On 12 June 2008, David W. Oaks provided the single keynote address for the major conference “Madness, Citizenship and Social Justice” sponsored by Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Here’s the review provided by the main conference organizer, Professor Robert Menzies.


David Oaks’ virtuoso keynote address, “Prospects for a Nonviolent Revolution in the Mental Health System During a Time of Psychiatric Globalization,” was a memorable overture to the Madness, Citizenship and Social Justice conference (Vancouver, Canada, June 12th-15th, 2008). In compelling fashion, David spoke to the ever-increasing incursion of bio-psychiatry and big pharma into the transnational marketplace, along with the devastating impact of these developments on psychiatrized people in all corners of the planet. At the same time, he showed how psychiatric survivors and their allies have been dynamically mobilizing against psychiatric globalization in a movement of peaceful resistance, collective empowerment, and social transformation that is increasingly without borders.

David’s perspective in this talk was at once impassioned and analytic, personal and political, local and global, tactical and strategic. While undertaking a rigorous dissection of the corrosive forces that global psychiatry has unleashed upon the world, David also succeeded in offering an insightful set of prescriptions for combating human rights abuses, organizing on an international scale, and effecting progressive change worldwide. In conveying this eloquent message of activism, commitment, solidarity and hope, David set a pitch-perfect tone for the critically engaged dialogue that ensued throughout the four days of the MCSJ conference.

Dr Robert Menzies
Professor of Sociology and MCSJ Conference Chair Simon Fraser University


Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6
Tel: +1 778 782 4552 Fax: +1 604 299 4396 Email: menzies@sfu.ca or rjmenzies@shaw.ca