Another Email sent this morning to the See Me Scotland Director, copied in to various “others” and forwarded on to a few:
“I feel compelled to write to you about the strapline “Building a Social Movement”. Because it’s an impossible task.
For we can’t “build” a social movement. It’s an organic thing that happens by osmosis. A grassroots uprising. As a result of various factors, a collective enterprise involving natural leadership and seeds of discontent.
I was checking out Oxfam Scotland, your previous employer, and notice some of their straplines:
“Speaking out is powerful. It can change minds and influence decision makers.”
“… so when injustice causes poverty, we stand against it”
“We know people have the power to change their lives and the lives of those around them. All they need is a little help.”
I agree with all of these statements and it’s how I behave as a writer, activist and campaigner in Scotland’s mental health world. It was the same when I was a community development worker in Lanarkshire then in Fife and Perth, before I entered the twilight zone in January 2008, by getting on board with the “recovery movement”. Another top down affair. Although I didn’t know it at the time, having believed the blurb about peer support being a civil rights movement. Which it is, but not in Scotland. Rather it is a government arm with Penumbra on the right wing.
For seven years I have tried to be meaningfully involved in mental health matters, collectively and on a level playing field. But it’s impossible because the powers that be will not allow the real experts by experience to have a voice or to be heard. We are sequestered or patronised or excluded or scapegoated. Pushed into “Write to Recovery” by the SRN cronies. While empires are built and people are promoted to the level of their own incompetence. Just like in the real world of statutory and government agencies.
Anyway these are my thoughts on the See Me strapline and looking back over my time in the trenches.