Update 13 May 2015: *Our Eugene event will be rain or shine. * The Free Speech Plaza is kind of big, so please find us in the Northeast corner up the stairs by the entrance doors to the county, which is also away from the drumming, though it will be noisy so keep your remarks loud and brief!
By David Oaks
On May 16, 2015 there will be several dozen grass roots protest against electroshock, mainly in the US but also in about eight other countries. Below is info about our local protest here in Eugene, Oregon, USA:
Reviving the spirit of Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest!
When: Saturday, 16 May 2015, 2 pm.
Where: Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza at the northeast corner of 8th and Oak St., across from the Saturday Market.
Speakers in Eugene that day include:
Fred Abbe, 68, of Reedsport, OR personally experienced electroshock as a teenager. He said, “I survived 40 years of psychiatric oppression, including 15 bilateral electroshock ‘treatments’ totally forced against my will, every other day within a 30 day period in 1964, before I reached the age of 18, in Jackson Park Memorial Hospital in Miami Beach, Florida.”
Chuck Areford of Eugene, a long-time mental health worker who once gave electroshock.
Adrienne Bovee, a psychiatric survivor from Eugene and student at the University of Oregon who says, “I feel lucky to have narrowly escaped brutal psychiatric treatment like electroshock.”
Chrissy Piersol of Eugene, a young adult psychiatric survivor who works as a peer mental health counselor.
David Rogers of Eugene, folk singer and songwriter, will sing about empowerment and disability. He works as a mental health peer supporter.
David Oaks of Eugene, psychiatric survivor who has worked as an activist for human rights in mental health for 40 years. He said, “The world today can cause a lot of despair, such as through global warming that threatens life as we know it. We can do better than just responding with jolting people’s brains!”
At the end of the Eugene protest, activists will walk to the statue of Ken Kesey at Broadway and Willamette St. to remember his literary resistance to electroshock.
Co-sponsors of the peaceful protest in Eugene include MindFreedom Lane County, International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment, Network Against Psychiatric Assault, Rethinking Psychiatry, and ectjustice.com, which has more about the protests including a list of planned events. More info can be found on the facebook pages of MindFreedom Lane County and Network Against Psychiatric Assault. May is the annual “National Mental Health Month.
All of my grandparents came from Lithuania so we wondered why my grandfather (on my mother’s side) wanted to name his first born with the Italian name Giordano. My 97-year-old mother told me this story a few years ago so I read up on my grandfather’s hero Giordano Bruno. By the way, my grandmother did not follow her husband’s wishes and my uncle was named after the famous Lithuanian Vytautas the Great. It turns out that Giordano Bruno is a very interesting historical figure, mainly making a name for himself by being the last heretic burnt at the stake by the Catholic church in 1600. Every year on this date 17th of February, this figure is remembered in Rome by his statue in a celebration of free thinking. I have read some of Bruno’s interesting writings about philosophy, nature, magic, and memory. Just using his intellect and logic he was able theorize that the stars up in the sky were just like our sun but of course were very far away. Not too shabby for a guy without a telescope. February 17th is also World Human Spirit Day. You may read more about Giordano and the annual celebration here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giordano_Bruno
One of the most amazing activist campaigns I have been involved in during my 40 years of protest for human rights in the mental health system, was the effort to stop the involuntary electroshock of Ray Sandford of Minnesota.
Incredibly, back in 2008, he was getting forced shock every Wednesday morning on an outpatient basis. That is right, every week in his group home out in the community, he was picked up and brought to a local hospital for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) through his brain, against his will, with a court order.
Ray reached MindFreedom in the Fall of 2008, and an international human rights campaign began for him.
Below, you will see an article by psychiatric survivor activist Loretta Wilson looking back on this action six years ago, which involved thousands of people speaking out together to help and support Ray. It took longer than I thought, but Ray won!
Loretta often talks on the telephone with Ray, and reports on his current needs. Today, as an oppressed person who lives in a group home, Ray should have a better life. Six years ago, his psychiatrist, guardian, lawyer, group home, and many other authorities worked together for his forced electroshock. It is to Ray’s credit that somehow he phoned us at the MindFreedom office and kicked off this historic movement victory.
Back then, Ray’s psychiatrist said that he had to have forced electroshock or he would not survive. Six years later we can now reliably say that this psychiatrist was wrong!
During his forced electroshock, I remember how a bunch of us flew in to Minnesota and reached a lot of people there about Ray. Thanks, Loretta, for keeping in touch with Ray and remembering this great victory.
Some activists dismiss electroshock as an issue for campaigns, because the vast majority of psychiatric treatment is of course with drugs. But as long as even one person is subject to forced electroshock, especially with involuntary outpatient commitment, we are all at risk. In an often-divided movement, opposing forced electroshock unites almost everybody, along with most people on the left and the right in the general public.
At this time, Congressperson Tim Murphy (R-PA) is pushing for his bill for far more involuntary outpatient procedures in the USA, and an attorney has confirmed with me that Rep. Murphy’s bill does not exclude forced electroshock in the community of people living peacefully at home. When the public discovers that his bill would allow more involuntary electroshock of peaceful, law-abiding citizens in their own homes, there will be general outrage. Talk about out-of-control big government over-reach!(more…)
Wade Hudson, a long-time activist and one of your main collaborators and friends, announced that you had died suddenly either late Wednesday night, January 14, 2015, or early Thursday morning, and all of us in the Mad Movement have lost one of our most powerful champions.
Leonard, I always thought of you as one of the early, beat drop-outs, because you were going into the business world after your graduation from the Wharton School of Business in the 1954, but your spiritual journey brought you into conflict with this society. As part of your mystical experience you were one of the early Americans in that generation to renounce eating meat and dairy products, and of course you grew that big beard. In 1962, because of your cultural and religious rebellion, you experienced absolutely incredible psychiatric abuse, including both forced insulin coma shock therapy and electroshock therapy. Many times I have told the story about how your psychiatrist checked to see if you had shaved or deviated from your vegetarianism, and when you persevered he ordered more forced electroshock.
For four decades I have been an activist challenging the mental health industry. More and more I feel that the climate crisis should be one of the highest priorities for social change led by people who have personally experienced psychiatric abuse, and our allies. I affectionately call us The Mad Movement. It seems that almost every speaker against global warming ends their message the same way, that we can stop this catastrophe if society has the “will.” I believe that participants in The Mad Movement have an important insight into real sickness in society. As a psychiatric survivor, I have seen too much labeling of creative maladjustment as ill. We need to shake off our world’s complacency and numbness, also known as “normality.”
The beginning of 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of a little-known campaign by the well-respected environmental group 350.org that asks the approximately 7,000 local chambers of commerce in the USA to oppose the way the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, based in Washington, D.C., blocks national progress in the fight to stop global warming. 350 says that, “The Chamber has long opposed environmental standards, but on climate change, they’ve gone pretty near berserk” (www.chamber.350.org).
350’s main request of local chambers seems pretty modest — to simply issue a statement saying that the US Chamber “doesn’t speak for us” in its denial of human-caused climate change. Unfortunately, despite five years of effort by activists, only 56 local chambers have distanced themselves from the U.S. Chamber about global warming. That is less than one percent! I have helped organize many actions over the past five years to ask our local Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce to say anything about climate change, but regrettably we have been met by a wall of silence.
We have tried everything from writing letters to the editor, personally corresponding with board members, performing public street theater, and protesting inside the chamber office itself. And still, no substantial moves have been made. The Eugene Area Chamber’s board members relentlessly refuse to speak up for values that they profess to have.
I am extremely concerned about the disaster of climate change because I think of it as a one-two punch. The first punch is highly predictable and linear. Almost all scientists agree on this “unequivocal” punch. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change spotlights the certainty of human-caused global warming hazards, such as sea-level rise. I am more interested in the second, surprise punch of runaway climate change, which is non-linear.
There has been a quiet revolution throughout the sciences that I like to call “the butterfly effect.” Others call this field the science of emergence, chaos, dynamic systems, or complexity. In short, when complex systems like Earth’s environment are disrupted, chaotic results can occur. Global warming may trigger amplifying, abrupt feedback effects, such as methane release as a result of warming permafrost. A little global warming may lead to an irreversible avalanche of extreme global warming. I call the worst case scenario of climate change “Normalgeddon.”
Right now, the Eugene chapter of 350.org is focusing on valuable state-wide campaigns such as blocking oil pipelines, divesting the University of Oregon Foundation from companies that profit from fossil fuels, and carbon-restrictive legislation. These campaigns are necessary, and we should rally for more support for these local efforts. We should also still support 350.org’s national campaign to get local chambers to speak out against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce president has always been responsive and civil to me personally, but he has also refused to speak out against the U.S. Chamber. He claims that the Eugene chamber is entirely independent. In a way, the Eugene community should see the Eugene Area Chamber’s refusal to speak up as a gift, because the climate crisis is no longer a faceless entity — it is embodied by our local chamber’s refusal to demand real change. Our chamber is also an actual place to peacefully protest. The chamber’s office is downtown at the corner of 14th and Willamette.
The planet’s issues are the people’s issues. Those of us who are the most marginalized and disenfranchised by existing inequality are the most vulnerable to impacts of the changing climate. All organizations fighting for people must fight for the planet, and vice versa. As a mental health and disability rights activist, connecting the issues of mental health and climate change are particularly important to me, but this work can and must be done in all realms. Please take up the leadership to nonviolently urge that the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, and its leaders, speak up about the U.S. Chamber and climate crisis.
After my wonderful wife Debra and I came home from last year’s climate march here in Eugene in solidarity with a huge New York City march, we turned to each other realizing that we had the exact same take-away message: Hope means acting from your own highest principles, without necessarily knowing what the outcome will be. I hope that the Eugene community and the board members of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce will think this through, and act on their own highest principles. After all, real mental well-being requires that we work now with a sense of urgency, unity, purpose and hope. Not only do we need a climate miracle, we need to construct our own miracle in our minds and in our communities.
Below is lots more info about this job. You may now apply directly to me by simply emailing me about your interest: email@example.com In fact I may help you start a whole career as a home-care worker with or without a provider number! It is easier than ever to apply for these positions!
Home-Care Workers: Permanent and Fill-In Positions
Work with long-time activist David Oaks.
Hi Homecare Worker!
The best homecare worker team in the world is looking for a Sub, because almost every other week we need coverage for an AM or PM shift. Filling in is an easy way to join us. A small regular weekly shift may be opening soon!
If interested in joining our team give me a cell call, the number is in the S&DS Online Registry. Or email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or both.
About this opportunity:
Helpful for all shifts: Experience w/ quadriplegics. Experience w/ hoyer lifts. For AM shift only experience w/ digital stim. bowel program (additional training from my nurse available). About every 3 days we shower in the am.
Born in 1955 in the south side of Chicago, raised working class, got scholarships to Harvard, graduated with honors 1977. Since then I’ve worked for disability human rights, especially mental health, co-founding MindFreedom International. In 2012 I broke my neck and do a lot of rehab. I’m in a powerchair w/ paralyzed legs & arms with several other disabilities. For example my vocal fold is impaired.
My main interest is environmental action. My wife Debra, our cat Bongo and I live in our own neat home, on our quarter-acre eco-garden we call Mad Swan, in the Churchill neighborhood SW Eugene.
Our many shifts each week total about 85 hrs:
Weekday am: Typically start at 7 or 7:30 am
Sat. am: 7:30 am to 4:30 pm
Sun. am: 9 am to noon, plus noon to 3 pm 1st Sun.
Weekday pm: 3:00 pm to about 8:00 pm
Weekend pm: About 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Some of the tasks for both the am and pm shifts (training available):
Dressing & personal hygiene (ability to roll me, 175 lbs, while in bed)
Supra pubic catheter care (it’s easy, training available)
Assist communication via computer
Light housekeeping & laundry
Meal set-up, preparation, service & cleanup
Transportation to/from appointments & social events driving my accessible van; clean driving record required
Assistance with meds & vitamins
WE AIM TO BE “THE MOST MAGNIFICENT EMPLOYER OF HOMECARE WORKERS IN THE WORLD.”
We’re homecare union supporters. We make sure longer shifts get a break. We’ve got a nice, comfy, quiet breakroom, or our big backyard, deck/garden. Supplies/equipment are carefully maintained. Workplace is professional & safety is our highest priority. For more info, direct your search engine to David W. Oaks. My public blog is https://www.davidwoaks.com
Act soon! Contact my cell phone number you will find on the S&DS Online Registry or email me at email@example.com
Update: The author has replied, and you can read this November 14, 2014 update at the bottom of this,
Here in Eugene, Oregon, I heard a radio interview with the author of a young adult novel called “Crazy,” and I hoped that the author would challenge some mental health oppression during her book tour here in Oregon. After all, her semi-autobiographical fiction novel is about growing up in Klamath Falls, Oregon with a mom who has severe mental and emotional problems. Unfortunately, the radio interview seemed to turn into a promotion of the conventional mental health system.
Below is my open public letter to this author to ask that she questions the mental health industry more in her book tour:
Dear Linda Vigen Phillips,
At first, when I heard the interview with you on my local radio station KLCC-FM today, I was enthused about the possibilities for your book tour. I had high expectations that you can challenge mental health oppression.
For the past 40 years I have been working to change the mental health system as a person who survived abuse by the psychiatric system as a teenager. So I’m optimistic that your book tour could give many teens struggling with these issues a great amount of hope.
However, during your interview, I felt very disheartened because the message seemed to support the current mental health industry, which I feel needs to be overthrown completely. You seem to be such a caring and smart author with the intent of supporting psychiatric survivors and our families. So below I ask some questions that I would love to hear a reply to, and most importantly, I urge you to open dialogue with your audiences about these issues throughout your book tour.
I have not yet read your young adult novel, “Crazy,” but I know you are reaching many of us who have psychiatric diagnoses and family members, such as during your book tour visit to one of my favorite bookstores, Tsunami Books. Several times over the past few years, Tsunami Books has hosted some great psychiatric survivor authors, poets, musicians and other creative folks. So please take my questions in the friendly manner they are offered to you: (more…)