Participatory democracy lay at the heart of the student movements that erupted around the world in the 1960s. ‘Let the Lunatics Run their Own Asylum’ seeks to understand this defining aspect of student movements through an exploration of a democratic ‘break-out’ that occurred at the University of Sydney in the early 1970s. The nature of participatory democracy will be examined, both as the movement’s mode of organisation, as well as being the principal demand that the movement placed on the university to open up its hierarchical system of governance. It focuses on the ‘feminist strike’, which occurred in 1973, and the subsequent division of the Philosophy Department into the Department of Traditional and Modern Philosophy, and the Department of General Philosophy. It concludes with an examination of the latter, which operated according to a democratic constitution until 1979. This thesis explores the rise and fall of this democratic moment; its causes, significance and its ultimate collapse.