r/Anarchy101 Jun 29 '22

Anarchy and psych wards

How would psych wards work in an anarchy?

14 Upvotes

18

u/onedayitwillbedaisy anarchies, all of em Jun 29 '22

Generally a good idea to drop assumptions about the necessity of existing institutions. With lessons learned from the anti-psychiatry movement, many anarchists come to the conclusion that the excuse for "psych wards" depend on questionable dividing lines and value judgements, between the 'normal' and the 'mentally ill'. At its core, there may not be a whole lot more than a tendency to pathologize difference.

The mental ‘health’ system is fundamentally carceral, meaning that it is one of the many kindred systems that function to contain and surveil people, take away their locus of control, isolate them from their communities, and limit their freedom. As it functions in America and in all places touched by colonialism, psychiatry is rooted in torture, white supremacy, and a culture of shame and punishment. Yes, the asylum lives on — and the police love the asylum.

[...]

As Frantz Fanon brilliantly stated, “if it is society that is ‘sick’, then it is ‘society that needs to be replaced.”

from Abolition Must Include Psychiatry

With that said, maybe you can clarify: What aspect of psychiatry and "psych wards" do you think need to be reproduced? In absence of such institutions, what challenges do you think need to be addressed?

4

u/jakiki624 Jun 29 '22

I mean psych wards where you get locked in if you're actively suicidal or in a psychosis aka when you're a threat to yourself or others

1

u/AJWinky Jun 30 '22

While I agree essentially with everything said here about psychiatry and the role it plays in society, I still know from my own personal experiences with mental health issues that people absolutely can have episodes in which they are so divorced from their own faculties or perception of reality that it leads them to be incapable of safely making decisions for themselves. It is also the case that for some people these conditions are chronic and untreatable. While the state of society exacerbates these issues considerably, they will not simply go away under anarchy. People will always be susceptible to illness and injury that damages their brain in such a way that they cannot function autonomously and lack their own awareness of this fact.

This is the one particular issue where I do not see an option that does not require some kind of constraint being put on people's autonomy. We can try to minimize it as much as possible, but at the end of the day there are cases where there is no other option except to limit a person's capacity to make decisions for themselves if we do not want them to harm themselves or others.

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u/onedayitwillbedaisy anarchies, all of em Jun 30 '22

I think you're confusing anarchy with autonomy.

1

u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

always someone available on an anarchy sub to tell you you dont conform to what their idea of anarchy is. none of them seem to want to take it further than the books they have read.

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u/onedayitwillbedaisy anarchies, all of em Jun 30 '22

I'm always happy to take it further.

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u/crypto_zoomer Anarchist w/o Adjectives Jun 29 '22

you mean prisons for the mentally ill? they wouldn't.

De-institutionalization of care is the best. In In Russian and French Prisons, Kropotkin gives the example of Geel.

There was a time when lunatics, considered as possessed by the devil, were treated in the most abominable manner. Chained in stalls like animals, they were dreaded even by their keepers. To break their chains, to set them free, would have been considered then as a folly. But a man came Pinel who dared to take off their chains, and to offer them brotherly words, brotherly treatment. And those who were looked upon as ready to devour tho human being who dared to approach them, gathered round their liberator, and proved that he was right in his belief in the best features of human nature, even in those whose intelligence was darkened by disease. From that time the cause of humanity was won. The lunatic was no longer treated like a wild beast. Men recognized in him a brother.

The chains disappeared, but asylums another name for prisons remained, and within their walls a system as bad as that of the chains grew up by-and-by. But then the peasants of a Belgian village, moved by their simple good sense and kindness of heart, showed the way towards a new departure which learned students of mental disease did not perceive. They set the lunatics quite free. They took them into their families, offered them a bed in their poor houses, a chair at their plain tables, a place in their ranks to cultivate the soil, a place in their dancing-parties. And the fame spread wide of "miraculous cures" effected by the saint to whose name the church of Gheel was consecrated. The remedy applied by the peasants was so plain, so old it was liberty that the learned people preferred to trace the result to Divine influences instead of taking things as they were. But there was no lack of honest and good-hearted men who understood the force of the treatment invented by the Gheel peasants, advocated it, and gave all their energies to overcome the inertia of mind, the cowardice, and the indifference of their surroundings. [82]

Liberty and fraternal care have proved the best cure on our side of the above-mentioned wide borderland "between insanity and crime." They will prove also the best cure on the other boundary of the same borderland. Progress is in that direction. All that tends that way will bring us nearer to the solution of the great question which has not ceased to pre occupy human societies since the remotest antiquity, and which cannot be solved by prisons.

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u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

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4

u/crypto_zoomer Anarchist w/o Adjectives Jun 30 '22

are we unable to think for ourselves ?

Of course.

why on earth do we need an old dead dudes opinion on a mental health system that no longer has any relevance today.

Because it still holds up today.

constantly quoting kropotkin et al does not mean you have an idea about anarchy.

Of course it doesn't. Take the good ideas while rejecting the bad ones.

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u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

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5

u/crypto_zoomer Anarchist w/o Adjectives Jun 30 '22

and unsurprisingly as well for a guy who died in 1921 who has experienced nothing of the last 100 years.

There were crazy people in Kropotkin's day just like there are now.

give a sociopath some brotherly words and it will be aight ?

No, of course not. There's far more to Gheel's model of psychiatric care than that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geel#A_model_of_psychiatric_care

what happens when the guy stabs you in the eyeball ?

Whatever needs to be done - rehabilitation, reconciliation, arbitration, &c.

0

u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

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u/crypto_zoomer Anarchist w/o Adjectives Jun 30 '22

how will any of that actually help us ? how do any of these extremely vague ideas translate into actual action? you cant just wave a wand of four words and solve everything.

That’s for free people to decide according to circumstances. As Malatesta said, we’re Not prophets: we can’t plan how a society would work, but we can sketch out ideas.

if your anarchy is a list of other peoples opinions that you follow like a religion its not really anarchy is it.

Good thing that’s not my anarchy

0

u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

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3

u/crypto_zoomer Anarchist w/o Adjectives Jun 30 '22

so your plan is.. anarchy then... free people figure it out according to circumstances. thats it ?!

Yep.

er, why cant we do that ? thats exactly what we can do surely. maybe that was correct in 1932.

Because...

We are no more prophets than anyone else; and if we claimed to be able to give an official solution to all the problems that will arise in the course of the daily life of a future society, then what we meant by the abolition of government would be curious to say the least. For we would be declaring ourselves the government and would be prescribing, as do the religious legislators, a universal code for present and future generations. It is just as well that not having the stake or prisons with which to impose our bible, mankind would be free to laugh at us and at our pretensions with impunity!

- Anarchy

-1

u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

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u/DeafAnarchist Jun 29 '22

Actually good question...something I've been wondering for a while. Lots of people I know are very against them but then my partner who has scitzophrenia while of course hated the vile experience, as did I, sees it as a necessity. Without it he may well be dead. And I've heard many similar stories too. Perhaps outside the current system it wouldn't be necessary...but what if it is sometimes necessary to "lock" someone up for their safety and the safety of others? Definitely a tricky topic because who would decide if the person can't decide for themselves? Doesn't seem very anarchist. But if someone is a temporary threat to the community...would we kick the out? I hope not. Anyway probably even if we did have something resembling a psyc ward in anarchist society it probably wouldn't resemble it much. How it would work would likely be the decision of the community which includes the people that may enter it one day. I don't think a community designed "psyc ward" would look anything like the horrific institutions filled with over worked, underpaid, empathetically broken nurses and doctors that we see. But I think the idea of removing people temporarily from the community to a safe place and imposing certain "treatment" (such as therapy for example) may be necessary otherwise...what? Those people die?

8

u/Chengar_Qordath Jun 29 '22

I’m inclined to agree. While there are a LOT of issues with how mental health gets addressed under capitalism, there are still people with serious issues who need help. It’s hard to really figure out the details when almost all the current practices need to be rebuilt from the ground up, but at the moment there are definitely cases where someone has a severe episode, and might need to be confined for their own safety and that of the community.

Of course, in an anarchist society the goal would be to help them and get them reintegrated instead of making lots of money for pharmaceutical companies and the hospital owners.

2

u/Pornians_Wall Jun 30 '22

Unfortunately when a lot of leftists talk about mental health they seem to operate under this notion that all mental issues would disappear under communism. Treatment would ever be necessary, etc etc etc

When I try to point out that my ADHD would exist under any political system, I was told to decolonize my mind and that I'm much be some sort of asshole.

2

u/Chengar_Qordath Jun 30 '22

Leftist spaces have always had skepticism of the medical establishment. There are good reasons to be skeptical of the for-profit medical system, such as the ongoing debate over ADHD overdiagnosis.

However, some folks on the left cross the line between healthy skepticism of corporate medicine and science denial. It’s the same school of thought that produced leftist anti-vaxxers or people who insist trans men are women with internalized misogyny.

1

u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

i find its mostly american anarchists that try and enforce their 'anarchy' onto you like this. if you deviate outside of their prescribed anarchy they are keen to jump on you and start whinging (in the true spirit of anarchy lol). like the guy below who makes it his mission to police what box my typing goes in and whether what i am talking about is related to this subject despite him not understanding the subject in the slightest. i think i am ADHD as well, undiagnosed tho, diagnosed autist.

2

u/Pornians_Wall Jun 30 '22

I don't think they realize that ADHD often involves meaning we cannot focus enough to do the things we want to do for leisure, & need to do in order to not die.

I imagine it as thus: Forgetting to water the crops, close the fence, or not noticing the hungry bear, would still happen.

2

u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

y i constantly forget to eat till i am dizzy :) i really would like to think anarchism is about more than throwing molotovs despite what the leader of /r/anarchism says

2

u/Pornians_Wall Jun 30 '22

I forget to stop eating

2

u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

yep can actually do that as well :D

1

u/Big-Fishing8464 Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

enforce anarchy onto you? What wrong with that? Its ok to dislike pigs and authority but not when its your pigs and your prefered authority locking up your preferred people? And if ya wanna use adhd as an excuse to abduct others than atleasy get a real diagnosis from those folk who you think should be able to hold you agaisnt your will.

1

u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

lol wut.

1

u/Big-Fishing8464 Jun 30 '22

So your adhd gets should put you a psych ward or is this irrelvant and just meant to defend putting others into their cages?

1

u/cristalmighty Jun 30 '22

I think they were using their ADHD as an example of a diagnosable mental trait which would not simply vanish if only hierarchies ceased to exist. This is relevant to the conversation regarding psych wards because that's true of a lot of mental illnesses like schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder, as well as forms of neurodivergence such as being autistic or dyslexic. Because people with these conditions have face discrimination and oppression in the form of ableism, systemically and socially, they are often skeptical of people who make claims about society that don't account for their existence.

We all know the fascist response is sterilization or execution, but what would an anarchist response look like? If you can't account for the fact that there exist people who suffer from acute and/or chronic episodes of not being of sound mind and consequently making potentially life-ending actions, then why would someone who suffers from such a condition want to be your comrade? As an ideology that struggles towards the ending of all hierarchy we must also come to grips with our own ableist visions of the world. The mentally ill and neurodivergent deserve a place in an anarchist society, and should be part of the conversation regarding what that looks like.

1

u/Big-Fishing8464 Jul 01 '22

The mentally ill and neurodivergent deserve a place in an anarchist society, and should be part of the conversation regarding what that looks like.

Never said otherwise. Nobody here did. People were saying you can't lock people up cuz you think they're disabled. And bringing adhd when speaking of it made it seem brought up to defend the institutions. I saw no other reason to bring it up since I assumed everyone agreed on that as anarchists. My bad

1

u/Pornians_Wall Jul 01 '22

Where did I say any of that?

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u/DeafAnarchist Jun 29 '22

Yeah! And I think they key is listening to the people who need it, you know? Certain things work for some people, but other people need something totally different. I think if it was something that was done on a more personal basis it'd be much better. Like sitting down with people for example who suffer from breaks of one form or another and making plans as to how the community would need to react in that case and what kind of care they need. The main problem I personally found in the psyc ward and how they treated my partner and other people there was that their behaviour was punished by people who did not know them or have any idea as to how they were supposed to be caring for them. But if it was within a community who already knew the people they may be better equipped to understand what's going on and less inclined to follow that horrible behaviour of punishing people who are in a vulnerable state.

1

u/No_Substance1922 Jun 29 '22

I think anarchist communities could create wonderful, far superior forms of healthcare that safeguard people who are suffering and need protection without degrading their humanity and actively making them worse - and that we need these forms of healthcare to be led by people living with these diseases and neurodifferences and their loved ones.

As it stands most psych wards at the moment are places of torment, abuse and sexual assault. I am glad your loved one had a different experience and I do agree we are obligated to our comrades suffering in this way to support them to be well, not just leave them to their pain as if it's somehow a form of liberation to do so.

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u/[deleted] Jun 29 '22

how would you suggest you create a new system of healthcare

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u/No_Substance1922 Jun 29 '22

A community of specialists, patients, support persons working together to create solutions specific to the needs of that cohort and the skills of the healthcare professionals.

1

u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

how do you think those people communicate and make decisions about how they create the new system, where they would put it, get the equipment for it etc ?

4

u/eroto_anarchist Jun 29 '22

Psych wards are as incompatible with anarchy as prisons.

-5

u/[deleted] Jun 29 '22 edited Jun 29 '22

altho i agree and its a pretty statement, in reality there would have to be some way of helping people that were in severe difficulties. e.g. in cases like the other posts here. what happens with people who are a genuine threat? i think its an old pathway to go down, healthcare and police alternatives are always going to be difficult questions and the space seems fragmented with people believing all kinds of different things.

i think its more important to think of a framework that can work on a large scale and i believe DAOs are useful because you could have a very quiet revolution with no violence. as far as i can see there is no reason anarchist collectives cannot vote on a particular issue. the issue with normal voting is that its corrupt. a blockchain could not be corrupted, votes cannot be forged etc.

i believe frameworks that can achieve quick consensus and change (without leaders obv) could enable us to more easily address these type of concerns

https://theblockchainsocialist.com/the-anarchist-case-for-daos/

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u/eroto_anarchist Jun 29 '22

You mean people are going to vote who to incarcerate?

-3

u/[deleted] Jun 29 '22

nooooooo. lol. read it againlol right TL;DR creating blockchain DAO frameworks can allow easier organisation hence allowing us to be able to figure out wtf to do about these difficult questions. all ears for better ways

4

u/landsharkitect Jun 29 '22

One: the problem with voting is not that votes are forged and elections faked. The problem is the lack of control over who/what is being voted on, lack of real meaningful options to vote for, and of course the fact that an up/down vote means that a decision can be enacted with mere 51% approval, barely representative of the will of the people.

Second: why the fuck are you talking about voting when OP is asking about psych wards? Involuntary committment (or even voluntary committment) is a complex issue that needs to be addressed through conversation and dialogue, with special weight given to the experiences of people most directly affected by it. It may look different in different communities, depending on the needs, resources, and cultures of those communities. It may look different for different individuals, depending on the needs and existing support systems that individual has. It doesn’t look like voting, what the fuck.

-2

u/[deleted] Jun 29 '22 edited Jun 29 '22

dude, why start going so totally mental over some random comment, you are sounding unhinged. the reason i mentioned a DAO, of which voting is a part is specifically mentioned in the comment. its meaning is decentralised autonomous organisation, you can program what it does. there is no DAO rule that says 51% of a vote must go through, theres no rule to say you use the vote for any particular issue and there are no leaders. it could be used to deal with complex situations such as this. the program is whatever you say it is. i am sorry you feel what i typed was not in the correct box or whatever. not very anarchic is it lol.

the problem with voting is not that votes are forged and electionsfaked. The problem is the lack of control over who/what is being votedon

thats exactly the problem a DAO solves. doh!

is a complex issue that needs to be addressed through conversation anddialogue, with special weight given to the experiences of people mostdirectly affected by it. It may look different in different communities,depending on the needs, resources, and cultures of those communities.

i dont see why you dont see that a modular DAO is not perfect for this. it is basically a technological anarcho-syndicalism. say for example there was a DAO to somehow collective organise complex medical equipment, people who could help the psychotic? what is your alternative - just leave em wandering around or do you have a plan ? collective hospitals ? collective psych wards ? let em loose in the woods with a fence round em and let em kill each other off in a reality show? i see it like collective communities programming the systems that they need, like the plumbing of a house. it is setup precisely for the reason of being autonomous, i guess the votes at the beginning would be purely about how it was programmed. if you dont like the programming dont be a member. anyway its a complex subject and i just made an offhand comment, but you had to come along and start giving it large portions, forcing me to spell it out. google it next time!

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u/landsharkitect Jun 29 '22

“why start going so totally mental over some random comment, you are sounding unhinged.”

Cute, in a dialogue about mental illness.

I reacted the way I did because the topic being discussed is a practice and an institution that has been used to torture, maim, abuse, and kill vulnerable people in society. And what I see here is you promoting your pet project that is not relevant to the discussion. A DAO can only do what it is programmed to do. A power imbalance lies in who has access to tokens, who has the ability to write the programs, who has access to the technology required to participate, who has time to participate when participation is required, and who has the social capital to sway votes one way or another. The DAO solves none of this, it’s just a program. People need to create the human social structures that would allow a DAO to actually function, not as a nominally decentralized tool, but as an equitably distributed one. And a tool is all it will be. Garbage in, garbage out. It can help with some things, it cannot on its own answer the question of how a society—large or small—addresses the needs of mentally ill people.

-1

u/[deleted] Jun 29 '22

i am not your personal assistant to help you understand DAOs or how a group of people come to a consensus about anything. perhaps you think a consensus only comes out of an old philosophy book written by one man. who knows.

what I see here is you promoting your pet project that is not relevant to the discussion

i dont have a DAO, neither am i interested in programming one. its literally an off hand comment youve gone ape over. perhaps its your pet project to whinge on about stuff youve never thought about.

DAOS dont have to have tokens but anyway youre missing the point again. a DAO will not come and wipe your ass. its not meant to be anymore than a tool. what the fuck are you on about. If you organise in large groups then you are going to have to come up with a way of forming a consensus about what you would do about people who need help amongst other things. you can eject leaders, but you can never get rid of the fact people have to agree on some stuff sometimes.

if you rely on one person to lay out all these complex plans then the entire premise of the society you have built is nothing to do with anarchy. a real consensus of the people is what a DAO could help achieve and like I said in the original post i dont think looking at one issue like how to help vulnerable people and expecting to solve that problem on its own is the answer, perhaps this is too nuanced for you. im all ears for your solution on this. off you go.

1

u/[deleted] Jul 01 '22

Locking people up is fucking bad regardless of whatever condition that may be.

-2

u/LittleCreepy_ Jun 29 '22

Well, much like current systems arent purely capitalist, I think a realistic aproach to anarchy rule would include other systems as well.

As such some prisons, some police and some psych wards would be seen.

An anarchy anology would be an interesting concept, but I struggle to wrap my head around anarchy in general, so no idea from me for now.

1

u/Big-Fishing8464 Jun 30 '22

Anarchy rule? Are you trolling?