Preface concerning translation
There is no need to excuse or criticize bad English. Not unlike music illness is an international matter of fact. Music is derived from language, but language from illness. In connection with illness words can only be a hint, German words for a German reader, English words for the English reader. But it should nevertheless be maintained in the readers memory quite clearly that illness in all parts of the world is rejected by an in this manner programed common feeling, for first of all illness and all which is connected with it doesn't sound in any way better for German ears than for English ones. To practise illness in a revolutionary way is among all interpretations the only sufficient one.
Nevertheless this book has been translated yet in French, in Italian, in Greek and other languages as we know. And we often have been asked why not in English. As we know, there existed and exists a translation in English. But it never appeared. The causes of this fact consist in the political situation during the years of our being in prison. They are taken down in a letter to the editors of a new Sartre-edition which will appear in 1991.
Unlike all other translations of this book into foreign languages, this translation into English is the first one, which is given by authentic protagonists and activists and by the founder of the SPK. Maybe and we hope so, this fact is of more importance for the reader than the English words we use, and even the German ones, (the latter) which we add in brackets.
Last not least it should be mentioned that the SPK never ceased to exist. The Patientenfront (Patients' Front) of nowadays – confrontation to all medical power (iatro-capitalism), confrontation which has nothing to do with anti-psychiatry, confrontation developed from the SPK in 1970 – has been proclaimed out of the German prison Stammheim in 1973 but namely by the SPK and by nobody else and represents the real beginning of SPK in 1968 in spite and against student rebellion, the latter having always struggled against the patients and their contents, favouring only a better medical treatment which aims as we know at better prisons for illness, better torture and tombs, not only for patients but for everybody, since everyone as a body is a lonely body, either with illness to be turned into a weapon of collective liberation or of the whole break-down together with the iatrocapitalist system in a chronic way from east to west as we can observe it since July 1989 (Berlin wall and so on). Beware the Ides of March which have, no question, not yet gone. West of Rome there exists another Philippi. Wait and see. But turn illness into a weapon. Now.
18 March 1990, Neunstein
There existed in Germany from the early seventies and until now only the one SOZIALISTISCHES PATIENTENKOLLEKTIV (Socialist Patients' Collective) which did, experienced and worked out only this one kind of events we mention on the following pages.
US-American newspaper-reports about madness freedom bands, music bands, and murderer bands in Post-Hitler's Germany don't appear on the following pages. Reports like those, about which some American friends told us recently what they could remember, of course never had been up to date. If there should arise any disappointment in the one or in the other reader who expected details, favouring SPK up to the range of a Western story, it can't be our task to beg his pardon.
3 August 1991
Soon after its first appearance TURN ILLNESS INTO A WEAPON became accounted more and more as the most important work of the SPK. Not without good reason. Nevertheless we believe that we are dutybound to the readers to advise of two circumstances which possibly could put in perspective the reason for this preference.
While we were on remand in prison and already prejudged [vorverurteilt], we purposefully and carefully had to select the final draft of our materials and of our means of expressions in order to achieve on the one hand a crack in the very thickskinned and nevertheless academically armoured level of understanding of our enemies; on the other hand it was important to hinder the still current investigations into the past history and into the personal data of all SPK-patients who were under persecution and not least the many others who suffered and now were suddenly more afraid of infection by SPK than of merely political persecution – . Many things, but not by any means all of them, therefore are not to be found in this book, but they are available in others of our volumes [e.g. 'Ueber das Anfangen'; 'Krankheit – die Ganzheit mit Zukunft'].
24 August 1993
To be up to date nowadays means quite other things. The biggest industry is no longer that which produces weapons, computers, cars or interspace crafts. The biggest industry of nowadays is that which fakes to produce health, that's to say a thing which never has existed and which never will really exist, except as a product of illusion nourishing Nazism in all its past and coming variations [HEILwesen]. Capitalism takes its biggest gains from this top industry and the day is not far, on which half of the population in the Western world everyday will be either employed in the hospitals or will be exploited there as doctor-patients, the other half. Rotating system. For fun? Only for its respective planetary governors (for HEAVEN's sake!) or star governors.
The reader of the following pages therefore is in no way asked to take the expression class-antagonism for nothing but for a marxist fossil. Forsooth, Hegel, the famous predecessor of Marx looked forward to a disappearing of the class antagonism because of the colonization, done by the rising bourgeosie in the 19th century. But for a long time since then, the class antagonism has returned from there, not to the factories, governed by the trade unions and by the bosses, but to the hospitals governed by the medical doctors, submitting and exploiting the patients, producing the illusionary commodity health altogether in those factories, regardless of all trade-unional, regardless of all guerrilla activities.
More commonly: specified illness to create the human species or medical
specialists to destroy it for all times [die MenschenGATTUNG gegen deren
Zerstoerungs- und EndloesungsKLASSE], that's the
class antagonism of nowadays and the only real problem to be solved.
Once more: specified patients instead of case-working specialists [Patienten mit Gattungsbezug gegen Fachidioten jeder Sorte].
Those who pretend that the class antagonism has disappeared long ago and that now, all of a sudden, the human species has to be saved (what has to be saved? Against whom and against what has what to be saved?!), those like Gorbatschow and Dutschke as well as Francis Fukuyama, while mentioning the word 'Gattung' (species) occasionally, dealt neither with the problem nor with the solution, but old Hegel perhaps. Remember that for Hegel it is exclusively illness which represents species on the level of mankind and also, namely dialectically, the failure of the species. It is also quite clear from Hegel that the rising of a human species is joined to the how of communities while the failure of human species, suffered by the very person [der jeweiligen Einzelperson], is joined to the medical system which, horribile dictu, itself is for all times damned to fail, up from its origins, for, in the words of Hegel, spelt in my own manner: "Krankheit ... das INDIVIDUUM, sich gleichsam mit sich selbst beGATTEND", to add: ... unTEILbar unHEILbar.
Imperialism continues also to exist. And how! And where! Meanwhile you can forget the geographical map, associated to this expression in the books of Marx and Lenin, and all about (Fukuyamatic end-of-history) freedom and totalitarism, dictatorship and democracy.
Take the medical map and see your brain colonized and governed by names (and
by the correlated medical methods!) like Parkinson, Alzheimer, Bleuler and so
on, your stomach by Billroth, your neck with the thyroid gland by Basedow, your
muscles and your (perhaps so-called hysteroid) behaviour by Charcot and Freud
and associate what marxians have written about imperialism – yet far away from a
so-called free market, an imperialism all around the transplant banks now. An
imperialism dealing with the organs of e.g. children here and now just as far
away with countries and peoples, as noted in the marxian books.
During the times more remote there existed astrological maps in which the governors of your brain had names like moon (luna) or cancer, the governors of your muscles Mars and so on. Those old names which nevertheless represent still existing pathways and exchange banks for other demons and devils, possessing and obsessing, interested in imperialism, but enemies of every kind of revolution concerning both, namely cosmic and social matters, for sure [kosmisch-soziale Revolution].
In future there will exist more and more
groups formed by special forces of illness, developing real in-dividuation
(MFE). A special force of illness is mania which, if developed
collectively, works like a musical species [Musikgattungswesen, nicht
harmlos] killing all discipline, by transcendence. The same about a
collective which develops its self-chosen addictions exercised body by body [Koerpersuechte],
for addiction then is a deadly weapon against drugs, while
turning all bodies into a well tempered species [Waermekoerper,
wild], thus by immanence. Did you ever divide a melody, a lot of warmth,
an illness or some other species? Of course not, for such individualities are
either individuals or divisible, thus no individuals.
Perhaps Plato and Bergson forgot to mention it in the completeness, now necessary to enable the doing it, and Pluto, grouping the imponderable into weight, the weight into imponderability, therefore now is mad at them and resorting to earthquakes.
Make use of your own experiences about illnesses and put fantasy into action.
Those things are meant if there is the question about how to be up to date. Turn illness Into a weapon is the first glance at a future to be done free of [Endloesungs-] names, governors, health factories and so on. We call it Utopathie.
Well, that’s my introduction, meant as a help, done for nothing, caring about
nothing except for the real existing illness.
Other frontpatients who asked me, also asked me to let it just like it is now. Be it so, for joy.
For besides all modesty there is no doubt, that, just in common for the species in preparation: perhaps for you as well as me, all quite helpful and therefore good things are as difficult as rare (omnia praeclara tam dificilia quam rara sunt. Baruch Benedictus d’Espinosa, 1632 – 1677).
15 April 1992
denn Krankheit bleibt rot
gold‘ illness dawns best
*in full responsibility for the translation in doing, and all achievers like firstly Laura Freywertt and Emil Feelhaache are responsible only for the good parts of the translation.