Sponsored by International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment (find IAACM, founded by MLK, on Facebook). We are self-organising this network through the leadership of everyone who supports our principles of mutual respect. You are a leader here!
Citizens in Lane County encouraged to Gather to Save Kesey Square, and Break Climate Silence.
Because they say our society has been to silent about the climate crisis, concerned citizens are invited to speak and sing at Kesey Square, on Broadway and Willamette, which is targeted by developers.
Peaceful events will begin at 3:30 PM on Friday 29 January 2016.
During the vigil organizers plan to visit nearby to Summit Bank, 96 Broadway. Their president, Craig Wanichek, is outgoing chair of Eugene Area Chamber, which has for years stayed silent about the climate crisis despite repeated community outreach. The Chamber new chair is Nigel Francisco, Chief Financial Officer of Ninkasi Brewing. Protesters encourage customers to ask Summit and Ninkasi to lead the local Chamber to finally speak out about the climate.
January 29 is a special day according according to holiday web sites such as Brownielocks. That day you are invited to peacefully celebrate “Freethinkers Day, National Puzzle Day, Seeing Eye Dog Day, and Thomas Paine Day.”
Sponsored by International Association for the Advancement for Creative Maladjustment. Your group endorsement is welcome. Protest is dedicated to the memory of the late activist Peg Morton. We’re round pegs facing square holes!
Plan to speak out that day? Tell us! Find our group on Facebook: LeadOn Lane!
Here in Eugene, Oregon, in the middle of downtown, there is a small public square with a statue of the late author and local legend Ken Kesey. I knew Ken, famous for writing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, one of the main novels celebrating counterculture and challenging psychiatry.
I organized a small protest in Kesey Square on January 29, 2016 for two reasons: First, developers threaten commercial expansion. Second, I encouraged people to speak out against the climate silence that paralyzes the general public. Below I expand upon the speech I delivered in the middle of the eccentric chaos.
Europe is laughing at us. You, the whole world, laughs at us. With Trump and Sarah Palin dominating the news, and with gun-toting militants taking over an Oregon bird sanctuary, hell, we are laughing at ourselves! We do look crazy.
I am an American nut. So I feel qualified to reply to the world about the USA’s mental health. The diagnoses I received throughout five lock-ups in psychiatric institutions back when I was a student at Harvard in the 1970’s include “psychosis”, “schizophrenia,” “bipolar,” and “depression.” Somehow, I graduated with honors anyway in 1977. Since then I have been a psychiatric survivor activist working in our little-known social change Mad Movement. I still see a psychotherapist regularly with my diagnosis of “PTSD.”
And I am thoroughly American. I grew up in the south side of Chicago. I lived on the east coast for eight years. I have close relatives down in Texas. And for the last 33 years I have lived here in Oregon.
Ken Kesey worked in a psychiatric institution in Roseburg, Oregon and this helped inform his 1962 book One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Ken had a favorite phrase in the story, “Bull goose loony,” which referred to the alpha-crazy on the ward.
We Americans are giving Donald Trump, through all the media obsession, the status of bull goose loony. I have learned during my lifetime working for human rights in mental health is that we are all a little crazy, from womb to tomb, 24/7. (I am very glad that the voters of Iowa rejected Donald Trump tonight in the presidential Iowa caucus, by coincidence the moment I finished and sent in this blog about my speech on Friday!)
Yes, Donald is nuts. But we are all nuts. The real question is, “What kind of nuts are we?”
Hey world, sometimes you want us American nuts. The good kind of nuts.
My dad was in D-Day in 1944, as Americans and Allies ran into machine gun nests on the French coast. Dad told us a story about D-Day several times. Dad arrived on the fifth day of D-Day as an MP, military police. He watched a lot of young Americans head into battle. Dad was struck by how one young man was so frightened about the war that when he pulled up his shirt, the muscle spasms in his abdomen went up and down, up and down, like the waves on the sea. World, you wanted American nuts then as they headed on roads to Berlin to take out Hitler.
In 1963 Martin Luther King gave his famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” But did you know that he did not deliver his written speech that day, and it was called “Normalcy — Never Again”? That sounds a little nuts, the good kind. The world seemed to like Martin, who got his Nobel prize in 1964 in Oslo, Norway. Dr. King talked a lot about “creative maladjustment.” He often said that the world was in dire need of a new organization, the “International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.”
Now the world is in a tipping point toward chaos.
Positive feedback loops in this climate crisis, such as methane release, may lead to a worst case scenario, which I call “Normalgeddon.” A smarter quad than I, Stephen Hawking, said that because of the risk of runaway greenhouse effect he is worried there is a chance of boiling oceans.
Talk about explicit madness! If the word “madness” has any meaning at all, then risking all life on earth would seem to qualify.
At a time when even the Pope says that the climate demands a global revolution, Trump is a distraction from where we should be directing our attention. There are far more fascinating stories that are far more important today.
For instance, the Kogi Indians in Colombia, South America, warn us about how the “younger brothers,” as they call the West, may ruin the world. They have had villages for thousands of years, that somehow escaped European invasion and remained intact. See the absolutely-riveting 2012 documentary “Aluna” on Netflix, in which the Kogi leaders use a gold-colored thread to illustrate how all of nature is inter-connected. That is the kind of good madness that I like to see! Why have most people not been informed about the Kogi’s message?
The “butterfly effect” gives us each potential, enormous power. We need something far bigger than D-Day to save the climate, and this time we are all Ike. That is, because of the butterfly effect we are all Supreme Commanders, as crazy as that sounds.
Yes, I have many disabilities.
In 2012 I fell down and broke my neck, and now I am a quad in a powerchair. I have been here before. I remember being on the floor and feeling the paralysis coming over me, unsure if it would kill me. I looked deeply into the eyes of my darling Debra. Today, world, you seem paralyzed. I have some familiarity with paralysis.
I try to empathize with you, world, and love you all. But generally we, the world, seem spiritually sick. We seem morally paralyzed. Our collective disabilities seem far bigger than mine.
There is no assurance we will win this global revolution. But at least we can break the silence, and make it undeniable that we are seeking revolution. Yes, we are all nuts but the question is:
What kind of nuts are we?
I challenge Donald Trump to prove that he should be our bull goose loony. What are we nuts for?
I am #Nuts4 love!
I am #Nuts4 Debra!
I am #Nuts4 revolution now! Now! Now!
At the end of my speech, several of us walked the half block from Kesey Square to Summit Bank. In the bank lobby about five employees stood ready to help. I asked to speak with the bank’s President, Craig Wanichek, who also served as the chair of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce. Several times I have tried to ask Craig to speak about the US Chamber, and how they are complicit with the climate crisis. He has maintained silence and now I know why.
“Craig is right behind you,” said the employees. He was. Craig quickly walked to the door and invited us to leave. Instead I turned around and said, “I would like to open an account.” Craig came back and threatened to call the police if we did not leave. For more information about the chamber and climate, search the web for this term: Normalgeddon
You are invited to tweet what you are most mad for. Use: #nuts4 as in #nuts4life
You would think that the whole world would be talking every day, all day about the threat to life itself on this planet due to decades of delay in addressing the climate crisis. Here in Eugene, Oregon at this point one would think our very progressive community would be discussing this topic all the time.
So why is there such silence?
Last week, our local weekly newspaper printed a little letter from me about the silence in our community regarding the climate crisis, a copy of the text is below.
Each of us individually can and must break the silence about climate chaos, or what I call climate silence.
Earlier this month the Paris climate meeting ended and we heard some mixed messages about the progress the resulted.
As the poet Dylan Thomas said:
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
… Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Below is my letter to the editor (12/17/15) summing up my own activism on our climate chaos:
OUR CHAMBER IS SILENT
COP 21 in Paris focused on what is most certain about climate change, such as the amount of sea-level rise. I am most concerned about uncertain disasters, such as positive runaway feedback loops, like methane release. We might hit a tipping point that could result in a chaotic Russian roulette with our planet. With such a worst-case scenario a possibility, our local response is far too silent.
For several years I have helped a campaign by the well-respected national group, 350.org. They ask local businesses to say that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce does not speak for them! Our local Eugene Area Chamber is actually independent from the U.S. Chamber, but unfortunately, after years of emails, visits and publicity, their leadership has stayed silent about global warming and refuses to put out a simple statement that the U.S. Chamber does not speak for them! Only about 56 local chambers, out of thousands, have spoken up.
Approaching friendly local businesses to talk about this issue is a good test of our nonviolence, compassion and civility. For example, several of us have communicated and visited with Ninkasi Brewing Company, whose Chief Financial Officer Nigel Francisco is the chair-elect for the Eugene Area Chamber. The Chamber’s website has a convenient business directory so that anyone can easily see if their favorite businesses are members. Eugene Weekly is a member.
Two of the leaders who went to the event at Ninkasi have commented about why this action is important:
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is very actively fighting attempts to take real climate action, so one of the ways that local chambers and their members can make a difference is to publicly distance themselves from the national chamber, and commit themselves to the changes needed for us all to survive and thrive. This should not be a difficult choice to make – people lives are at stake!” — John Abbe, Great March for Climate Action (LA to DC, 2014), Hike the Pipe (here in southern OR. 2015)
“It’s really rare when the consequences of speaking up, or not, are this dire. So for the sake of our children and grandchildren, who will need a stable planet to live on, let’s speak up before it’s too late!” — Ron Unger, mental health counselor and activist, please see his blog here.
I invented the word Normalgeddon to describe the risk of ending not only civilization as we know it, but ending life on Earth over the next few decades. Yes, I realize that things like sea-level rise and hurricanes are more certain, even currently-existing, outcomes of global warming. But there is an uncertain and real chance of “run-away” global warming, when positive feedback loops bring our chaotic climate system into uncharted waters. In this case, a tipping point of no-return could be reached and a very different and unlivable environment unfolds. I call this phenomenon Normalgeddon because it is our collective complacency and adherence to so-called Normality that are driving us toward catastrophe.
For example, one of the most famous scientists, Stephen Hawking, said: “I am afraid the atmosphere might get hotter and hotter until it will be like Venus with boiling sulfuric acid.”
I like to think that by acting urgently and based on our highest principles, we have a chance of turning things around.
Here is a brief list of resources both on this blog and in the web about preventing Normalgeddon.
Links to my blog entries:
1. My latest blog entry about the Chamber of Commerce and Global Warming:
April 2015 Update: We visit the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, and now you can see both a four-minute and 44-minute videos by David Zupan and Jana Thrift about our protest here:
Readers of my blog know that I am informed as an amateur about the science of emergence, or as I like to call it “the butterfly effect.” In other words, if we all act from our best values of unity, activism, and love of Earth, then we may have unexpected great results — a Climate Miracle! So remember that hope involves taking action without knowing exactly what the outcome may be.
Everyone ought to be familiar with this revolution in the sciences sometimes called systems sciences or complexity theory. You may read about this here:
Books such as Web of Life, by physicist Fritjof Capra, apply this type of thinking to living systems.
By coincidence, earlier this year I spent a whole session with my great counselor, psychologist John Bundy, about this very topic because I found I was losing a lot of sleep as I did research. After all, this may be the end of human life. I like to think that we all act together and save life. But I know this topic can be very upsetting.
May I suggest that we use the power of peer support, and I plan to do a lot of protesting and speaking out about this topic. I sure hope we work together now about this, no matter what the results, and hopefully we will celebrate later on!
There is an ancient Persian saying: No one is tired on Victory Day!
This page will change as more material arrives. Speaking of which, the great leader for connecting our movement to his career of mental health counselor, Ron Unger, sent me the following:
Action: At the bottom of this entry, you will see a link for you to endorse this statement about climate chaos!
About 15 of us folks in the Eugene area who care about the climate crisis gathered together last night at the Tasting Room for Ninkasi Brewery. We signed a statement together and gave that to Ninkasi staff.
Why did we choose the site of a maker of micro-craft beer for this? It turns out that our best reason was because of a great coincidence, the Chief Financial Officer for Ninkasi, Nigel Francisco, will become the next elected Chair for the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce.
Below is the statement we all signed, as supporters of Ninkasi. We thanked them, and we asked for something more. After you read the declaration, we hope you will join us and endorse this online:
Statement to Ninkasi Brewery about climate crisis:
Thanks and there is more to do!
Thanks for your great craft beer!
Thanks for your public principles in support of the environment!
Thanks for your community involvement!
And there is more we need to ask you to do:
Your Chief Financial Officer Nigel Francisco, will soon become the elected chair of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce. For more than five years the well-respected anti global warming group 350.org has had a campaign to ask local chambers to say that the US Chamber does not speak for them, because they are one of the main groups to block progress for climate justice.
Unfortunately, despite many messages, peaceful protest, letters, newspaper articles etc., the Eugene Area Chamber has refused to publicly say anything about the emergency of human caused climate crisis.
We the undersigned ask you to speak out and request that the Eugene Area Chamber say that the US Chamber does not speak for us! The climate crisis is one of the biggest challenges ever faced by humanity. It is urgent that we all take action, now!
For more info about this please see this news release:
Eugene Activists Visit Brewery To Ask Ninkasi to Say: “The US Chamber does not speak for us about the climate crisis!”
Chief Financial Officer of Ninkasi Brewery Will be Next Elected Chair of the Local Chamber of Commerce
This Friday, 20 November 2015, at 5:00 PM, Eugenians concerned about the climate crisis will gather at Ninkasi Brewery Tasting Room at 272 Van Buren St. Activists will drink the craft beer, and speak about the way global warming impacts each of us locally.
For more than five years, the influential climate group 350.org, has had a campaign to ask local chambers to distance themselves from the US Chamber based in Washington DC. The national US Chamber has had a history of blocking progress on addressing the climate crisis.
Now, having this gathering at Ninkasi Brewery makes more sense than ever:
Nigel Francisco, the Chief Financial Officer for Ninkasi, will soon become the elected chair for Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce. Ninkasi has a history of endorsing and speaking up for environmental principles.
David Oaks, one of the activists who plans to visit the Ninkasi Tasting Room this Friday, said, “This event will be friendly and supportive of Ninkasi’s support for our environment. While this gathering is unofficial and not organized by Ninkasi, we sure hope that someone from their staff attends.”
For more information about this campaign and local activities, please see:
You can download a PDF of the below news release here: ninkasi
When: Friday, 20 Nov. 2015 — 5:00 PM
Where: Ninkasi Tasting Room, 272 Van Buren St, Eugene, Ore.
Join us for an evening of beer tasting at one of the few local businesses in Eugene to respond to our raising concerns about the US Chamber of Commerce’s role in climate crisis. We recognize that Ninkasi is a staple in this community with the leverage to make change at a large scale. We hope that our presence will inspire them (and us all!) to take greater action.
Brief speakers will include Michael Carrigan (long-time justice activist), Ron Unger (mental health counselor), David Oaks (activist on human rights and climate madness), Michael Hejazi (mental health counselor).
This can be a great community building activity. Endorsed by MindFreedom Lane County and the International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.
Please note that this event will be held at 272 Van Buren St, Ninkasi Tasting Room. This activity is informal, unofficial, and not part of Ninkasi itself. We are a peaceful and friendly gathering for nonviolent revolution to challenge climate chaos.
For more information, find this event on facebook by searching for “Taste of Climate Justice.” You may email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The World Health Organization (WHO), based in Switzerland, has a project Mental Health Innovation Network that is publishing brief online blog entries to promote “dignity” of mental health system users and psychiatric survivors.
Below is the blog by me that MHIN distributed, in which I looked back on four decades in The Mad Movement:
Psychiatric Survivor Story: 40 Years Witnessing Mental Health User Dignity
To mark this year’s WMHD, the Mental Health Innovation Network is running a month long series (#WMHD2015 Blog Series) highlighting dignity in four areas of global mental health where dignity is most often compromised and/or redeemed. This week’s subtheme is “Service User Advocacy”.
Share this blog on social media using the hashtag #WMHD2015 and our Twitter handle (@mhinnovation), and join the conversation by commenting below.
David Oaks is a service user advocate with over 40 years of experience in the field of mental health human rights. He is also the former Director of MindFreedom International. Contact him through Twitter or visit his website: https://www.davidwoaks.com
Last month I turned 60-years-old. Thankfully about 16 good friends, including my loving amazing wife Debra, made this transition fun. We gathered around a big table in a Sushi bar, drank Sake and ate chocolate cake.
This little party was very different from when I was 20, forty years ago, back in college. That is the year that I began to experience difficulties in my life that led to five stays in psychiatric institutions. About a dozen psychiatrists would diagnose me as psychotic, schizophrenic, clinically depressed, and bipolar (then called manic depression). More than once I would find myself in a solitary confinement room with just a bare mattress on the floor for a few days. More than once, about five staff would hold me down and forcibly inject me with a powerful psychiatric drug.
In my senior year, a college volunteer agency placed me as an intern for a mental health service user advocacy group. I wrote about this work for school, and this internship became my career for the next four decades. I have had the unique honor of watching thousands of other psychiatric survivors go through extreme and overwhelming states of mind, supporting one another as loving and equal peers, and thriving through the power of their human spirits.
Because of what many of us call “The Mad Movement” I have met with mental health consumer/user leaders in nine countries, poor and rich, who with allies in the mental health and legal communities, have reached out over and over again to anyone who would listen. While the details and exact perspectives of these service users are very diverse, I have heard some of these themes during my 40-year story:
1. Never giving up on reaching out for dialogue with mental health professionals.
In my own country, the USA, as well as many other countries, and internationally, I have seen psychiatric survivors and mental health consumers/users pull together and ask to have reasonable discussions with organizations representing psychiatrists and psychologists. Despite extreme human rights violations, including atrocities such as forced electroshock, unfair lock-ups for years, four-point and five-point restraints for days, etc., survivors have shown incredible self-discipline and resilience by successfully reaching out for dialogue with professionals.
Unfortunately, with some heartening exceptions, I have seen this outreach by consumers/users flatly ignored by national and global mental health professional organizations. Of course, only a percentage of mental health professionals engage in human rights violations. However, every single mental health professional has personal responsibility to make sure that groups representing them address human rights issues. I have had the pleasure of making friends with dozens of psychiatrists and psychologists who are concerned about our empowerment. But groups representing mental health professionals have been almost universally silent, from regional leaders to the top leaders.
2. Questioning the language that is used about us.
After attending hundreds of meetings of people who have personally experienced mental health care, it seems that many of our gatherings begin with a discussion about language. Some people might get a little frustrated because there does not seem to be any perfect words to describe us. However, this is not about “political correctness.” Instead, imperfect though this effort to redefine ourselves may be, our people are seeking their own empowerment and a first step is to address word issues.
People might accept or reject psychiatric diagnoses about themselves. People might accept or reject words the public assigns us. But we can have influence over the words we use for ourselves.
Are we psychiatric survivors? Mental health consumers? Service users? That is up to us to decide. In the meantime, how about we stop calling each other things like “normal” or “mentally ill.” Describing each other with unscientific, vague, disparaging labels can hurt our mental wellbeing.
3. We are the 100%!
One of the most effective ways to rob a group of their dignity is to segregate them and treat them unequally. As other advocates have shown, it is wonderful to celebrate differences between people in terms of color, culture, gender, background, etc. However, when differences are exaggerated irrationally and become walls, oppression can win.
The most difficult and the most valuable insight I have gotten from my four decades in The Mad Movement is that every human being, from womb to tomb, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, always wrestles with overwhelming, life-threatening mental and emotional challenges. Yes, we are all different. However, as the climate crisis is showing us all more each day, to be human is to deal with recovery from the mysterious, unknown difficulties of our minds.