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The Abolitionist Materials:
vol. 1, no. 1
vol. 8, no. 1
vol. 9, no. 1
Minutes of the first meeting
The Abolitionist Archive
The motive for establishing the American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization (AAAIMH) was the conviction that the practice of involuntary psychiatric interventions -- epitomized by civil commitment -- is a moral atrocity, similar to the practice of involuntary servitude. This makes the abolition of that practice a precondition of so-called psychiatric reform. To that end, in 1970, George Alexander, Erving Goffman, and I founded the AAAIMH.
The main activity of the AAIMH, in addition to publishing a newsletter, "The Abolitionist," was securing help for individuals in need of legal assistance. The maximum membership of the Association was approximately 1,000.
The organization began as a shoe-string operation and, in the absence of interest and funding, remained in that state. In 1980, with the tide of professional and public opinion running irresistibly the other way, the organization was disbanded.
-- Thomas Szasz, July 21, 1998