Terry Ward

Remember Sedgwick

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Regarding your interview with Iain Ferguson on Marxism and mental health (November SR) I was surprised that there was no mention of Peter Sedgwick, a leading member of the International Socialists (forerunner of the SWP) who published in 1982 Psycho Politics (Pluto Press). This dealt with anti-psychiatry including Goffman, Laing and Foucault.

Peter’s conclusion was that the mental health movements overemphasise civil liberties and individualistic solutions — at the expense of developing collective responsibility for the care of those experiencing mental health problems.

Mutually beneficial

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One of the most insidious of crimes committed by the Thatcher government was the privatisation of the building societies (Feature, Socialist Review, February 2008).

For over 100 years these bodies provided cheap mortgages and good savings opportunities for the working class. The reason for this is that they were mutuals, where all savers and borrowers were equal owners of the building societies.

The crisis at Northern Rock occurred because this former building society switched to a business model which involved borrowing short term on the money markets while lending for up to 30 years on mortgages. Any student doing GCE Economics should recognise this was a very risky strategy.

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