Perspectives on Free APA
Decisions regarding government policy on abortion, homosexuality, the environment, affirmative action, and a host of other social issues are irrelevant to the profession of psychology. They are most certainly important to individual psychologists but there are disagreements among psychologists concerning if and how these issues should be approached and resolved. APA many believe, should not present the opinions of some psychologists as representing the views of the membership of APA or American psychology. When it does so it grossly misrepresents the membership because many psychologists disagree with the stance taken by APA or believe that APA should not take such positions. Furthermore, the membership is never consulted about the issues by APA. Nor do those people who are supposed to represent us at APA consult us about these issues. The fact is that they don't represent anyone but themselves. APA should take public positions only on clearly professional issues which impinge on the corporate body i.e., psychology as a science and profession. Advocacy should be left to groups organized for and identified as promoting a particular point of view. The reason that the people who are currently responsible for making decisions are able to support the social issues which they do is that there is no organized constituency which openly opposes them.
The current situation is discouraging because of the feeling that the advocates in APA are out of control and nothing can be done to slow them down. Letters have appeared in the Monitor in which members spoke of leaving APA. Please consider an alternative.
Some time ago a proposal was made to set up an organization to oppose APA advocacy of social issues. One of the problems which we have is that the only organized political groups in APA are the advocacy groups. Anyone running for APA office must appeal to them because they are the only voters who can be counted on to vote as a block. Opponents of advocacy can't count on the vote of any group. Therefore, they (we) are unrepresented. Recognizing this, an organization, Psychologists for a Free APA, has been formed to provide such representation. at least outside official APA, with the goal of influencing official APA. The sole purpose of the group is to oppose APA advocacy of any nonprofessional issues, to support candidates for APA office who would support such a position, and to change APA bylaws to prevent such advocacy.
The organization is not for or against any social issue but is against APA taking an advocacy position on such issues. As individual psychologists what we are for or against would be determined by our own consciences.
PSYCHOLOGISTS FOR A FREE APA