Saturday, April 21, 2018

Comments by oldhead

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  • group protests may help to validate one’s personal experiences with victimization and create a shared sense of empowerment in advocating for social change.”

    This kind of thinking is the problem with everything. To live under capitalism is to live in a constant state of victimization, which is not reserved for particular individuals or groups; it’s simply a matter of degree. “Empowerment” is meaningless unless enforced with action.

    Group protests as therapy? Activism in the form of Facebook clicks? I think it was Mao who said “Revolution is not a garden party.”

    “Social change” is not accomplished by “advocacy” (i.e. preaching) but through mass struggle.

  • Read my response to AP. Self-protection is of course a priority. As Marley said, “he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.” It’s a matter of knowing when to charge and when to retreat.

    One thing I know about the system and its denizens is that they feed on fear. They also know they live in castles made of sand, and will try their best to distract us from recognizing and acting on this, which is their great (and legitimate) fear.

  • Part of the solution is to have backup in place to deal with any attempts to psychiatrize you, if you really think they would do that simply for objecting to something. You have engaged in some self-protection already by putting a public spotlight on yourself as an articulate anti-psych spokesperson, as they would expose themselves too clearly by exercising such heavy-handed retaliation when so many people are watching. Having a lawyer or two waiting in the wings would be a great help too. The people they disappear are those with no one to notice or speak for them.

  • the left believes itself to be striking a blow against racism and class privilege by throwing materially comfortable children under the bus

    “The left” is not a descriptive term these days, as it is applied to a myriad of varying and conflicting schools of thought. So in order to judge the accuracy of this statement you would need to provide some concrete examples of what you mean. Still, the hypocrisy of some you may consider “leftists” does not negate the validity of class analysis and class struggle in general.

  • I would suggest patronizing local independent pharmacists rather than robot corporations like CVS. This should be a solution for some, unless, maybe, whoever pays for the drugs — Medicare, Medicaid, etc. — also notices when they aren’t picked up.

    If I had this problem I would probably pick up my “maintenance” prescriptions even — especially — if I didn’t plan to use them.

  • Just saw this:

    I believe Capitalism is a useful tool for producing food/clothes/etc. to provide for everybody including the few who honestly can’t work.

    Marx would have agreed with you that this was initially a positive function of capitalism, i.e. providing the infrastructure for feeding and housing the planet; however now that phase of history has been fulfilled, and people are in a position to exert collective power over how goods and services are produced and distributed.

  • My understanding is that Autism is currently defined as a psychiatric condition diagnosed by psychiatrists.

    That’s what I’m trying to clarify — is it? My first experience with the term was probably 40 years ago when it was associated with “retardation,” which was seen as congenital brain damage. Now it seems more & more like a behavioral label, and so it is not clear whether there is a consistent definition at all.

  • That’s closer to making some coherent sense. The question is, is “autism” a psychiatric label for a non-existent disease or a genuine neurological issue? This is key as to whether this is an anti-psychiatry issue. As for the drugging aspect, of which psych drugs are the biggest problem, allopathic medicine loads people up with all sorts of unnecessary drugs, so this is not a problem limited to psychiatry, although with psychiatry there is also the lack of an actual disease.

  • Anyone who sees MIA as an anti-psychiatry forum is mistaken. Once again, “autism” is not defined, and it is unclear whether writers critical of the article consider it a “neuro” (i.e. physical) issue. If they do, then there would be no natural alliance between the AP movement and the “autism” movement. The ongoing confusion here is the product of words and labels being used which seem to have no consistent meaning.

  • Pretty much it in a nutshell. The whole unchallenged premise is that there is a “thing” which, even if it is not really “mental illness,” is nonetheless a categorizable and definable something — rather than accepting that people have different stories, and express the uniqueness of their existence in ways that may seem similar to others on the surface but have literally infinite origins.

    While we’re on the subject, do you have any thoughts on the concept of “neuropsychiatry” — does it imply simply psychological support for people with brain issues, or something more pretentious?

  • I always find these arguments ironic, especially when people declaim such studies as “unscientific.”

    To be clear — any “study” of “mental disease” is inherently unscientific from the start, as minds are intangible and incapable of being “diseased” in any but a metaphorical sense. Watever “conclusions” are reached are secondary and largely irrelevant.

  • Neurodiversity is the diversity of human brains and minds.

    Minds are abstract and non-physical; brains are physical organs; as far as this discussions goes, ne’er the twain shall meet. So this makes little linguistic sense, any more than “mental illness.”

    Anyway, I can see many of the contradictions you point out in the article. But the problem to me is that neither “neurodiversity” nor “autism” explain much to me, and much of what I believe I do understand is an attempt to conflate “madness” with brain dysfunction. If I’m wrong please elucidate.

  • My credibility is under threat for being published here, as is the whole field of Mad Studies

    “Mad Studies” has little credibility in many people’s view anyway, as it is based on the imposed label of “madness,” which is mentalist (or sanist).

    The contradiction here for me is that “neurodiversity” seems to be based in physical, neurological conditions, and/or in equating these with “madness.” As such, if true, such a discussion does not belong on MIA, as it deals with neurological issues, and as we know, psychiatry deals only with fake diseases and “conditions” of abstractions such as the mind — not the brain. So again, am I missing something?

  • The only thing that feels worth pointing out in response is that you seem to be falling into the trap of differentiating between different “kinds” of psychiatry, thus setting up a false and diversionary reformist argument about which form of psychiatry is “better,” rather than how to get the entire house of cards toppling asap.

    As for the rest I think you’re projecting a lot of your own assumptions onto what I actually wrote.

  • “Part 2”

    The fact that most advanced revolutionary groups on the Left do not currently understand our movement (against psychiatry and the Medical Model) should not deter us in the least in pressing forward with advanced demands and organized resistance against this system.

    Again, not something I would disagree with. However it is also the responsibility — maybe even the primary responsibility — of anti-psych professionals and others who identify or associate with the organize Left to put anti-psychiatry on the movement radar and make it part of the collective agenda. (This includes lefties who are on psych drugs themselves and still in denial/in the closet.) “Revolutionary minded people” should not need to be “forced” to confront and understand psychiatric oppression, they should be eager to include the 25% who are in psychiatric “care” in their constituency.

    No need to say “psychiatry and the medical model” btw; they are the same thing.

    What I meant about the last few points is that they are less specific and more or less an enunciation of basic principles for many with a class analysis, which is the primary “audience” for this article. (Including your song was a good way of drawing in others btw.) Referring to “Long Marches” will resonate with such people more than it will with others. I wasn’t making a criticism of points 8-10. If I have anything to add it would just be that most people do not talk in the language of political struggle, so “broadening” the struggle must include talking to people in their own terms unless/until they are open to a more radical perspective.

    You make the implication that “we” should wait our turn, using the early rejection of the gay rights struggle by the left as an example of how people will eventually “catch on” — but in historical fact, Gay Liberation preceded Mental Patients Liberation by no more than five years. In the 50 years since then gay rights has become a no-brainer, but the anti-psychiatry movement had been almost non-existent from 1985 till recently (though Mindfreedom and some of its various incarnations did “carry the torch”). So this absence of AP activity in the left at large needs to be examined more deeply.

    The burnout you describe at MIA may be a little less severe in the anti-psychiatry world at large. There is a tendency to see MIA as the “nerve center” of AP despite its openly self-identification as a “critical psychiatry” site. In a way this says something about the growing mass anti-psychiatry push, as such conversations seem to guide much of the commentary here nonetheless. However not everyone who is interested in anti-psych activism is similarly interested in banging their head against the wall at MIA, so what happens here should not be seen as a gauge of what’s happening everywhere.

    Time to go. Richard, thanks for the time & energy you put into this latest project. I’ll finally listen to the song next — but not as a critic!

  • People should understand that as far as the basics go, Richard and I have always shared the realization that the states of misery and alienation misrepresented by the psychiatric state as “mental illness” are the inevitable consequences of capitalist/corporate domination and its reduction of all human activity to the rule of the bottom line; and that in the end the only way such human suffering will ease is via eliminating the system which causes it — not by “correcting” our attitudes or drugging away our emotions. So when I challenge parts of what Richard writes, as I often do, it should be considered an “in-house” discussion between leftists who share basic understandings but differ on details. I am never disputing the basic framework of class analysis or disagreeing that capitalism must go as the first order of business in transforming society and humanity.

    So now that we have that straight,

    this system needs psychiatry and will only tolerate resistance to this “mental health” system up to a certain point

    When you say that the system “will only tolerate resistance up to a certain point” what you omit is the subjective factor of how effective that resistance is, and that what we need to focus on is building a resistance capable of overwhelming their ability to suppress us, whether they find this intolerable or not. I doubt you’re really claiming that the system has absolute power to squelch resistance, otherwise organizing would be pointless. So while we shouldn’t foolishly overestimate our own power, we shouldn’t dismiss it either, or make overly negative projections about our capacity to prevail.

    My use of the phrase “alternative support systems” is only stressing that there is much value to those people working to find ways to help people in psychological stress while still living within an oppressive status quo.

    And I don’t dispute that. My point is — please reread it — that this support should not be described as “alternatives to psychiatry.” It is simply people being human, and using the phrase “alternatives to psychiatry” has at least the subliminal effect of legitimizing psychiatry. Think about it. (This is not directed specifically to you, it’s something I’ve been emphasizing more and more.)

    People “working to find ways to help people in psychological stress while still living within an oppressive status quo” still need to understand that they are dealing with emotional and other life emergencies caused by living in a totalitarian culture, and that the only real and lasting solution will be to end the situation which engenders such suffering.

    the future of psychiatry and the Medical Model is inseparably bound to the future of the entire capitalist system

    Yes and no. The “inseparably” is a little too defeatist sounding, from both ends, and in fact we just don’t know. Capitalism depends on psychiatry and vice versa. On the other hand I don’t exclude the possibility that psychiatry could be defeated first; in fact it could be the crucial link in the final chain that needs to be broken in order to finally send capitalism to the proverbial dustbin of history. Some also claim that hunger cannot be solved under capitalism; in both cases I think we’re dealing primarily with speculation.

    We also may have to deal with psychiatry being used by an emerging socialist state to suppress legitimate dissent as “counterrevolutionary.” A major contradiction at the moment is that, from where I’m looking psychiatry, is also effectively infecting and reinforcing other realms of the faux left, such as “intersectionality” and identity politics (as differentiated from self-determination). Anti-psychiatry is being portrayed as “anti-science.” As such I believe psychiatry currently has more support from self-described “progressives” (i.e. liberals) than among right and libertarian leaning folk. So that throws a wrench into the works of a purely left-focused analysis. In fact, even many who identify as conservatives are working people oppressed by capitalism, and ideology is often largely moot in such circumstances.

    (To be continued.)

  • People constantly refer to “communist” countries. There has never been a communist country, the highest that has been achieved so far has been a nascent socialism in some places for short periods, which has then been overthrown, most significantly in the USSR and China. As soon as a country has overthrown bourgeois rule it has been targeted by the entire capitalist world and the revolution subverted. This is why international solidarity among oppressed populations is vital.

  • Ah, bullet points! They make things so much easier to pick apart and discuss.

    I think I would pretty much uphold the essence of most of these points, though I would probably attribute different significance to some of them and draw somewhat different conclusions. Here are some thoughts about particulars (I haven’t read any other comments yet):

    it does not fundamentally matter how much we expose the faulty science and oppressive forms of treatment and build resistance in numbers, psychiatry and their medical model has become TOO BIG AND IMPORTANT to be allowed to fail in the current order of things.

    The way this is stated seems to imply some sort of inherent impotence on the part of the people. “Allowed” to fail? We have to make sure it’s not up to them. Exposing the truth constantly matters a great deal, as it is a prerequisite for acting on it when we reach critical mass.

    None of my above conclusions mean we should not build struggle and resistance AND/OR alternative forms of support systems for those who need help.

    I hope you will recognize that talking about “alternative systems of support” implies that psychiatry is a system of support, in fact that it is the prevailing standard of “support” and we’re just looking for better ones. But you acknowledge the falsity of this assumption when you say Psychiatry…has the political and police power in society that only the executive branch of government can rival (a good point). So which is it? Is psychiatry a failed system of support or a police force? How this is analyzed determines the strategic and tactical approaches we take towards dismantling it.

    But at least this strategic approach represents a more realistic and truer picture of what we are actually up against

    More realistic than what?

    The last few points sound a little more idealistic and abstract than the others. I would say that, for those who have a viable analysis of psychiatry as cultural imperialism and a tool of capitalism, this can only help in forming a winning strategy for defeating it. But just as every last Bolshevik didn’t need an academic understanding of Marxism to recognize the enemy, it is still possible for people to fight psychiatry effectively solely from a civil/human rights perspective; we need to “attack” on all fronts and on all levels.

    I will stress again, primarily to Richard, that a big problem with insisting that the anti-psych movement adopt an advanced and sophisticated revolutionary analysis is that nowhere on the spectrum of left thought, including any organization or party that I’m aware of, is there any sort of anti-psychiatry analysis WHATEVER — the “revolutionaries” are talking about “more money for mental health,” “stigma” and dismissing anti-psychiatry as “junk science.” So how do we deal with that? Right now if survivors tried to “join the revolution” there would lots of half-ass “revolutionaries” who would boot us out on our asses along with climate change deniers and the like.

    Now I guess I’ll see what others have to say.

  • Sounds like you know what you’re talking about. I was sure I’d heard him identified as the developer of Linux, likely on RT. Anyway what he says about free software seems to make sense to this non-geek. I’m not promoting Stallman specifically here, but this page is from his personal site re: Facebook (he breaks down other platforms too, there are also links to these).

  • Good way of putting it. The “neuro” screams “brain” so what are we talking about? It almost sounds like a “PC” term for brain damage or deficiency (whether or not this is the case), sort of like “differently abled,” in a slippery way associating brain dysfunction with “mental illness” on one hand but on another level alluding to identity politics and “diverse lifestyles.” All this can easily have the reverse effect of creating “stigma” where there need not be any. So I agree, it’s quite possibly an unnecessary term.

  • Why aren’t psychiatrists that say they are different and kinder and gentler and care about us even more and say they are more knowledgeable than the mainstream psychiatrists , not demonstrating together on our behalf… using activist techniques like Code Pink used for the women’s rights cause in the white house , congress ,at APA meetings, universities, and elsewhere ?

    Hard to say — or maybe not so hard. What this points out is that ultimately we must take the lead.

  • Lawrence — Why ultimately does the exact mechanism of neurotoxic brain dysfunction matter? It’s like focusing on fission vs. fusion as they pertain to nuclear weaponry. The bottom line is that PSYCH DRUGS FUCK PEOPLE UP, regardless of whether it is possible to recover, something which seems to vary. There is no evidence to prove that those who don’t are simply the victims of their own negative projections (not that this never happens).

    What’s more immediate to me is finding a way to lift the media blackout on the homicidal effects of psych drugs. One or two well-placed signs in a “March For Our Lives” could have an immense effect. Meanwhile be sure to check out the Dr. Oz show on April 10!

  • It’s the whole basis of its false medical model.

    For one, no, the medical model came into play as soon as the concept of “mental illness” was invented.

    I don’t see which of my statements you’re responding to. Brain damage is an anatomical abnormality. Psychiatry routinely conflates the real effects of its drugs with false ideas of chemical imbalances, etc., masking the social/political nature of what’s happening.


    Just checked out the link Fred Abbe unceremoniously posted, Some interesting info.

    Neurotoxicity is the poisonous effects of harmful substances on nervous system function, and a cause of brain damage. Common symptoms can include problems with memory, concentration, learning, mental processing speed, sleep, thinking, language, as well as anxiety, depression, confusion, personality changes, fatigue, and numbness of the hands and feet.

    The substances they have tested included “Prozac, psychiatric drugs (anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, tranquilizers, sleep drugs)” and the neurotoxic conditions listed include “psychiatric-drug induced disorders (agitation, mania, psychosis, executive dysfunction, suicide, violent behavior).” Also, “The rare doctor who does have training in toxicology often does not have adequate training in diagnosing and identifying the symptoms of neurotoxicity, and may simply brush off the symptoms as being caused by a pre-existing mental disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or hypochondriasis.”

  • Laing’s The Politics of Experience is a great book, he probably wrote it after he started taking acid. I also liked Sanity, Madness & the Family, an earlier (pre-LSD?) work that while steeped in psychiatric terminology nonetheless exposed the contradictions and psychic power struggles within families that end up with one member being deigned the crazy one. Still he was not really anti-psychiatry, he just used the term to confuse conversations like this 50 years later. 🙂

    Not sure Laing took acid btw, just a guess.

  • Then they’re told this was a lie, and that in actuality their brains were fine before the drugging, but now the drugs have permanently damaged their brain chemicals and structure, suggesting once again that they’re incapable of managing their lives. So it’s the same learned hopelessness/helplessness message – that they should give up.

    Not exactly. Biologically based “mental illness” is clearly false. The jury seems to be out on the permanence of neurotoxic damage; it must be acknowledged as at least a possibility in some cases, though I personally believe the body has the information it needs to heal itself from just about anything, and that people have the ability to adapt to more than they might imagine. Also that people need to learn how to use their innate power and encourage others to do the same. I think this is what Dr. K initially was originally hoping to convey before he hopelessly sidetracked and diverted the issue to his rather specious ideas about the destructiveness of neurotoxins, whether they really are neurotoxins, etc.

    Lawrence, what “anti-psychiatrists” do you see telling people to give up, btw?

  • Back in the 60s and 70s the anti-psychiatry movement, and Americans in general, sought psychosocial explanations of human experience, one being institutionalization. But no longer.

    Where do you get your “history,” Lawrence? There was no anti-psychiatry movement in that period other than the mental patients liberation movement. The people you cite were professionals and academics, not ex-inmate activists. You never would have found them at our conferences (largely because they were not invited).

  • My blog questioned the assumption that tranquilizing drugs actually directly cause permanent neurological (brain) damage through toxicity.

    It’s one thing to question, but the only questionable aspect to me is the “permanent” part.

    There has been no evidence that these drugs directly kill brain cells, which is the actual definition of neurotoxicity

    I consider Breggin to be the expert on this, so if you believe you have conflicting info maybe you should present it to him; meanwhile I would defer to his opinion.

  • Thanks for clarifying.

    How could MIA collect data anyway when it doesn’t ask people for more than a name in order to register?

    Facebook is an entirely different matter. Hopefully the deletion craze will catch on but I doubt it since it’s basically an ego fest, and the system knows and counts on this.

  • WTF. MIA just glitched on me and erased my whole post I was working on. So I’ll never finish this tonight, as this isn’t sound-bite material. Here’s a recap of what I had begun to say regarding some of the problematic issues here, as “coldly objective” as possible:

    [Whitaker] showed that ‘mental illnesses’ aren’t chemically caused, so why suggest that their worsening when ‘treated’ is mainly chemically caused?

    First of all there aren’t any “mental illnesses,” with or without quotes, only people’s unique experience. That said, it’s not a big leap to grasp that adding neurotoxicity to any problematic situation is going to make matters worse. So while one’s existing emotional suffering may indeed worsen, the addition of brain damage to the mix represents a new, different, and more serious problem, not just a more severe version of the original.

    Why embrace and legitimize psychiatry’s medical model by joining its hunt for biological causes of human experiences?

    Searching for biological causes to sociological/politically based problems is the province of psychiatry, and absurd for sure. However organic drug-induced neurological damage is biological, and would be properly the province of medicine (and a medical model) were there a real medical solution at hand.

    Since mental illnesses are actually reactions to psychosocial issues, why not instead focus on psychosocial causes of their worsening?

    I thought you didn’t accept the notion of “mental illnesses,” Lawrence. This back & forth stuff gets confusing. At any rate, why not focus on both the neurotoxic effects of psych drugs AND on the effects of institutionalization? One doesn’t negate the other; it’s not a competition.

    BTW have “asylums”/”mental institutions” been eliminated while I wasn’t looking? One might think so from the talk of submitting to psychiatric care being “like” becoming an inmate in an “asylum.” For myself and many others no analogy is required. Plus the way this is phrased seems to ignore the element of coercion.

    Anyway that’s all the energy I have for now, probably there will be a Part 2 & maybe Part 3, as it is a separate issue as to whether or not it is oppressive to suggest that all is not lost following neurotoxicity.

  • So maybe clients who deteriorate over time aren’t really hopelessly, permanently brain-disabled.

    This is what seems to upset some people — i.e. the belief that all is not lost as a result of previous drug use. Dr. K is apparently being pummeled for encouraging hope and suggesting that the body/brain is capable of healing in time.

    Drugging is one aspect of institutionalization, but even without drugs it is a destructive force. The two certainly work together to make matters even worse. Kelmenson may understate the true destructiveness of psych drugs. But I still don’t get the anger over his suggestion that people can overcome their circumstances.

  • More with the “neurodivergence,” a term with no clear definition. Anyway,

    There are tools available that can help us in more effectively controlling for the ways in which our brain responds to psycho-social stimuli.

    Psych drugs, you mean? What do these have with self-determination, other than being one of the many harmful practices one has a right to engage in if he/she chooses? Perhaps sedation has legitimate medical functions in a truly medical situation such as organic brain dysfunction, but this is not a psychiatric matter.

  • If someone posts something advocating violence or criminal activity this can be expected with any site. There is no comparison between FB and MIA, which does not even collect personal info as a condition of participation. Though it’s wise to think twice before you post anything anywhere.

  • Some people have lives.

    A anti-imperialist anarchist friend posted a brief online mention, shortly after Parkland happened, of the idea of antidepressants being connected to violence. He was pounded mercilessly by his “progressive” drug-dependent “friends” about his supposed “junk science,” “pill-shaming” (which many consider a real thing on the order of bullying), etc. It’s pretty frightening to witness some of the totalitarianism currently being engaged in by the faux-left, which seems more motivated by the pursuit of social status than a concern for true justice, or even consistency for that matter.

  • Same reason they accede to other demands, because the pressure to do so makes it more convenient to cut their losses. The same rationale as for welfare, as a bribe to forestall social unrest, or because someone shows it would help the corporate state save money. Though there would need to be safeguards against the kind of thing you mention, and it could not be used as an excuse to cut already existing benefits such as health & food allowances — which would be at very best a trade-off.

  • It’s time to repeatedly frame this in terms of the cover-up. Even “conservatives,” who should appreciate it being pointed out that guns per se are not the problem, seem to either miss or deliberately disregard the significance of psych drugs to the debate. This is likely not a coincidence. Nonetheless when they start disarming vets because they’re “depressed” there may be a sea change.

  • Good info, on one hand. On the other,

    The intricacies of meta-analysis are for experts. Each dot on a plot has meaning, e.g. 2·13 or 2.13? But evidence anyone with a computer can check at home is — where in the Lancet article does it specifically spell out the “113 per cent” figure?

    Activists need to understand that fluidity at this level of argumentation is unnecessary in order to recognize that these neurotoxins are BRAIN POISON. That’s what the public needs to absorb.

  • Could you explain that in your own words instead of relying on a link to what someone else says?

    This seems odd for you to raise considering that it would render moot all those arguments about “disability” payments and who should or shouldn’t get them. Isn’t everything short of revolution a “neoliberal trap” for that matter? As a short term demand to address practical needs I believe it has a lot going for it.

  • To be very clear, “taking power into our own hands” rarely means literally “storming the barricades” or any of the many other stereotypical romantic visions people have of “revolutionary” activity. (I wouldn’t know where to find a barricade if I wanted one.)

    What we do need, for example, are sophisticated, documentable and easily readable educational materials on psychiatric oppression, drugging, etc., and creative ways of putting them in the hands of the masses. Before there is a demand there must be a clear understanding of what we are demanding and why; next there must be an effective way of drawing the rest of society into our perspective. All of this requires serious preparation and research, not just internet chatter.

  • So I’ll go through these as succinctly as possible:

    #1: “Mentally ill” is a legal term which translates into plain language as “unable to make decisions.”

    We know that — however having a bullet lodged in one’s brain could literally render one incompetent to make decisions, so this raises the “never say never” issue when you say “no one ever” should be deemed incompetent, so this could be more clearly defined. Certainly no such judgement should be respected if it uses psychiatric labels as justification.

    #2: I’ve already stated my dislike of the attempted appropriation of so-called “madness” as a cause for “pride,” as in doing so we adopt their determination that we are “mad.” I’m still waiting to hear a viable definition of “neurodivergent.”

    #3-13: OK now I see what Frank has been getting at here. All these points have to do with “services” and “programs” and how to fiddle with the details of such a context. But the context itself is oppressive, i.e. the assumption that people experiencing the trauma of living in this system most intensely need to be categorized, labeled, and treated as exceptions to the rest of humanity — rather than their expressions and interpretations of their alienation being recognized as par for the course under capitalism. It perpetuates the idea that, based on labels of whatever sort, these “exceptional’ people require “services” beyond what “normal” people have come to expect. The problem is that trauma is on a continuum, and there is no clear dividing line defining “disabling” trauma vs. “normal” everyday misery. The other constant problem is that rather than focusing solely on soothing and “working on” our pain we need to be fighting the objective conditions which perpetuate it. We don’t need to replace the “mental health” system with another one which serves the same repressive function of mystifying and individualizing our collective pain while exculpating the system which engenders it.

    #14: I have long pushed for a guaranteed annual income, or universal basic income. Given current world conditions and the money economy it should be considered a human right. Plus it would render the “social disability” issue moot, as a “disability” definition would not be a prerequisite for receiving subsistence funds.

    #15: This has always been the #1 demand of the anti-psychiatry movement, and many will argue that the abolition of force would portend the demise of psychiatry itself, and that psychiatry is force by definition.

    So now that I’ve thought about it I disagree with Tina that this presents a clear vision of a “way forward” or a consistent understanding of what anti-psychiatry is, and tends to chop at the tentacles of the octopus rather than striking at its heart. Still the article serves the purpose of keeping these debates alive and vibrant, and leading toward the day when we have a clear enough consensus and the sort of pristine analysis that will take us beyond naïve speculation and closer to something resembling liberation.

  • I think the terminology is important because “autism” is a much more ambiguous concept than what we were once led to believe, and there seems to be little consensus as to whether it is reflective of a neurological deficiency or simply a completely atypical framework of thought and perception which needs to be respected as a form of diversity, period. So if it’s the latter, which would be on the level of mind, “thought-divergent” would be more appropriate. If the former is true, which would be a domain of the brain, then “neurodivergent” might be more in order.

    I’m not proffering an opinion either way; my point is that this is not simply semantic bickering.

  • The “mental health” system is not, simply put, psychiatry.

    OK that’s a new one — care to elaborate? Are you saying that there isn’t a psychiatrist (or group of them) calling the shots in every “mental health” apparatus?

    If you abolish psychiatry without abolishing non-consensual coercive maltreatment, I don’t want anything to do with your abolition.

    Nothing is “mine” here; anyway, we’ve established before that people have different definitions of “abolition,” not all of which are synonymous with outlawing something. Collective judgement borne of understanding is powerful as well, ultimately more powerful than laws. But we do need to deal with laws in the meantime.

    I’d say it remains highly debatable as to whether there can be a truly non-coercive psychiatry when you consider the coercive environment in which most “private patients” enter into “treatment”; most often it’s simply to avoid a more barbaric version of psychiatry. Coercion is sometimes a matter of degree. So the question is, can “consensual non-coercive psychiatry” truly exist when the possibility of coercive non-consensual psychiatry lurks in the background?

    If one’s analysis of psychiatry is that it is first and foremost, and literally, a tool for the enforcement of cultural and legal norms, it is understood from the start that we’re talking ultimately about coercion.

    So I’m interested hearing some debate on this, not just between me & Frank.

  • I’d say there’s a lot to chew on here, and guess I should check out the specific points more thoroughly. If nothing else it forces us to look at some of the contradictions which characterize the thinking of many who identify as “abolitionists,” and what sorts of activities are undergirded by a true anti-psychiatry analysis, and which contain the seeds of reformist ideology.

    On the legal front I would defer to Tina on most things, as she demonstrates an unparalleled level of leadership, on the international front especially. I would like to ask, why do you believe that fighting for Miranda rights as per psychiatric “interviews” is not a priority, as you have stated previously?

    Good to see you posting.