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Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

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Jewish “Mental Health” System Survivors

The recent Jewish “Mental Health” System Survivors’ Workshop in Pennsylvania, USA, led by Janet Foner,* was not only a delightful experience for me but also another turning point for both Jewish liberation and “mental health” liberation.

I have been to other Jewish “mental health” system survivors’ workshops, and this one stood out for a number of reasons. People were reaching for each other more, were warmer and more thoughtful to each other, and more relaxed and spontaneous. They laughed a lot and cuddled more. The site itself, in a setting of beautiful trees and flowers, was a contradiction to oppression.

I got a clearer picture of how “mental health” oppression and anti-Jewish oppression work together. All Jews are not “mental health” system survivors but are directly affected by “mental health” oppression, as are all people everywhere. If you are Jewish (too loud, too “weird,” too “emotional,” too “religious,” and so on), you are not “normal.” And the message of anti-Jewish oppression that all Jews have something wrong with them and so should be killed is exacerbated by “mental health” oppression.

We are all brilliant and courageous in how we have fought the oppressions, especially if we have figured out how to be in RC. “There is nothing wrong with you and never has been!” This piece of reality that Janet has shared with us continues to bring discharge and head us out of the lies that were thrown at us. It is always a powerful weapon that contradicts both “mental health” and anti-Jewish oppression.

Janet gets in close with her constituents and lets them see how much she wants to know them. She also always takes time as client at her workshops, so we all get to see where she continues to struggle and how she values each of us as her counselor. This shows me that my patterns and “difficulties” are not “worse” than hers and that I, too, can strive for bigger leadership, because it doesn’t have to be perfect or “all cleaned up” in order to be good.

We Jewish “mental health” system survivors are now an even more solid gang, loving and supporting each other to be our truly wonderful, lovable, brilliant, and amazing selves.

I send much love and gratitude to everyone who shared this workshop with me.

Marci Stern
Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of Jews

 * Janet Foner is the International Liberation Reference Person for "Mental Health Liberation.

Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00