1. Clean and affordable water is the basis of life. Skyrocketing water prices, unsafe supply, failing infrastructure — these problems fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable among us. This is why public institutions, not private corporations, must lead the development of water systems and delivery. The World Bank Group is uniquely positioned to increase access to clean water for the billions who need it. Instead of using its position to line the pockets of water companies, it should support what is most needed: affordable and clean — and public — water for all.
    — 

    Anna Lappe at Al Jazeera. World Bank Wants Water Privatized, Despite Risks 

    Efforts endanger access to and pricing of life’s most precious resource

    (via protoslacker)

     
  2. image: Download

    madvocate:

smiliu:


Comment on NYT.com about a New York Times article:

As a psychotherapist, helping teens and young men like the one featured in this article requires more than simply finding the right diagnosis and medications; it requires an empathic understanding of the unhappiness and anger that they experience. Too often, mental health personnel, let alone the insurers, focus solely on the externals of problematic behaviors and imagine these as merely the manifestations of a malfunctioning brain. This perspective—often akin to trying to wedge the round peg of a troubled individual into the square hole of the DSM and biological psychiatry—just leaves the young person feeling more alienated and adrift… and even more pessimistic about any mental health intervention. And the families in these situations need expert consultation on an ongoing basis to help them provide the optimal balance of support and structure that can help their child develop their self-regulatory capacities and interpersonal skills. Each of these situations is quite unique and manualized “cookie cutter” interventions rarely work. Successful interventions require a persistent trial-and-error approach over a period of several years, not fits and starts with a revolving door of psychiatrists, therapists and treatment programs.

Joel Kanter, Silver Spring, MD

Read the New York Times article HERE


For more mental health resources, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog.
Click Here to access original SMI Blog content



This comment wonderfully addresses the issues I had with this article. The person that the article highlights has had diagnoses and medications thrown at him since he was 4 years old; no wonder his rage and hopelessness are escalating. At a certain point (ideally from the very beginning, but that clearly didn’t happen) you need to realize that you have to look past the DSM and listen to what the person in front of you is saying.

    madvocate:

    smiliu:

    Comment on NYT.com about a New York Times article:

    As a psychotherapist, helping teens and young men like the one featured in this article requires more than simply finding the right diagnosis and medications; it requires an empathic understanding of the unhappiness and anger that they experience. Too often, mental health personnel, let alone the insurers, focus solely on the externals of problematic behaviors and imagine these as merely the manifestations of a malfunctioning brain. This perspective—often akin to trying to wedge the round peg of a troubled individual into the square hole of the DSM and biological psychiatry—just leaves the young person feeling more alienated and adrift… and even more pessimistic about any mental health intervention. And the families in these situations need expert consultation on an ongoing basis to help them provide the optimal balance of support and structure that can help their child develop their self-regulatory capacities and interpersonal skills. Each of these situations is quite unique and manualized “cookie cutter” interventions rarely work. Successful interventions require a persistent trial-and-error approach over a period of several years, not fits and starts with a revolving door of psychiatrists, therapists and treatment programs.

    Joel Kanter, Silver Spring, MD
    For more mental health resources, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog.

    This comment wonderfully addresses the issues I had with this article. The person that the article highlights has had diagnoses and medications thrown at him since he was 4 years old; no wonder his rage and hopelessness are escalating. At a certain point (ideally from the very beginning, but that clearly didn’t happen) you need to realize that you have to look past the DSM and listen to what the person in front of you is saying.

     
  3. The continuity of social structure is itself produced by myriad individual decisions and actions. Most people who decide whether or not to take a school exam or aim for promotion for work are not consciously reproducing the class system: they are doing what seems best to them at the time. Similarly most people lighting up a cigarette or going out jogging are not aiming to reproduce the pattern of health inequality.
    — Bartley, M., Blane, D., & Smith, G. D. Introduction: Beyond the Black Report. Sociology of Health & Illness, 20(5), 563-77. (via socio-logic)i

    (Source: ifuckinglovesociology)

     
  4. Sound bites now pass for erudite commentary and merge with the banality of celebrity culture, which produces its own self-serving illiteracy and cult of privatization and consumerism. Moreover, as the power of communication and language wanes, collapsing into the seepage of hateful discourses, the eager cheerleaders of casino capitalism along with the ever-present anti-public intellectuals dominate the airwaves and screen culture in order to aggressively wage a war against all public institutions, youth, women, immigrants, unions, poor minorities, the homeless, gays, workers, the unemployed, poor children and others. In this instance, thinking degenerates into forms of ideological boosterism and the crucial potential of thinking to serve as a dynamic resource disappears from the American cultural and academic landscapes. When thinking itself becomes dangerous, society loses its ability to question itself and paves the way for authoritarian regimes of power. The success of conservatives in colonizing, if not undermining, any model of critical reflection often takes place by reducing thought to a matter of commonsense while supporting rampant forms of anti-intellectualism - most evident in the Republican Party’s recent war on evidence-based arguments, science and reason. At the same time, the success on the part of right-wing ideologues, conservative foundations, and anti-public intellectuals to shape domestic and foreign policy and gain the support of most Americans for doing so speaks to a roundly successful pedagogical and political strategy to manipulate public opinion while legitimating the rise of an authoritarian. At the least, this war on reason and politics raises serious questions about the failure of the academy to counter such views. In particular, it raises questions about the alienating nature of what passes for critical thought, theory and informed commentary in the academy. Moreover, the issue here is not weather critical intellectuals can use theory to solve the myriad problems facing the United States and the larger world, but what role critical thought plays in various sites as crucial to developing the formative culture that produces critical modes of agency and makes democracy possible.
    — 

    Henry A. Giroux (via azspot)

    "When thinking itself becomes dangerous, society loses its ability to question itself and paves the way for authoritarian regimes of power. "

     
  5. Ah, not to be cut off,
    not through the slightest partition
    shut out from the law of the stars.
    The inner—what is it?
    if not intensified sky,
    hurled through with birds and deep
    with the winds of homecoming.
     
  6. cognitivedefusion:

    This post is probably going to get technical and rant-y, but I’m going to try and be as concise as possible. It is inspired from this article, and I will highlight some of the key parts for context below:

    German psychiatrist Stefan Leucht and colleagues have produced another really important paper. The results indicate that the small differences usually found between antidepressants and placebo are far below the sort of differences that would be clinically detectable or meaningful.

    The study used data on the antidepressant mirtazapine gathered from 43 trials in people diagnosed with ‘major depressive disorder.’ The authors used a ‘linking’ method to look for correspondences between scores on the commonly used Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and another commonly used instrument, the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) Scale. The Hamilton is one of the most widely used rating scales for assessing the effects of antidepressants. The usual version includes 17 questions, and has a maximum score of 52. The CGI consists of two clinician rated scales, one focusing on the severity of the condition and the other on the level of improvement, both rated on a scale of 1 to 7. The CGI is said to be ‘intuitively understood by clinicians’ (1, p 243) and has good inter-rater reliability… .

    What this study is suggesting is simple: the difference we see between placebos and antidepressants, while sometimes statistically significant, are not clinically significant. Detecting statistical significance does not mean the differences are meaningful in real life. So even when antidepressants “outperform” placebos statistically that does not mean they do clinically, or in real life.

     
  7. 13:05

    Notes: 5

    Reblogged from lilyfreedman

    by Lily Freedman, Parson Paris

     
  8. My morning skim of the New York Times and a number of political science blogs suggests that voices in favor of US intervention in Iraq – that is, people who believe the US has the capacity to reshape the state and control conflict there – are still prominently represented. By contrast, as Gene Demby has noted, most of the mainstream discourse around the shooting deaths of black and Hispanic men in places like Chicago’s South Side presents this type of violence as saddening but inevitable – a natural phenomenon that can’t be controlled by government policy.
    — Rachel Strohm at her blog. Is Mosul anything like Chicago’s South Side?ve (via protoslacker)

    I really liked this essay. Nearly every day Protoslacker helps me find something interesting that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

     
  9. america-wakiewakie:

    Nat Turner’s Revolution‬

    Nat Turner’s rebellion, also called the Southampton Insurrection, is probably the most famous slave uprising in North America. The revolt was brilliantly planned by Turner and took place August 1831 in Southampton County, Virginia. The Turner-led group of  ”freedom fighters” killed up to 65 people of European descent, the highest number of fatalities caused by a slave uprising in the American South. Though the rebellion was quelled within a few days, Turner survived in hiding for more than two months afterward.

    Haitian Revolution

    The most successful slave uprising in the Western Hemisphere was the Haitian Revolution, which began in 1791. Dutty Boukman, an educated slave from Jamaica who was sold to a French slave master in Haiti, organized and started the revolution that was eventually led by military mastermind Toussaint L’Ouverture. During the war, which culminated in the first independent black country in 1804, 100,000 French and British soldiers were killed.

    THE ZANJ REVOLT 

    The largest revolt by enslaved Africans was ignited by the Zanj against Arab slavers. The Zanj or Zinj were the inhabitants of the land along the coast of East Africa. They were traded as slaves by Arabs and were made to work in the cruel and humid saltpans of Shatt-al-Arab, near Basra in modern-day Iraq. Conscious of their large numbers and oppressive working conditions, the Zanj rebelled three times.

    The largest of these rebellions lasted from 868 to 883 A.D., during which they inflicted repeated defeat on Arab armies sent to suppress the revolt. For some 14 years, they continued to achieve remarkable military victories and even built their own capital–Moktara, the Elect City.

    New York Slave Revolt of 1712‬

    The New York Slave Revolt of 1712 happened in New York City, when 23 enslaved Africans killed nine people of European descent and injured six more. The slaves planned and organized the revolt on the night of April 6, 1712. After setting fire to a building on Maiden Lane near Broadway, they waited for  colonists to rush to put out the flames, then proceeded to attack them.

    The First Maroon War

    In 1739, the Jamaican Maroons were the first enslaved Africans to win their freedom from European slave masters. During the First Maroon War, they fought and escaped slavery and established free communities in the mountainous interior of the island. For 76 years, there were periodic skirmishes between the British and the Maroons, alongside occasional slave revolts.

    Eventually, the British government and slave holders realized they couldn’t defeat the Maroons, so they came up with a peace treaty that allowed them to live in their own free states in Jamaica. As a result, the Maroons established their five main towns: Accompong, Trelawny Town, Moore Town, Scots Hall, and Nanny Town.

    (Read Full Text)

     
  10. London: Anne Wilson Schaef has written about her experiences with a tribe of aborigines in Australia. As she describes it, one of the elders had a favorite story that he used to tell again and again. On the third or fourth hearing, Schaef began to tune it out since she already knew the story quite well. But over time, hearing it again and again, she began to notice that the story was slightly different on each telling. As she started paying attention to the subtle nuances, she discovered that the story was advancing in a very deliberate way. The full meaning of the story couldn’t be captured on a single hearing, or even on two, because it required the active participation of the listener. This is a vivid example of what is lost when we shift from an oral to a written culture.

    Abram: Exactly. Once we write those stories down they don’t change any more. And then we become fundamentalists and say, “The way it’s written is the only way it really is.” And we get caught up in our notions of literal truth — “… true to the letter of the law.” “Literal truth” only comes in with literacy.

     
  11. By putting government and politics into the center of economic analysis, Polanyi makes it clear that today’s vexing economic problems are almost entirely political problems. This can effectively change the terms of modern political debate: Both left and right today focus on “deregulation”—for the right it is a rallying cry against the impediments of government; for the left it is the scourge behind our current economic inequities. While they differ dramatically on its desirability, both positions assume the possibility of a “non-regulated” or “non-political” market. Taking Polanyi seriously means rejecting the illusion of a “deregulated” economy. What happened in the name of “deregulation” has actually been “reregulation,” this time by rules and policies that are radically different from those of the New Deal and Great Society decades. Although compromised by racism, those older regulations laid the groundwork for greater equality and a flourishing middle class. Government continues to regulate, but instead of acting to protect workers, consumers, and citizens, it devised new policies aimed to help giant corporate and financial institutions maximize their returns through revised anti-trust laws, seemingly bottomless bank bailouts, and increased impediments to unionization.

    The implications for political discourse are critically important: If regulations are always necessary components of markets, we must not discuss regulation versus deregulation but rather what kinds of regulations we prefer: Those designed to benefit wealth and capital? Or those that benefit the public and common good?

     
  12. 18:41

    Notes: 4

    Reblogged from lilyfreedman

    image: Download

    by Lily Freedman, Parsons Paris

    by Lily Freedman, Parsons Paris

     
  13. So it goes in the world of power politics. After this long and arduous history, Jews and the state of Israel have learned, indeed refined, the political art of conquest as a way of life. Unlearning this art is essential but that is another long haul. More and more Jews won’t think the hard work is worth it. Palestinians are on the other side of history – as Jews once were. But, unlike Jews, their way back will be even more difficult. Like his predecessors, Prime Minister Netanyahu is determined to make the resurrection of Palestine impossible. Count Israel’s Gaza invasion as part of that end-game.
     
  14. FOUCAULT: THREE PROCESSES OF NEOLIBERAL POWER
(from the Wikipedia page on governmentality)

Responsibilisation
In line with its desire to reduce the scope of government (e.g. welfare) Neo-liberalism characteristically develops indirect techniques for leading and controlling individuals without being responsible for them. The main mechanism is through the technology of responsibilisation. This entails subjects becoming responsibilised by making them see social risks such as illness, unemployment, poverty, etc. not as the responsibility of the state, but actually lying in the domain for which the individual is responsible and transforming it into a problem of ‘self-care’. The practice of going to the gym can be seen as a result of responsibilisation, our responsibility to remain free of illness so as to be able to work and to care for our dependants (children, elderly parents etc.) This technology somewhat overlaps with the technology of healthism.
Healthism
Healthism links the “public objectives for the good health and good order of the social body with the desire of individuals for health and well-being” [Rose, 1999:74]. Healthy bodies and hygienic homes may still be objectives of the state, but it no longer seeks to discipline, instruct, moralise or threaten us into compliance. Rather “individuals are addressed on the assumption that they want to be healthy and enjoined to freely seek out the ways of living most likely to promote their own health” [Rose, 1999:86-87] such as going to the gym. However while the technology of responsibilisation may be argued to be a calculated technique of the state, the wave of Healthism is less likely to be a consequence of state planning, but arising out of the newer social sciences such as nutrition and human movement. Healthism assigns, as do most technologies of the self, a key role to experts. For it is experts who can tell us how to conduct ourselves in terms of safe, precise techniques to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and overall health. The borrowing from technologies of the market by technologies of the self can be clearly seen in the area of healthism. The idea of health, the goal of being healthy, the joys brought by good health and the ways of achieving it are advertised to us in the same manner as goods and services are marketed by sales people. By adhering to the principles of healthism, our personal goals are aligned with political goals and we are thus rendered governable.
Normalisation
Another technology of power arising from the social sciences is that of normalisation. The technology of norms was given a push by the new methods of measuring population. A norm is that “which is socially worthy, statistically average, scientifically healthy and personally desirable”.[37] The important aspect of normality, is that while the norm is natural, those who wish to achieve normality will do so by working on themselves, controlling their impulses in everyday conduct and habits, and inculcating norms of conduct into their children, under the guidance of others. Norms are enforced through the calculated administration of shame. Shame entails an anxiety over the exterior behaviour and appearance of the self, linked to an injunction to care for oneself in the name of achieving quality of life [Rose, 1999:73]. Norms are usually aligned with political goals, thus the norm would be fit, virile, energetic individuals, able to work, earn money, and spend it and thus sustain the economy. For instance, the practice of going to the gym allows one to achieve this ‘normality’. Through shame we are governed into conforming with the goals of Neo-liberalism.

    FOUCAULT: THREE PROCESSES OF NEOLIBERAL POWER

    (from the Wikipedia page on governmentality)

    Responsibilisation

    In line with its desire to reduce the scope of government (e.g. welfare) Neo-liberalism characteristically develops indirect techniques for leading and controlling individuals without being responsible for them. The main mechanism is through the technology of responsibilisation. This entails subjects becoming responsibilised by making them see social risks such as illness, unemployment, poverty, etc. not as the responsibility of the state, but actually lying in the domain for which the individual is responsible and transforming it into a problem of ‘self-care’. The practice of going to the gym can be seen as a result of responsibilisation, our responsibility to remain free of illness so as to be able to work and to care for our dependants (children, elderly parents etc.) This technology somewhat overlaps with the technology of healthism.

    Healthism

    Healthism links the “public objectives for the good health and good order of the social body with the desire of individuals for health and well-being” [Rose, 1999:74]. Healthy bodies and hygienic homes may still be objectives of the state, but it no longer seeks to discipline, instruct, moralise or threaten us into compliance. Rather “individuals are addressed on the assumption that they want to be healthy and enjoined to freely seek out the ways of living most likely to promote their own health” [Rose, 1999:86-87] such as going to the gym. However while the technology of responsibilisation may be argued to be a calculated technique of the state, the wave of Healthism is less likely to be a consequence of state planning, but arising out of the newer social sciences such as nutrition and human movement. Healthism assigns, as do most technologies of the self, a key role to experts. For it is experts who can tell us how to conduct ourselves in terms of safe, precise techniques to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and overall health. The borrowing from technologies of the market by technologies of the self can be clearly seen in the area of healthism. The idea of health, the goal of being healthy, the joys brought by good health and the ways of achieving it are advertised to us in the same manner as goods and services are marketed by sales people. By adhering to the principles of healthism, our personal goals are aligned with political goals and we are thus rendered governable.

    Normalisation

    Another technology of power arising from the social sciences is that of normalisation. The technology of norms was given a push by the new methods of measuring population. A norm is that “which is socially worthy, statistically average, scientifically healthy and personally desirable”.[37] The important aspect of normality, is that while the norm is natural, those who wish to achieve normality will do so by working on themselves, controlling their impulses in everyday conduct and habits, and inculcating norms of conduct into their children, under the guidance of others. Norms are enforced through the calculated administration of shame. Shame entails an anxiety over the exterior behaviour and appearance of the self, linked to an injunction to care for oneself in the name of achieving quality of life [Rose, 1999:73]. Norms are usually aligned with political goals, thus the norm would be fit, virile, energetic individuals, able to work, earn money, and spend it and thus sustain the economy. For instance, the practice of going to the gym allows one to achieve this ‘normality’. Through shame we are governed into conforming with the goals of Neo-liberalism.

     
  15. In his 1978-79 lecture series, Michel Foucault draws a number of critical distinctions between the classical economic liberalism of the 19th century and the 20th century neo-liberal ideas of the Austrian, Freiburg and Chicago Schools of economics (Foucault, 2008). Where the former identified markets with the process of exchange, and therefore equivalence of value, the latter identified them with competition, and therefore inequality between persons. (Foucault, 2008: 118-119). Where liberalism set about separating state from market, and society from economy, neo-liberalism sought to refashion state, society and economy according to the market principle of competition. Liberalism was a problematic of de-limiting the scope of the state, so as to enable spontaneous and ‘natural’ market forces to arise, whereas neo-liberalism treated markets as artefacts which are dependent on constant legal and technical intervention by state agencies. For the neo-liberal, state, society and economy are all institutionally and ontologically integrated, and all equally amenable to economic critique and re-design along competitive principles. As Mirowki argues, this is a manifestly constructivist programme, that treats markets as legal-technical institutions to be defended and expanded, not as emergent spaces of freedom as in the liberal imaginary (Mirowski, 2009).
    — 

    William Davies, The Politics of Externalities pgs 6-7 (via karl-marx-ezoos-dot-biz)

    This is, in my experience, one of Foucault’s more important, but least recognized, insights. “Free markets” are anything but. Current neoliberalism (meta-national corporate capitalism) has nation-states so dependent on corporate finance that politicians have no real say in banking, trading, or other big-money enterprises. The corporations can now set their own rules, regulating and rigging the markets so that they bear no resemblance to the competition among small merchants and craftsmen that still get trotted forth in explanations of how the market works.