Psychiatry and Psychology as National Oppression

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[National Oppression] [Mental Health] [ULK Issue 15]

Psychiatry and Psychology as National Oppression

When revolutionaries begin discussing and conducting a concrete analysis of the particularities of national oppression and how imprisonment is used as a tool of imperialist social control, we invariably must engage in discussing and analyzing how the so-called sciences of psychiatry and psychology are used to further legitimize and give moral reasoning to the national oppression and racist extermination of oppressed nations by imperialist nations.

The Maoist Internationalist Movement wrote about and critiqued in great detail psychiatry and psychology as pseudo-sciences. For those who wish to do an exhaustive study on the subject, I highly recommend that material.(1)

Forced Psychotropic Medications

The Missouri Department of Corrections has a policy entitled, "Forced and Involuntary Psychotropic Medications," that is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. This policy gives administrators the authority to force psychotropic medications on a prisoner who is a danger to her/himself and/or others, or is gravely disabled, among other things. This same policy further states that a prisoner can refuse this medication and psychotropic medication should never be used strictly for behavioral control in the absence of a mental disorder. Yet, all of this is done without the prisoner having legal counsel or representation at a medical-psychiatric hearing with staff.

Ultimately, the question is, who is it that determines what a mental disorder is? How do they determine who, how or when someone is a danger to themselves or another? I answer, all of them are determined by the imperialists!

Racist Pseudo-Science

From our study of history, we can see that the oppressors have always used pseudo-science to justify the oppression and genocide of oppressed nations. Whether the "savage" First Nations, "heathen" Africans or "feeble-minded" Jews, psychiatry/psychology were the social sciences that the oppressor nations used to legitimize the oppression and exploitation of others who were considered a different "race."

While much of the language has changed, the essence remains the same — white supremacy uses psychiatry/psychology to further their aims of imposing their will upon others. Those who oppose them are often labeled "extremists," "terrorists," "radicals," "criminals," "crazy," etc.

Take, for example, the theory of eugenics. Eugenics was a term coined by Charles Darwin's cousin Francis Galton in 1883, which referred to the attempt to "improve the human species by affording the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable."(2)

This false scientific theory postulated that there were genes within oppressed nations that were leading to the deterioration of the humyn race and that oppressed nations were predisposed to committing crimes. The resolution to this contradiction was to isolate these people in institutions (i.e. mental hospitals, prisons, reservations, ghettos, barrios, slums, etc.) or sterilize them. The state of California was one of twenty-nine Amerikan states to pass laws allowing sterilization, and conducted more forced sterilizations than anywhere in the United $tates. These sterilizations were justified as efforts to prevent the passing on of mental illness and criminality. Today, criminality is still treated as an inborn psychological trait even though links to race are usually only implied, not explicitly stated.

Eugenics research was funded by the Carnegie Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation helped to finance German researchers at an extremely high level all the way up to 1939 before the onset of World War II, and was aware that German scientists were gassing people in mental institutions. The Rockefellers and Prescott Sheldon Bush, George W. Bush's grandfather, were partners with I.G. Farben, the German chemical giant that built the death camp at Auschwitz. (see resources at end of article)

Eugenics was approved by the National Academy of Sciences, Amerikan Medical Association and National Research Council, and of course many Amerikan political and business leaders of the time. But after Hitler killed millions of Jews, nobody wanted to be associated with that horror, so they changed the words. In the 1990s, eugenics became the Bell Curve Theory.(2)

Pseudo-Scientific Credence

Pseudo-scientific credence means providing credibility to an issue based on flawed science. White supremacy is based on a false contention derived from a pseudo-scientific application of biology. Race-based theories were also given credence by flawed science in the form of psychology. For example, Samuel A. Cartwright, a prominent Louisiana Physician claimed that he discovered two mental "diseases" (his word) in 1851 that were peculiar to the "negro" race: 1) drapetomania and 2) dysaethesia aethiopica. In brief, drapetomania was a disease that caused Blacks to have an uncontrolled urge to run away from their masters - the treatment for this "illness" was "whipping the devil out of them." We all know that a captured fugitive slave was often beaten with a whip by his/her slave master, a clear example of how this pseudo-science gave credence to the slave master's brutality. Dysaethesia aethiopica supposedly affected both mind and body, the diagnosable signs included disobedience, answering disrespectfully and refusing to work. The "cure" was to put the persyn to some kind of hard labor. In 1797, the "father" of Amerikkkan psychiatry, Dr. Benjamin Rush, whose face still adorns the seal of the Amerikkkan Psychiatric Association, declared that the color of Blacks was caused by a rare congenital disease caused "negritude," which derived from leprosy. The "cure" was when the skin turned white.(4,5)

Independence from Oppressive "Science"

The essence of this lesson is that until oppressed nations achieve self-determination, control of their own institutions that speak to their needs, and the requisite power to guide the destiny of their nation, the imperialists will continue to use pseudo-sciences such as psychiatry and psychology to further their aims to dominate, imprison and exploit poor and oppressed nations — and if push comes to shove, destroy them!

(1) Psychology & Imperialism. MIM Theory 9, 1995. MIM Distributors.
(2) MC12. "Bell Curve Lessons: IQ Against the Oppressed," MIM Theory 9.
(3) Lothrop Stoddard. "The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy"
(4) Abdul D. Shakur, Abasi Ganda, Kamau M. Askari. "The Bell Curve Conspiracy: A Recipe for New Afrikan Genocide" Black Panther Press, 2003.
(5) "Creating Racism: Psychiatry's Betrayal in the Guise of Help." The Citizenship Commission on Human Rights, 1995.

Other Resources:

Edwin Black. War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race. Four Walls: New York, 2003.
Wendy Kline. Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality and Eugenics from the turn of the Century to the Baby Boom. University of California Press: Berkeley, 2001.
Stevan Kuhl. The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism and German National Socialism. Oxford University Press: New York, 1994.
James Scott. Seeing Like a State: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed. Houghton Mifflin: New York, 2006.
Cory Panshin. The Secret History of the 20th Century. 2006.
Tom Big Warrior. They Only Call it Fascism When it's Being Done to White People. Rising Sun Press: 2006.