des Werner-Fuß-Zentrums an der freien "Universität" in Berlin

Friday, October 8th, 2021 
Thank you for inviting me for this presentation.
I will speak about: 

                    The Foucault Tribunal as a Political Didactic Play 

Only when madness is no longer considered an illness can no medical authority continue to exist that declares individuals with a so-called lack of "illness insight" to be sick, to be in need of help even against their will, since the helper then remains on the same level of power, is a counsellor, a kind of partner, and it is the freedom of the individual to follow his or her advice. 
Since the education of medical authorities takes place at the university, that is the place where it must be abolished. 
The organisers 
In response to an impulse from the Lunatic Offensive, the professors of the Free University of Berlin (FU) Wolf-Dieter Narr, Dietmar Kamper and Gerburg Treusch-Dieter offered a working group for the preparation of a Foucault Tribunal in the summer semester of 1997 at the Free University. The result of a symposium with the famous Prof. Thomas Szasz as the culmination of this working group was the founding of the Foucault Tribunal on the State of Psychiatry in June 1997. At that time it was already clear that there would be a defendant represented by the senior psychiatric physicians Prof. Kruckenberg and Dr. Pörksen. Both had already agreed to organise the defence. 
After its foundation, the Foucault Tribunal was institutionally installed at the Free University, which had taken over the financing. The Volksbühne Theatre was the very prominent venue which agreed to be a co-organiser of the tribunal. 
The Jury 
In contrast to a Russell Tribunal, the accepted premise of this tribunal - in the sense of Michel Foucault - was that the verdict should be passed by a jury, whose members themselves had experienced coercive psychiatry. The selection was made by the Lunatic Offensive with the mutual consent of the jury members. The authority of the jury's decision had to be based on the transparency and fairness of the trial and the authority of the jury members. It was an international jury of 11 including Kate Millett from the USA , Don Weitz from Canada representing Support Coalition International, an association of 71 psychiatric-critical groups from 9 countries and Hagai Aviel from Israel, as well as 8 Germans, including Alexander Schulte, a board member of the national organization of psychiatric survivors in Germany. 
A tribunal is always an extraordinary procedure. The jury took a decisive step: through a statement that was both distributed to the visitors and read out aloud, they made it clear that this would not be a debate, but rather that psychiatry would be held accountable and that the UN Declaration of Human Rights was the legal framework they intended to judge by. The statement also made it clear that psychiatric coercion would be at the heart of the proceedings. 
The jury gained authority by increasingly taking control of the proceedings by involving the audience in the complaints, and interrupting the moderation by Professor Kamper and Professor Bruder, giving their own stage directions and asking questions. It had a worthy speaker in Kate Millett, a world-renowned activist for women's emancipation and human rights. 
As the Foucault Tribunal had of course no executive power, it nevertheless served for the understanding of Human Rights and as a successful political tool. 
Please read the verdict, which had been handed out, see below. 
The indictment, the documentation video and the verdict in 20 languages, see 
                                                                                                      Rene Talbot


                           The Verdict of the Foucault Tribunal 
We conclude that, being unwilling to renounce the use of force, violence and coercion, psychiatry is guilty of crimes against humanity: the deliberate destruction of dignity, liberty and life. Most of all through the legal category of "mental patient" which permits a total deprivation of human and civil rights and the laws of natural justice. 
Furthermore, psychiatry cannot pretend to the art of healing, having violated the Hippocratic Oath through a conscious use of harmful drugs, which caused in particular the world wide epidemic of tardive dyskinesia, as well as other interventions which we recognize as tortures: involuntary confinement, forced drugging, four point restraints, electroshock, all forms of psychosurgery and outpatient commitment. 
These practices and ideology allowed the psychiatrists during the Nazi era to go to the extreme of systematic mass murder of inmates under the pretext of "treatment". 
Psychiatry not only refuses to renounce the force it has historically obtained from the state, it even takes on the role of a highly paid and respected agent of social control and international police force over behavior and the repression of political and social dissent. 
We find psychiatry guilty of the combination of force and unaccountability, a classic definition of totalitarian systems. We demand the abolition of the "mental patients" laws as a first step toward making psychiatry accountable to society. To this end, compensation will have to be made for the harms it has done. Public funds must also be made available for humane and dignified alternatives to Psychiatry.

                                     Reasons for the Verdict 
The defense speaks of the therapeutic necessity for psychiatric coercion and, if necessary, the use of physical force. They admit though, that in "good psychiatric institutions" as little coercion as possible is used. Coercion is apparently not therapeutic, rather it is dependent on the type of psychiatry practiced. We condemn all forms of psychiatric coercion as a violation of human rights. 
The laws for the mentally ill prescribe psychiatric coercion in the case of danger to oneself or others. In practice this is widely transgressed. The matter is only one of endangerment; no crime has been committed. This means that preventive detention is being practiced. 
The defense describes someone as being mentally ill because his ability to help himself is reduced. They believe that he should be relieved of certain societal demands because of impairments in his ability to experience and behave as expected by society. 
We are of the opinion that the accepted idea of illness is inadequate. In this case an institution such as a psychiatric hospital cannot offer any assistance. 
We are of the opinion that treatment by doctors should only be applied on a voluntary basis. 
It is especially dangerous that many judges are biased and that they agree with the expert opinions of the psychiatrists. 
Psychiatric survivors have a right to demand financial compensation for any pain and suffering they experienced. 
                                                                                               Berlin, 2nd of May 1998 

Conference & Exhibition: Tribunalism – The Case for Art