Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
WAKE UP! WAKE UP! THEY'RE COMING TO TAKE US AWAY
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
ISSUE 265, FRIDAY
7th JULY, 2000
"Over the last century, giant strides forward were made by those
asserting their rights and self-determination in the fields of race, gender
and sexuality, but 'mental health' issues failed to keep pace. This is set to
Last November the Government released a Mental Health Green Paper (Reform of the Mental Health Act). The 'mental act from hell', as some are calling it, will sanction the medically approved force-feeding of toxic drugs to people in the community with a mental health disorder. A side effect will be increased profit for pharmaceutical multinationals. 'Mad' people will continue to be incarcerated with even fewer rights of appeal than before, and the boundaries between 'mental illness' and 'criminality' will blur further.
The Act includes Community Treatment Orders (CTO). This power requires a person to live at a specified place to allow easy access by professionals, "trained paramedics" and the police. The person will be under curfew at particular times to allow for scheduled visits. Consequences of non-compliance may include powers to enter by force and convey the person to a place of treatment (in the community) or to hospital. Although the order will last for specified periods, it is renewable, so could be indefinite. At the moment Approved Social Workers (ASWs) can apply for someone to be sectioned, but the government is pushing to change this to any mental health professional. This could be, say, a Care Home worker, leading to such abuses as sections being used to evict people. Part of a compulsory care plan may require attendance at a controlled Day Centre where they may be charged for this 'service'. While the paper talks at length about "initial assessment and treatment", there are fears that assessment is to be abolished. So treatment will take place against the will of patients and without appeal. How many people who get wrongly sectioned now ever get redress? People have been sectioned for reasons such as "smoking in bed" at a residential home or crossing a busy road slowly. Without the testing of evidence, more people will be forcibly treated and die as a result.
All those whose mental health is called into question will be deemed to have no capacity to decide anything about their treatment which is inconvenient for professionals. They will decide what is in the "best interests" of "patients".
There is no mention of what should be the central aim of mental health services - the relief of suffering of people in distress or crisis. Sadly, Human Rights of people are to be ignored under this legislation. But the stigma, fear and inconvenience of this interference in people's lives is as nothing compared with the so-called treatments that will be forced on out-patients. For at the heart of this procedure lies the effects of old-fashioned and often dangerous injectable neuroleptic (antipsychotic and tranquiliser) drugs and forced Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT).
The new proposals suggest that the new Act should operate in prison - quite unlike the 1983 Act which prohibits this. For good reason too, since forcing medication on prisoners used to be thought to be so liable to abuse it could not be allowed. Why it is thought that abuse would not operate now is hard to see. Magistrates and higher courts will also have a new power to remand people to hospital for treatment - even if they are unconvicted or convicted of an offence which does not carry a custodial sentence. One of the most abhorrent parts of the Green Paper suggests that prisoners with a "mental disorder" i.e. a majority of all prisoners according to research cited by the Expert Group may now be treated differently from other prisoners. They may now be assessed under the new act and treated either in hospital or in prison. If treated in prison, s/he may be treated for as long as that mental disorder lasts. The net effect of this may be the end of time-limited sentences for some, and the end of parole for others.
Madness: the new rock 'n' roll.
Resistance is being spearheaded by Mad Pride, a direct action group looking to educate and wind up so-called normal people and, as their name suggests, get some pride and self-respect going for all those fucked over by the medical-legal institutions. From strikes over the stupidity of work, to parties in hospitals, to an A-Z of advice on how to deal with doctors who think they know it all, Mad Pride are breaking down prejudice in all areas.
* They're having a festival in Clissold Park, London N16 on July 15th, 1pm-9pm, featuring P.A.I.N and many others. * Check out their brill book, 'Mad Pride: A Celebration of Mad Culture', available from AK Distribution.
For more info and forthcoming events: 0958 907357 www.madpride.net
* Highly recommended: 'Shibboleth: My Revolting Life' by Penny Rimbaud, a founding member of anarchist band/collective Crass. The book describes how Wally Hope, the founder of the Stonehenge Free Festival, was grabbed after a Stonehenge festie in the 70s, taken to a mental hospital and pumped full of dodgy drugs. Crass then rescued him, and he was on the road to recovery when he died under mysterious circumstances. AK Distribution: 0131 555 5165 www.akpress.org
For being the wrong colour! When Sonia and Delroy Lindo received a call telling them their 15 year old son was being attacked by a racist, they rushed to the scene. Arriving at the same time as the police, they were assaulted and arrested. While her children watched, the police beat Mrs Lindo who suffered serious injuries about the face. Mr Lindo remained in police custody for 7 hours until a protest outside the station prompted his release. This is only the latest of 19 police charges against Delroy. Every single one has been thrown out of court. Charges have ranged from the heinous "Criminal Damage to a police shirt" or "Having a Dirty Numberplate, to the improbable, "Dangerous Driving" involving an alleged near-collision with a double decker bus along a road where there is er, no bus route! More serious charges of Threat to Kill, Affray, and Assaults on Police Officers have all resulted in acquittals. Coincidentally, Mr Lindo is a high profile campaigner against police rascism and corruption.
Contact: The Lindo Campaign, c/o Haringey Racial Equality Council, 14 Turnpike Lane, London, N8 0PT. Tel 0973313139
Fancy an organic day trip? The Organic Herb Trading Company are holding an open day on July 15th at Court Farm, Milverton, Taunton, Somerset. Come along between 11-5pm to see displays, listen to talks and find out about over 100 varieties of herbs. Tel 01823 401205 www.organicherbstrading.com
When Flan Widdicombe starts protesting that our civil liberties are under attack by the government you know something must be up. But there she was in the House of the Living Dead complaining that new laws to ban football hooligans from travelling abroad to watch England may be a little over the top.
Still, the proposed laws are nothing compared to two bills that could become law within the next few weeks: The Terrorism Bill (SchNEWS 242) and the Regulatory of Investigatory Powers Bill (SchNEWS 253). In a nut-shell the Terrorism Bill will be "used to target, harass and imprison dissidents, exiles, solidarity groups, and protesters who engage in activities the Government and their rich friends don't like." Which if you're reading this anarchist filth probably means you. And just to show how our protests are working, last week the definition of just who is a terrorist got - er, wider! It now includes "action designed to interfere with an electronic system" which basically means hackers. Still, there was one small ray of hope this week when the Green Party's Lord Beaumont was successful in an amendment. Now people who dig protest tunnels, hang out of trees, occupy ships full of genetic animal feed etc. won't be 'terrorists' for endangering their own lifes for a political point.
* Think they'll use footie laws against protests? Funny you should ask because the Dutch parliament approved harsh new laws under the cover of stopping hooliganism at Euro 2000. This included a "collective responsibility" law. Whereas before it had been necessary for the police to prove individual involvement in public order situations, now to be charged and sentenced, it is simply enough to be "in association with those who disturb the public order."
* If all this terrorism bill stuff is as clear as mud, get a copy of Kate Evans' excellent cartoon book on the subject. Available from SchNEWS for an A5 SAE.
*Are you a terrorist? Check out new-labour.com. For more on the bill www.blagged.freeserve.co.uk/terrorbill
*Happy anniversary state terrorism. On the 10th of this month it will be 15 years since the Greenpeace ship 'the Rainbow Warrior' was bombed by French secret service agents, killing one of its crew members.
*The woman who Flanned Widdecombe in Oxford a while back has been fined £25 plus £100 costs.
An internal newsletter of the Central Sussex Benefit Fraud Investigation Service "Newsflash" recently fell into the hands of Brighton Against Benefit Cuts (BABC). The newsletter makes interesting reading with investigators taking pride in being compared to Cagney and Lacey, and an enthralling column 'The top three pension excuses'. The newsletter contains confidential information about benefit claimants and shows a deep contempt for them. BABC believe the Newsletter breaks the Benefit Agency's own internal guidelines and have already got an apology from the BA who have promised there will be no more newsletters. A spokesperson from the group said "The cases described in this spiteful newsletter show the emphasis of the fraud office"
Contact Brighton Against Benefit Cuts, 4 Crestway Parade, Hollingdean, Brighton
BN1 7BL email firstname.lastname@example.org
This week the Mexicans have been celebrating the defeat of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) after 71 years in power. That's the good news. Unfortunately the new President-elect is Vicente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN). Fox is the ex head of global nasties Coca-Cola, a man who wears a cowboy hat & boots, admires Clinton and Blair and wants to expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) into a common market similar to the European Union.
Fox once stated that the conflict in Chiapas could be solved in 15 minutes, later changing his mind and stating that he would withdraw the army from the area of conflict, implement the San Andres peace accords, and promote economic development by attracting foreign and domestic investment. Anyone familiar with the Chiapas conflict will know economic development and the implementation of NAFTA has led to the destruction of the Lacandon Jungle and the Mayan way of life (SchNEWS 200 & 250). Meanwhile down in Chiapas, where voting in the elections doesn't takes place until the 2nd August, the Governor Albores Guillen (PRI) has said that if the PAN candidate wins he will last only two days before he has him assassinated! That's democracy for you.
For a good account of the Zapatista struggle & a practical guide on getting to Chiapas, get hold of "The Zapatistas: A Rough Guide" Now available at £5.75 inc. p&p from Earthright Publications, 8 Ivy Avenue, Ryton, Tyne & Wear NE40 3PU.
Last Friday thousands of people descended on the French town of Millau where José Bové and nine other french farmers were standing trial accused of causing £70,000 damage to a McDonalds restaurant in the town last August. The action took place to protest against U.S imposing a 100% import tax on import on Roquefort cheese in response to Europe's refusal to allow sale of US hormonally enhanced beef. (See SchNEWS 220)
"The only regret I have now is that I wasn't able to destroy more of it" said José .
The court case began in a carnival atmosphere as thousands of protesters flocked to the town, streets were festooned with banners, a free rock concert on the Saturday attracted an estimated 45,000 revellers and the municipal council responded by distributing 45 kilograms of free condoms. The hearing continued on Saturday with the presiding judge an ex-communist allowing his court room to be used for a debate on global trade. Judgement on the case is not due until later in the summer. The farmers could face a maximum fine of £50,000 and five years in prison, but it seems likely though that they will only receive a week in prison because of the prosecution wishes. The defendants have promised to appeal any sentence. In the meantime old McDonald's have been receiving poor international reviews over the past few weeks and have seen their share prices drop by 20 percent.
*While we're on the subject of MacDonalds, here's some news to cheer you up! The High Court has ordered the Metropolitan Police to pay Helen Morris and Dave Steel (the McLibel Two) damages of £10,000 following the police handing over information to a private detective hired by McDonald's. In Court a Metropolitan Chief Superintendent admitted McDonald's detective was in fact an ex-policeman who would rely on his contacts to obtain confidential material on Helen and Dave. Tut, Tut. www.mcspotlight.org
Flatulent cows apparently produce up to 20% of the world's greenhouse gases. So how do we tackle this problem? By cutting down on our meat consumption, and therefore the amount of cows in the world? No, that would be too bleedin' obvious. Instead scientists - probably a couple of old farts - want to feed the cows bacteria that will eat the methane!
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Last updated 7th July 2000