more wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people. It’s somewhat different to oppose the “super rich” (or the “middle class”) as a class rather than as a collection of morally compromised individuals. (I doubt that Susan & I have the same definitions of socialism however; I personally don’t consider Bernie a true socialist, or attempt to divorce socialism from communism.)

  • This is a plan for disaster, built upon threadbare and romanticized appropriations of genuine Black liberation struggles, and has the same tired old ring echoed by most white liberal romanticism.

    Yes “wellness checks” are an issue and must be opposed. But this is not separate from the need to oppose ALL psychiatry, and all capitalism for that matter.. To pretend that a grand alliance of psychiatric victims/survivors and “mental health” workers should lead the way is simplistic and absurd.

    The only way people will ever unite to march against psychiatry in effective numbers is to educate people that Psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine and Psychiatry is a tool of social control I.e., psychiatry IS the police.

    We don’t need opportunistic slogans based on limited “reforms.”

    As I and Anomie, and maybe others have mentioned, a grassroots anti-psychiatry survivors movement now exists and is growing steadily. Our goal is to “make psychiatry history.” As abolitionists we recognize that “reform” of psychiatry is a contradiction in terms, as it is designed to oppress and repress us. We have two primary demands:

    ⦁ An end to all forced psychiatric procedures and “treatments,” including but not limited to incarceration, solitary confinement, physical restraints, drugging, and electroshock.

    ⦁ An end to all state support for psychiatry, including but not limited to the use of psychiatric testimony in legal proceedings; psychiatric screenings in schools, prisons, and workplaces; licensing; and the use of public monies to support psychiatric programs or research.

    As can be seen, the last demand is essentially saying
    DEFUND PSYCHIATRY.

    At this stage of history and with the current level of anti-psychiatry consciousness among survivors, to demand anything less would represents a sellout.

    We don’t want to appropriate the Black struggle, but to help advance it by exposing how — just as the initial role of the police was catching escaped slaves — psychiatry and the entire eugenics movement has been and continues to be an enforcement tool for white supremacy and capitalist exploitation.

    “Mental health workers” who support the above demands should make their positions clear, or else get off the bus.

  • Bonnie called this America-centrism.

    White liberals who support capitalism and psychiatry can only confuse the issues and mislead people.

    Apparently abolitionists will need to approach BLM and warn them about this sort of opportunism, and to not to be sucked in to any “mental health movement.” And that the only solution is to ABOLISH PSYCHIATRY.

    When we talk here about “defunding” it should be made clear that we are talking about psychiatry itself.

  • What socialist system would you point to that has ever abolished police?

    There is a need for police in any state, in fact that’s what defines the state, which is an organization of violence. Very interested in your alternative solution.

    Psychiatry is another question, I don’t think Marx ever mentioned it in the context of revolutionary society (Though I’m willing to be corrected.)

  • Hyperthyroid. She just boycotted me & her food for days after I gave her the standard prescribed poison for 2 weeks, and is just starting to perk up and eat after 5 days off the “medication.” This kind of thing happens with 20% of the cats who take it. So I need a plan B and maybe C asap. She’s always been resilient, spent years on the street and I think she knows instinctively to run & hide from this shit. Then she started hiding from being fed, and from me. Very traumatizing.

    This is currently my top priority btw, period.

    I remember Boans talking about his partner, but I didn’t ask for details and didn’t realize.

  • Thanks Noel.

    From the 4th Annual Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression, held at Tufts University in 1976:

    “We oppose the PSYCHIATRIC SYSTEM because… it is an extra-legal, parallel police force which suppresses cultural and political dissidence.”

    Accordingly I hope everyone reading will seize the opportunity to identify psychiatry as part of the police and not part of the solution. And to help spark a spontaneous grassroots campaign to DEFUND PSYCHIATRY. This is the time to confront “progressives” about their contradictions vis. a vis. psychiatric oppression. Repeat the slogan DEFUND PSYCHIATRY as a matter of course, and be prepared to defend it when challenged.

    Maybe people could start by using DEFUND PSYCHIATRY (or a variation) as the automatic signature/sign-off quote on their outgoing emails.

  • Non-survivors who don’t believe stories on MIA are likely guilty of mentalism/sanism (i.e. bigotry). Like white people who long dismissed the existence of police brutality without “proof” (some of whom still dismiss it with clear videotaped evidence). People will find a way to dismiss anything they don’t want to believe. This seems like playing to the lowest common denominator. I don’t see why policies should be based on how they might react. Not that I’m emotionally involved in this one way or the other.

    An historical note may be in order, however. If anyone ever comes upon archival editions of Madness Network News, first of all let me know. Then note the articles written by “Swan,” “Arrow” and other key activists who wrote under pseudonyms, even in the late 70’s.

    All you can do is tell the truth. You can’t coax, seduce, flatter or trick people into accepting it, that’s for them to work out.

    I must say I’m pleasantly surprised that this is resonating with so many people, it seemed to come out of the blue.

  • It’s a discussion I’ll opt out of, I think the issues have been clear for some time, and it’s a problem AP survivors have been aware of for awhile. On the other hand how MIA conducts its business is not our priority. But it is a bit tone deaf not to recognize that given the inherent danger in anyone speaking out against this system, survivors speaking out against and exposing psychiatry — especially when it’s done effectively and articulately — are even more vulnerable. This is something to be understood and not argued about.

  • Furies, you could work on being a bit more clear, as it seems that you I and Richard are on the same page for the most part. What do you think Richard or I don’t get? We are mainly objecting to the same “woke” attitudes as you, as have others, so please clarify.

    Whether you call it PC, woke or whatever, dismissing or talking down to people as “deplorables” defeats the goal of changing racist attitudes, and makes those one is supposedly trying to educate feel attacked, and hence defensive (especially if it is done by white people). Some will even react by concluding that the issue of racism is overblown, rather than being drawn into an examination of how it devalues ALL our lives.

    Anyway Furies hope you’re still silently reading. Your concerns are on target.

  • There is no acceptable justification for ANY rules regarding how survivors identify themselves; it’s a matter if principle so there should be no “half”-measures either. I can’t imagine how someone’s legal name could possibly be relevant to a discussion of substance unless they were being specifically featured as a “celebrity.”

  • I’m not sure how this is different in principle from all the articles about diagnosing Trump, or myriad other articles which uphold the medical model. Not that it isn’t worth mentioning.

    However all the cool kids are talking about extending the “defund” theme to “DEFUND PSYCHIATRY!” as well. Feel free to promulgate this. The mental patients liberation movement identified psychiatry as a parallel police force as far back as 1976. So this is not appropriation, just attention to detail.

  • FWIW the term “political correctness” has been abused for years. It started out without the quotes and simply meant what it sounded like it meant, and generally was used by left leaning people to describe what they considered an accurate analysis of something. It was then appropriated by George Bush I and since then has been used as a term of ridicule against progressives.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to be politically correct, or mathematically correct, or scientifically correct. Due to an overemphasis on language alone the term gradually became grist for parody. But obsessing on language is NOT politically correct in many circumstances, it sometimes distracts from what needs to be communicated. So the term has a literal meaning and a common meaning, and always creates more heat or smoke than light.

  • @Richard Nothing here I would take issue with. It’s just a question of terminology, and any inference by anyone that I equate “reformist” with “immoral” is just that, and I don’t believe it is justified by anything I posted.

    The irony about all this emotionalism over the term “reformist” is that I’m about the only one here who has NOT been demanding that MIA change its editorial policies, its staff makeup, etc. My concerns have been strictly semantic/linguistic.

  • Also I’m not sure I’m down with the concept of primary or secondary or tertiary emotions, I think they’re all there all the time and the focus just changes. I believe the emphasis on the individual “working on” his or her attitude or perspective in the face of objective (and collective) oppression without changing the material underpinnings of such is inevitably futile, and that there is no particular formula for navigating the storm of end-stage capitalism. It’s basically “whatever gets you through the night.”

  • FYI I don’t want anyone to misconstrue me as denying that white privilege is real, my concerns are more what people do with that understanding, and how it should be used as a component in creating change.

    It would be taking the analogy of racism and psychiatric oppression too literally to insist that anti-racist sites promote anti-psychiatry as a matter of course, though in due time they might anyway once the function of psychiatry is better understood.

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

    My other suggestion was to republish it and examine it paragraph by paragraph, like we’re in a giant classroom.

  • Oldhead regularly expresses his disdain for me and MIA, and yet here he is, a regular presence in the commenting section.

    WHOA! This is incredibly insulting and hurtful, not to mention disingenuous. And I had been telling people we have a cordial relationship even though we disagree on some things. I have also been telling people that I have no reason to argue with you (which I don’t) and that I don’t think you have any interest in arguing with me. In short I have been defending you and your right to run MIA as you see fit. Now I read this. Very disappointing.

    I don’t post here for personal reasons, if I did I’d be out at this point. I challenge you to find ONE example of me “expressing disdain” for you on MIA.

  • Bob,

    Since I have been dragged into this (I sure didn’t start it):

    We have never had in our stated mission the word “reform.” From the start, MIA was a forum for “rethinking” psychiatry, which opens up many possibilities, and we have always provided a platform for writers who argue for abolition. Think of Bonnie Burstow, for example, who wrote here often. We mourned her loss when she passed. I should note that I also offered Oldhead that he could write a blog post, but he would have to use his real name. He declined.

    And I urge all my comrades to decline to out themselves as a condition of publication, as this is an inappropriate demand which poses a safety & security risk for many of us. I never asked to write for MIA so I don’t know where that came from. I feel like I’m getting grenades lobbed at me.

    In fact this demonstrates why survivors must control our own movement.

    Bonnie Burstow told me that initially MIA would not let her use the word “anti-psychiatry” when she wrote. (I should also point out that Bonnie’s academic anti-psychiatry is one “model” of AP, there are more activist versions too.)

    MIA’s slogan is “A Community for Remaking Mental Health.” “Remake” is synonymous with “reform.”

    Bottom line, I didn’t criticize or object to any of the above. I was simply establishing existing parameters for the purpose of discussion.

    BTW I have made no comments about you & race, but unless i point this out I’ll likely find myself in the middle of that somehow too.

    Anyway have a good week, sorry you felt it necessary to post.

  • This is unnecessary Richard. Whether I agree with RW or not isn’t the issue, nor is how many good things he has done, so I won’t be repeatedly diverted or cornered into being defensive. I’m disappointed to see you playing into this emotionalism. No one is attacking RW so he needs no defense.

    RW’s inner calculations and personal strategies are not my concern or my business. I mentioned the MIA “line” in passing, in response to a previous point made by meremortal, a reference which Steve inaccurately “corrected,” and that’s what I was responding to, and how this all started. RW personally had nothing to do with it.

    Since you force the issue, a) regardless of its strategic underpinnings the editorial line of MIA IS objectively reformist, as reflected by the slogan “A Community for Remaking Mental Heallth.” (“Remaking” is basically synonymous with “reforming.”); and b) regardless of the real or purported strategic rationale which may underlie it, the MIA editorial line DOES reject Anti-psychiatry based upon the reasoning that being openly AP is outmoded, inconvenient or whatever.

    I’m not criticizing or objecting to MIA’S/RW’s positions. I’m simply establishing what they are, so that we can have a discussion based on mutually agreed upon definitions.

    I hope no one is trying to drag RW into this personally, as none of this weird back & forth is based on anything new he has said or done, but on people’s projections and assumptions.

  • (Since I may have some people bristling in this thread anyway I might as well make it a perfect storm.)

    I wasn’t going to bring this up again, but since Richard did I will back him up, even though we have some serious disagreements about other things, because I know he must still harbor some remaining anger. I’m sorry that you haven’t yet realized that the “Racist Movement” blog was a colossal mistake, replete with some liberal racism of your own, and was very insulting to some longtime “ugly” commenters, including Richard, whom you basically dismissed as an old racist white guy who doesn’t get it. It was pretty ageist. I don’t understand why, as a fairly well off white woman you presume to lecture others about their “privilege,” as you seem to see the concept of privilege not as a way of understaanding social inequities but as a a battering ram to demonstrate your own “wokeness.” You do not understand the feelings and perceptions of Black people (other than perhaps those in your immediate circle) well enough to be putting yourself in this role. By your own logic such columns should be written by politically aware Black people (and I don’t mean people with Black faces who somehow have been introduced to the MIA milieu).

    I encourage Richard to re-post the final comment he tried to slip under the wire before you closed that comments section, which you refused to accept. I still have a copy if Richard doesn’t, if he doesn’t mind me posting it. It would maybe help shed light on some of the confusion and damaged feelings that resulted from that article. (In fact if the article is still to be archived on MIA it might be a good idea to re-publish it and examine it paragraph by paragraph.) It’s important for white people to understand racism, both what it is and what it isn’t.

    Anyway it would have been dishonest to not say this. I would encourage you to consider removing the “Racist Movement” blog from MIA, rather than it be a source of continuing tension. Not the sort of tension which results from hearing uncomfortable truths, but that which results from being talked down to.

    Otherwise I’ll repeat the usual: a) what is the “system” you refer to which drives “systemic” racism; and b) how can you not include capitalism as being inextricably intertwined with racism?

  • I’m not saying there is necessarily a place for POC in MIA, though some have nonetheless graced it with their presence. The “critical psychiatry” approach is not based on an understanding of psychiatry as a tool of repression, and as such has little to offer Black people in an already oppressive system, or anyone else. If this is truly about listening to people of color, pay attention to what meremortal just said about this:

    black people who encounter psychiatry get the hell away from it as soon as they are able, and try to avoid it, which demonstrates that they see little to no value there. White people, on the other hand, are more likely to take on the illness label as an identity, continue on with drugs and therapy, and in general continue to demonstrate that they see something worth “reforming”

    Since “reform” is MIA’s primary goal I think this explains a lot. Although it is still highly disturbing the way “community activists” badger people about “mental health” in “public service” announcements and the like.

  • This is not true Steve. RW has taken explicit positions against anti-psychiatry. His position is essentially that since “people” see the notion of anti-psychiatry as unscientific and conflate it with Scientology we should reject it. (If I had permission to quote his personal emails to me I could document this.) A review of RW’s public MIA comments on the topic would likely also bear this out.

  • Anomie — Though I get your point and it’s a valid one, simply putting Black faces on MIA would be counterproductive if they support critical psychiatry/”reform” arguments which would objectively harm the interests of Back people. This would be tokenism, which in my view MIA has already has issues with. I think to artificially solicit Black support for the MIA agenda would present a distorted picture of how Black people actually view psychiatry. If MIA adequately addressed racism in a non-racist way a Black audience would likely start to materialize.

  • It is far too common that those who get topics like systemic racism simply have no clue about psychiatric oppression, and think the best answer is to incarcerate people in psychiatric facilities.

    It’s more than far too common, it’s the norm. Even more disgusting, yet necessary to recognize, is that most of these people consider themselves “leftists” (though I don’t). In the late 70’s local leftist groups in San Francisco, L.A., New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other cities supported us and endorsed our demonstrations. Getting them to do that today is going to take an enormous amount of struggle since currently (always with exceptions) young people, while highly motivated to do the right thing, are politically clueless and in the grip of a “woke” mentality which is mistaken for consciousness and strategy.

    It is also necessary to recognize that capitalism and racism exist in tandem, and to demand the end of racism without taking simultaneous measures to defeat capitalism is pretty much a way for white people to wash their hands of the situation and say “oh well, we tried.” As meremortal described in her quote above, defeating systemic racism is not primarily a matter of “feelings,” but of dismantling the material structures which allow white supremacist thought and practice to flourish.

  • Protecting people from criminality is not the purpose or function of psychiatry, I don’t know what you mean. (It may happen occasionally, more in spite of than because of anything specific to psychiatry; maybe you could be more specific yourself.)

    I think I remember that Murphy used to keep a photo of Sandy Hook victims on his desk to inspire him as he pushed the infamous Murphy Bill. Its purpose was to “protect” people from us, and this is the mentalist root concern of most “mental health” legislation.

    Both police forces and psychiatry are extensions of slavery: Police forces originated for the purpose of rounding up escaped slaves, and this function was augmented by psychiatry with its “diagnoses” of drapetomania (to be cured by severe beatings).

    So yes, BOTH police and psychiatry are charged with pounding round pegs into square holes. Practically speaking, for many of us psychiatry IS the police, which needs to be taken into account in these “defunding” discussions.

  • “Protests” are in at least in one sense demonstrations of powerlessness since you are “protesting” to whomever is in charge, rather than being in charge yourself.

    All violent expressions at this point pretty much play into the hands of the system, since violence is what they’re best at, it’s their turf.. If people think they defeated the police they should get some better weed; in many cities the cops totally stood down. (Not that this isn’t a fairly significant development in itself.) However, as usual, too many people, some with unsolicited assistance, are still targeting their own communities and ignoring that, without a pre- organized democratic revolutionary government to replace it with, if the system falls it will fall on us.

  • And as been noted since the 1984 Toronto Principles and actually as far back as 1976, psychiatry constitutes a “parallel police force.”

    The only difference is — read my words carefully here — there is an actual need being addressed by the existence of police, however poorly it is being done — i.e. the need to physically protect the people from criminal aggression. In the case of psychiatry, the goal is to mold and “adjust” the citizenry to the needs of the system, or the prevailing culture, not to protect them from anything.

  • Sera,

    Here’s hopes for a spirited and reasonably intelligent discussion, I guess you knew what you were getting into.

    I don’t yet have a comment specific to this article, but would like to pick up where we left off in your “Roseanne” article regarding what “systemic racism” is and isn’t. And, when we are talking about systemic racism, how to identify exactly what that system is (hint: it is almost invariably capitalism).

    As for “what’s happening out there,” for many at MIA it’s not really “out there” at all. I’m not going to get overly personal or specific regarding the whole “Floyd protest” scene; suffice it to say I see many agendas, some of them competing, some of them illusory, some of them opportunistic. Maybe even a couple that might be hopeful and worth looking at. I salute BLM at least so far for not allowing its name & slogan to be expropriated.

    But back to systemic racism. Then I have a proposal.

    Here’s what longtime MIA reader/poster meremortal had to say about systemic racism following the Roseanne article. I hope she won’t mind me resurrecting it as I think it’s pretty eloquent:

    Liberals constantly make the mistake of thinking that racism is about the personal attitudes & likes/dislikes of individuals. Those things are part of the landscape of living in a profoundly racist society, but they aren’t what systemic and institutional racism is.

    Those with political views further to the left have identified this misplaced focus on changing individuals’ personal views and attitudes. We call it “idealism.” Larger structures than individuals create, shape, and reinforce racist attitudes in individuals as they go about their primary objective: to build and maintain a system that extracts material resources from some (POC) and directs them to others (whites).

    Trying to change this root problem, which is material, by going nuts over the attitudes and random twatter that comes out of individuals’ mouths is simply an exercise in futility…a lesson white liberals desperately need to learn right now is that not everyone with great intentions and deeply-held values about equality and anti-racism shares their political views. There is diversity and complexity here, among people who are all staunchly anti-racist.

    I would like to segue here. (Btw I think everything I’m posting here is relevant to a George Floyd/systemic racism/systemic psychiatry discussion, and should not be seen as a diversion in any sense.)

    A group of survivors (including a number of MIA’s “usual suspects”), has just completed a set of anti-psychiatry principles, which we are starting to promulgate here & elsewhere. At least three are relevant to this discussion, which include one of our demands:

    — Psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine.

    — Psychiatry is a tool of social control which enforces conformity to the prevailing social order;

    One of out two immediate demands/goals is:

    We demand an end to all state support for psychiatry, including but not limited to the use of psychiatric testimony in legal proceedings; psychiatric screenings in schools, prisons, and workplaces; licensing; and the use of public monies to support psychiatric programs or research.

    In others words — as it just dawned on me recently — DEFUND PSYCHIATRY!

    We hear so-called “community activists” yelling about taking $ from the police and giving it to “mental health.” However if you accept our evidence-based analysis, psychiatry/”mental health” IS the police in a more convoluted form. To be consistent those of us who believe we should be “defunding the police” should as a matter of course include psychiatry as part of this “defunding,” whatever form it ends up taking.

    Do I hear support for this? Why or why not?

  • DEFUND “MENTAL HEALTH”!!!

    Might as well introduce the concept here. If people are seriously discussing “defunding”/eliminating the police we need to be consistent and, since the psychiatric system is an institution of law enforcement/social control, demand that psychiatry be defunded as part of this.

    Instead I’m hearing “community activists” demanding to defund the (official) police while screaming for “more money for ‘mental health'” in the same breath. We need to educate the wannabe left to the fact that they are one and the same.

  • It just seems to me the odds of getting psychiatry abolished would be increased if the masses/general public are onboard and most people don’t know how psychiatry operates and trust them – until they are harmed or someone close to them is.

    Which is why it is important to educate people about psychiatry and disillusion them about “improving” it. This starts with educating ourselves.

  • I still see a “reefer madness” mentality at work here. Some whiskey is 100 proof, beer is like 15 proof. It’s all alcohol, and the user determines his/her own preference. I might feel compelled to add something about young people but it would be a bit disingenuous and hypocritical considering I started smoking at 16 and most would see me as still going strong. (Though I do have my days.) Like garlic, marijuana can be a legitimate medicine, but that’s not all it is. What it is absolutely NOT is a “medicine” for fake diseases, i.e. “mental illness.”

    Still I’d hate to see this thread get diverted into a “pot” discussion, there are more immediate issues relating to psychiatry vs. anti-psychiatry which need to be addressed.

  • Rosalee — Some friendly analysis because it is key:

    The initially reasonable-sounding proposition that something is needed to “replace” psychiatry before we abolish it is based on acceptance of the view that psychiatry performs a service, albeit poorly. This is, frankly, erroneous.

    Here are two more of our scientific, evidence-based anti-psychiatry principles 🙂 :

    — Psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine.

    — Psychiatry is a tool of social control which enforces conformity to the prevailing social order.

    People will continue to suffer under this system with or without psychiatry; this is a separate though intertwined reality. But no one would have asked what the “alternative” to the Holocaust would have been.

    (This is the “short version.” But I encourage you to examine the two above principles.)

  • If you take your quite sound logic to its ultimate conclusion you should eventually come to the realization that there is no reason for psychiatry to exist at all. There is nothing provided by psychiatry which could be considered even ostensibly helpful that cannot be provided by other means, sans the fraudulent trappings of medicine and science. If psychiatry had no power to exert its will on the unwilling the opinions of psychiatrists would be irrelevant, and that’s what we should focus on achieving.

  • I would have to agree since it’s been mentioned that some designer pot (which I wonder whether could even grow in the wild) can lead to some uncomfortable states of anxiety, etc. Definitely raises your pulse for a little while, etc. I think eventually people get accommodated to this too, or compensate by ingesting less (for example). But no argument that there are very drowsy and very peppy strains.

  • Paula, though for some reason I only recently noticed, I want to applaud your current laser focus on the logical and semantic absurdities of the “mental illness” concept, and related terms. People don’t often seem to understand when I say the argument about whether “mental illness” exists should not be seen as medical but one of linguistics. No “research” is needed to understand the meaning of metaphor, simply a decent textbook and/or a professor of language. Or logic.

    The survivor group I’ve been mentioning recently completed a set of basic anti-psychiatry principles, one of which is “mental illness” is a semantically absurd concept which falsely conflates the abstraction known as “mind” with the physical brain to mislead people into believing they have literal diseases.

  • Psychiatrists have NO BUSINESS trying to organize survivors. This is an offensive and oppressive concept. This article reinforces this arrogant professionalism and encourages survivors to see themselves as needing “expert” approval of our efforts to rid the Earth of the scourge of psychiatry.

    Like I mentioned before, there is finally some legitimate survivor controlled anti-psychiatry organizing taking place. Anti-psychiatry survivors who want more information should just ask, as most of us read MIA. Our final principle is:

    We assert — and plan to exercise — our right as an oppressed class to self-determination.

  • ‘Why don’t we discuss the larger market and systemic forces which have made psychotherapy so hard to access?’

    How’d I miss that?

    “Psychotherapy” is not value-free and does not describe a clearly defined belief system. So it’s harder to denounce across the board than psychiatry per se. But to be minimally credible a “psychotherapist” must separate what they he/she does from the concept of “mental health,” and psychiatry period, and specify what sort of voluntary drug free counseling they intend to offer (and to what end), their political and philosophical perspectives, etc. Even better would be to drop the “therapy” term altogether as ambiguous and confusing.

  • While this may sound good on its face, “research” based on false premises — in this case that “depression” is a real “condition” to be “treated,” rather than a reaction to one’s life circumstances — is still flawed and invalid, even if the “conclusion” fits in with someone’s anti-ECT talking points.

  • Maybe Durst would find comfort in the knowledge that he is simply another “consumer of mental health services,” and not really staring into the bowels of the gulag.

    A serious project for the anti-psych movement and its allies to work on would be a psychiatric inmates’ defense project to raise $ for legal defense while at the same time exposing the inherent fraudulence and oppressiveness of psychiatry. Cases would be defended not to “get the best deal” but to demonstrate the underlying injustice of the whole setup.

    This is something that could attract foundation $ if there were some competent people working to secure such.

  • As to the actual content of this story:

    a) “Psychosis” is a fallacious concept, though I have no doubt that you have experienced what some refer to as “extreme states.”

    b) Lithium fucks up your thyroid and kidneys and kills you (as our recently-departed anti-psychiatry comrade Julie Greene would attest to if she could). The process of being poisoned no doubt has emotional and “consciousness-altering” ramifications as well.

    Also — and I’ve been having this “debate” elsewhere — I have issues with even referring to cannabis as a “drug.” I remember the chant from smoke-ins in the 80’s: “Pot is an herb, Reagan is a dope!” So it’s a matter of definition. In any case, if something doesn’t agree with you don’t do it. We are all in different realities, even if they have points of intersection.

  • PS We are also happy to work with all AP survivors and groups of survivors who uphold the basic principle that PSYCHIATRY CANNOT BE REFORMED AND MUST BE ABOLISHED, in accordance with principles adopted at the 1982 International Conference On Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression in Toronto. We extend solidarity to all those who have shed the oppressive labels of “madness” and “mental illness,” and who will do so in the future.

  • No we are NOT “all mad.” This is hate speech directed at ourselves. Being slapped with a psychiatric label should not be countered by slapping ourselves with an equally offensive one.

    However there IS some good news:

    I am happy to announce that, FINALLY, a sizeable group of ANTI-PSYCHIATRY survivors, including a number of longtime MIA commenters, have organized ourselves into the beginnings of a viable anti-psychiatry organization. We have spent over a year developing a set of guiding principles and will soon be expanding our membership beyond the core group. We also are working on developing a network of allies and some initial AP projects. I and others will be speaking on this more & more over the coming days and will let you know how to contact us for more info. So be excited!