Speech at the protest rally against the WFMH on the 22nd of July 2001 in Vancouver
Very briefly something about the organization, I am a board member of:
The Irren-Offensive, translated perhaps as Lunatic-Offensive.
In Germany our group is existing since 1980 and we overcame the psychiatric coercion system sucessfully. I will now explain how we did that and have therefore to make one thing clear:
Our struggle is a political struggle.
It is not a medical struggle,
It is a political struggle,
It is not an economic struggle against a drug industry
It is a political struggle,
It is not a psychological struggle
It is a political struggle
It is not a struggle for better social workers or better doctors.
It is a political struggle
It is necessary to emphasize that it is a political struggle because if we misunderstand the nature of the struggle, we are likely to attack the wrong enemy, using inadequate means, attracting hypocrite allies and we would be unable to make true progress.
The nature of our struggle is easy to explain. The core of the problem is that the violence which a coercive psychiatry can use against us is legalized by the state. Therefore the state creates special "Mental Health Laws" and the UN blessed this obnoxious laws with a resolution of the general assembly.
As laws are the result of a political consent of the ruling majority or, in less democratic states, of a ruling class of oppressors, we can overcome the core of the psychiatric violence only by changing the laws. That means we have to persuade the majorities in the parliaments to abolish the Mental Health Acts. The strongest argument on our side is the UNO Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which proclaims inalienable rights to ALL human beings. One example is article 18 "Freedom of Thought", which is exactly what is denied to us by psychiatry, which tries to restrain and channel unusual views by arbitrary incarceration, applying torture like four point restrain and forced drugging, the other cruelties and fraud.
In face of such a huge and overwhelming front of powers, state power, public relations power and the desire of a majority to strengthen themselves by oppressing a minority, how could we dare to wage such a struggle?
Just as David could win with a little slingshot against Goliath, we also have to hit the monster exactly on the right spot. This is a pleading for analyses before action, as we are a desperately small group of active "survivors" and do not have millions of obvious supporters behind us as did Martin Luther King, for example.
And it is a pleading for an understanding that only political means can bring us progress. We have to use the right words appropriatly and create publicity for our actions with our own means, because the media are seldom on our side. We have to go public with our protest, make public our victories and be persistent in our aims and creative in our means. On the long run that will build a lobby in the parliament, so let’s keep our member of parliaments informed about our moves. Be nice to our allies who support us and never underestimate the power of our enemy, his fear of losing power, his fear of losing money, jobs and influence over those he victimized. Therefore he will try to disorganize us, will try to buy out and corrupt those among us who are ambivalent and he will use discrimination and in his alliance with the state power he will be able to use many more dirty tricks. He will offer careers and allow a minority position in his apparatus, but we do have to be aware of the fact that any true "reform" is only possible if the system has fulfilled the one and only demand, namely: the abolition of all mental health acts. Please never get blinded by the deceptive rhetoric of so-called reforms, which do not first fulfil this demand and by allies who do not actively support the political struggle for the fulfilment of our inalienable human rights.
Now to the hopeful perspectives:
Of course psychiatry is vulnerable. It is even a very brittle system, as it claims to be a science and dealing with "illness", as if this were an objective fact. This is the weak point where we can hit the Goliath. If, anywhere in the world, it is possible to legally refute the claim by psychiatry that it is a science by using a loophole which denies a psychiatrist the right to incarcerate someone, then the system is fundamentally broke!
In other words, if someone could deny with legal means a psychiatrist the possibility to diagnose him or her who disagrees with this slander, then there would be living proof - not only in a book or on a web site - that there is no such thing as an "objective mental illness" and we could achieve this just by saying “No!”.
In this case, a psychiatrist could not diagnose, he could not produce a file with a life-time sentence and all his claims of dealing with the "objective" fact of the existence of an alleged “mental illness” would prove to be imaginary. This possibility demonstrates that only the diagnosis is the illness! And then only those who do want to be paternalized by doctors and have their human rights waived by them can get such a mysterious "illness". Soon we will find that not even the medical personell believe their own rhetoric! The term "mentally ill" was always only applied to others!
I would hereby like to announce that in Germany we now do have this possibility. I invite everyone who wants to live in peace from psychiatric persecution to emmigrate to Germany or fight for the same right in your own country! Our political struggle in Germany has resulted in a law which since 1999 offers a special power of attorney to exclude any psychiatric diagnosis, psychiatric incarceration or other psychiatric violent acts, as long you are adult, have not committed a significant crime and do not already have a guardianship before signing it. All the necessary paperwork is a bit complicated but this is in effect a preliminary loophole until the final aim is fulfilled of abolishing all mental health acts in Germany and also in the rest of the world.
An important step towards this final aim is in my opinion the 5th International Russell Tribunal on Human Rights in Psychiatry. The first session concluded with a verdict and the whole tribunal is on audiofiles in the Internet as a free download from the homepage http://www.freedom-of-thought.de . Now it is the up to our north american friends to organize the second session of the Russell Tribunal in New York next year! In my opinion the Russell Tribunal is one of our strongest tools, as it has proved how it can depict the immoral doings of a superpower, e.g. the war crimes of the US military forces in Vietnam. It is a political theater but one of the best degree, as it deals with true witnesses, the true conditions in the world and the accusation hit the nail on the head. In addition, the members of the jury are famous for their human rights stand. The Russell Tribunal was a great means of creating public awarness and gives moral support to the activists.
I therefore ask you all here in North America to take up this challenge and take on the task of making the second session of the Russell Tribunal on Human Rights in Psychiatry a reality in New York in the year 2002!
Thank you for your attention.