Young people often ask me why psychiatrists and psychologists don’t understand that it is normal for kids to rebel against being controlled. The answer, I believe, is that many psychiatrists and psychologists are not in touch with how extremely obedient they are.

-Depathologizing the Spirit of Resistance, Bruce Levine, Z Magazine, Oct 2005

i read this article for school and it kinda changed my life. i can’t really find it anywhere on the internet. i would like totes re-type it if anyone is interested in reading it.

Historian Bruce Levine explores the destruction of the old South and the reunified country that emerged from the Civil War in his new book, The Fall of the House of Dixie. He says one result of the Emancipation Proclamation was a flood of black men from the South into the Union Army:

“By the end of the Civil War, nearly 200,000 black men had served in either the Union army or the Union navy, and that alone was an enormous military assistance to the Union at a time when volunteering had fallen drastically and when there was a great deal of hostility to the draft. So these 200,000 men significantly contributed to giving the Union army the volume, the bulk, the size that they needed to cope with their Confederate opponents, and that gave the union the power, ultimately, to overwhelm the opposition.”

photo via slideshare

In every generation there will be: 1) authoritarians, the passionate of whom are fascists, 2) bourgeois/ yuppies, who enjoy anti-authoritarian books, music, and movies, but don’t act on them, and 3) genuine anti-authoritarians, who are so pained by exploitative hierarchies that they take action. Sometimes anti-authoritarian action is obvious, more often it is subtle, and too often it is futile. Only rarely do anti-authoritarians take effective direct action that inspires others to revolt, but every once in a while a Tom Paine comes along. So control-freaks take no chance, and the state-corporate partnership criminalizes anti-authoritarianism, pathologizes it, markets drugs to “cure” it, and financially intimidates those who might buck the system.
—  Bruce Levine, “Depathologizing the Spirit of Resistance”, Z Magazine, October 2005

Bruce Levine on the reaction in the African-American community to Union recruitment efforts during the Civil War:

There were at least some slaves who still believed what others had been telling them during most of the war, namely … ‘This is a white man’s war, stay out.’ … And others, because having just been freed and finally given the opportunity to live the life of free men and women, didn’t relish the prospect of immediately being separated from their families and possibly killed before they could realize the benefits of that freedom. But very, very large numbers responded very enthusiastically to the chance finally to, in great numbers, take organized collective action in pursuit of the freedom of their people.

200,000 African-Americans fought for the Union.

Unidentified African-American soldier in Union corporal’s uniform via the Library of Congress.


More Art Monday: Text in art can be ornamental or provocative—which do you prefer? Do you have any favorite artists who are known to explicitly use text to express a powerful message?

The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths (Window or Wall Sign),” 1967, by Bruce Nauman

Page from Book of Hours,” c. 1300, Artist/maker unknown, Flemish 

Prayer Rug,” 1978, by Les Levine, Canadian 

“My Country Needs Me,” 1996, Rodney Ewing, American, born 1964. Published by Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia

Birth and Baptismal Certificate for Mary Ann Greiner, Lommers Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, 1834,” c. 1834, printed by Johann Ritter und Comp., Reading, Pennsylvania. Hand-colored by Frances Levan, American 

Untitled (I’m Turning Into a Specter before Your Very Eyes and I’m Going to Haunt You),” 1992, by Glenn Ligon 

In an earlier dark age, authoritarian monarchies partnered with authoritarian religious institutions. When the world exited from this dark age and entered the Enlightenment, there was a burst of energy. Much of this revitalization had to do with risking skepticism about authoritarian and corrupt institutions and regaining confidence in one’s own mind. We are now in another dark age, only the institutions have changed. Americans desperately need anti-authoritarians to question, challenge, and resist new illegitimate authorities and regain confidence in their own common sense.

In every generation there will be authoritarians and anti-authoritarians. While it is unusual in American history for anti-authoritarians to take the kind of effective action that inspires others to successfully revolt, every once in a while a Tom Paine, Crazy Horse, or Malcolm X come along. So authoritarians financially marginalize those who buck the system, they criminalize anti-authoritarianism, they psychopathologize anti-authoritarians, and they market drugs for their “cure.”


Batman: Gotham Adventures (1998-2003) #54

“You made one mistake already. Stop at that.”

Of course he didn’t.

Now, as this is in continuity with the animated universe, including Batman Beyond, I could go into a long winded rant about how this one scene destroys any excuses for one of the several awful things that Adam Beechen did in his Batman Beyond run. But I’ll spare it for now.

Instead let’s focus on Papa Bear Bruce and how this security guard just unleashed hell for almost hurting Timmy.

Insel finally recognizes what mental health treatment reform activists and investigative reporter Robert Whitaker have been talking about for years—the research shows that American psychiatry’s standard treatment protocol has hurt many people who could have been helped by a more selective and limited use of drugs
Psychiatry’s Oppression of Young Anarchists—and the Underground Resistance

I have this problem when I’m doing research for something I’m writing, even something as simple as trying to find the source/exact wording of a quotation, where I start clicking links to related articles and blogs and WikiPedia pages, etc. and soon I’m in a k-hole of interesting stuff that a. has only a marginal connection to my original topic and b. can easily be used as a tool of procrastination which inhibits me actually writing the piece that the research was for in the first place.

All this is to say: I was trying to find this Bruce Levine article because of one specific quotation I’m citing in an essay, and that led me to spend my afternoon reading ALL THE BRUCE LEVINE. Oops.

Book jacket for Random House  |  Art Director: Robbin Schiff  |  Designer: Christopher Sergio  |  Published 2013

So, I went into private practice, where I received many referrals for teenagers diagnosed with ODD from colleagues who were uncomfortable with these kids. As I worked with the kids, I found that not only did I like most of them, but I also respected the vast majority of them, as they had real courage. They don’t comply with authorities whom they consider to be illegitimate and, most of the time, I concurred with their assessment. If they do respect an authority, they aren’t obnoxious and usually they clamor for adults whom they can respect and who genuinely respect them. Not only are these kids not mentally ill, many of them are what I consider to be the hope of the nation.

Bruce E. Levine

How Psychologists Subvert Democratic Movements

What’s impossible to ignore is how many of the individuals diagnosed with mental disorders are essentially anti-authoritarians. This was potentially a large army of anti-authoritarian activists that mental health professionals are keeping off democracy battlefields by convincing them that their depression, anxiety, and anger are a result of their mental illnesses and not, in part, a result of their pain over being in dehumanizing environments.
—  Bruce E. Levine