Basaglia and Cooper / do not replace a Huber

All anti-psychiatrists are medical doctors, all anti-psychiatry is therapy. As every anti-psychiatrist, also Basaglia, remained medical doctor and psychiatrist and wanted to remain it. In contrast to the Hubers. A difference! Note: Basaglia and Cooper / do not replace a Huber.

The whole antipsychiatry was over already 40 (!) years ago, without being even able to die. As a ghost of the past she is still haunting occasionally some press.

On that the following letter, which reached us from abroad.


Subject: John Foot, "Basaglia and the Radical Psychiatry Movement in Italy, 1961–1978" in Critical Social Work, Number 2, August 2014

Here: Your mentioning of the Socialist Patients’ Collective (SPK) (Subsection: Trieste, history and memory)


Dear Sir,

What you write about the Socialist Patients’ Collective (SPK) is completely false.

Firstly: There was no such thing as an "anti-psychiatric SPK which had been closed down by the authorities".

The Socialist Patients’ Collective (SPK) was never sentenced, let alone banned. The SPK, founded in Heidelberg, February 1970, by the front patient Huber, WD, never ceased to exist and it has prevailed again and again despite of the most adverse circumstances while all the other currents and movements, at that time being considered "far more revolutionary", have failed long since and have terminated or surrendered, even if un-dissolved. The SPK-program: Turn Illness into a weapon!, keeps on being practicated and remains reality. The SPK, which has emerged from the Patients’ Front, declared its self-dissolution in July 1971 (strategic withdrawal). As Patients’ Front of the confrontation-patients this SPK had already existed since 1965, and it continues to exist and to be active without break in its continuing activity, that is as PF/SPK(H).


but it had and has to do with illness against Iatro-capitalism.



Secondly: As to the false relationship you are constructing between the Socialist Patients’ Collective and Basaglia in Trieste ("beacon") you should bear in mind that already in May 1972 Basaglia had received a translated copy of SPK’s famous book: SPK – Turn Illness into a weapon, with the Preface of Jean-Paul Sartre. This translation was probably done with view to its publication by Feltrinelli, but being considered an issue too explosive because of its going far beyond the Basaglian reform program, Basaglia kept it secret in his private archive in Trieste along with other documents of the SPK.

Basaglia was kept informed about the trials against the founder of the SPK, the front patients Huber, W.D., Dr. med., and Ursel Huber, and 9 other patients, and he, too, was invited to participate in the counter-inquest into the SPK trials organized by the IZRU (Information Center of the People’s Red University) supported by Jean-Paul Sartre. In this counter inquest that was publicly conducted at the university of Heidelberg in concomitancy with the opening of the series of trials against the SPK-patients before the Staatsschutzkammer Karlsruhe (the first being trialed were the founder of the SPK, Huber, W.D., Ursel Huber and a youngster) on November 7, 1972, were participating patients and political activists from other parts in Germany, from Holland, from France, amongst them Gerard Hof and Felix Guattari, and Italy was represented by two psychiatrists who intervened on behalf of Basaglia. The international assembly adopted a resolution in which the persecution measures against the SPK were condemned. The assembly demanded also the termination of the trials and the immediate release of the SPK-prisoners.

Just a few days before, patients of the SPK, who had been invited, had come to an international meeting organized by Basaglia and his équipe on European models of psychiatric reforms which took place from Nov. 2 to Nov. 5, 1972 in the building of the regional government of Trieste.

The SPK-patients explained the principles and practices of the SPK, and in the discussion that followed emerged the theoretical and practical limits of the Basaglian reformistic approach. The walls of the manicomi had been torn down, but the medical treatment of the patients with psychotropic drugs (chemical straitjacket) continued. Also, the assemblies in which the patients were allowed to participate and vote served and serve only the purpose of the maintenance of the medical doctors’ power upon the patients.

As you can see, Trieste and Basaglia were everything else but a "beacon" for the SPK-practice and theory based on the collective liberation of illness, all the more since in the period that followed medical members of his équipe, namely Pirella, in his writings for IL MANIFESTO were trying to mispresent the SPK as a failure. This was done although at that time the founder of the SPK and front patient Huber, W.D., as well as front patient Ursel Huber, were both of them still held hostage in solitary confinement (isolation torture) in the prisons of Stammheim, Bruchsal, Rastatt, Ludwigsburg, Bruehl, Hohenasperg (I write these names down just because in Germany they are famous as well as infamous for their being used throughout the last two centuries as dungeons for revolutionaries and political prisoners). For a description of the torture and the resistance against it, see: The concept of solitary confinement by front patient Wolfgang Huber.

Basaglia – together with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Felix Guattari, David Cooper, Michel Foucault, Jean Claude Polack, Robert Castel, Roger Gentis, Mony Elkaim and 74 members of the Reseau International – had signed a press statement for the immediate release of the two last SPK-prisoners who had begun an unconditional and unlimited hunger strike on November 6, 1975, not for release, but for the purpose of confrontation against the doctors and their responsibility for prison and torture. See:

Soon after their release on January 20-21, 1976 after 4 ½ years of prison most of the time in solitary confinement, Huber took action with the assault of the Patients’ Front against the International Congress of Psychiatry in Paris, February 1976. The Patients’ Front asked the doctors and psychiatrists gathered there to demand the expulsion of the German medical profession as Masters of the isolation torture from the World Medical Association. Basaglia tried to ridicule this request by denying the existence of the World Medical Association and had "his" patients try to snatch the microphone from the hands of the front patients. For a detailed account, see: Iatrocracy on a worldwide scale.

So far as to the relationship in fact and in truth between the SPK and Basaglia.


Thirdly, and last: As to the "activists of the anti-psychiatric SPK-movement … who turned up to work in Trieste" and "are still there" it must be pointed out that the one person who joined Basaglia and found an employment in Trieste as a nurse in 1976 (!), Carmen Roll, did that choice not as a SPK-patient but as an ex-member of the patients-hostile RAF (Red Army Faction) and thus as a renegade of the SPK, as "traitor to the SPK" (her own words). For a detailed refutation of her narration of the alleged relationship between the SPK and Basaglia see the written warning at the address of the Spanish artist Dora Garcia, to which the above mentioned SPK-renegade had given an interview, at: .