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John Riddell: Democracy in Lenin's Comintern

Richard Atkinson: Death and the Bedroom Tax

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Richard Atkinson: Death and the Bedroom Tax

Dave Renton: Who Was Blair Peach?

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Bunny La Roche: Nasty Little Nigel gets a rude welcome to Kent

Bunny La Roche of RS21 on Nigel Farage's visit to Kent

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Financial Appeal

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Financial Appeal

Report: 'Are we all becoming more anxious?' - the politics of mental health in the age of austerity

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Last Wednesday over 50 people* attended a joint-meeting organised by the IS Network and rs21 entitled, 'Are we all becoming more anxious? - The politics of mental health under austerity.' The meeting was made up of a diverse audience and was attended predominately by people who are neither in the IS Network or rs21 and several who had not been involved with the left before. The meeting was introduced by brief contributions from Rachel Eboral (rs21), Claire English (Plan C) and Ben Watson (Mad Pride).

The meeting then opened up for discussion, whereby there was a combination between people making political points about mental health and class, about medicalisation, forced treatments, etc which was combined with people telling aspects of their own mental health experiences often in illuminating and moving ways. Other subjects discussed included problems with provision, challenges for service users and workers trying to organise in mental health, to the social construction of illness, the marketisation of remedies, right through to the question of collective agency and left organisations in general. One person spoke on how for many of those attending it was the first time they had open, honest discussion among themselves as socialists about mental health issues, which are still often surrounded by stigma and shame.

A subject that was also discussed was how left wing groups are frequently not acknowledging or being supportive of those in their midst who are suffering from mental health crises or problems. This would appear to suggest more serious consideration for all of those on the left in how they should be relating to each other politically, how they are talking to each other, the tone of what they say to each other and the impact it might have on others.

Thankfully the meeting also provides some evidence that despite the catastrophic failures of the left in the last few years there remains an audience to hear and participate with socialists in discussing ideas.

Thanks go out to all of our speakers and all of those who helped with or attended the meeting.

*Attendance would likely have been higher but shortly before the meeting there was a well-attended demonstration outside the US embassy at the same time in solidarity with the protests in Ferguson. Before the meeting ended a few people who had been on the demonstration earlier gave a brief report back to a positive reception.


Further Reading:

We Are All Very Anxious: Six Theses on Anxiety and Why It is Effectively Preventing Militancy and One Possible Strategy for Overcoming It, Plan C http://www.weareplanc.org/we-are-all-very-anxious#.VICrLtKsV8E

Not ‘crazy’ as in wacky, but ‘mad’ as in ‘fuck this’, Søren G, rs21 http://rs21.org.uk/2014/11/19/not-crazy-as-in-wacky-but-mad-as-in-fuck-this/

Freud and the October Revolution, Jules Alford, IS Network http://internationalsocialistnetwork.org/index.php/ideas-and-arguments/analysis/431-freud-and-the-october-revolution

'Splitting in Two: Mad Pride and Punk Rock Oblivion' by Robert Dellar, Unkant Publications http://www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/?location_id=2192&item=2219

Peter Sedgwick: the dissidents’ dissident, Dave Renton https://livesrunning.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/peter-sedgwick-the-dissidents-dissident/

Poster: Søren G