Boston Common


From: "Andrew Phelps <>"


Cc: Friends

Subject: [S-ACC] institutional shift concern

Date: Saturday, August 26, 2017 3:58 PM



Our workshop "Paths to Safety" at Boston Alternatives was about "institutional shift," which means changing the work process of the society. I spoke - by way of example - to the work of the "client/survivors" in replacing the on-campus Child Development Center at San Jose City College. We overcame a "mental health" type explanation that the "health and safety" of the children was impractical to manage. New funding of appropriate amount was made available, by action of the Board of Trustees, in June, 2017.

Similarly Jancis spoke to the "behavioral issues" relating to patterns where "safety" fails. I believe she can make available her ideation there. The point is that conventional "mental health" manages behavior on the grounds of possible "unsafety." The client/survivors engaged in the behavior are not generally recognized as operating in relation to the validity of their "life projects," which determine that "path" activity, with implications of "institutional shift."

Similarly, Delphine, Pam, and Yvonne were able to speak to how their "life projects" promote "institutional shift" despite the unsafety imposed by the "behavioral health" system. They are each prominent organizers in their different metropolitan areas, so they may report on the "stress of success." We see where "treatment" gets confused with "creativity" and our "culture change" outcomes are impeded, in many ways. We have much to learn from their bravery and their lived experience of advocacy!

In the context of Alternatives 2017, where the national engagement was pushed into transitional mode, we have provided lived experience and also critical insight into how to proceed. Social Accountability was set up to take our movement in that kind of direction, and we have found many obstacles and much confusion. We need to speak more to such matters, now that we have been provided an "opening" of sorts. We are not talking only of "hero(ine)s" who push, rather collective engagement with the institutional problematic of a culture which denies our oppression, which gives "client culture" no frame that may be understood to exist.





taken from website of S-ACC list:

link  here.