National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

Keynote address: Unhinging Services from the Coercion Racket

Are we talking about advocacy? What kind of advocacy? Have you noticed people demanding services that are often dependent on the industry of coercion and profits? It seems necessary to many advocates, including peer advocates, to ask for services that demand compliance, especially when the withdrawal reactions from drugs are fueling the violence and impairment that is used to justify forced treatment. Peer work, indeed advocacy of all types, requires a call for rights, but it also needs to work on creating spaces for successful respite from sanist coercion, to show that alternatives are not only possibly but necessary. Are there examples? What advocacy unhinges the service paradigm from the coercion racket in a time of few social supports and independent peer work?

Erick Fabris is a lecturer at Toronto’s Ryerson University and author of Tranquil Prisons, Chemical Incarceration Under Community Treatment Orders, an ethnography on the sanism of forced and coercive ‘treatment’. Erick was a psychiatric patient in 1993, and joined other detainees to start the first Psychiatric Survivor Pride Day in Toronto that year.