G e s e l l s c h a f t
How a postman exposes psychiatry...
..and became patron of the Psychiatric Survivors!

Speech by Gert Postel
at the 25.th anniversary celebration
of the Irren-Offensive (Lunatic Offensive)
in Berlin on November 26, 2005

Dear guests and friends of the Irren-Offensive (the Lunatic Offensive),

I am very glad and consider it as an honor to be allowed to make this celebration speech. It is a public demonstration that that which the Irren-Offensive and I have staged, is closely intertwined, namely to put an end to the violent practice of psychiatry.

Remarkably, the Irren-Offensive and I, without any knowledge of each other, began simultaneously at the beginning of the 1980's to come to grips with psychiatry. On the one hand, the Irren-Offensive went into action as a group by occupying houses, visiting psychiatric institutions and publishing a newspaper, not only in Berlin but also e.g. at the 1981 "Health Day" in Hamburg. On the other hand, I, as public health doctor in Flensburg, reduced the hospitalization rate, perhaps not immediately by 100%, but nevertheless by 86%, which a judge later unfortunately deemed to be an unfair practise.

The Irren-Offensive achieved three things:
1. it proved by its pure existence how wrong the condemnations by the psychiatric speech conjurers are when they dispute the social abilities of psychiatric survivors. The Irren-Offensive organized itself as a group independently of and against any educational or other supervision. The 25th anniversary is now proof that this was successful on a long-term basis despite adverse conditions.

2. The Irren-Offensive selected a name which makes you sit up and take notice, which stands out and is a stark contrast to a "willing to please" victim status and the associated complaining. I too am hated by psychiatry because I attained intimate knowledge about this guild as one of its head physicians and therefore can report on how the pitiful face that they occasional put on actually is purely cynical: in truth these physicians think, "For heaven's sake, please leave me in peace with the whimpering, it won't change anything anyway as regards the next syringe". The Irren-Offensive in contrast creates unrest, is occupied less with itself than with bringing the crony psychiatrists and judges - the female form is to be included - into the defensive. Already from the start it completely openly announced itself as an offensive. That however creates expectations, which they themselves then have to satisfy.

3. With that we come to the core of the matter: By acting as a political group, the Irren-Offensive went to the root of psychiatric force because the driving strength behind the psychiatric violence is a political will and calculated dominance which were passed by the legislators and converted into legal regulations. Judges thereby daily provide the legality for psychiatric force. With its political approach the Irren-Offensive made itself the avant-garde of the psychiatrized because a political question, such as the abolishment of the psychiatric special laws happens to be, can only be adequately solved by political means.

The Irren-Offensive has a clearly outlined goal: Abolishment of psychiatry in all their insidious forms. However, this goal does not stand in the foreground. It is rather a goal on which to fall back on, because according to it's own statutes the Irren-Offensive designates a psychiatry - which is based on force and violence - as a crime against humanity, the reason being that, I quote: "It withholds individuals the status of a human being with his/her inalienable human rights, by describing their soul in a biomedical way as being "ill" and speak of a biomedical "mental illness", thus legally justify all kinds of violence against them".

To that extent the Irren-Offensive centrally bases its actions on the question of human rights and from this starting point it specifically attacks coercion and violence in psychiatry, namely that which Michel Foucault called the "dungeon system with torture regime". Initially it is only concerned with the abolishment of the acts of violence in psychiatry or, in their terms: the abolishment of coercive psychiatry. More concretely is the mention of "Abolishment of all special laws for individuals, who who have been declared by psychiatrists to be 'mentally ill'". The logical result is that such a designation - I would even say: such slandering - can no longer be made against the will of the psychiatrized and - even more - not be put in his records, which until now remained there lifelong for the person on file. This diagnostic rape becomes impossible as soon as no physician has a legal basis and/or a judicial permission for a compulsory hospitalization and with it the logically associated coercive treatment and involuntary guardianship. Then however psychiatry will no longer exist, because it can no longer force the apparent "objectivity", which is essential for defining a disease. Everyone knows that psychiatric diagnostics had led itself into ad absurdum, when I asked a colleague: "What do I do, if the patient remains silent?" and he answered: "Then just write that he has a 'symptom-weak autistic psychosis'."

The goal is therefore to no longer have special psychiatric laws but, if at all, in each case psychiatric coercive measures can only be authorized by an individual by means of a private-autonomous positive psychiatric will just as is the case with each sado-masochistic sex play. On the path to this goal however, the reverse case is already an intermediate success, if despite existing special psychiatric laws by an advance instruction each psychiatric coercive measure can be legally forbidden. The first approach in this direction was one by Professor Thomas Szasz, who in 1981 suggested a psychiatric will which was then translated into German and published by the Irren-Offensive in 1987. Since it did not become legally effective, the break-through succeeded here however only in 1999 in co-operation with Thomas Saschenbrecker, (who earlier this evening was awarded with a prize), who produced a special type of power of attorney.

Finally the loop hole was found in the coercive psychiatric system. To have made it widely known, is likewise the merit of the Irren-Offensive.

I could mention still many impulses which the Irren-Offensive gave and which have led to spin-offs. One can read about them in the anthology of its 12 magazines and in the internet publication, where I too informed myself. In addition later this evening you can view the film "The Verdict of the Foucault Tribunal".

Instead, in this celebration speech I would rather like to express how the struggle with psychiatry has reached a crucial point, which today is a real reason for celebrating: The Upper Regional Court in Celle caused an uproar with its judgment on August 10 of this year that coercive treatment which was practised hundredthousandfold was illegal and is not at all permissible. It bases its judgment on a previous judgment by the Federal High Court (BHG) in the year 2000, which at that time only condemned outpatient commitment as not permissible but the substantiation for the judgment in Celle is the same as with the BHG judgment: For an intervention by the state which violates basic rights - and I add: in as much as this intervention can be legitimized at all - an explicit law is necessary. This law simply does not exist.

Remarkable is however that only after 8 long years since introduction of the new guardianship law, the judges at the Federal High Court noticed this and then needed another 5 years until the Higher Regional Court in Celle also came to the same judgment with regard to inpatient coercive treatment. As is well known, I personally have also had brushes with the law several times already, but it baffles description the way in which the judiciary systematically and hundredthousandfold actively covers the violation of basic and human rights in psychiatry.

Although by this judgment only coercive treatment is finally recognized as an injustice, it pulls the carpet away under the feet of coercive psychiatry altogether. The maliciousness of psychiatry is that it promotes itself as a medical discipline, although it is actually only part of the state authority. This façade made it so easy for me - by occupation a postman - to occasionally act unidentified as a psychiatrist only because I carefully noted their stereotyped utterings. The good thing about the façade is that it now becomes a trap for psychiatry, from which it can no longer escape: As soon as coercive treatment is defeated, the compulsory hospitalization by means of an alleged medically justified measure turns into unlawful detention which is punishable by law.

However no health insurance can be asked to pay the costs. Thus it will cause a domino effect: From no coercive treatment according to guardianship law follows no compulsory hospitalization according to guardianship law, since the health insurance companies do not pay for penal establishments. If coercive treatment can no longer be carried out according to guardianship law, it will come under pressure as a strong violation of fundamental rights, also according to the Mental Health Laws (PsychKG's), since the law of the regional states in Germany regarding institutionalization is subsidiary to that of the Federation. Without coercive treatment according to the PsychKG however, compulsory hospitalization according to PsychKG will also fall away.

In the end there will only be pills by Gusto and the psychiatric art of healing as quackery.
Wonderful prospects and a great success of the Irren-Offensive in only a few decades.

Gert Postel

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