Lunatics Liberation Front

Tony Abdo aabdo at
Sun Jan 14 12:24:14 MST 2001

This thesis of an 'unholy alliance' between Libertarian 'romantics' and
neo-liberals is used to buttress a supposedly marxist support for
'treatment' for the 'mentally ill'.

There are two issues here; 1) the lack of treatment and 2) the type of
treatment.    Jim, Gary, and Carrol in their arguments seem to not be
fully cognizant of the dangers of 'treatment' by capitalist driven
medicine.      They gloss over and romanticize the days of
institutionalization before the Big, Bad neo-liberals and romantics had
their day.

But, an even bigger crime than throwing resourceless people into the
streets was and is  the 'treatment' often given them, both in the
streets and in the institutions.      Millions of people have had their
lives destroyed, or severely reduced in quality, by forced medication.
Tardive Dyskinesia (permanent nerve damage to the nerves that control
muscular movements) is something that is not fully addressed in their
rush to give 'marxist' support for what they consider to be science and
medical treatment.

So for the sake of clarity, I would like to mention that groups like the
Lunatics Liberation Front do a great service in exposing the dangers of
uncritical support for the ' 100% medicalizing' of the treatment of
people who suffer the many varied types of psychological problems found
in society.    It is not wrong to celebrate the human spirit as they do.
It would be wrong not to.

Currently, US society is undergoing a tremendous explosion in using
medication to control the behavior of a more and more dysfunctional
(within capitalist institutions) younger generation.     This is being
done under the guise of science and 'treatment'.      This continues
alongside with the greater and greater abuse of the elderly via the
tardive dyskinesia causing medications that are favored in the treatment
of 'schizoprenia'.

Marxists should be very wary of uncritical endorsement for more
'treatment' of those requiring assisstance in their daily life.     What
they often need is just more assistance via social service, not the
pill-pushing 'medical community'.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest was a movie that exposed the jailing of
people that had committed no crime.     Jim, what would be nice is to
have a 'romantic' movie exposing how insurance always manages to cure
the problem the minute that the funding runs out.      That's the true
foundation of modern day capitalist 'treatment' by pills.     It's just
that the funding continues for pills, much longer than the funding for
in-facility treatments, like counselling and social services, etc.

We live under a medical system that has more concern for the medicines,
than for the patients.      Beware of just asking to have those pills.
It is not always a good thing.     Beware of going to the Doc all
innocent like.

Tony Abdo
Well I think that we need clarity on this issue and I like to think that
Marxism can help provide that. Certainly we could supply a critique of
the State and how the mentally ill are simply not provided with the help
they need and deserve. We could also though act as a counter weight to
the irrational and anti-modernist impulses of Romanticism. We could too
historicise and contextualise - always our strength. Such an impulse
would point out that the anti-psychiatry movement of the 60s was
co-opted by neo-liberals who were anxious to cut costs in the provision
of care for the mentally ill. Just a few runs of One Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest and hey presto you had thousands of the mentally ill
dumped onto the streets. All in the name of liberation, too. What else?

That was certainly the case in the US where an unholy alliance between
the anti-psychiatry movement and fiscal conservatives led to the closure
of most public mental hospitals and asylums. At the time this happened,
it was promised that these institutions would be replace with community
based mental health care. Those promises of course were largely unkept.
Meanwhile, there is in the US also the issue of health insurance and
care for the mentally ill in private institutions. It seems that
patients typically experience miraculous recoveries from even the most
severe disturbances just when their insurance coverage is about to run
out. Amazing!!
Jim F.

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