Hospitals & Asylums
Why MLK, Jr. Would Be Pleased HA-16-1-06
by David Oaks, Director
And Tony Sanders of Hospitals & Asylums
MindFreedom News -
1. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2006! A MindFreedom Delegation is Entering the United Nations for Meetings on Disability and Human Rights. Today, the United Nations again begins special meetings about the human rights of people considered disabled. Once more, MindFreedom International will have a delegation inside UN headquarters in
2. This year our delegation is again headed by MindFreedom President Celia Brown, with able leaders Myra Kovary and author Kate Millet. All are psychiatric survivors, that is, individuals who have experienced human rights violations in the mental health system. They are joined in the UN this year by the Executive Director of MindFreedom
3. Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and a good time to reflect on the need for "The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment." Believe it or not, this is an actual organization that Martin Luther King, Jr. said ought to begin to help a troubled world! There are many examples of MLK talking about psychologists' use of the term "maladjusted," and how being "creatively maladjusted" may be the salvation of the world. It is true that MLK tried to distance his comments a bit from people actually diagnosed "neurotic," "schizophrenic," etc. But I believe if Rev. King were alive today he would see today's large cross-disability movement -- and our psychiatric survivor’s movement -- as directly linked to the heritage of the civil rights movement and its "creative maladjustment." Rev. King would be proud of the psychiatric survivor’s movement today. With people affected by the mental health system again speaking out inside of the United Nations, this is an ideal moment to hear from MLK, Jr. on being "maladjusted." Below are just a few examples over many years of King's speeches and written works on the topic.
4. Martin Luther King's ''Montgomery Story'' Address, 1955 by Martin Luther King, Jr. http://tucnak.fsv.cuni.cz/~calda/Documents/1950s/MLK_55.html states, There are certain words in the technical vocabulary of every academic discipline that tend after a while to become stereotype and cliché, there is a word in modern psychology which is now probably more familiar than any other words in psychology. It is the word the maladjusted; it is the ringing cry of the new child, psychology -- maladjusted. And as a minister seeing and counseling with people very day concerning their problems and their maladjustment's, I'm certainly concerned with those who are maladjusted, concerned to see everybody as adjusted as possible. But I want to leave this evening saying to you that there are some things in our social system that I'm proud to be maladjusted to, and I call upon you to be maladjusted to. I never intend to adjust myself to the viciousness of lynch mobs; I never intend to become adjusted to the evils of segregation and discrimination; I never intend to become adjusted to the tragic inequalities of the economic system which will take necessity from the masses to give luxury to the classes; I never intend to become adjusted to the insanity's of militarism, the self-defeating method of physical violence. There are some things that I never intend to become adjusted to, and I call upon you to continue to be maladjusted.
5. History still has a choice place for the maladjusted. There is still a call for individuals to be maladjusted. The salvation of our world lies in the hands of the maladjusted. I call upon you to be maladjusted, maladjusted as the prophet Amos who in the midst of the tragic inequalities of injustice in his day cried out in words that echoes across the generations: ''Let judgment run down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.'' As maladjusted as
6. Martin Luther King on
7. Let us be as maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln, who had--the vision to see that this nation could not exist half slave and half free. Let us be maladjusted as Jesus of Nazareth, who could look into the eyes of the men and women of his generation and cry out, "Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you. Pray for them that despitefully use you." I believe that it is through such maladjustment that we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate of man's inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice. That will be the day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and Protestants, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!" http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/democrac/38.htm , http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan99/king.html
8. In the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. In the Letter from Birmingham Jail King wrote, An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding upon itself. A law is unjust if it is inflicted upon a minority as the result of being denied a right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. An individual who breaks a law that conscious tell is unjust and who willingly accepts the punishment of imprisonment in order to arouse the consciousness of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
9. In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist, negotiations, self purification, and direct acting. The way most people deal with a conflict is by first asking themselves the question, "How can I get my way?" This is the normal way of dealing with a problem. When we think this way, as we all do so often, we let our egos manage the conflict. But there is a better way. When we make nonviolence a way of life, the first question we ask at a time of conflict is, "What is the most loving thing to do?" When we think this way, we tap the power of the soul. We overcome the narrow, selfish concerns of the ego. We don't want to destroy our opponent. We want to win their friendship and understanding. We try to find a "win-win" solution, which benefits everyone. This is how we create lasting peace. We resolve the conflict, not with the attitude of a conqueror, but with the motivation of a peace-maker. A commitment to study and practice nonviolence in our personal lives gives us an edge in resolving conflicts and in achieving your goals without making enemies. These teachings can help improve our family relationships and our dealings with friends and our peers. Nonviolence can help us more effectively communicate with our adversaries and resolve disputes in a way that benefits everyone. Therefore to make these truths self evident for both the judicial officer and the defendant I make this pledge:
to do everything that I can to make
I pledge to make nonviolence and freedom a way of life in my dealings with all people.
I will reject all forms of hatred, bigotry, prejudice and slavery, and I will embrace the values of unconditional, universal love, truthfulness, courage, compassion, and dedication to a community where all people can live together as sisters and brothers.
I believe in Nonviolence:
Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding
Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people
Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform
Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate
Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice
11. At that time of the
b. The Politics of Aristotle states, “what is found among men who share in a common life respect for the rule of law, with a view to the attainment of self-sufficiently, as freemen and as equals either proportionately or arithmetically? It follows that where men are not in this position, such as between masters and slaves, there is no political justice to govern their relations, there is only justice of a sort. Justice exists only as between men whose relations to one another are governed by a system of law that all parties agree to.
12. From the 16th to 19th
Century the transatlantic slave trade is estimated to have deported some 15 to
18 million captives. These
millions of African captives sold as slaves in the
French edict of March 1685, known as the Code noir, devised to govern
the rights and duties of masters and slaves in the remote colonies of the Americas,
stated under Article 44 : “We declare slaves as movable property “. This text subsequently served as a model for
the Code drafted for
14. In the mid-eighteenth century, the Encyclopédie stated that, “slavery is the establishment of a right based on force, a right which makes of a man the property to such a degree of another man that the former becomes the absolute master of his life, goods and freedom, recalling that all men are born equal and that nature had made them all equal. Reducing a man to slavery, buying him, selling him, keeping him in servitude – these are veritable crimes and crimes that are worse than theft.
a. Adam Smith had stated in 1776 that, “a free worker is superior to a slave as constraint never makes a man inventive, zealous and intelligent”.
b. Thomas Clarkson wrote, “Every man by Nature is born free, and has a Right to his own Body, and whoever attempts to enslave him by force and against his own consent, is the worst of Robbers, and violates a Commandment of God, I ask this again in the name of Humanity” in the Letter to François Guizot, of 18 January 1841, in the Archives nationals du Paris.
c. Victor Schoelcher
wrote, “In a society of slaves, there will always be horrendous
accidents that can be attributed to its way of life, will always
be peculiar to it and can never be found in the state of freedom. As
slavery is a state of violence, it is impossible that it should not
involve awful acts of violence. Slavery corrupts the master as it does
the slave. Slavery can corrupt even those who are good through the ease
with which abuses can be perpetrated and the aberrations of limitless
power, to the extent that we have seen” in About the workers’
petition for the abolition of slavery, Pagnerre,
American colonies were frequently disrupted by slave revolts, or the threat of
revolt as the result of the estimated 10 million Africans who were brought to
a. The Abolition Bill passed by the British Parliament in August 1833 and,
b. The French decree signed by the Provisional Government in April 1848.
15. Drawing inspiration from the Declaration
of Independence of 1776, the slaves of
What! preach freedom, and kidnap men?
Give thanks, and rob thy own afflicted poor?
Talk of thy glorious liberty, and then
Bolt hard the captive's door?
What! servants of thy own
Merciful Son, who came to seek and
The homeless and the outcast, fettering down
Free the tasked and plundered slave!
Although the inpatient psychiatric population has dwindled from 550,000 to less than 200,000 in the
We at MindFreedom
International like to think that we are part of an International Association for
the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment, already. Join us!
* Win human rights campaigns in mental health.
* End abuse by the psychiatric drug industry.
* Support the voices of psychiatric survivors.
* Promote safe and humane options in mental health.
MindFreedom International unites 100 sponsor and affiliate groups with individual members, and is accredited by the United Nations as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with Consultative Roster Status. MindFreedom is one of the very few totally independent groups in the mental health field with no funding from governments, drug companies, religions, corporations, or the mental health system. JOIN, DONATE, or give GIFT MEMBERSHIPS to MindFreedom International today: http://www.mindfreedom.org/join.shtml Want to get "maladjusted" at home? Our new refrigerator magnets let you invent hilarious new psychiatric labels! For a MAD MARKET of these and other products to support human rights campaigns in mental health: http://www.madmarket.org
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