the Foucault Tribunal took place on
April 30 to May 3, 1998
at the "Volksbühne" in Berlin, Germany
The Verdict of the Foucault Tribunal
Furthermore, psychiatry cannot pretend to the art of healing, having violated the Hippocratic Oath through a conscious use of harmful drugs, which caused in particular the world wide epidemic of tardive dyskinesia, as well as other interventions which we recognize as tortures: involuntary confinement, forced drugging, four point restraints, electroshock, all forms of psychosurgery and outpatient commitment.
These practices and ideology allowed the psychiatrists during the Nazi era to go to the extreme of systematic mass murder of inmates under the pretext of "treatment".
Psychiatry not only refuses to renounce the force it has historically obtained from the state, it even takes on the role of a highly paid and respected agent of social control and international police force over behavior and the repression of political and social dissent.
We find psychiatry guilty of the combination of force and unaccountability, a classic definition of totalitarian systems. We demand the abolition of the "mental patients" laws as a first step toward making psychiatry accountable to society. To this end, compensation will have to be made for the harms it has done. Public funds must also be made available for humane and dignified alternatives to Psychiatry.
Reasons for the VerdictThe defense speaks of the therapeutic necessity for psychiatric coercion and, if necessary, the use of physical
force. They admit though, that in "good psychiatric institutions" as little coercion as possible is used. Coercion is apparently not therapeutic, rather it is dependent on the type of psychiatry practiced. We condemn all forms of psychiatric coercion as a violation of human rights.
The laws for the mentally ill prescribe psychiatric coercion in the case of danger to oneself or others. In practice this is widely transgressed. The matter is only one of endangerment; no crime has been committed. This means that preventive detention is being practiced.
The defense describes someone as being mentally ill because his ability to help himself is reduced. They believe that he should be relieved of certain societal demands because of impairments in his ability to experience and behave as expected by society.
We are of the opinion that the accepted idea of illness is inadequate. In this case an institution such as a psychiatric hospital cannot offer any assistance.
We are of the opinion that treatment by doctors should only be applied on a voluntary basis.
It is especially dangerous that many judges are biased and that they agree with the expert opinions of the psychiatrists.
Psychiatric survivors have a right to demand financial compensation for any pain and suffering they experienced.
Berlin, 2nd of May 1998
hat tip: Ron Leifer, M.D.