mental health, Occupy & my post on 12/20 here

mental health, Occupy & my post on 12/20 here

Postby davidwoaks » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:16 pm

AT BOTTOM is the post I am certain I posted here on the forum on 12/20. But it's gone now.

First, I'm guessing there was some kind of technical problem.

Just in case there's some kind of 'guideline' issue, I've taken OUT the name of an individual who struck Dale at Occupy this past Friday, 16 Dec.

By the way, that supposedly banned individual was seen back inside Occupy camp yesterday 12/21, by multiple reliable witnesses.

But of course... There's apparently no agreement to reliably post people at the Occupy gate 24/7.

Many of us participate in a festive event each year called Oregon Country Fair. Even though it's for fun, for a lark, for "psychospiritual rejuvenation" as we put it, of course there's someone at the gate 24-7. At Occupy I asked about that and someone said, "Oh, it's a park, we can't do that." Actually, it's a protest... and we can have a say on our time/place/manner. No, there's a deeper problem... Of course, the GA probably couldn't get 91 percent on a proposal to have someone at the gate 24-7.

Probably at least 11 percent would have a 'no rule' fixed ideology (unless it's about their own home, space, tent, car, etc. of course). My very first GA at the camp involved someone saying there ought to be quiet from 11 pm to 7 am, because some young people were yelling in the middle of the night. An individual there said, "No way, I'd block, I came here to get away from rules." And doesn't that sound like a lot of us? Bam, Houston we have a problem... And in mental health at least acknowledging and witnessing a problem is a start....

So we may need some discussion some time, in some way, about core values our movement on mental health activism for recovery is built on: empowerment and self-determination. I'm not saying we demonize a violent individual. But if we can't effectively say "no" to a violent individual entering our protest space... about a protest involving the future of our lives and livelihood and justice and the world... then how the heck can we say "no" to billionaires who have armies behind them? And how can the violent individual or billionaire ever have a chance to change without our effectively saying "no"?

Folks, we need to admit some kind of cultural problem among us, among ourselves, in organizing Occupy with an apparently 'no one reliably on gate 24/7" approach. Because it's a sign of something deeper we need to address, if we're going to have a true global nonviolent revolution.

So especially anyone who is feeling sore at Mayor Kitty Piercy for her calling an emergency meeting, I hope we all just think and witness for a moment, that when a group just can't take care of itself... the larger society sometimes steps in. They may not step in the exact way they'd like. But the wider society may step in. If they had not, if Kitty had not, then what would it take for Occupy's GA to have someone at the gate 24-7 at the camp (and other similar approaches), or to consense to shut the camp down themselves? Would it take the first actual death because of a lack of our own empowerment about security? Is that what it would take? Really? Then we may have the memorial, the flowers, the speeches, and the heart-felt inner changes... but it would be too late for at least one individual.

If my post BELOW disappeared because of a guideline issue, I'm pretty sure I would have been notified, right? I've run dozens of lists and forums since the start of the Internet, and usually this kind of thing is a technical problem. I ask people using our lists to assume first it's a technical problem. I will do the same. But: When I as a moderator deal with a guideline issue, the individual who violated the guideline is always notified, at least in the dozens of lists and forums I moderate. So if anyone is indeed deleting the below... please advise me at, thanks. As well as today being MFI's 25th year, it's my 35th year in grassroots activism, and I tend not to give up.

Okay, below is what I posted two days ago, minus the name of the individual who committed the act of violence against our member, activist and my friend, Dale... Peace...




Dale Kegley has been a really great member with MindFreedom International for years, for instance helping to represent us at the Oregon Country Fair.

You may have seen him around any of the four (4) Occupy Eugene locations because he volunteered about 20 hours a week. As a Master Recycler, he focused on what some consider the dirty work of garbage, compost, and even cleaning up the toilets at the most recent site. As you can imagine, sorting garbage where there are syringes, etc. can be dirty work.

Dale's not at Occupy Eugene anymore. On Friday he was struck in the face with the fist of an individual by the nickname of "_____________" in an unprovoked attack, witnessed by another long-term volunteer Paul the artist.

Apparently _______ was heading to eat a free meal and Dale was in his path. __________ brusquely ordered Dale out of his way, and Dale didn't move, leading to __________'s physical aggressiveness toward Dale.

I arrived moments later to hang out with Dale in the medical tent. One interesting thing: There was some hesitancy about pressing charges, because _____________ of course has mental and emotional issues.

However, a few things about that.

First of all, _______________ was apparently lucid, communicative, etc. Mainly his problem is bullying.

But second, on a deeper level, I think people need to understand equality and mental health issues:

I am a psychiatric survivor. In the 1970's I was diagnosed all kinds of things by a dozen psychiatrists. And I am not striking people on their nose in an unprovoked attack. If one of "us," that is, someone with an actual psychiatric diagnosis, does do something against a fair law that applies to all, then the fair thing is to treat us the same way you treat anyone else. In other words, we have the RIGHT to be charged with assault, don't deny us that because of a "label."

In conclusion.... This is the 25th anniversary of MindFreedom International, based right here in Eugene, Oregon (by train station at Growers Market). Heck, if an Occupy Eugene office goes in here, we'll be across the hall. MFI is in touch with a bunch of Occupy folks nationally, so we held a large teleconference connecting up about a dozen Occupies through these individuals, all discussing the topic of mental health. Mental health has become a major topic at a lot of Occupies, because by being an open gathering on the street, then many of those in the street with mental and emotional issues will of course be attending. This may not be noticed in a several-thousand person march or rally... but when there are a few dozen, that's who often may be left, with no place to go.

It's been suggested that that I offer to present or be on a panel at Occupy at the dome or somewhere, on the intersection of Occupy and mental health issues. I don't have all The Answers, but I know that there are a lot of questions that ought to be explored and discussed.

For one thing, it would be good for activists for a nonviolent global revolution, to know about a little-known social change movement that has been around for 42 years. One of the first radical psychiatric survivor groups started in Portland, Oregon back in 1969! Now there are tens of thousands of people internationally in a diverse, largely-ignored movement to bring democracy to bear on the mental health industry. If you thought the banking industry has problems, you may want to check out that mental health industry.

Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to post this....

It's weird... If a top issue of Occupy ended up being about immigrants... gay/lesbians... the environment... or African Americans.... Then definitely Occupy would seek out and learn from groups of, by and for immigrants... gay/lesbians.... the environment... or African Americans.

But on mental health? There are some really great folks like Jennifer K., Pam and a few others who have actively sought out and discussed some of these issues. But generally it feels like we're on a different planet. We're here folks... addressing some of the extremely challenging issues that have been a challenge at Occupy. Again, that doesn't mean we have The Answer. But we are definitely part of the conversation. As the larger disability movement puts it, "Nothing About Us, Without Us."

Thanks for listening...

In support,


David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

P.S. Our 25th anniversary celebration is this Thursday 22 December at our office 5 pm, 454 Willamette, second floor. It's listed in current Eugene Weekly. Drop on by!
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