Wikipedia page on Liberation Psychology – help needed

You might not be aware that there is a Wikipedia page about Liberation Psychology.  I did the first draft of this in 2005 and there have been various edits by others since.  I’ve added some material recently and made some corrections and also a bit of re-focussing and contextualising.  It would be great if others knowledgeable about the field would help with this so we have an entry that does accurately represent Liberation Psychology at a site that many people will look to first.

And those of you whose first language is not English might like to add entries about Liberation Psychology in the relevant Wikipedia site.




New events on the events page

Costa Rica, Washington DC, Barcelona, South Africa, Morelia (México)., Bogotá …….

go to events page



The Costa Rica meeting

See the events page for detail about this Liberation Psychology event 22-23 March, 2012.

Ignacio Dobles makes the following observation, affirming the openness of Liberation Psychology – it isn’t just something for psychologists:

“It is important to be clear that this event isn’t exclusively for people from the [Costa Rica Liberation Psychology] collective, psychology professionals or academics in general, but that it is open to any person or group that is interested in analysing and questioning the everyday things that we go through, and likewise the aim of sharing and articulating alternatives that can change things.”

“Es importante tener claro que esta actividad no es exclusivamente para personas del colectivo, profesionales en psicología o académicos en general, sino que está abierta a toda persona o grupo que se sienta interés en analizar y cuestionar las cotidianidades por las que transitamos, así como el deseo de articular e intercambiar alternativas que permitan transformar la realidad.”


Psychologists’ Collusion in Ongoing Illegal Detentions

“Today, there are clear indications that psychologists continue to be involved in the detention and interrogation of detainees at Parwan/Bagram. Such activities stand in direct contravention of APA policy based on a 2008 petition resolution. Approved through a member-led referendum, this resolution prohibits psychologists from working in settings where “persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the US Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights” (or if they are providing treatment for military personnel).”

Read the full article on Counterpunch. by TRUDY BOND, ROY EIDELSON, BRAD OLSON AND STEPHEN SOLDZ  10/01/2012


Liber-acción has closed

Some bad news from Latin America – the website Liber-accion established by a group of comrades in Costa Rica has closed.  The site was a good place to find Spanish language resources on Liberation Psychology.   Here is an extract from the statement by ignacio Dobles explaining the decision – with a (rough, quick) translation below.

Queriamos informarles que la revista liber-accion, que sostuvimos con gran esfuerzo un pequeño grupo durante cuatro años, ha dejado de existir como tal. Esto se debe a problemas logisticos y de soporte economico que, simplemente, no estamos en condiciones de afrontar. Mantener este esfuerzo ha requerido gran dedicacion, y muchos saben como hemos tratado de incorporar a mas personas y regiones a su elaboracion, sin embargo, muy desgraciadamente, parece que cuesta mucho articular esfuerzos que trasciendan fronteras.

We would like to tell you that the journal liber-accion, that we, as a small group, have sustained with great effort over four years has ceased to exist as such.  This is a result of logistical and financial problems that we are not in a position to deal with.  To maintain this effort has required great dedication and many of you know that we have tried to involve more people and regions in its development.  However, unfortunately, it seems that it takes a lot to cross frontiers.

We owe Ignacio and the Costa Rican collective a great debt for the work they have done.  They are working to ensure that the most important material remains available.  For those of you who can read Spanish the email list is still operating, and there is a presence on facebook see .  The Costa Rican collective is at .

The only slightly critical reflection that (at some risk of seeming churlish) I would make personally is that while the site carried a lot of really useful stuff, there was rather too much reproduction of things from other progressive sources – this meant that a lot of the specific liberation psychology stuff could get a bit lost.  But maybe others haver a different take on this.

Anyway, the experience of liber-accion should remind us that it is only through collective effort and commitment that we we be able to sustain and develop  this initiative of





New Issue of Psychosocial Intervention / Intervención Psicosocial: article on Liberation Psychology and migration

This is a special issue on migration with some interesting articles.

See this article which provides another useful introduction to LP and then applies it to the question of migration.

The authors are from the Univ of Seville (Sevilla) – part of a group that has done some interesting work from this perspective, including work with migrant led social movement organisations.

Virginia Paloma and Vicente Manzano-Arrondo
The Role of Organizations in Liberation Psychology: Applications to the Study of Migrations [El Papel de las Organizaciones en la Psicología de la Liberación: Aplicaciones al Estudio de las Migraciones]
Psychosocial Intervention 20(3), 309-318


From: Ian Parker Appeal from Mindanao, Phillipines

From: Ian Parker

Appeal from Mindanao

The floods here in Mindanao, the main southern island of the Philippines, have been disastrous, the suffering immense, and there is no prospect that relief will be given soon by the authorities. A small group of us travelled last Saturday 17 December in the minivan of one of the universities (where we had been teaching) here through Bukidnon province and then through Cagayan de Oro on the north coast. This is one of the worst hit areas, together with Iligan. Typhoon Washi had struck the area in the early hours of the morning, and in Malaybalay inland the water supplies and electricity had already been affected before we left. During the hours of darkness, when mobile and other communication networks were down, people were unable to see the devastation, but could feel the effects. Over 10,000 houses were damaged by the typhoon and flash floods and hundreds of thousands of people in thirteen of the Mindanao provinces are struggling, with more than 40,000 in evacuation centres. We could begin to see as we journeyed along the coast into Surigao del Norte province burst riverbanks and waterlogged fields, but the full scale of the problem only started to become clear through Sunday and Monday. To date over 950 people are reckoned dead and nearly 50 missing according to the national disaster agency, with most of the casualties in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

The difficulties facing relief agencies and community organisations – this is the context in which the reconstruction work is taking place – have to be taken into account as those outside Mindanao think about what support they can give. First reports in the newspapers in the Philippines under-played the disaster, with small front-page stories eclipsed by the long-running corruption scandals in and around Manila (on the north island of Luzon), and events in Mindanao are treated with suspicion and some fear in other parts of the Philippines, fueled by stories in the national press. This is despite the valiant efforts of journalists here (who have experienced among their colleagues among the greatest number of targeted assassinations in the world). Now, here in Mindanao itself, the images on television of death and destruction are horrific.

There is a very complex political situation here. The Lumad indigenous peoples are sometimes patronised by the authorities (encouraged to sing and dance for their own versions of Christmas celebrations, which start in the Philippines in September) but are mostly badly treated, robbed of their land and then told to respect the rights of the new landowners (this is the current refrain of current President Aquino). These people in Mindanao are caught in land disputes with the Muslim population of the south of the island, which is site of active armed groups, including fundamentalists who, in turn, hate those they call ‘the reds’.

There is widespread Islamophobia outside Mindanao, which the government provokes even while calling for a ‘Christmas ceasefire’ and negotiating with the Islamic groups in recently begun talks in Kuala Lumpur in neighboring Malaysia. But at the same time the fundamentalists here do actually pose a deadly threat to progressive forces. There is also an insurgent maoist group, the New People’s Army’ (NPA) operating as the armed wing of the communist party, active in Mindanao. In the few days before the typhoon arrived there were reports of a new wave of attacks by them in Surigao del Sur province on police stations to seize guns, and of the burning of vehicles belonging to foreign companies (of which Del Monte and Dole are prominent players, running the fruit plantations). The NPA refuse the cynical Christmas ceasefire calls, pointing to continuing harassment of local communities (as well as disappearances of activists, which is something that happens here in the Philippines not only in Mindanao), and they attack members of other left groups, including murdering those deemed enemies in ambushes and during incursions into areas held by their rivals.

Here in Mindanao, in the midst of this, there has emerged (from within the crisis of the old communist movement) a new democratic movement that has taken huge steps to engage with different forms of politics, and to work with the Lumad and with Muslim communities who are beginning to break from fundamentalism in the course of struggles for independence and land rights. The Revolutionary Workers Party – Mindanao (RWP-M) has been organising in the interior and in cities like Cagayan de Oro, and is very active now in Iligan. This group has been working around questions of food security – the right of local communities to determine what is grown and how it is distributed for their own good rather than for multinational companies – and declares itself now to be ‘ecosocialist’. It is active around lesbian and gay rights (and LGBT activists are there with these comrades in political debates and also in the practical physical protection of areas of Mindanao (from the NPA and Islamic fundamentalist groups). This pits the RWP-M also against the Catholic Church authorities trying to block the Reproductive Health bill currently proceeding at snail’s pace through parliament. This ecosocialist group informed by and working alongside feminist organisations now faces a very difficult task in balancing the defence of its own communities while engaging with the slow ‘peace process’ (something which brings the wrath of rivals down upon it day by day).

There is a risk now, as with every disaster relief operation, that well-meant expressions of support for the victims of the typhoon from outside the Philippines will be channeled into government controlled operations, and that this will sideline those who are really suffering and who are now mobilising themselves with, for example, the help of the RWP-M. The organisation ‘Europe solidaire sans frontières’ (Europe in Solidarity Without Borders) is acting in solidarity with the progressive forces in Mindanao now, and you can help by sending payment to the ESSF. Please specify that the payment is for the Philippines floods, and send the money through to: ESSF, 2 rue Richard-Lenoir, 93100 Montreuil, France. The bank account details are: Crédit Lyonnais, Agence de la Croix-de-Chavaux (00525), 10 boulevard Chanzy, 93100 Montreuil, France. The ESSF account number is 445757C, and the international bank account details are: IBAN: FR85 3000 2005 2500 0044 5757 C12; BIC/SWIFT: CRLYFRPP; Account holder: ESSF.

Ian Parker, Surigao del Norte, Mindanao, 21 December 2011



El Salvador

I was interviewed on Friday by Douglas Arevalo of the University of Central America –  Ignacio Martín-Baró’s base in San Salvador, for a programme on the University radio.  My Spanish is a bit rusty and the phone line was not great, but it gave me the opportunity to reflect, among other things, on the limited knowledge of liberation psychology generally and Martín Barós’s contribution in particular in Europe.  Even in Spain where there is no language barrier and there have been published three books in the last decade (the collections of IMB’s articles compiled by Amalio Blanco and by Amalio and Luis de la Corte, and Luis’s book Memoria de un Compromiso [compromiso = commitment]) my perception is that there is relatively little active interest and use of the approaches.  One reason is perhaps that IMB’s major works have been published by the UCA press which is a small publisher in a small country.

I also spoke a bit on the fate of critical social psychology in the UK and other core countries – a point made variously by Maritza Montero, Luis de la Corte, myself and others – after the ‘crisis of social psychology’ in the 1970s the critics either went back to relatively traditional approaches (usually with a cognitive emphasis), or moved towards a linguistic emphasis (discourse analysis, conversation analysis) etc., elements of which almost came to define critical social psychology.  Others left the field altogether – either leaving psychology, or going into applied fields, or getting embroiled in psychoanalytic theory and practice.    And some became community psychologists.

What attracts me to Liberation Psychology is that it is concerned with lived social reality as the central problematic – the point is to change it – and concerns about its representation (a cognitivist delusion anyway?) are at best secondary.

Incidentally, the invitation to be interviewed was a direct result of this initiative.

There are people that fight for a day
And they are good.
There are others that fight for a year
And they are better
There are those that fight for many years
And they are very good
But there are those that fight all their lives:
They are indispensable.

Bertolt Brecht




Barcelona 2012

There is interest in a Liberation Psychology network event at the International Congress of Community Psychology in Barcelona June 2012.

An open group has been set up to discuss this on this site – see




This has just been published at

On a quick look the following look of interest for this project.

Marxian Currents in Latin and North American Community Psychology (RAVI GOKANI), and

Wresting Change as a Liberating Concept: Lessons Learned from Teen Moms in a Liberation Psychology Workshop (COLLEEN MACQUARRIE, EMILY RUTLEDGE & LORRAINE BEGLEY)