Historical Documents

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Insane Liberation Front

         We, of the Insane Liberation Front, are former mental patients and people whom society labels as insane. We are beginning to get together–beginning to see that our problems are not individual, not due to personal inadequacies but are the result of living in an oppressive society. And we’re beginning to see that our so-called “sickness” is a personal rebellion or an internal revolt against this inhumane system. Insane Liberation will actively fight mental institutions and the brutalization they represent (e.g. involuntary confinement, electric shock, use of drugs, forced labor, beatings, and the constant affronts to our self-identity). Even in so-called “progressive hospitals” where many of the physical abuses do not occur, we’re still made to feel so low that our concepts of who we are, and our beliefs, are pushed down so far that we often end up accepting our jailer’s society. We will fight to free all people imprisoned in mental institutions.
         Insane Liberation plans to establish neighborhood freak-out centers where people with problems can get help from people who are undergoing or who have undergone similar experiences. We believe that the only way people can be helped is through people helping each other–people with hang-ups being totally open and sincere to each other. The majority of shrinks, on the other hand, set themselves up as all-knowing authorities and from their positions of power automatically assume that the so-called patient is sick and not the society.
         We demand, with other liberation groups, an end to the capitalistic system with its racist, sexist oppression and with its competitive, antihuman standards. We believe in a socialist society based on cooperation.

Demands from Insane Manifesto

         1. We demand an end to the existence of mental institutions and all the oppression they represent (e.g. involuntary servitude, electroshock, use of drugs, and restrictions on freedom to communicate with the outside).

         2. We demand that all people imprisoned in mental hospitals be immediately freed.

         3. We demand the establishment of neighborhood freak-out centers, entirely controlled by the people who use them. A freak-out center is a place where people, if they feel they need help, can get it in a totally open atmosphere from people who are undergoing or have undergone similar experiences.
         “I see the freak-out center as a place where there will be people who know where people freaking out are at because they have been there and they won’t cut them off because they know how devastating that can be. The people that live and work there see themselves as no more sane than anyone that will come there. Everyone is insane, and everyone freaks out.” (Insane Liberation, Portland, Oregon.)
         Insane Liberation plans to form freak-out centers immediately.

         4. We demand an end to mental commitments.

         5. We want an end to the practice of psychiatry. The whole “science” of psychiatry is based on the assumption that there is something wrong with the individual rather than with society. We see psychiatry as a tool to maintain the present system. Rebelling often means being immediately sent to a shrink because of “emotional disturbance.” We see that the majority of shrinks a) make money off our problems; b) see us as categories and objects. To them we are an “anxiety neurosis” or a “paranoid reaction” rather than a human being; c) foster dependency instead of interdependency by making us distrust ourselves and consequently look for answers in the all-knowing God, the psychiatrist.
         Many psychiatrists have already used their influences to discredit the revolutionary movement by calling it sick. We see that this will continue and get worse.

         6. We demand an end to economic discrimination against people who have undergone psychiatric treatment and we demand that all their records be destroyed.

         7. We want an end to sane chauvinism (intolerance towards people who appear strange and act differently) and that people be educated to fight against it.

         8. We demand with other liberation groups an end to the capitalist system with its racist, sexist oppression and with its competitive, antihuman standards. We believe in a socialist society based on cooperation.

         9. “We demand the right to the integrity of our bodies in all their functions, including the extremist of situations, suicide. We demand that all antisuicide laws be wiped from the books.” (Insane Liberation, Portland, Oregon.)

~The Radical Therapist (1971), Ballantine Walden Edition, Jerome Agel (ed.), pgs. 107 – 109

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Declaration of Principles

The Tenth Annual International Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression, held in Toronto, Canada on May 14-18, 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 be let 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.

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

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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 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 upon them.

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

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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” because 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.

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18.We oppose the use of psychiatric terms because they substitute jargon for plain English and are fundamentally stigmatizing, 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
Visual/spiritual experience…………………………………….Hallucination
Non-conformity…………………………………………………Schizophrenia
Unpopular belief……………………………………………………….Delusion

 

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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.

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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.

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~Phoenix Rising, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Nov. 1982 ed.

death cancelled pill bottle

www.antipsychiatry.org

25 GOOD REASONS WHY PSYCHIATRY MUST BE ABOLISHED

by Don Weitz

1. Because psychiatrists frequently cause harm, permanent disabilities, death – death of the body-mind-spirit.

2. Because psychiatrists frequently violate the Hippocratic Oath which orders all physicians “First Do No Harm.”

3. Because psychiatrists patronize and disempower people, especially their patients.

4. Because psychiatry is not a medical science.

5. Because psychiatry is quackery, a pseudo-science which lacks independent diagnostic tests, testable hypotheses, and cures for “schizophrenia” and all other types of alleged “mental illness” or “mental disorder”.

6. Because psychiatrists can not accurately and reliably predict dangerousness, violence, or any other type of human behaviour, yet make such claims as “expert witnesses”, and with the media promote the “dangerous mental patient” myth/stereotype.

7. Because psychiatrists have caused a worldwide epidemic of brain damage by promoting and prescribing brain-disabling treatments such as the neuroleptics, antidepressants, electroconvulsive brainwashing (electroshock), and psychosurgery (lobotomy).

8. Because psychiatrists manufacture hundreds of “mental disorders” classified in its bible called “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (a modern witch-hunting manual); such “mental disorders” and “symptoms” are in fact negative, class-and-culturally-biased moral judgments for dissident ways of coping with personal problems and alternative ways of perceiving, interpreting or being in the world.

9. Because psychiatrists, blinded by their medical model bias, fraudulently pathologize and label people’s serious life or existential crises as “symptoms” of “mental illness” or “mental disorder” such as “schizophrenia”,”bipolar affective disorder”, and “personality disorder”.

10. Because psychiatrists compound this fraud by falsely claiming, without scientific proof, that these “mental disorders” are caused by a “biochemical imbalance” in the brain, genetic factors or “genetic predispositions”, despite the fact that there are no genetic factors in “mental illness”.

11. Because psychiatrists frequently misinform their patients, families and the public by claiming that brain-disabling procedures such as the neurotoxins (e.g.,”antipsychotic medication” and “antidepressasnts”), electroconvulsive brainwashing (electroconvulsive therapy/”ECT”), psychosurgery (lobotomy) and other behaviour modification-mind control procedures are “safe, effective and lifesaving”. The exact opposite is tragically true.

12. Because psychiatrists routinely deceive or lie to patients, prisoners, their families, and the public.

13. Because psychiatrists routinely and willfully violate the medical-ethical principle of “informed consent” by misinforming or not informing their patients about the numerous toxic, disabling and frequently permanent effects of the neuroleptics such as memory loss, tardive dyskinesia, tardive psychosis, parkinsonism, dementia (all signs of brain damage), and death.

14. Because psychiatrists routinely threaten, intimidate or coerce many patients – particularly women, children, the elderly, and prisoners – into consenting to health-threatening/brain-damaging “treatment” such as the antidepressants, neuroleptics, electroconvulsive brainwashing, and hi-risk experiments.

15. Because psychiatrists frequently fail to fully inform psychiatric inmates and prisoners about existing safe and humane, non-medical alternatives in the community such as survivor-controlled crisis centres, drop-ins, self-help or advocacy groups, diet, massage, wholistic medicine, affordable supportive housing, and jobs.

16. Because psychiatrists are sexist in frequently stereotyping women in crisis as “hysterical” or “over-emotional”, blaming women whenever they voice real complaints and assertively express their feelings and emotions, prescribing massive doses of tranquilizers and antidrepressants to disproportionately large numbers of women, and in sexually assaulting women in their offices and institutions.

17. Because psychiatrists, particularly white male psychiatrists, are homophobic – the American Psychiatric Association (APA) once labelled homosexuality as a “mental illness” or “mental disorder” – and have used forced electroshock on lesbians, trying to coerce them into adopting a heterosexual life style.

18. Because psychiatrists are ageist in prescribing tranquilizers, antidepressants (“medication”) and electroconvulsive brainwashing for disproportionately large numbers of elderly people – a form of elder abuse.

19. Because psychiatrists are racist in disproportionately incarcerating and drugging people of African descent, aboringal people, other people of colour and labelling them “psychotic” or “schizophrenic”.

20. Because psychiatrists routinely violate people’s civil rights, human rights and constitutional rights such as imprisoning innocent people without court trial or public hearing (“involuntary commitment”), and subjecting them to cruel and unusual punishments or tortures such as forced drugging, electroconvulsive brainwashing, psychosurgery, solitary confinement, “chemical restraints”, and 4-point or 5-point restraints.

21. Because psychiatrists masterminded the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people including disabled children, the elderly and psychiatric patients during The Holocaust in Nazi Germany, and “selected” hundreds of thousands of concentration camp prisoners for death (“T-4 euthanasia” program) – historical facts still missing in psychiatric textbooks and histories.

22. Because psychiatrists have willingly participated in and administered mind-control experiments in the United States and Canada since the early 1950s – its chief targets have been poor patients, women, dissidents and prisoners.

23. Because psychiatry, particularly institutional-biological psychiatry, is based on the 3 Fs: Fear, Fraud,and Force.

24. Because psychiatry is a form of social control or punishment – not treatment.

25. Because psychiatry, particularly institutional-biological psychiatry, is fascist – a direct threat to democracy, human rights and life.

A note from the author:This statement is a slightly revised version of the original written in Spring 1998. Feel free to add and publish your own reasons. I am a psychiatric survivor and antipsychiatry activist who has been involved in the psychiatric survivor liberation movment for 24 years. I am also co-editor of “Shrink Resistant: The Struggle Against Psychiatry in Canada” (1988), host-producer of the antipsychiatry program “Shrinkrap” on CKLN radio (88.1 FM) in Toronto, member of People Against Coercive Treatment (P.A.C.T.), and member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP).]

PLEASE SNOWBALL, COPY AND PUBLISH THIS STATEMENT INCLUDING THE NOTE. NO COPYRIGHT OR PERMISSION REQUIRED.

The author, Don Weitz can be reached at his e-mail address: dweitz@interlog.com

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