I just found this from the ICC’s website. It’s something that is rarely talked about even on the left. I am reposting it here because I think that what they are saying is extremely important especially in view of the recent news about ATOS and A4E.
The police are playing an increasingly prominent role in the NHS and social services. As health services are more and more stretched there is a greater emphasis on maintaining public order.
One example of this is the increasing tendency to treat the mentally ill as if they were criminals. You can get a ridiculously sanitised idea of this from the police training video in which the handcuffs go on as part of a caring and calming process leading to the patient, who’s been causing a disturbance, being delivered to a place of safety. The reality is not so pretty – half a dozen police raid the home of someone who is already frightened and unable to cope, cuff him and take him away in an ambulance. Sometimes dawn raids are carried out as though the mentally ill individual is some sort of terrorist.
If the way the police deal with the mentally ill has become more systematically brutal in recent years, there never was any golden age within capitalism. Not only does the stress of daily life within capitalism directly trigger mental illness, capitalist society is also incapable of providing adequate support that might enable the mentally ill to continue to lead normal lives. Instead, it relies on repression and compulsory treatment (organised in Britain under the various ‘Sections’ of the Mental Health Act) – necessary because the most severely mentally ill cannot cope in what passes for ‘normal’ society within capitalism. As conditions worsen, what care there was tends to be progressively replaced with an inflexible and terrorising mode of enforcement prioritising naked repression.