Psychiatric Refugees? Give me a Break!

If you follow me at all, you will know that I am a rebel. This caused me unjust care at Read Zone Hospital and Lake Shore hospital in the 70s. When these kind of involuntary laws prevail, all one has to do is get on the wrong side of the powers-that-be. Often, rebelling against injustices is not cause for forced psychiatric treatment like I experienced: strapping down to my bed, injected with psych med to which I was allergic and a most outlandish use of seclusion as punishment. When one survives unjust treatment and cannot go home, I call this a ‘refugee’ situation. I admire Sarah that even though the BC system really did her wrong, she had the wisdom to seek further psychiatric treatment even though it was so risky. I don’t know if I would be that brave! My hat’s off to you, Sarah. I hope you may go home soon.

Mind You

By Marvin Ross

For years, we’ve had a small group of very vocal people who call themselves psychiatric survivors — people who have had psychiatric treatment, do not agree with it and consider that they have survived it. Now, thanks to CBC radio, we have someone dubbed a psychiatric refugee — a woman who fled British Columbia for Ontario to escape her involuntary status in a B.C. hospital. And, it was said, she is not the only so-called refugee.

Comparing yourself to people who survived a genocide like the Holocaust or saying that you are comparable to Syrians and others fleeing in leaky, dangerous boats from war is absurd. But what is also absurd is the story that this anonymous person called Sarah by the CBC told. It is just not logical but it is being used to justify the Charter challenge to the B.C. Mental Health Act that I…

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Look! It’s a noun! It’s an adjective! It’s a number! No, it’s…

A couple of points are raised here!


My latest piece for The Week is an introduction to that double-agent class of words, there in the numbers but not of the numbers: quantifiers.

Singular or plural? It’s complicated.

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On Activism and Organizing: There is a Distinction

This is a demon to which I fight daily. Sometimes it is hard to ‘organize’ when people engage in personal wars that tear down a solidarity effort. Thank you, Kelly, for bringing this up.

Transformative Spaces

What’s the difference between an organizer, an activist, and someone who is just plain fighting for their life, on a personal level? Often, there is no discernible distinction, as these roles often blend together in ways that could never be separated. But for some people, there is no such complexity. I point this out because, in recent years, there has been a verbal shift in social justice spaces towards referring to everyone involved as an organizer. As a person who believes that we too often negate the meanings of words by transforming them into umbrellaed concepts, I have to say my piece about the matter.

Not everyone who is involved in movement work is an organizer, and that’s okay. And to be real, if you find that you’re spending more time condemning the imperfect ideas and practices of others than you’re spending lifting folx up, you are not healing or building anything — and that’s…

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That old bad rule-seeking behaviour



Linguistics is great for making you aware of things you were already doing consistently but weren’t consciously aware of. In fact, that’s the basic point of several subfields of linguistics. There are a few particularly memorable examples that one learns in the course of an education in linguistics. One of these is the order of adjectives: we have a standard order for adjectives when there are several before a noun. We may not be analytically aware of it, but if someone says “a red big balloon” it will sound wrong.

If you’re a linguistics student, you take that as more data, and the point of such data is to use it to help you figure out why we tend to do that, and to do that you have to see what exceptions there are and sort out what the various inputs and influences are. It’s explanation-seeking behaviour.

If, on the…

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Sunnyside, Morningside and the Darkside



Sunnyside, Morningside and the Darkside

by Kathy Powers
September 28, 2016



Mr. Cappleman, where’s our people now?
The students, parents, teachers?
The children on the climbing bars
The homeless in the tents?

Mr. Cappleman, where’s our voices now?
The laughter, cries and cheers?
The poor men’s cry for justice
The song of unity in home?

Mr. Cappleman, where’s our morals now?
We shred and tear for bits.
You smile and then you take our tents,
You take our choice to live.

Mr. Cappleman, where’s your dignity?
Mr. Cappleman, here’s our dignity!
Mr. Cappleman, here’s our respect!
Mr. Cappleman, where’s your respect?




Who is guilty of criminal trespass in North Dakota? — Fred Klonsky

via Who is guilty of criminal trespass in North Dakota? — Fred Klonsky

Florida Teacher to School Board: Why My Daughter Will Not Take the State Tests

High stakes, high cost, high risk!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Andy Goldstein addressed the school board of Palm Beach County, where he teaches, at a recent meeting:

Why My Wife and I Are Opting Out Our Daughter From Third-Grade High-Stakes Testing

Transcript of the original text:

Good evening. My name is Andy Goldstein. I’m a teacher at Omni Middle School and the proud parent of an eight-year-old daughter who attends one of our public elementary schools.

It seems like it was just yesterday when my daughter entered kindergarten. At that time, I talked about her at our August School Board meeting in 2013.

I said that my hopes and dreams for my daughter were that she would develop a lifelong love for learning that would serve her well as she learned to construct a life that would serve her and serve others as well.

I told this board that my wife and I were not particularly interested in having her…

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