Left Forum: New Mad Pride Movement Debate

Left Forum: New Mad Pride Movement Debate

New Mad Pride Movement: “Schizophrenics” and “Bipolars” as the New Spiritual Vanguard?

Saturday, May 30th, 2015 5:10 pm - 7:00 pm John Jay College of Criminal Justice 524 West 59th Street New York, NY 10019

Dr Seth Farber’s neo-Laingian perspective will be critiqued by Sascha Dubrul, the co- founder of The Icarus Project(TIP) (2004) and graduate student at CUNY.Lauren Tenney, Ph.D. a survivor and scholar will present her own view. The first volley in the battle against Psychiatry was fired by Libertarian Thomas Szasz in his book The Myth of Mental Illness, 1960. He was soon joined by leftist psychiatrist R D Laing whose 1967 book The Politics of Experience was a precursor of Mad Pride. Laing criticized the competitive ethos, the violence, and the secularism of society. Schizophrenics were spiritual pioneers suppressed by Psychiatry. Both claimed that psychiatric categories, including “mental illness” itself, were not objective medical diagnoses but disguised moral judgments that reflected the dominant values of society. In the early 1970s a popular movement inspired primarily by the work of Szas sprang up all over the country–the mental patients’ liberation movement–later called the psychiatric survivors’movement. In 2004 Dubrul and Jacks McNamara founded The Icarus Project, the first Mad Pride organization in the US. Dubrul and McNamara argued madness had an untapped spiritual potential that could be used to transform” an oppressive and damaged world”. By 2012 Dubrul and most of Mad Pride abandoned their aspiration to be a vanguard of social change and placed their emphasis on collective self-healing alternatives. Farber argues for a more radical Mad movement.


Chair/Facilitator: Seth Farber

Speakers/Co-Facilitators: Sascha DuBrul Lauren Tenney