[TORONTO] APA - No Way!! June 3, 1998

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@arcos.org)
Thu, 16 Apr 1998 23:46:59 -0400


##################################################
#  PROTEST AT THE A.P.A. CONVENTION!                 #
#  WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 1998  7:00 PM TO 10:00 PM   #
#  METRO CONVENTION CENTRE                               #
#  255 FRONT ST. W. AT JOHN ST.                              #
#  TORONTO, CANADA                                                #
##################################################

Thousands of shrinks will be descending on Toronto during the week of
May 31-June3, 1998 as the annual convention of the American Psychiatric
Association rolls into town. In the course of these five days workshops
with titles such as 'The Role of Coercion in Psychiatry'  and
'Involuntary Outpatient Committal: The New York Experience' (NY being
the home of the infamous 'Continuum of Care' which seeks to sweep the
streets clear of homeless persons and forces many into unwanted
'treatment' with powerful psychotropic drugs) will be sponsored by
various corporate interests including all the major pharmaceutical
companies.

Over the past decade, psychiatrists' powers to act against a person's
wishes have steadily increased as laws were quietly passed in more than
thirty-five U.S. states allowing for involuntary drug 'treatment' of
persons living in the community, on pain of re-incarceration in a psych.
facility or general hospital mental ward for noncompliance. The most
recent state to enact such legislation was Vermont, as of April 13,
1998. In Canada, Saskatchewan became the first province to pass an
outpatient committal bill with 1995's Mental Health Services Act.
Ontario is currently considering similar legislation.

In a world dominated by rapidly escalating disparities between rich and
poor, with the attendant poverty, homelessness and other associated
oppressions, the unscientific, value-laden judgements which are
psychiatric diagnoses are being used with greater and greater regularity
to pathologize the natural and justified anger, fear and hopelessness of
the oppressed, and to justify the vigorous social control of involuntary
incarceration and 'treatment' on an unprecedented scale. Likewise, the
marked insensitivity towards issues related to culture, gender and
sexual preference which has long been a key aspect of the psychiatric
lexicon is rapidly increasing . To put it bluntly, shrinks are an
extra-legal, parallel police force dedicated to controlling those
behaviors, worldviews and beliefs which fall outside the sphere of the
criminal justice system. This truth is all the more insidious due to its
masquerading as compassion.

The unproven biological model of mental illness has held sway since the
eugenics-inspired Nazi 'euthanasia' program in 1930's Germany where
psychiatrists made reference to those considered genetically inferior
and 'unworthy of life', condemning tens of thousands of their patients
and other persons with disabilities to death in this precursor to the
Holocaust. To this day abuses and brutalities run rampant in psychiatric
'hospitals' and the misinformation and legally sanctioned coercion
associated with psychiatric practice effectively rules out any true
freedom of choice when dealing with this particular branch of medicine.
The very labels which are utilized to achieve this abuse also guarantee
the victims' voices will be effectively silenced - who will listen to
someone who has been branded crazy?

In early March this year a small ad hoc group of psychiatric survivors
began meeting in Toronto with the aim of staging some form of protest or
picket of the APA convention. As time went by, more people were
approached and began attendending meetings, and some ideas began to
emerge. The consensus was that our efforts should focus primarily on
vigorously educating the public as to the true nature of this particular
beast, and to build as large and colorful an event as possible as a
means to this end. As of today everything jelled,  and now comes the fun
part - putting our plans into effect!

First off we had to decide what to name ourselves... after kicking
around a number of ideas we decided on People Against Coercive
Treatment. (P.A.C.T.). A mission statement for this group (which we hope
to make a permanent organization) is currently being drafted, and the
development is underway of grassroots educational material on the
adverse and sometimes lethal effects of psychiatric 'treatments' (just
try and get your shrink to explain any of this stuff to you... fat
chance), the emotional/mental impact of coercion and alternatives to
drugging, the subjective and unscientific nature of much of the material
contained in the DSM-IV (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, edition
4 - the psychiatrist's Bible) and material refuting the widely
sensationalized but totally unsubstantiated myth of the 'violent mental
patient' which is wielded by media, psychiatric professionals, and the
family member organiztions such as the National Alliance for the
Mentally Ill to garner public support for coercion. Work began on a
poster to publicize the event and a website has been set up. Work is
underway on a guerrilla theatre piece to be performed at the protest
entitled (tentatively) 'No Haldol Please... We're Thinking.' (Or How To
Make The APA Types Feel *Real* Welcome).

As of the beginning of the week we received our first major endorsment -
from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty - and attempts are being made
to arrange for a free vegetarian meal to be served by the Toronto
chapter of Food Not Bombs. Over the ensuing seven weeks or so vigorous
outreach efforts will be undertaken towards other community
organizations and to agencies working with psychiatric survivors,
homeless persons and people with disabilities. We are gaining momentum -
and hoping for a loud, proud and angry survivor presense outside this
hellish gathering on the third of June! Let's say 'no way' to the APA!

For more information contact Graeme Bacque at <gbacque@arcos.org> or Don
Weitz at <dweitz@interlog.com>.

Visit our website at <http://web.arcos.org/gbacque/antiAPA.htm>.

Please feel free to copy, distribute and forward this message widely!
--
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
APA - No Way!! Toronto, June 3, 1998
<http://web.arcos.org/gbacque/antiAPA.htm>
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!