Despite the atrocities committed by the mental health system in the 'Third Reich, psy-professions continued to flourish post-war and expand into new territories. Counter-intuitively, psychiatry had proved its worth as an effective institution of social control within industrial societies. Labelling protest as symptoms of mental illness was a much more effective way of devaluing and pacifying oppositional movements, as opposed to the direct and more overt oppression at the hands of the judicial system.
For example, in the Soviet Union, psychiatrists utilised the diagnosis of “sluggish schizophrenia”, theorised by psychiatrists as involving symptoms such as “philosophical intoxication" and "delusions of reformism" (Park et al. 2014:
365) to label dissidents as mentally ill, a situation which only intensified in the decades following the death of in 1953 (Healey 20| 4: 78-80; Keukens and van Voren 2007: 54).
In fact, the belief in this label by Soviet psychiatry was so strong that when the General Secretary of the Communist Party. Mikhail Gorbachev began to speak the language of reform in the mid-19805, some worried that he was showing all the signs of having this mental illness (van Voren 2002: 152-135).
From the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s onwards, forensic psychiatry in China has also increased its labelling of resistance as symptoms of mental illness; open and active dissent against the government is understood by the mental health system as delusions of persecution, paranoia, and delusions of grandeur for which the patient is most readily diagnosed with schizophrenia (Munro 2002: 99-100).
Significantly, Munro (2002: 100) notes that many such cases in China appeared in 1973 and 1989, two years which witnessed an upsurge in protest and civil disobedience in the country (the former. the Democracy Wall movement. and the latter. the 'Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations).
Elsewhere, systematic policing of resistance by the psychiatric system has also been recently reported in Romania and Cuba (Keultens and van Voren 2007: S4).
All of the above cases have been highlighted by western psychiatrists