If patients become partisans of illness, then there is provided not only the first and most reliable remedy against "medicine" but also against the capitalisation of illness, against illness itself to the full extent of its capitalisation by surplus(value) and (military)medicine, by more and more medicine and value defence [Kapitalisierung nach Mehr(Wert) und (Wehr)Medizin, nach Mehrmedizin und Wertwehr].

Annotations to the Ground-Plan of the History of Medicine

During one’s medical studies, the history of this subject only appears casually. As a filler in small subjects, provided that it is pursued as a hobby by the one or the other master of the lecture. In the eye clinic, it were many slides from churches. Miracle healings, "the blind see", so, it had nothing to do with the medical profession, with medicine in the strict sense. In the ear, nose and throat clinic, the main concern was about how that subject had gained its independence, and how it is asserting and defending it. Very impressive in this regard the recourse to the traditionally handed down brawls between colleagues for exclusive treatment at the sickbed, as well as to the portrayal of the struggle for the fee also in the doctor-patient-relationship, enriched with anecdotes from the life experience of the lecturer, i.e. concerning his trouble with unwilling-to-pay-patients. And, to the address of the auditorium: "You future doctors should learn from this, for what is the doctor’s benefit, if the patient is cured but he himself is ruined?!"

As examination subject, "history of medicine" is not scheduled, so it is just a hobby even on the part of the student. If the student is given the opportunity to attend lectures and seminars relevant to the subject, then in order to grasp profoundly the meaning of sayings such as the following: If the doctor is also a philosopher, he becomes equal to a God (iatros even philosophos isotheos, more or less). As to the head of this seminar, he himself a professor of medicine holding also a doctorate in philosophy, not the slightest sign of his equality to God could be noted anyway. He had not even accomplished the minimum of what, according to Nietzsche, is the paramount command for any halfway decent God, which is to die laughing about himself or whatsoever, let alone to perish of his compassion for man.

Only the wonder, in which, as is generally known, all philosophy begins, seems to have shattered him, as due to his subject. Since the Socialist Patients’ Collective (SPK), for him the foundations of his doctrinal edifice had been falling apart (Schipperges, possibly published in Kisker, "Medicine in Criticism").

If with regard to its history medicine, firstly, is not up to much, secondly not impressive at all, and thirdly nothing else, then this is probably due to the fact that it is neither medicine nor history, but rather only a variation, a repetition of always the same under changing conditions and demands; it is, in brief, a would-be medicine, at best.
It is true that a former leftist, today a professor in medical sociology with the name Deppe, in the context of illness has just recently dug up once again the blessed Bernadino Ramazzini (17th century) and Johann Peter Frank (18th century), so to say as crown witnesses against the working and living conditions. For the purpose of raising funds for his discipline.

What pretends to be medicine, and that under conditions far more destructive than all the damaging that anything alive has ever been confronted with, can, as medicine, only be essentially part of the respective illness, it pretends to be treating.
The history of medicine must be comprehended, if as history at all, only as history of alienation. And only with respect to that even more "progress" will be certain. Wherever, throughout thousands of years, it had discovered "new ground", medicine was way ahead of the exponents of social repression and political reaction.

Centuries before Griesinger and Kraepelin, who are regarded as the founders of a stand-alone psychiatry, medicine had reified human beings to nutcases (in German called: "Spinner", so-called mentally ill), namely such people who could apparently be turned into a profitable thing only under conditions of forced labour at the spinning wheel and weaving loom, profitable to petty princes (the upper big wigs of the petty states) and the likes, who yet still couldn’t afford the luxury of houses of correction and bedlams (Paul Lüth, Critical Medicine, 1972). Hence the well-known formula: "He’s a nut job" (in German: "Der spinnt").

Also the transition from the gallows, as a simple machine, to the infinitely complicated "machine man" ("L’homme machine", La Mettrie), was a pioneering work of medicine, and an eminently heroic one as well, done by the doctors entirely on their own hook, because who was caught – stealing the hanged for research – could have become subject to comparatively simple leverage forces.
In a twofold respect, therefore, medicine had to overcome the barrier set by death, which, out of their own absolute power, the dominant conditions had engaged in many cases, wherever unwieldy life resisted its transformation into a machine part.

Where the conditions still intend the spinning nutcase as motor of the spinning wheel, medicine has long since taken hold of the essence, that is the nutcase (German: "Spinner") bearing the stigma of a socially dead and to medicine the physically dead is not yet dead enough – away from the gallows, and if not away with the gallows (hic gaudet mors succurrere vitae!), then, in anticipating to a certain extent "preventive medicine", all the way to the perfect self-hangman, to the machine man, a wholesale and in detail exchangeable, transplantable organ (organon, organism, in Greek: tool, means).
No wonder that in his quest for medicine as the sole scientific means "to improve mankind", Descartes, with unwavering philosophical acumen, however hard he had tried though, could not get beyond the conclusion that in this regard he was groping entirely in the dark ("Discours de la méthode").
His student, La Mettrie, had made up for this spark of clear-sightedness, by Frankenstein-izing it as the doctor of the homme machine.

In the medical doctors’ state of remote Alexandria – medicine as state religion, the staff of Aesculapius in the state emblem and on coins –, however, the hangman had to give precedence to the medical doctor, for the purpose of vivisection.

This "history of medicine", too, is not yet completed, since hermeneutically, as a historically effective atavism, it is quasi extending up to the present day.
So, for instance, when medical doctors, as members of human rights commissions and the World Medical Association, take action to skillfully prevent incidents and traces, as well as generally plan maximum efficiency and instigate torture practices, in any case, in order to supervise these torture practices rather than executing them themselves (cf. Gaglio, "Medicine and Profit"); or, more rudimentarily, when, as in the case of one of the historically first revolutionaries (Babeuf 1793), they protect the guillotine against the attempt of intentional sabotage by remitting the revolutionary, who had intended to leave to this machine nothing else but his contempt, nothing else but his dead body after his almost succeeded suicide, restored and ready-to-be-executed in due time to the executioner for the purpose of his execution.

Or the "history" of the fight against illness in the context of the Nazi racist mania.
Under the pretext of hereditary disease, medicine, experiment against human beings raised to the power of four, in the first place cut right into damaged lives (vivisection, still). But the hereditary disease medicine still remains what it always has been, more precisely: once again it is many times ahead of the other exponents of social repression and political reaction: the number of all those whose lives, with the aid of asylums, are chronically being chopped up, split and belittled systematically in decades of detail work, so that only in the rarest of cases it would be possible to locate the traces of illness in all these chopped-off pieces – if one follows the medical assumption that it ever had been therein, an assumption used as pretext for the internment – this number meanwhile must be calculated in quantities raised to the fifth power per each accounting date. And all of them are "released" just as dead as the all in all "only" 30-60,000 per 5 years of blatant, acute hereditary-mania-medicine (numbers according to official announcements, quoted from "Spiegel", "Frankfurter Rundschau").

Somehow this medicine smells of war, in any case, of a civil war conducted from above. This smell becomes pungent in the sphere of military medicine. So, from the point of view of the US military psychiatrists, the Vietnam War was all-in-one the cause, the diagnostic tool and the therapeutic agent for everything that the psychiatrists over there usually were dealing with. When a "case of nervous exhaustion" or of any other label whatsoever was referred to them, they, as far as possible, abstained from applying anything of what they, due to their subject, knew off pat, no matter whether the symptomatology looked like a "Black Panther rebellion" or like a "psychosis", drug addiction or malingering. At the first opportunity and within earshot of the "case", they prescribed soon front line duty. Within hours or days this medicine war would have worked: not uncommonly, the concerned would have "spontaneously" become volunteers. Yet, in any case, practically all of them would have returned to the battlefront as fit as they had been recruited (examinations of the further "progress" was omitted – for whatever reason. Possibly out of consideration for the claim to sole representation of the My Lai mass murderers).

So, in this exemplary case, the war is the condition to refrain altogether from possibility, necessity and liberty, from "medicine" and "history" (as history of medicine).
It had already become evident in World War I, and repeatedly in World War II, that the shell-shocked soldiers, the so-called war-tremblers, were less the result of the war itself than of the fact that medicine, especially classic psychiatry, is super-ordinated and co-ordinated to the war. Long before the war-specific shocks caused by grenade explosions (shell-shocks), being buried alive etc., in the asylums electroshocks, later on cardiazol and insulin shocks, were daily routine. Almost as promptly as they lead to a recovery they also lead to a relapse. So, it practically became obvious for the (military) psychiatry, which had grown during the war break, to lay down its arms in front of the war shocks, to intern and hospitalise "war-trembling" away from the front and away from circulation; not least for the reason that "war-tremblers", wherever they were visible, did certainly not raise the combat morale, but, on the other hand, as cases banned to lifelong internment in asylums, they represented a not to be underestimated deterrent to ward off imitators in future wars.

And this had worked out by and large. At least qualitatively. Already in World War II, "war-trembling" sort of had gone out of fashion. The initiative had passed on to the internists. They assembled amongst others the so-called stomach battalions, that is special forces to be deployed in sections less close to the battlefront, a melting pot for anything that had been registered already in advance by military medicine selection techniques, and that across all medical subjects, from stuttering to flat feet, and of course for anything that the frontline hospitals had to get rid off as so-called psychosomatic symptoms, from gastric cripple to bunker-trauma.

In this manner, then, medicine conducted its unequal war against the military-strength-undermining enemy of the system, always from varying positions in different back areas – but always with ostensible civil rear area methods. Their alignment with the needs of the main frontline, especially of the respective next war, might inevitably lead everyone who by now has not come across the structural isomorphy of medicine and military to the conclusion, by the way very suspicious of schizophrenia, that, with regard to the "historical" leap from muscle trembling to the stomach battalion, this was a matter of unexplored-unexplorable, but in any case autochthonous illness-specific mutation of symptoms, or of a kind of para- or tele-futurological control at the "other" pole of illness, precisely medicine, thus just done on purpose and framed by an occult source or, in case of doubt and among those who are enlightened, a depth-psychological source.

And indeed it was precisely the US-medicine to be taken in by this initially so fatal mistake. Instead of proceeding from a strictly medical point of view – and that always means: to comprehend the war as content of the archē medicine, and even more: to unleash the destructive war chaos as a form-blasting archē in purest culture, to push on with it again in the shortest possible way to give leave to hand and brain in a monk-like humble, not to say therapeutic manner (therapeutes = monk), the military medical doctors found themselves obliged to lead their Freudian individual and social techniques, which had become so familiar in the New World by drill and fashion, of all things, into the environment of revolutionary liberation wars.

It is said that apart from a lot of work and a comparatively high output of analytic material this medicine had produced, at best, conformed war cripples. Understandable, this effort, because the military, disguised as drive for aggression and death drive, as chaos-instigating "impediment to civilization", as militarism conditional to all and everything, whose strength and ultimately insurmountable impact would be signalled in all its practical absurdity especially by the cultural commandment of the love of fellow man, this military essence is quite immanent to Freud and all the practices this name encompasses. Understandable also, because these techniques, for lack of others, suggest themselves quite casually for such prisoners who had learned to think, alias had become "victims of Communist brainwashing".

Nevertheless also this Korea medicine was none measured by the results of the one it had replaced without substitution in Vietnam, or, to put it positively, it was sheer self-abnegation. For the true enemy of this so-called medicine is not the illness. Because, then, it would be against Capitalism and Privatism in general. It was at all times just a pretext that it was. It is only and exclusively this: forcing the enemy, that is the patient, to surrender by any means.

Here, mechanisms of alienation and exploitation are mentioned only implicitly, mechanisms, that the exchange of equivalents and class antagonism have paved the way for. In any case, they contribute nothing specific to the comprehension of the illness medicine, nothing specific to the comprehension of the rules of an intimate enmity which goes far beyond all that is reflected by the close combat in the trench warfare; and where it leads to when Socialism confines itself to cure the health system – a question for dissidents. Continuation of illness by other means, thus war. As classic as Clausewitz, Vietnam psychiatry, therefore, must be regarded as being merely prototypical of medicine as such. It thus has caught up only with its pre"historic" origin, with its principle that appeared at no time as history, and has become archaic, arche-atric, medical in the proper sense. After all, it was based on this medicine as the basis of support for all acts of aggression (each section of the everywhere and constantly changing frontlines and the main first aid posts had to be within the reach of a maximum of 10 helicopter minutes – so the promise made to every GI) that an entire subcontinent was to be bombed back "into the Stone Age".

There are so to speak true Stone Age cultures lasting right up to the present, in which the ‘Bannfuehrer*, usually called shamans, hence a kind of priest doctor, in brief: therapists, basically and ultimately avert illness, or whatever is regarded as such, from the tribe only by putting a spell on an exponent of this numinous property, whereupon he dies within hours of the so-called Cannon reaction (acute stress response) (examples in Lévi-Strauss: "Structural Anthropology").

*Bannfuehrer = ban ruler, the holder of the power to banish people from a territory (deriving from Old English / Old German: bannan = to summon, command, forbid, curse ), cf. also the Nazi’s attempt to revive this in the hierarchical structure of their mass organisations by designating ranks with the attribute of ‘Bannfuehrer’ (Note of the translators).

You would look in vain for a fundamental (qualitative) difference to modern medicine that, as a rule, forces the patient only to surrender – and be it by means of a couch and years of analysis.

But it is also clear that the reference to the category Stone Age contributes little to a clarification of the historical origin of the essentiality of medicine and militarism. As to the phenomenological-structuralist deduction of this essentiality, see e.g. C. Polack, who has given a detailed description in his "La Medicine du Capital". See also reports in the quality press: "Co-carcinogens as igniters of cancer?" … "The similarity is striking: an artillery shell … non-dangerous, if no powder is added … igniter … in itself harmless … only if gun powder … lethal" (Frankfurter Rundschau, 19.8.1975). And the following day, headline: "Defence tactics of the living cell" … "if, thus, there were no ability to differentiate … (refers to "foreign" or "foreign effective structures", i.e. antigens, i.e. enemies), the organism would not be able to cope with its own immunological attacks".

After all, by this it is asserted and admitted, even if only in passing, that the enemy antigen is interchangeable with the enemy defence system (another word for patient, but also – according to the way they see themselves – for medicine and military!). However, it would be presumptuous to be willing to recognize in this a dialectics or even an indication of a historical turnaround of medicine (Aristotelian-Cartesian mix-manichaeism, in case of doubt).

To find the genealogical side of this essential unity one must probably look at the respective transitions and junctions between primitive communism and private property. Only in society structures with a developed division of brain and hand (division of labour) exist the preconditions for those primal forms of exchange where things are set in "self"motion, become private – that is to say – stolen property, by the fact that the life sticking to them is separated from them by the act of killing (Alfred Sohn-Rethel, "Intellectual and Manual Labor"). This archaic trade, systematised and thoroughly organised, is in the one case called war, and treatment in the other. The vehicle: military in the one case and medicine in the other. During late Hellenism still the word manus denotes both army (cf. maniple) and the healing, blessing and begetting hands of the medical doctor and priest (cf. manipulation). It is not until the stage of private property that illness is made possible, namely as a property, peculiarity, isolatable, a single body in differentiation to the general ban, but also as the property claim of the "Bannfuehrer". The healing power of the Gods presupposes their being sick (Asclepius, Chiron; cf. "Only the spear that struck it heals the wound" (Parsifal, mythical substitute equivalent).

The treatment, in analogy to the Stone Age example, becomes concrete in the killing of the patient, just as the primal trade in the killing of the enemy. Still there is no money far and wide and sacrificing by slaughter, burning, abandoning, donating of animals, infants and other victuals and precious objects as a substitute, too, comes only later. It is a kind of contact piece between the ban, as the one universal social synthetic, and money as the other one, that is precisely as dead, past and deadened labour that once was life. There is not even the military pay at this stage, respectively it still takes the form of "proper" killing. (Perhaps the famous saying: "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life" is an a-historical echo, for illness and medicine are to a large extent still categorized under sin (deriving from sund = separating, banning sea arm between an island and the continent).)

The ban, therefore, would be simply a pre-form of the law of value, of the principle of equivalence, of what manifests itself following the introduction of money as thinking and madness sustained by the value-form, complementary to the absurdity of the value that, apart from crippled "productivity", does not exist in any other way than as crippled thought (false consciousness), but possessing value only as money, the thing it furthermore also has been dislocated to – this value-form, pre-constituting all thinking and every invention, has in common with the ban its origin from private property. And the purpose of medicine today, as then, is to stabilize this correlation, it is, on its part, solidified madness in the form of the strategy of surrender and the fetishism of value. True medicine overcomes value schematisms and the classical art of war in the Patients’ guerrilla warfare.

Looking at the conditions in revolutionary contexts, starting with the People’s Republic of China, it should be noted that medicine and history as history of medicine have become a societal actuality of life only in this century. Where, over thousands of years, in all their variations they had been merely the expression of private property in its "self"motion, following the logic of excluded life – this first, that is to say historical, the proper "non datur" that does not even reflect the commodity logic of the equivalence principle as the "tertium non datur" –, there, meantime and among hundreds of millions of people, practically everyone is capable of keeping the ex-hereditary disease medicine in check; there the "mind’s coin of the realm" (Marx), the dialectics, has been socialized to such an extent that pain, dismemberment and disjunction to the societal individual, that "degrades" them to a "sign" (of his mastery over history) (Hegel), have no reality any more.

And here it is true medicine that is many times ahead of all conditions aiming at liberating and revolutionising. The vivisection on humans, to resort to just this example, is such an everyday medicine that up to now none of the newly arrived critics seems to have thought about denouncing it as such. And yet, surgery is performed while the patient is fully conscious, without anaesthesia, without hypnosis and suggestion, without chemical premedication. Even the use of acupuncture needles becomes more and more dispensable (cf. Alain Peyrefitte: "Quand la Chine s’eveillera …"). Full consciousness is nothing else than the societal man as affect, who is no longer pain, dismemberment and disjunction, affection, but action due to the entirely corresponding idea (Spinoza; Spinoza understands the affect as a psychosomatic unity (identity) that is overcome by another, stronger affect, that takes its place. The first one results from external causal chains and is a state of suffering. The latter from the recognition of that relation, which is activity and which proves itself by eliminating the affections and their causes. Cf. Mao with regard to "external" / "internal" causes. Finally, this is not a matter of causalities but of the dialectics of A = non A, whereby A stands for vivisection). Brain (of the patient) and hand (of the surgeon) are partaking of one another, no longer having alienation and boundary between them, but act as moments of their overcoming that anticipates the development of society as a whole.

Looking for the (lowest) common denominator of this medicine and the guerrilla warfare, from which it has emerged, one will find – "pinpricks". Even such ones into one’s own skin: the only type of war that leads from continuing defeats to victory, on the other hand, acupuncture that sur-vives itself in the affect that is action. What counts in this practice of "pinpricks" is to set in motion and to keep in motion the dialectics that is immanent to all and everything. Yet, the relationship between the numerator and the denominator is called fraction line. And that is rightly so. The theoretical roots of this medicine date back to the experiences of the Long March. It is practice of society as a whole since the Cultural Revolution. As to the fraction line, it was the medicine of the ruling class that had taken care of that long since, and therefore the masses had not any reason to mistake that medicine for medicine. The unity medicine, thus, was already there divided in two – in militarism and "medicine" –, so that the revolutionary practice, joining these two moments and overleaping them, had only to take up and continue as Cultural Revolution what the communist conditions had rudimentarily (as a patchwork of roots) developed and preserved.

In the system of High Capitalism and Imperialism there exists no safe haven of societal life in which the whole complex of medical militarism is not ultimately the dominant element. Procreation and procreating conviction [Zeugung und Ueberzeugung] are organised thoroughly by strict property and hygiene criteria. Where once trade and treatment, as tribal wars, were unable to dispense with the killing, nowadays further details are regulated by "medicine".

At no time military and paramilitary operations have been camouflaged better. At no time, yet, more directly and sustainably vulnerable. The response of this "medicine" to the weapon illness was battle tanks (the medical association with regard to the SPK, 1972), its response to illness in the form of hunger strike were and still are ban-like siege, mock fights (force-feeding not meeting the caloric requirements), cutting off the water and starving out (1974/75).

Any action of this kind has to be considered as the prehistory of true medicine. Because, on the one hand it brings forth the essence of "medicine", its dominant military moment, and, on the other hand, in these guerrilla warfare activities "medicine", along with its dominant military essence, gets broken. Instead of the patient, its secret image of the enemy, it is medicine itself that is forced to compromises and to capitulations. If patients become partisans of illness, then there is provided not only the first and most reliable remedy against "medicine" but also against illness itself to the full extent of its capitalisation by surplus(value) and (military)medicine, by more and more medicine and value defence [Kapitalisierung nach Mehr(Wert) und (Wehr)Medizin, nach Mehrmedizin und Wertwehr].

Here, there no longer exists an autochthonous folk medicine whose rudiments one could still turn to. But there is the anticipation of dialectics as the value-negative root of the affect that is action, taking in, as guerrilla warfare, the Being of the being there, into the continuity of the Becoming of a history of medicine that corresponds to its concept, precisely the same concept, that is all the worse for the so-called history of medicine as it is falling into a political world of things (reality), in which a modern iatrocracy increasingly finds itself forced to seek its salvation in appeals for the development of "health consciousness" on a mass-scale.


1975, 714, AZB


From: SPK-Documentation Part 3, 1st edition 1977



MFE Greece, MFE craencStw

Final editing:


Patients’ Front / Socialist Patients’ Collective, PF/SPK(H), 04.03.2015