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Statement of Principles from 10th annual Conference on Human Rights…

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    Statement of Principles from the 10th Annual International Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression

    The Tenth Annual International Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression, held in Toronto, Canada on 14 to 18 May 1982 adopted the following principles:

    1. We oppose involuntary psychiatric intervention including civil commitment and the administration of psychiatric procedures (“treatments”) by force or coercion or without informed consent.

    2. We oppose involuntary psychiatric intervention because it is an unethical and unconstitutional denial of freedom, due process and the right to he left alone.

    3. We oppose involuntary psychiatric intervention because it is a violation of the individual’s right to control his or her own soul, mind and body.

    4. We oppose forced psychiatric procedures such as drugging electroshock, psychosurgery, restraints, solitary confinement, and “aversive behaviour modification.”

    5 We oppose forced psychiatric procedures because they humiliate, debilitate, injure, incapacitate and kill people.

    6. We oppose forced psychiatric procedures because they are at best quackery and at worst tortures, which can and do cause severe and permanent harm to the total being of people subjected to them.

    7. We oppose the psychiatric system because it is inherently tyrannical.

    8. We oppose the psychiatric system because it is an extra legal parallel police force which suppresses cultural and political dissent.

    9. We oppose the psychiatric system because it punishes individuals who have had or claim to have had spiritual experiences and invalidates those experiences by defining them as “symptoms” of “mental illness.”

    10. We oppose the psychiatric system because it uses the trappings of medicine and science to mask the social-control function it serves.

    11. We oppose the psychiatric system because it invalidates the real needs of poor people by offering social welfare under the guise of psychiatric “care and treatment.”

    12. We oppose the psychiatric system because it feeds on the poor and powerless, the elderly, women, children, sexual minorities, people of colour and ethnic groups.

    13. We oppose the psychiatric system because it creates a stigmatized class of society which is easily oppressed and controlled.

    14. We oppose the psychiatric system because its growing influence in education, the prisons, the military, government, industry and medicine threatens to turn society into a psychiatric state made up of two classes: those who impose “treatment” and those who have or are likely to have it imposed on them.

    15. We oppose the psychiatric system because it is frighteningly similar to the Inquisition, chattel slavery and the Nazi concentration camps.

    16. We oppose the medical model of “mental illness” because it justifies involuntary psychiatric intervention including forced drugging.

    17. We oppose the medical model of “mental illness” be cause it dupes the public into seeking or accepting “voluntary” treatment by fostering the notion that fundamental human problems, whether personal or social, can be solved by psychiatric/medical means.

    18. We oppose the use of psychiatric terms because they substitute argon for plain English and are fundamentally stigmatizing, demeaning, unscientific, mystifying and superstitious. Examples:

    Plain English Psychiatric Jargon

    Psychiatric inmate………………………Mental patient

    Psychiatric institution ………… Mental hospital/mental health center

    Psychiatric system ………… Mental health system

    Psychiatric procedure ………… Treatment/therapy

    Personal or social difficulties in living ………… Mental illness

    Socially undesirable characteristic or trait ………… Symptom

    Drugs ………… Medication

    Drugging ………… Chemotherapy

    Electroshock ………… Electroconvulsive therapy

    Anger ………… Hostility

    Enthusiasm ………… Mania

    Joy ………… Euphoria

    Fear ………… Paranoia

    Sadness/unhappiness ………… Depression

    Vision/spiritual experience ………… Hallucination

    Non-conformity ………… Schizophrenia

    Unpopular belief ………… Delusion

    19. We believe that people should have the right to live in any manner or lifestyle they choose.

    20. We believe that suicidal thoughts and/or attempts should not be dealt with as a psychiatric or legal issue.

    21. We believe that alleged dangerousness, whether to oneself or others, should not be considered grounds for denying personal liberty, and that only proven criminal acts should be the basis for such denial.

    22. We believe that persons charged with crimes should be tried for their alleged criminal acts with due process of law, and that psychiatric professionals should not be given expert-witness status in criminal proceedings or courts of law.

    23. We believe that there should be no involuntary psychiatric interventions in prisons and that the prison system should be reformed and humanized.

    24. We believe that so long as one individual’s freedom is unjustly restricted no one is truly free.

    25. We believe that the psychiatric system is, in fact, a pacification programme controlled by psychiatrists and supported by other mental health professionals, whose chief function is to persuade, threaten or force people into conforming to established norms and values.

    26. We believe that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished.

    27. We believe that voluntary networks of community alternatives to the psychiatric system should be widely encouraged and supported. Alternatives such as self-help or mutual support groups, advocacy/rights groups, co-op houses, crisis centers and drop-ins should be controlled by the users themselves to serve their needs, while ensuring their freedom, dignity and self-respect.

    28. We demand an end to involuntary psychiatric intervention.

    29. We demand individual liberty and social justice for everyone.

    30. We intend to make these words real and will not rest until we do.


    That just about covers it…:)

    Thanks for digging up yet another inspirational blast from the past, uprising.


    Actually Humanbeing, as there were only three more Conferences On Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression after the 1982 conference — none of which updated this Declaration — these should be considered to be the true movement’s guiding principles as we speak, even though we may still be a movement-in-exile at the moment. It would be good to see how many MIA writers and posters would agree to affirm their recognition of these principles in full, wouldn’t you agree?

    The last true conference was in 1985. After that the language and symbols of the movement were usurped by system-controlled and funded, fake “Alternatives” scams masquerading as our spokespeople and neutralizing the essence of what made us strong.


    For anyone who doesn’t know, these^ are issues of Phoenix Rising: The Voice of the Psychiatrized – A Canadian “survivor” publication that was published from 1980 through 1990. All issues are archived here in PDF form, with content summaries:

    Frank Blankenship

    We need a conference for people who aren’t apart of the great government buy out/movement sell out of 1985 (i.e. the ascension of Alternatives, the annual conference, and the eclipse of the Annual International Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression.) Without it, those 30 points only mean so much.

    There were two essential aims of the the psychiatric survivor movement to begin with, ending harmful forced treatment, and creating alternatives to forced treatment. Creating alternatives, now that the government is paying for them, with the conflicts in interest that such subsidization entails, has sort of done in the goal of ending forced treatment, especially now that you’ve got so many people using mental health treatment as a gateway into the mental health treatment business.

    Now that we’ve got the “consumer” “pe-ah” movement, the goal of ending harmful treatments has receded from sight. There is no end to endless consumption. I think we need to revive the mental patients’ liberation movement. People who have been liberated from the mental patient role don’t waste their whole lives pursuing a career as a mental patient.

    This business is ultimately, from top to bottom, corrupt. It feeds the “mental illness” industry it has become so much a part of.

    We need our focus to return once again to the issues of human rights and oppression. I think it is better to resist oppression than it is to get hired on as an oppressor. Much better.


    the right to he left alone.

    If there is one right that should be held no matter what it is that one.


    I have a proposal about language which I will be repeating so get used to it: When we drew up these principles in 1982 — which themselves were an expansion of principles from the 1976 Boston conference — there was not as pervasive a “community mental health” apparatus, it was just starting up. But we never ever used the terms “consumer” OR “survivor”; were “former and current psychiatric inmates.”

    I propose that we honor our history as a movement by dropping the whole “consumer/survivor” baggage for good and reverting to our original self-designation of “psychiatric inmates” and (in recognition of the AOT/CMH gulag) “psychiatric outmates.”

    There I said it. Discussion to follow. Hopefully for some time.

    Frank Blankenship

    As for “the right to be left alone”, The Cat, some people want more than that.

    “Sweet dreams are made of this
    Who am I to disagree?
    Travel the world and the seven seas
    Everybodys looking for something

    Some of them want to use you
    Some of them want to get used by you
    Some of them want to abuse you
    Some of them want to be abused.”

    ~from Sweet Dreams, Eurythmics

    We’ve had this discussion before, OldHead. I like the term psychiatric survivor. I see it as a shortened form of psychiatric (mal)treatment [torture] survivor. It is akin to rape survivor, battery survivor, war survivor, home-invasion survivor, blizzard survivor, train-wreck survivor, death camp survivor, etc. I have to draw a sharp line between surviving and consuming/using. Why would I use/consume that which would harm and might kill me (i.e. psychiatric oppression [assault, abduction, imprisonment, torture, etc.])? Why would I ‘consume’ that which destroys me? Yes, I am a former inmate of a psychiatric institution. More than one in fact. I am, in that case, a psychiatric prison survivor. With the subtle forms of compulsion that are coming, given community psycho-technical control, I don’t think everybody who calls themselves a ‘survivor’ will be privy to the experiences I had, and I think there will develop ‘survivors’ of these circumstances nonetheless, in which case, former inmate might not be the most appropriate word to use in describing them.

    It has been nearly 20 years since I was last incarcerated. Incarceration in the facility where I was incarcerated has, to my way of thinking, gotten worse. All ‘inmates’ are expected to play the mental patient role. There is that, or there is no getting out. I can’t but think a forensic psychiatric survivor has it over on me in terms of what they might have endured. I prefer to use the term psychiatric survivor in order not to create any confusion with former felons. I do think we have a problem with this developing patient movement, or patient rights whatever movement. The so-called C/S/X thing. If you don’t have the same rights as a human being and a citizen, what does that mean? I really don’t mean to make myself a good ‘inmate’, former or otherwise. One thing I don’t do is equate “consuming” or “using” mental health services with having survived the mental health system, psychiatric institutionalization and oppression. I don’t see a “benefit” in ‘collaboration’, and I’m not a ham for punishment in that manner. I learned the lesson early on, I guess, that some people never learn. There are many other sorts of psychiatric non-survivors as well. Generally, we call those non-survivors, murdered by psychiatry, the departed or the dead.


    While I don’t really take issue with anything you say here, I stick with my opinion. I think that the term “survivor” will always be part of the “C/S/X” package which needs to be roundly repudiated. It didn’t come into existence until the real movement had been liquidated, or was on its way to such, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. It was decided at some level that “survivor” was a less threatening word to the system than “former psychiatric inmate. ” I just never had a solution before. Now I think I do. Using “inmate” and “outmate” not only makes it clear that we are primarily prisoners, not “patients” or “consumers”; it reclaims the original language and perspective of the “mental patients'”/psychiatric inmates’ liberation movement. Whether we are “survivors” or not seems less relevant; some people are just luckier than others.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by oldhead.

    21. We believe that alleged dangerousness, whether to oneself or others, should not be considered grounds for denying personal liberty, and that only proven criminal acts should be the basis for such denial.

    I know how the system works they even lied on MY medical records to say I was suicidal and not only am I smart enough to never say that it is not who I am. Anyone who reads my posts knows my inner mantra is never stop fighting never say die. Yes they abuse the hell out of the danger to self and others thing, yes they do of course at $1000 a day per bed per day they abuse the hell out of “danger to self and others.”

    What do you do when someone really is whacked out and is going to do some horrific shit ?

    I hate this effing life FU F everyone I am going to kill everyone I hate then myself FU all !!!!!!

    We believe that alleged dangerousness, whether to oneself or others, should not be considered grounds for denying personal liberty….

    You know someone is beyond pissed and out of their mind, you know bad shit is going to go down, what are you going to do if denying personal liberty is off the table, give them a big hug then call the police to clean up the bodies only after the crimes are committed ?

    #21 is retarded and makes the whole list loose credibility.


    The key word is “alleged.” Someone walking down the street with an axe saying he’s going to kill eliminates the “alleged” part. He’s dangerous.

    Frank Blankenship

    I am not a prisoner, OldHead. Imprisonment is no more lasting than the mental patient role from which I’ve been liberated. I have survived. I’m not dead yet. I’ve lived a certain number of years. A few years longer than the average age of the mental patient being treated for “serious mental disorder” at death. This probably wouldn’t be the case had I been a compliant patient. The system and its drugs are literally killing people. That’s surviving, OldHead, that’s not chumming around with my old prison buddies. I’m not accepting any permanent shadow due to imprisonment. My loss of liberty was only a temporary matter. I also like the relationship of the word survivor to survivalist. Wisdom and smarts are acquired over time. Becoming a candidate for the Darwin Award is a matter of not surviving (and not learning). Imprisonment kills, and I’m laying no claim to it.

    Again, OldHead, I’m not a prison inmate, I’m a survivor. I’m not even a former inmate shackled to my past. The past is over, and its the ground I’m standing on.

    Number 21, above, is upheld where there is due process. There is always a risk of danger where people are free. When you arrest people before they commit a crime you arrest innocent people.

    Trouble is going to get into trouble no matter what. Hopefully, trouble can manage to get into trouble for a little trouble before trouble gets into trouble for much greater trouble. If so, there is a good chance of correcting trouble.

    Responsibility is what we expect from free people. You can’t take their freedom away from them without also relieving them of responsibility. You can’t relieve them of the responsibility that comes of freedom without at the same time retracting the laws that we enacted in order to protect people, or, at least, their freedoms. This is pretty serious business seeing as we think so highly of our freedoms. The alternative is to give despotic authority to one individual, and dispense with freedom altogether. You know, the benevolent, or malevolent as the case may be, dictator sort of thing. I think we’re better off accepting the risk of danger that goes along with freedom and responsibility.


    The key word is “alleged.” Someone walking down the street with an axe saying he’s going to kill eliminates the “alleged” part. He’s dangerous.

    Alleged (of an incident or a person) said, without proof, to have taken place or to have a specified illegal or undesirable quality.
    Simple Definition of alleged
    : accused of having done something wrong or illegal but not yet proven guilty
    : said to have happened but not yet proven

    I guess but it could use some more clarity maybe some examples or something. I can’t be the only dummy.


    It maybe could be rephrased in time. I think it’s encouraging that people are showing a renewed interest in our original principles. Some are ready to work on an update, but I think a good place to start for now would be simply to affirm our support of this document as it stands. I’m afraid that with the lower degree of “survivor” consciousness today if a group of people tried to “update” it would end up like the US Constitution would look if it were put to a vote, i.e. missing the Bill of Rights, etc.

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