An inspiring blog article, Irit. And a well deserved tribute to Don. Mazel tov on the wonderful work that you have done to date–and may we all soon see this ground-breaking book distributed far and wide.
An inspiring blog article, Irit. And a well deserved tribute to Don. Mazel tov on the wonderful work that you have done to date–and may we all soon see this ground-breaking book distributed far and wide.
If you are in Toronto on January 24th, do come to the booklaunch of this important new book (OISE, 252 Bloor West, Nexus Lounge, 12th Floor) The event, which will be at 5:e0 will include speeches by activists who are part of the dialogue, including by me, by psychiatric drug critic Julie Wood. and by Chilean activist Tatiana Castillo. Correspondingly, there will be a stunning reenactment of part of one of dialogues in the book–as it happens between Robert Whitaker and me. Also included with be antipsychiatry updates, including about the stunning emergence of an antipsychiatry lending library. A moment of consciousness-raising and a not-to-be-missed event.
I am sorry about what happened to you, Nita. What most of the other commentators on these blogs are ovelooking is the huge number of children removed because the parents are considered inadequate, when so very many times what is at the base of the parents being considering inadquate is either mentally or racism, or classism or some combination of the three. Absolutely we need direly to protect children from abusive parents, but to assume that no harm is done by these government agencies and that they are always just protectors when they remove children is to ignore a huge part of reality, and for the most part, a highly mentalist and racist part.
Radical leftists in Germany right now actually do oppose psychiary. By contrast, in the US and Canada and in Englan, most unfortunately, are staunch supportrs of psychiatry.
Without question, more than any other philosopher, Foucault understood how power and how discourse operates.
I agree agree with you that there is the unfortunate domination that you see,
It makes a whole lot of sense, Steve.
Much thanks, Philip.
Glad you found it helpful, Rosalee.
Arjan, etc, I support people’s right to end their lives. At the same time, the very last people I would like to see as in any way involved in this are psychiatrists.
You are very welcome.
You are absolutely right about that, Oldhead!
You are very welcome, Redcat.
I agree, Rachel777, it is highly ironic.
Yes, Pacific-Dawn, I have always been aware that we agree on a great deal, including that neither of us accept any psych diagnosis at all as legitimate. Our difference, as I see it, lies mainly in how we think of or treat neiighbouring movements who have position that we see as problematic.
It is genocide indeed.
Indeed, it is. Thanks for you comments.
No problem, Julie
there is so much both that I agree with here, Pacific-Dawn as well as what I disagree with, that it is way too much for me to comment on everything, though I do appreciate you contribution. So I am limiting myself to one correction only. While Hirshfeld is famous for sponsoring gay rights, no, it did not begin with him. The person who invented the word “homosexual” is a more likely candidate to think of as the first gay rights advocate, and from Germany also, he signitificantly predates Hirshfeld. (and yes he introduced it as a positive term). the inventor is Unlrichs Kerbeney and he published a book in 1863 (which is before Hirshfeld was born)
You’re taking the quote out of context. By “master”, Lorde meant the white slave master and by tools, she meant the tools by which her erected slaveryl
the word “autism”, let me suggest, Joey, is very different than the word “homosexual” and that difference is such that it is not only reclaimable, it does not even need to be reclaimed. The word “homosexual” was not invented by a psychiatrist and had a long independent existence. By contrast, when you try to reclaim the word “autism”, the problem facing you is this is a word that did not exist until a psychiatrist invented it, and as such, it is is pretty close to owned by psychiatry. The word and its meaning was invented by Bleuler. In this regard, it should be noted, Bleuler is the very same psychiatrist who invented the word schizophrenia–a word that has plagued society ever since. I should also add that he was a eugenicist. This, alas, is the baggage that the word autism brings with it. Something, I think that it is important to consider as you reflect on what tactics to use in the highly important struggle in which you are engaged
Joey, while I don’t think the people in the antipsychiatry movement have been sensitive at all to people in the radical neurdiverisity movement and the radical autism movement, and I think it is important that this change for we should be allies, there is nonetheless a problem however, coming from the other side. When you simply use the word autism, for instance,what you are ignoring is that it is a disorder in the DSM. That is a problem here for you at that point look like you are buying into psychiatry. Under the circumstances, perhaps it would make sense finding . another term to use to describe what you are experiencing. To quote Audre Lorde here, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
In case people were not aware of this, one of the things that I was trying to do in this article, was to find ways to bring together from people various movements that critique psychiatry . Of the movements that organize against psychiatry, I am a member only of one–antipsychiatry. Which among other things means that I personally oppose all psychiatric diagnoses without exception.
I have written about almost all the activist things that you mentioned here, and I am first and foremost an in-your-face activist. What I am telling you here is that besides that you are not understanding neurodiversity theoeists here, and your are very definately not hearing what I am saying; Additionally, you really don’t seem to get where i’m coming from Moreover you are mixing applies and oranges. I don’t like the recovery movement eiher, As for the mental health movement, It is obviously part of the utterly unacceptable hegemonic paradigm.
I think that this conversation has gone about as far as it can go for my sense is that it is going in circles. So please don’t be offended if I don’t respond to future posts of yours. No offence whatever intended.We are obviously both radicals who don’t like liberalism. And I wish you well.
There are all sorts of ways to resist. But telling people that they are not resisting when they markedly are, let me suggest, is not one of them. theorizing is one way to resist. Calling people out on their bullying is another. Both have their place.
Actually, as a member of the LGBTQ community, I can assure you that yes, we do advocate sexual diversity. Nor does that any way stop us from condemning violations of us. Maybe really looking into what different movements do more thoroughly would serve you here.
I think PacificDawn, that you have really misunderstood what neurodiversity theorists are doing. They are not pleading for anything. They are directly countering a pathology paradigm with a neurodiversity paradigm.
I wanted to say–and I alluded to it in the article but did not spell it out in detail for the article was not on neurodiversity, that there is a profound difference between the radical neurodiversity movement and the more mainstream one. That in the radical one, no one sees the differences in question as innate or as casual in any way. Moreover, no one in the neurodiversity movement would see any of the differences alluded to as the least bit “pathologoical”–an issue that came up i a few responses to this blog. As I have come to understand it, Why people in the movement championed the concept of diversity is precisely because it links them up with other types of diveristy–sexual diversity, for example, and racial diversity–and totally rules out the concept of pathology.
yes, I do get that, Joey.
I agree that cogntive liberty by itself is insufficient.It is simply a principle that think we need to emphasize
I am not suggesting that it be a stand-alone principle.
The courts perhaps if there was a legal attempt to stop people
I do get your point, and i have some problems with these words myself. at the same time ‘diverse’ does not that there is anything wrong with the person. It just implies that they are not mainstream, which depending on one’s vantagepoint, could be seen as a distinct asset.
As people united against this bogus branch of medicine, Steve, you and I are in complete agreement on this, . And indeed, as you are suggesting cognitive liberty does not in any way get at this key dimension. That said I am in no way suggesting that we only tackle psychiatry through the concept of cognitive liberty. I am simply suggesting that it be an additional concept that we rally around. Understood that way, does the concept still bother you?
They have all sorts of different degrees, and yes, they do exist. As for a law degree, while there are certainly some good scholars in the area with law degrees, no, historically, that’s not where most of them have ended up
Yes, there were locked institutions operated by bussiness men that coexisted at the time of the ship of fools and they were anything but voluntary . The big difference is that comparatively few people ended up dthere.
Steve, what if we started approaching the word “neurodiverse” the way in the movement approach the word “mad”, acknowledging that for some people, it is key to their identity, moreover, to how others treat them, albeit all people are to varying degrees neurodiverse. If thought of that way, would the word still bother you?
I certainly agree the all of the psy disciplines and not jusst psychiatry–assault the person and in horrid ways. At the same time, I make a distinction between your average practitioner and counter-hegemonic practitioners.
I understand not being comfortable with the term neurodiversity . In the end, the problem that I have with it–and I have a problem too–iis that most people who use it believing in a difference that is essentialized, which yes, I find problematic. At the same time, not all do. I see the turn somewhat away from the term and toward the concept cognitive liberty as a good sign. Though it remains to be seen what will happen with this.
All good points
Mel was also a philosopher and an absolutely wonderful human being. I should add that we should be worried when a psychiatric survivor on psychiatric drugs chokes to death, given the fact that these drugs inhibit the gag reflex. Why has there not bee an investigation into Mel’s death?
Slaying the Dragon, I agree with you of course, that liberty is the larger principle, of which cognitive liberty is an offshoot. At the same time, given the highly specific targeting of thinking and threat to thinking posed, I do think it is one that deserves considerably more focus than it gets.
I can understand that.
Understood, Oldhead especially since I am first and foremost antispychiatry . At the same time, for myself, I want to be able to engage in action with people who are not.
Great that you are with us, Rosalee.
Yes, that said, Milton did not mean that it was not possible to alter someone’s mind, only that it was not permissable.
To varying degrees, we surely all are neurodiverse, though the degrees can be very different, which I suspect is why concepts like neurotypical are important to even those people in the neurodiversity movement who do not believe that these differences are inherent.
It was legal before they even called themselves psychiatrists. Forced treatment has always, alas, been the hallmark of what state agents do to people who they consider mad.
Well put, Joey; and I could not agree with you more.
Cheryl Prax, is anyone responding to the UK training program to mount a protest. This seems like an opportune time to protest for it will convey to attendees of the training session a message that they will otherwise not get.
So sorry about what happened to you. Your story, streetphotobeing, raises an important point. How can a person possibly give consent for ECT when they are so zoned out on drugs that they little or not idea what they are consenting to?
Steve, thanks so much for your help.
We would not for a second let them abduct Connie–and they would be in major trouble if they tried. Would I recommend that someone try an action like this from “within an institution”. No of course not. That is a very different set of circumstances. Please note, by the same token, there was no attempt to abduct anyone at all in the MindFreedom Hunger Strike.
you’ve got it
Steve and others, the slightly edited version of this article has been up on Rabble for 4 days now, and as I predicted, no one at all has commented on it. If you have the time to help out by going to the article on Rabble and commenting on the article, that would be great. You can reach it at: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/toward-world-commons-and-without-psychiatry-bonnie-burstow-blog/2018/11/time-strike
I sent it in a few hours ago, Steve As soon as it goes up, I will send a link. Thanks Steve.
No, Truth, that’s not what is going to happen. It takes a lot more than this to make them retract. And that’s why we need to keep exposing and keep the pressure up.
I really like your story and what you stand for. All the best to you,
Incidentally, folk, I am going to be posted a slightly edited version of this article on Rabble.ca on Monday or Tuesday. I tend to be either totally ignored or attacked when I post anything that smells of antipsychiatry on Rabble, for the Rabble readers tends to be incredibly pro-psychiatry. So if anyone has the time and the inclination and to check out the comments posted on Rabble and then put in your “two cents” your input would be greatly appreciated. A lot of the Rabble readers live in Toronto and it would be great if a few of them considered supporting this hunger strike.
Bramble, what happened is that once it was determined that case that damage was done was a viable case, the defendants (the ECT manufactured) immediately offered the plaintiffs a monetary settlement, more or less to keep a ruling against them off the books. The defendants accepted the offer of compensation. and so the case went no further. Yes, the industry will continue to spread the same old line, but what happened in that courtroom is now ammunition that we can use against them. And use it against them, we must. The onus is on us to point out exactly what happened here.
I agree, CGGreen that ECT is barbaric. I would be worried for your friend too. Generally, people who have taken ECT are a fan of it, come to dramatically change their mind in a few years.
A possible strategy is telling people what was said in the US suit, and pushing all the candidates to take a position on shock
For sure, that would be a totally unsafe thing to do on a ward. And part of acquiring what I refer to as “sane literacy” is knowing that people’s political resistance is typically interpreted by “mental health authorities” as “symptoms” of one “disorder” or another and a reason to intrude.
The 2003 hunger strike was actually largely organized by Mickey Weinberg, and he did a terrific job.
yes, that’s a good link
Much thanks, Steve
Terrific, Rosalie. Incidentally, with health being mainly a provincial issue, it is each of the provincial legislators (far more than the federal) whose weighing in could have an effect.
Oldhead, the claim about the 2003 hunger strike generating more positive publicity for us than anything else has is ‘Frank’s” claim, but I would have to say that I do agree with him. While I don’t have time to search for links, you might be able to find them by doing a google search for that hunger strike. Alternatively by visiting the MindFreedom site and seeing if they have posted any of the articles. That said, I do remember at the time that there were quite a number of articles written about the strike during the course of the strike, and every one I came upon was positive. So I am inclined to believe that Frank is correct about this.
Thanks, as always for the support, Frank. I too hope this action spreads.
Not to worry, Oldhead, besides that this was Connie’s idea and passion, and choice, this is very much a “controlled” hunger strike. And we will be checking with Connie throughout the few days she is intending to strike (for it will be a “limited strike”), whether she wants to continue or not. Thanks for the encouragement and the endorsement.
Terrific, madmom. Welcome to the action!
I am against hate speech as well (e.g., the diatribes against Jews, Blacks, and people deemed “mentally ill”) But I hardly buy into this neurological argument in any way.
My own sense. There is room for trauma based perspective but not remotely room for it to be delivered by psychiatry. People interested this might want to read an article that I wrote on teaching a trauma course. See https://breggin.com/bonnie-burstow/
Terrific article, Bob. And much thanks for penning it. That said, I cannot say that this development surprises me. What confuses me rather is that anyone is actually surprised by it.
Then the thing to do, Oldhead, is don’t post stuff confronting Richard out there in responses to MIA blogs that puts the rest of us who were privy to these old exchanges in a double bind.
I have no difficulty figuring out what either of you mean. It’s more than I think you already know from a long history of trying to come to terms with the differences between you and Richard exactly what Richard means and so I don’t know why you keep putting the question out to him. And I just felt the need to say that.
All the best.
Oldhead, my sense is that deep down, you know some of the conundrums that Richard has over identity politics. I have seen you in discussions with him over the formation of an antipscychiatry organization when you argued for less rights for people in the organization if they were not psychiatric survivors, and Richard was uneasy with that. That surely is a type of identity politics that goes beyond the prioritizing of the goals of a specific movement–and that is an example of the type of identity politics that not everyone is happy with. I am somewhat at a loss for understanding why you keep pushing Richard for a definition when the disagreements between the two of you have come up often and have been pretty clear. Beyond that, many people, though especially Richard, have been clear that they would prefer to be part of an antipsychiatry organization where things like class analysis, gender analysis, etc. has a role to play. I am somewhat between the two of you on some of these issues; nonetheless I very much get Richard’s concerns.
I don’t define identity politics in a way that makes large issues and other struggles unimportant. That, I see as identity politics at its worst and identity politics does not have to work that way (though, I suspect it is what Richard thinks of when he thinks of identify politics). Rather I define identity politics as organizing based on a common identity. I see room for that. I likewise see room for more broad based coalitions of people. Annd when it comes to antipsychiatry per se, I think that broad based coalitions are the only way to go.
Ah, but Alex, let me suggest that there is a very strong chance that one of the people WAS lying. things are hardly equal here.
Personally, I see identity politics as critical (hence the importance of women only groups, of Black groups, of psychiatric survivor groups and other such identity based liberation groups). What the philosopher Jean-Paul Satre called “Us-it” formations or Liberation struggles are legitimate and by nature are identity based. I also think coalition politics are essential, where different types of groups work together. That said, I likewise value and am a part of groups that are simply not identity-based, that are based simply on common analysis, common principles, common committments. All of these have value. And while I may be wrong here, I don’t think that Richard would disagree with this. What he disagrees with, if I am reading him right, is the priority given to identity politics. That is, the sense that in the final analysis being from the same oppressed identity should be the sine qua non of political movements. As for myself, I see psychiatric survivor groups as necessarily identity politics based and antipsychiatry groups as necessarily not identity politics based. Can these morph into each other? they can–but the strengths are different and so care needs to be taken here. Two different groups that formed to combated fascism when it began asserting itself in the in the late 1980s are instructive here. One , which was definitely identity based (and I belonged to it) was Jewish Feminist Antifascist League). To belong to the group, you had to be a Jewish woman. The other was AntiRacst Action or ARA (with whom I often worked but to which I did not belong) and it was not identity based. You didn’t have to have any particular identity to be a member of ARA; you just had to share the analysis and the committment. Nor were there different classes of membership. Nor was there any sense that if you did not come from a racialized identity, you were to have less of a say–for again, the group was not identity-based, though of course, everyone recognized the importance of checking in with the people’s whose oppressions were relevant. Both ARA and JFAFL (Jewish Feminist Antifascist League) had jobs to do. And both got along enormously well together and indeed often worked together. Fortunately, this was a time during history when a great many of us saw the value of different types of politics. It followed a time in the early 1980 when identity politics seemed to overshadow everything else, my own sense is to the detriment of social justice causes.
A few comments here that may or may not be helpful to others in this conversation. For the most part (and there surely were moments that were different), I saw the US psychiatric survivor moment in the 1980s and 1990’s as not exactly antipsychiatry–though there is no question that now and then antipsychiatry entered into its principles. By contrast, I saw a very real antipsychiatry movement during this same period in Canada , and this was not a movement based on being a psychiatric survivor, though psychiatric survivors were always central to it. Re the left, what I see in North America right now is a left wing that is overwhelmingly, though thankfully not exclusively, pro-psychiatry (and yes I think even more so than the right is) By contrast, there are countries like Germany, for example, where the left is strongly antipsychiatry. (And we see signs of this in Chile too). My own sense is that we have to stop looking at what happens or has happened in the US as normative and instead come to understandings and to possible models and ways forward by thinking globally.
Re the disagreement between Oldhead and Richard, I don’t know if this is helpful, but let me just say that in Canada we tend to draw a distinction between the antipsychiatry movement and the psychiatric survivor movement (which we see as overlapping but not identifical) and as a result seldom get into these types of arguments.
As for my own politics, is is not identical to anyone else’s here, though it bears some resemblance to both Richard and Oldhead. I am a leftwing anarchist who sees the importance of a class analysis. At the same time, I have always worked with people across the political spectrum. Also for me, it depends on how sophisticated the right wing analysis is. For example, though my valued friend and ally Dr. Peter Breggin is right wing and I am left wing, we work well and often together for we value what each other brings to the table and because Peter’s right wing politics includes and does not stop him from taking in the reality of oppression. Politics is very complicated when you touch into the antipsychiatry area or even the critical psychiatry area–and this, I have long appreciated.
And thank you also, Oldhead for all your work here.
Much thanks for this comment, Rachel.
You wrote the following “Bonnie’s so called early life is linked to Don Weitz rather than her own success. In current time period, she is linked to scientology,” This part is YOUR saying it and it is totally problematic. Don and I have both had successes from early on. And while linked to Don, I have at no time being associated with scientology–and it is after that that you go on to make reference to the things the Houghton Post says. This is the kind of thing that shouldn’t be happening in Mad in America. And no amount of rationalizing makes it okay.
Incidentally, if anyone is interested in other things I am doing in the Indigenous area that tries to establish links with antipsychiatry, I have created and am running a mini-conference at OISE/UT this Friday called “PsychOut Extended: The Psychiatrization of Indigenous People as a Continuation of Genocide.” We are expecting hundreds to turn up and it may help spark an important conversation about psychiatry in the Indigenous community. The keynote speaker, incidentally is Dr. Roland Chrisjohn–an Indigenous scholar, a Marxist, and while on a very different place on the left-right spectrum–an old time ally and friend of Thomas Szasz.
But I AM linked with Don Weitz. I am NOT linked to Scientology. Moreover, you insinuated that my being linked with Don somehow nullified the things which I have done. All of this, I find offensive.
The fact that I am slandered in the Houghton Post (as was Peter Breggin) is no reason to slander me here. It is not acceptable. I have absolutely no connection with Scientology and never have had. Other in other venues slander antipsychiatry activists as well as critical theorists by stating such connections in the hope to discredit their message I expect more from a Mad in America venue. Also when it comes to early work, I should be out, that yes, I worked in the 1980s with Don Weitz on the Phoenix Rising Collecive and in the 1980’s Don was in Ontario Coalition to Stop Electroshock, of which I was the co-chair along with shock survivor Shirley Johnson. Exactly what any of this is a bad things is an utter mystery to me. We all of us wrote articles against psychiatry. We all of us mounted active opposition to electroshock.
Disagreement with positions is one thing. And I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with slander and slanderous innuendo. The fact that Scientology praised the Scholarship has absolutely whatever nothing to do with me. They praise everything antipsychiatry and even most stuff that is critical psychiatry.
Peter Breggin stop writinging for Houghton Post because of the appalling inaccurate things said about him. By contrast, we expect to be safe writing in Mad in America.
I have many many projects going on. They all have different emphasis. That is not called exclusion. That is just the nature of activism.
Someone in this exchange made the totally erroneous claim that I am linked to Scientology. I need to pout out that is both wrong and slanderous, I have never had any dealing whatever with Scientology. How horrible for anyone to be expressing wrongful slurs like this in Mad in America!
Even on purely pragmatic level–and I have other reasons besides pragmatism here–we need allies to get rid of psychiatry. And you don’t get allies unless you care and show in your actions that you care about other oppressions besides that one with which you are most concerned.
leave one oppression in tact, it will serve to reinvent the others. Attack one oppression without looking at how you are impact or not impacting other oppressions in my opinion is sadly misguided.
Progress toward getting rid of injustice and inequality.
Let me suggest that you are suggesting would be the end of coalition politics, and without that, there would be little progress at all.
Yes, this is the group that we all of us need to prioritize.
thanks as always, Frank.