Antipsychiatry Radio Transcript – Take Back Our Radio – Mar.11/09
ANTIPSYCHIATRY RADIO – TAKE BACK OUR RADIO
Transcript – March 11, 2009
Welcome to a very special edition of Antipsychiatry Radio. I’m Don Weitz, your proud producer-and-host of Antpsychiatry Radio. Originally titled Shrinkrap over 12 years ago, Antipsychiatry Radio was producing and broadcasting critical opinions and exclusive interviews with courageous psychiatric survivors and antipsychiatry activists and critics of the psychiatric system since 1994–until I was suddenly ‘dismissed’ and the program cut without notice, cause or reason on May 5 last year. Like many other CKLN programmers who’ve been censored, harassed, threatened, dismissed or fired, and locked out by a rightwing staff and board of directors, Antipsychiatry Radio was forced into exile. But no more, I’m back fighting to reclaim Antipsychiatry Radio, and 60 other programmers and hosts are also fighting to reclaim CKLN as the community, democratic and revolutionary voice of oppressed people in Toronto and beyond.
Tonight, I’m dedicating this special edition of Antipsychiatry Radio to all women psychiatric survivors and sister programmers. In honour of International Women’s Day, our sisters and feminists everywhere, tonight’s program features a special pre-recorded interview with Bonnie Burstow. Dr. Burstow is an outstanding and outspoken feminist and antipsychiatry activist, she is on the faculty in the Departments of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). A little over a week ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Burstow about her views on feminism, antipsychiatry and electroshock, and how she became an antipsychiatry activist. These are a few edited excerpts from that interview. Let’s listen to Part 1… [play CD, 7:46 minutes]
We’re now going to take a short break with an excerpt from the song “There Is
No Hole in My Head” by Malvina Reynolds [play CD 1 minute]
We’re continuing a special interview with feminist and antipsychiatry activist Dr. Bonnie Burstow. Let’s listen to Part 2… [Play CD, 6:50 minutes]
Like Dr. Burstow, some dissident professionals, shock survivors and activists have publicly protested against the psychiatric system, particularly electroshock. Many shock survivors, antipsychiatry and social justice activists including Dr. Burstow and myself want it banned. Electroshock is a symbol of coercive-biological psychiatry and the “mental health system” itself which is actually a social-control system based on the 3Fs of force, fraud and fear. Force because virtually all-psychiatric procedures like forced drugging, electroshock and physical restraints are assaults. Fraud because psychiatric diagnostic labels including “schizophrenia”, bipolar mood disorder”, ADHD” and “mental illness” itself do not refer to any physical illness or disease in the body; psychiatric diagnoses are subjective moral judgments of conduct or character assassinations. Fear because being locked up, forcibly drugged and not told when you’ll be released triggers fear or panic. Psychiatrists, their promoters and Big Pharma ceos who tell us that psychiatry is “medical science” are lying.
Electroshock is psychiatry’s major brainwashing weapon; it’s a memory-destroying, brain-damaging psychiatric procedure that does not deserve to be called “treatment”. It always causes some permanent memory loss, brain damage, trauma and fear. Several studies, including the comprehensive 2007 study by Dr Harold Sackeim and others, clearly and conclusively document the fact that both young and elderly women suffer significantly more memory loss and brain damage than men. “ECT” statistics I’ve obtained with great difficulty from Ontario’s Ministry of Health during the last 5 years clearly show that 2-3 times more women than men are shocked and roughly half of these women are over 60, which is why I also call shock a form of elder abuse. The neurological and psychological damage is generally permanent; hundreds (maybe thousands) have died after they were shocked. For example, well-known poets and writers such as Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Ernest Hemingway committed suicide shortly after they were shocked; the careers and lives of actress Frances Farmer and artist-social justice activist Paul Robeson and countless others were ruined after they were locked up and electroshocked. In her book The Politics of Cruelty, feminist writer Kate Millett has called electroshock not only cruelty but also torture. It’s obvious that electroshock is a human rights issue, it should also be a women’s issue, but so far electroshock is not a priority item on the feminist agenda.
Many women shock survivors, like Carla McKague and Paivi Lane in Toronto; Sue Clark in Ottawa; Wendy Funk in Whitehorse, Yukon; Helene Grandbois in Montreal; Mary Maddock in Cork, Ireland; in the United States many other shock survivor-sisters including Barbara Cody in Chicago and Linda Andre in New York have called electroshock, barbaric, cruel, a torture and crime against humanity. Grassroots resistance led by women survivors and feminist-activists is growing. During the last 3 years, women shock survivors and feminist-activists have led anti-shock rallies and protests in 3 cities in two countries–Canada and Ireland. On Mother’s Day in 2007, anti-shock protests were held in Toronto, Montreal and Cork, Island. The Toronto protest was organized by feminists, antipsychiatry activists and shock survivors in the Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA); in Montreal a similar protest was organized by the Comite Par-chocks in collaboration with Action Autonomie and Collectif Pour le Defense des Droits en Sante Mentale de Montreal; in Cork, Ireland, the anti-shock protest was organized by MindFreedom Ireland. These major protests were led by women survivors and human rights activists; their powerful theme and demand was and still is Stop Shocking Our Mothers and Grandmothers; it was this demand on Mother’s Day in 2008 when more anti-shock protests were held in Ottawa, Montreal, and Ireland. Women were the chief organizers and featured speakers; they undoubtedly will be this year when more protests are held in Toronto, Montreal and Cork, Ireland. The growth of these protests and demands to ban electroshock means that electroshock resistance is going global, it means that we are witnessing an international movement against electroshock and psychiatric oppression and for human rights. This is very empowering, a tribute to all women survivors, antipsychiatry activists and feminists who have courageously broken their silence, spoken out and acted out against electroshock and psychiatric oppression of women.
For more information on electroshock and the struggles to ban it, check out these websites:http://capa.oise.utoronto.ca, icbe.wordress.com, and endofshock.com
This is Don Weitz thanking you for listening to this special edition of Antipsychiatry Radio-in-exile. My special thanks to Ron Nelson and Dale Whitmore for their technical support; Susy Pocasangre, Stephanie Gude and Carmelle Wolfson who worked hard and long to organize all the special programs and this empowering broadcast, and the Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault that endorses TAKE BACK OUR RADIO.
Stay tuned for more special International Women’s Day programming.