- Hackney Flashers, Who's still holding the baby?, 1978
R.D. Laing and Franco Basaglia, the subject of John Foot’s The Man Who Closed the Asylums, were contemporaries in close dialogue in the critical psychiatry movement that sought to revolutionise the field of psychiatry. They emphasized examining the structural bases to mental illness through a critique of capitalism and were aligned with the radical social movements that coalesced in 1968.
In his own review of Foot’s book, Laing’s son Adrian also observes this confluence of agendas, and praises Foot’s efforts to disassemble the ‘lazy narratives’ that obscure our understanding of Basaglia.
In July 1967, Stokely Carmichael addressed the Dialectics of Liberation Congress at Roundhouse with a potent articulation of the relations between race, capitalism and imperialism, and "Black Power". During Black History Month forty-eight years later, we return to this prescient analysis.
Ahead of Verso's presentation of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution with Dogwoof Films at the London Review Bookshop on November 12th 2015, we publish an extract from Carmichael's speech.
The Black Panthers, by Stanley Nelson, is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails.
Change was coming to America and the fault lines could no longer be ignored—cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, and disputes raged over equality and civil rights. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change.
Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth (1961) was a seminal publication, analysing the psychological and psychiatric effects of colonialism upon the colonised subject. In 'Colonial Violence and Mental Disorders', he discusses the pathologies which result from colonial repression, as well as examinging their violent expression through a shocking case-study: the murder of a child of white European settlers by two of his young Algerian friends.
This article is part of a series for World Mental Health Day 2015.