So, What’s the deal with you and Microcosm?

I have to write something about this and not just leave it muddled in the words of others on the internets. I have seen and heard public discussion of my past involving Microcosm Publishing and Joe Biel. A lot of things have been said; some true, some not. Some things, like the discussion of Microcosm in the We Make Zines forum, I heard about but refused to read or respond because sometimes I just don’t have the energy to deal with it. Some people have criticized me, think I’m crazy or think that the issues I have are only based on a vendetta or a personal attack. I have seen people I know, and some that I don’t (and didn’t ask for their help), advocating for me. This has made me feel simultaneously anxious about what strangers have to say but, also supported in the zine community that I love.

At the beginning of 2010 Cindy Crabb, from Doris Zine and various other projects including editor of the Support zine, came to me after hearing about a failed mediation attempt between Joe and I in 2008. She asked if she could help set up an accountability team to get the ball rolling again. A team was set up with people in Athens, Ohio with a few other people consulting and giving input. After several months that attempt more-or-less failed. This is the statement from the Athens Support Network about their experience:

Statement from the Athens Support Network:

In January, 2010, we convened to help with the accountability process of Joe Biel. We had been given the understanding, from Joe, that he was in therapy, had met Alex’s demands, and didn’t know how to proceed since she did not want contact. We confirmed that Joe had met most or all of Alex’s logistical/legal demands, but in order to confirm whether or not he had identified and changed his behavior, we set about some written exercises. Our process was straightforward and formal, working on identifying behavior and making amends. Joe cooperated with the “identifying behavior” exercises – vacillating between what we perceived as willingness and defensiveness. We did not make it past the “identifying behavior” section of the process, as it became clear that a much deeper conversation/process needed to happen and we were unable to commit to the time and energy it would take. We think that if another process was to take place, it would need to be face to face and would need to have people in his immediate community actively involved. We believe that these people would need to have professional training and experience, and have a large amount of time to commit to the process. We do not believe it is the community’s responsibility to sacrifice themselves for this. We do think that it is the responsibility of Joe’s friends and other people who benefit from acquaintance with Joe to recognize that the accusations concerning his abusive behavior are valid, that he still has problems with control and manipulation that he is working on, and to point out to him when he is behaving in these manners, even if it is not negatively affecting them. We also belive it is up to Joe to actively encourage and support this type of dialogue with his friends, co-workers and acquaintances.
Joe is in therapy, and we feel that he is making progress through therapy. He has identified a large number of behavior issues and has done work and continues to do work to change them. He believes that he honors Alex’s experience. We, however, feel that he still has extreme problems with control, manipulation, defensiveness, and portraying himself as the victim. We feel that he often minimizes and belittles Alex’s experience, and sometimes seeks to redefine it as communication problems rather than emotional abuse (see blog response post, Feb 5). In Brainscan, Alex’s counselor identified Joe as “using classic examples of distraction while arguing like some sort of sleight of hand trick with words”. We also noticed this in our working with him.
Joe has a number of counter-charges against Alex. While we were unable to explore all these charges, they are consistent with the actions of someone trying to regain power when their power has been taken away from them due to emotional abuse.
We do believe Joe is working to understand and change his behaviors. We do not believe this gives him a clean slate.

Also, in this blog post Cindy discusses her experiences with Microcosm and Joe stating: “I won’t be publishing my next book with Microcosm. I am going to give them until the end of the year to come up with a collective statement confronting/admitting Joe’s abuse and manipulation, and/or for Joe to legally remove himself from the collective. If by the end of the year, this isn’t done, I will be removing my zines from Microcosm.” -Cindy Crabb

For the most part I haven’t actively or publicly stated anything about this besides in my zine Brainscan #21. (it can be read online here) With the conclusion of this failed accountability process I feel I should say something. Here is my somewhat linear experience with Joe, Microcosm, and the accountability process:

Joe Biel is the founder and, to the best of my knowledge, still the head of Microcosm Publishing ( I don’t personally believe it could ever truly be a collective). Joe and I were romantically involved for 6 years, three of which we were married. I “worked” for/with Microcosm from 1999-2006. I left my personal relationship with Joe Biel when I realized I was not respected, supported, or valued in our relationship and, through several catalysts, came to understand that he was emotionally abusive in our personal relationship. I left Microcosm when I realized that they same abusive mechanisms in our personal relationship, were present in our working conditions. While were attempting to collectivize Microcosm Joe continued to make unilateral executive decisions without the input of other collective members as well as revoked my responsibilities and undermined my autonomy.

After I quit Microcosm Joe soon moved the company half way across the country and hired new people. I wrote about some of my experience in Brainscan zine #21: Irreconcilable Differences. In the zine I did not name names because I did not think it was relevant. I would rather challenge readers to examine the use of power in their own life than saddle them with my unfinished baggage. I tried to end the zine on a personal positive note with my new life because through counselors and mediators I had gotten no closure with the situation. I had a lot of counseling on my own, I learned to live again, I wanted to move on because there was seemingly no resolution to be had.

I have been reluctant to say more about it publicly because I haven’t wanted to go back there emotionally. Does that make sense? I don’t want to dissect some of the darkest and most lost years of my life in a public trial. I don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to wade into places that I don’t want to go back to. But, with the help of others like Ciara, Cindy, Doug and many more, I realize I need to say something.

The thing is that I really really really enjoy my life as it is now. I enjoy the fulfillment of running my own business. I enjoy the gratification in the hard work I have done on my house and my yard to make it a home which I am truly proud. I appreciate my kind, talented, and supportive friends. I am also extremely grateful for how close I have grown to my family through all of this. Most of all, I enjoy being in a relationship with with someone who loves me unconditionally, accepts me as I am, supports me and trusts that I know what is best for me. This is why I haven’t wanted to spend time hashing out the darkness. It is nice and safe here in my world now. I don’t like the idea of stepping into the public scrutiny of people who think I just have a personal vendetta or people that think emotional abuse isn’t really abuse, that it is just confined to romantic relationships, or that that it is just a “personal issue” and shouldn’t be challenged publicly.

I know that it is not just me who has identified abusive behaviors in Joe. I have had conversations, letters and e-mails from past Microcosm employees, and people who have had their work published and distributed by Microcosm. Also, Joe has been asked to leave or not attend zine events, radical gatherings, and places with safer space policies in Portland and beyond. I’m learning that I have support from people who are not ok with abusers like Joe who refuse or only half-heartedly work on their accountability.

All of the interactions I have had with Joe and Microcosm since I left (all the people that I knew who worked there quit voluntarily or otherwise) has been terrible:  unanswered e-mails about critical issues like the entirety of my book Stolen Sharpie Revolution being available on Google Books with out my permission, my artwork and my writing being used without my permission on the website and in zines and books they have published, poorly documented royalty checks, not getting books I was owed, stealing button business from me, not changing their logo (an image that both Joe and I both had tattooed on our bodies before it was the Microcosm logo), and on and on. After awhile I gave up. It wasn’t worth my time or energy to argue with a brick wall because that was what all my attempts had become. Microcosm, a company that I helped raise from just about the very beginning, never responded and just ignored me and my concerns completely. To be fair, after the first mediation attempt in 2008 some of these issues were resolved.

It got easier to put it out of my mind when I left the relationship, when I left the business, and when J physically moved himself and Microcosm half way across the country. But, now he is back in my town and I’m feeling pressure. I’m realizing that the situation is not behind me when I dread running into him in public. I fear he, or one of his friends, will confront me so I don’t go to events that I think he’ll be at. I wrote him a letter expressing my boundaries and what he needs to do to show accountability and I have worked with mediators to try to set boundaries yet he has left flyers and put stickers in places he has been asked not to go, I have seen him ride by my house a few times, he sent me a very triggering letter that left me weeping on the post office steps when I had specifically asked him not to contact me. He has demonstrated time and again that he is incapable of respecting my boundaries. Maybe I too thought it was a personal thing and that I should keep silent. Our culture teaches us that we don’t talk about such things publicly, they are our secret shames.

Personally I always knew that Microcosm was a top down operation starting with Joe. When I worked at Microcosm I saw how Joe shot down my ideas and then later took them up as his own. I saw how he struggled with power when confronted with collectivizing. I saw him make executive decisions without talking to any of the supposed collective members. I saw they way people treated him, the things they gave him from artwork to computers, the respect they gave him in exchange for a little of his power. I later heard stories of people saying they did what he asked because they were afraid to upset him or that they wanted something from him so they felt they had to do what he said. I heard from people who had their artwork stolen, who were never paid for their zines, people unhappy with their situation after being published with Microcosm, people who had their paychecks withheld because Joe thought they owed him money, people who never said Microcosm could copy their zines yet I knew we had made hundreds of copies that I personally had stuffed in envelopes and put in the mail. I have heard from people who have asked to have their zines taken out of the Microcosm catalog because they did not want to support an abuser and they were argued with and told it was just a personal thing. There are many other stories that I wish I could say, but they aren’t mine to tell. After hearing all the stories and the realizations of what I had been a part of I started to feel sick to my stomach and feel guilty that I was part of something that appeared so lofty with a but was unthoughtful, disrespectful, and damaging to the community.

In 2008 I was contacted by individuals in Portland offering to help in mediation between Joe so that I could feel safer in my city. That mediation failed because Joe was unable to even work with the mediators. This year Cindy Crabb, from Doris zine and various other projects, and a few other brave souls began a new mediation and accountability process with him. She has been a huge support with this and has done a great job at pulling together people and resources for a task that has already failed before and most likely will again.  I have heard that Joe has been in therapy and that his therapist has concluded that he is not abusive, which just felt really dismissive of what I experienced for years. I’m not sure how this could be done without even trying to consult with me, which is what is supposed to be done in abuse therapy. Also, I don’t put much weight in Joe changing after having see his manipulative behaviors first hand with two different counselors.

In the end, I find it hypocritical that a company masquerades as a happy collective but is really being run by a supposed anarchist and feminist who is dismissive when called out as emotionally abusive. It seems ridiculous that a person who runs in circles of feminists, anarchists, and other radicals would balk at requests for accountability, ignore requested boundaries, and blatantly disregard their hurtful behaviors and then chock it all up to a “personal vendetta”.  It makes me sad that so many people ignore the issues when they are brought to light and that the community refuses to challenge these behaviors.

Where it gets tricky for me is knowing that several people make their livelihood or have their art distributed in ways they never could because of the machine that is Microcosm; from the zinester that is happy to get that $100 check to pay their rent, people who are excited to have their work published or distriburted, the printers of Microcosm t-shirts and stickers, to the people that make a living working at Microcosm. I even understand the complexity of someone living in a small town whose eyes were opened up to ideas and politics through the Microcosm catalog. But at what cost? When problematic behaviors go unchallenged and are swept under the rug because it is easier or because there are benefits to ignoring it, the larger patriarchal system of power and abuse is just being perpetuated.

At first it merely hurt my feelings a little when friends would continue to have their zines carried or published by Microcosm. I didn’t feel I had the support or right to ask them otherwise. Bur now, after failed attempts at mediation, accountability and repeated belittlement I have changed my mind. I believe in honesty and justice and giving people information to make up their own minds and they should act in accordance to their values.

So, the question is do I think people should support Joe Biel and Microcosm? If you think survivors of abuse should be believed, supported and respected and you believe abusers should be held accountable to their community and those they have hurt then I think you know my answer.


47 responses to “So, What’s the deal with you and Microcosm?

  1. Alex I really had no idea that all this was going on, and I suppose that there was no reason for me to. I have worked with students who are leaving abuse situations and I have seen how hard it is for them to find the voice they need to claim their experiences. Thank you for your honesty and your candor. Not that it really matters at the end of the day but you can be assured that I will not be sending business their way again. Keep up the excellent work for the zine community, and thank you for reminding us that we must remain vigilant and honest.

    • JoshuaD,
      Thanks for leaving your comment here. it means a lot to me, every single letter, e-mail, or post of support touches my heart and makes it a little be easier to stand strong.

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  4. Pingback: accountability in the DIY scene | Feminist Memory

  5. dear alex, thank you so much for your words and your courage. I have a personal response post at my blog, Feminist Memory ( your words prompted me to think about accountability in the diy scene etc. Keep living and fighting! red xo

    • rad, thanks so much for your support and for taking a serious look at power in the DIY scene. I feel that it is an important step to creating works where everyone feels valued. On speaking with some about boycotting Microcosm, we thought that simply boycotting isn’t always enough and, if someone has the energy, they could drop a short note when they would have ordered explaining why. Accountability takes energy and lots of supports and I’m finding that I have that in ways I never knew.

  6. Pingback: on distros, accountability and abuse in radical communities « bits of string press

  7. Pingback: Abuse Isn’t Vegan « Vegans of Color

  8. Alex, we don’t know each other but as a fellow abuse survivor and burgeoning zinester (and longtime zine lover), what you’re doing is incredibly brave. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be in the same community, the same city. Peace to you.

  9. Hi Alex
    We don’t know each other, and we don’t even live in the same country, but I believe you, and out of respect for you, I will not be supporting Microcosm.
    In solidarity,

  10. Pingback: Power Dynamics, Abuse, and Violence, Inside Relationships and Inside our Movements | The Real G8/G20

  11. Hey I don’t think we’ve met. I really want to thank you as well for your courage. It also strikes me that you are being so reasonable about this whole thing. It really sucks how some folks on We Make Zines and elsewhere are being so dismissive and horrible about this. I guess it just makes the folks who are being supportive even more valuable.

    I think that the only way that we’re going to be able to change the culture of abuse that exists in our society is by confronting it directly and unequivocally. Only by directly engaging with this and other manifestations of abusive behavior are we going to learn how to deal with it effectively. So I’m really sorry that you had to experience Joe’s abuse followed by a lack of consistent, widespread community support. At the same time I think that we’ve all got a lot of value that we can learn from this situation and the way that you’re responding to it. Thank you!

    • I had to gather myself up and find a reasonable way to explain things. I know the angry i felt years ago was good for me to feel and great for me to get over but, I also knew that the only way people would listen was if I found a constructive way to explain it. Thank you for your support.

  12. i’m sorry that you felt it necessary to re-hash this all; i wish that the work and reliving of trauma didn’t always get placed on the survivor. love & solidarity from seattle.
    p.s. thanks for coming up on the zines on toast tour. it was great to hear stories from folks in the uk and the pzs.

  13. Hey Alex,
    I really didn’t know any of this had happened. Sorry for accidentally bringing up some of it a while ago.
    It seems you had an awesome zine tour. Steve is a pretty rad guy.

    • It is complicated and I’m sort of sick of talking about all of it but I’m really glad that other people are seeing the importance of talking about it.

      Steve is indeed most awesome! I miss him already! I’m planning an autumn visit to the UK next year. hopefully there will be some neat ziney goings on to see.

  14. I found this because I was searching for people having problems with Joe Biel and Microcosm because I am currently being (in my opinion) scammed by them for an order I made. A post about something of this nature was the last thing I expected to find in my researching… It definitely leaves me a little disheartened about getting my issue resolved and that I may just have to ‘bite the bullet’.

    I’m very sorry to hear about your situation =(
    Best of luck to you with getting things resolved and being able to completely move on with your life without having to have this crap sit in the backseat of your conscience.

  15. Pingback: Alex Wrekk Stuff and things and lots of them are zine related… | love letters to irony

  16. I stumbled on this page while searching for Microcosm’s site.

    It’s a sad tale.

    And, if it’s true that there are many others who’ve found Biel to be lacking integrity, then i’m inclined to give SOME provisional credence to Wrekk’s version of events. After all, i don’t know anything else about this drama, but i have personally known some publically justice-oriented folk who were quite toxic on the personal level. People are complicated. So, Wrekk’s tale might well be true, and i appreciate the heads up about Biel in case i find myself having to engage with him.

    But two things about the above story and the responses to it give me pause:

    1) People who wholeheartedly endorse Wrekk based on nothing but this post. That’s REALLY irresponsible. Such credulity is childish and ultimately toxic, though i’m sure Wrekk appreciates it (what writer wouldn’t?). Adequately understanding, and then wisely handling, any issue — large, small, personal, or societal — requires us to be adults, i.e., to not indulge in credulous assumption. Really, the U.S. is disastrously gullible and superstitious, including within its Progressive community.

    2) Wrekk’s sentence: “Most of all, I enjoy being in a relationship with someone who loves me unconditionally, accepts me as I am, supports me and TRUSTS THAT I KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR ME.” The foolishness of this statement undercuts Wrekk’s credibility to an extent. I hope, for her sake, that the last bit, which i’ve capitalized for clarity (because i couldn’t italicize it), is merely an unfortunate rhetorical flourish rather than an accurate indication of Wrekk’s views on healthy partnership. Obviously, unconditional love within a healthy partnership does NOT equate to automatic trust in either partner’s wisdom on any topic (including their own well-being). We’re all fallible, which is to say, quite capable of being perceptive and smart in general and yet also momentarily, or even habitually, rather blind or unwise regarding our own well-being. To claim otherwise is to offer false support, a kind of cuddly sabotage. Or it can be interpreted as blind loyalty, and i hope i don’t have to explain how bad that is.

    Anyway, as mentioned, i know none of the folk named in this post. But i understand that credulity, i.e., irrational faith, is unwise and dishonorable, not cute, neutral, or innocent. Though it might be “empowering” if indulged PRIVATELY over a SHORT term, it — like all crutches — is crippling if overused.

    When we eschew skepticism, we disrespect both ourselves and the unknown. And, by modeling toxic memes, we also harm those who admire us.

    I say this as someone who has been severely abused emotionally. And, just so you know: i understood it before, during, and after that toxic relationship. Remember, we’re complicated. And some folk are selectively delusional and/or quite convincing liars (like the one who bamboozled me).

    I trust that Ms. Wrekk won’t wilt from my comments. (She may even agree with them.)

    And, if what she says is true, i hope she continues to speak out as needed, but always rationally (though passionately).

    In solidarity

    • 1) A lot of the people who have posted support here have been friends who have followed this mess while I have been silent about it. Their support has been really helpful for me to be able to come out about this. I agree that no one one should wholehearted take up arms because I say so. However, Joe has exhausted at least half a dozen people involved with accountability, and that’s got to speak for something.

      2) The statement you speak of not supposed to be taken as me being infallible. Is supposed to be a comparative to the life I was living before; a life where I was loved conditional and that my thoughts were deemed as crazy or stupid. I lived a life where my decisions were made for me and I was treated as if I was a not competent person. I was using it as a tool to show why it is so difficult to speak out about this. It is upsetting but I keep hearing stories from other people and it makes me angry that Joe’s behaviors do not stop.

    • In regards to point #2, I hope that she “TRUSTS THAT I KNOWS WHAT IS BEST FOR ME”. Sounds like a good solid plan (who else is she supposed to trust to know what is best for her).

      As an outsider (but then who is totally outside), this post looks like a carefully crafted attempt to discredit the original post!

  17. Dear Alex,
    Another “you don’t know me, but…” comment. Just wanted to let you know I pulled two zines from distro with Microcosm last year. Solidarity. Stay strong. Thanks for standing up for yourself and in turn supporting other survivors.

    Also, the comment above me (“blue trillium”) is totally whack!

    Kyla (Ladders&Hips and GoodSex/BadSex zines)

  18. Pingback: Brainscan #26 « love letters to irony

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  20. (you don’t have to publish this comment)

    Just wanted to let you know I referenced your posts on a blog entry supporting a boycott of microcosm, and if I said anything you’re not comfortable with, let me know and I’ll change it asap.

  21. Pingback: A Microcosm public statement, seriously? « love letters to irony

  22. Just wanted to encourage you in your endeavors! I lived in pdx for awhile, although I was only involved very peripherally in DIY publishing while I was there. A group I am a part of is going through a similar situation. Fortunately, the abuse was confronted at an early stage, and the person responsible is no longer in the group. Unfortunately, the group is still dealing with the ramifications of the abuse, and there are few resources, either people or processes, to help groups to work on this issue. The accountability part of the process still hasn’t come to fruition. Hopefully, that will change with time and effort.

    I am glad that you have managed to get to a place in your life where you find joy. Good luck in moving forward!

  23. Hey Alex. It’s strange to think that I was an intern at Microcosm when your relationship with Joe and the distro was coming to an end. I definitely knew something was up then, but didn’t feel that it was my place to ask and didn’t want to deepen any wounds that were obviously already open. I didn’t know the nature of the problems between you and Joe, and I’m really sorry to hear that they were oppressive and deeply emotional.

    I am, however, glad that you have brighter, more supportive people and things in your life now. The only thing to do is keep moving forward. I’m sending positive energy your way. 🙂

    • Lauren, thanks for your comment. I wish I had spent more time with you when you were interning. I was going thought some heavy stuff at the time and reaching out was very difficult for me. I lost out on a lot of positive experiences because of it but I have come out in the end as a stronger, happier and more open person. I hope things are excellent for you!

  24. Pingback: hello blog hit spike, thy name is microcosm/joe biel/abuse/alex wrekk/boycott… or any combination of them. « love letters to irony

  25. Pingback: Microcosm Publishing: Open Letter about Abuse and Support « Philly Stands Up

  26. Microcosm is a positive collective, and to undermine the larger picture positivity that the volunteers at microcosm have brought to many people just because you had a falling out with your ex-husband isn’t right. It also isn’t right to consider yourself an “abuse survivor” because you had a bad break-up. I have many friends who were seriously abused, that’s just the way marriage is. I’d like to think zine-culture is revolutionary enough not to handle allegations the same way politicians do (this is seriously just like the Anthony Wiener case). People jump to conclusions about shit that has nothing to do with them and it can ruin work that has taken so many people so long to accomplish, who’s only fault was what? Collaborating with your ex-husband? I know this post will probably be deleted, but I want to let you know that you do not have everyone’s support. It’s not a popular opinion, but you sound petty-as-fuck. I’ll support whoever is doing more good than harm, and I think that is microcosm.

    • Ok, wow.
      I’m not going to delete this. I’m just going to say a few things.
      I’m really fucking tired of this utilitarian “greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people” bullshit philosophy, especially because many who are hurt have been scared and don’t have the strength to speak up. Have you even read Brainscan #21? (available here to read digitally if you would like) That tells about half the story including parts about Joe’s abuse of powers in the work place where he clearly didn’t act like a “positive collective” member. Did you read their public statement or see how they deleted all the comments (saved here) What about my response here including the words of a former partner of Joe’s and former Microcosm collective member who did all she could to work through everything with the collective years after she and Joe had broken up, and finally failed leaving this statement:

      “As a member of Microcosm for 4 years and a former partner of Joe Biel, I am sad to say that I no longer support Microcosm Publishing. I cannot support a group of people who so adamantly claim to oppose abuse, but in practice have let it continue for years. This abuse was perpetrated against me, and I have remained largely silent in hopes that Microcosm could be salvaged. I no longer believe this is possible.With much love and thankfulness to all my wonderful zine friends that I’ve kept or made along the way,

      -Sparky Taylor

      Strange how they so swiftly moved to mail order operation from Bloomington, eh? makes me curious about the behind the scenes machinations we don’t hear about.

      “seriously abused” “that’s just the way marriage is”? You sure have a high tolerance for abuse. Who are you to decides what abuse is? Did you live through me or Sparky’s experience? Have you lived through the nightmares, the panic attacks or counseling? Making hierarchies of abuse and perpetuating excuses for abusive behavior is a crucial problem. If we close our eyes to abusive behavior and allows others to accept it, as you seem to have done, we will live in a world that fails to see patterns of behavior and learn to correct them. I’d like to think the zine community and the radical community are revolutionary enough to hold people accountable for their behaviors. We all have the potential to abuse power. It is our responsibility to reflect on our behavior, to truly apologize and make reparations when needed. That’s the world that I, and many other radicals and anarchists want to live in.

      I don’t expect to have everyone’s support. I expect those that fall into the utilitarian chasm, the apolitical, the apathetic, those that are charmed by Joe, those that ascribe to the idea of abuse hierarchies, and those that benefit from his power, are willing to look the other way. The damnable shame here is the hypocrisy of it all. Microcosm claims to support radicals, feminists, and anarchists; yet when they are faced with their own ethical crisis they don’t turn to the pages of the literature they make their living distributing that supports those values, they create a smoke screen with their victim blaming public statement and a “nothing to see, move along” attitude.

      Nobody owes anything to Microcosm. Zines existed long before them and they will exist after they are gone. If anything, Microcosm owes more to the zine community.

      • Hi Alex,
        I also don’t have the patience to respond to a comment as stupid as the one above but I want you to know that you have my support. I’ve been (am going?) through a similar thing and everything you said absolutely resounded with me. It’s appalling the awful politics people can have and still call themselves “radicals.” I suppose they need to be educated but it’s so smug and insulting and harmful and I don’t have the patience. Anyways, you have my support, hoping for the best & strength.

    • I have many friends who were seriously abused, that’s just the way marriage is.

      Speaking from the point of view of someone currently in a marriage of more than 10 years, that is not “just the way marriage is”. I hope your friends found the support they needed.

      You sound seriously ill-informed about the history of Microcosm’s shady dealings and messed up attitudes. Microcosm’s pattern of behavior has not been representative of a “revolutionary” collective that keeps the best interests of its collective members, community and community members in mind. Doing more good than harm within a community means refusing to tolerate questionable ethics, aligning oneself with community members who have suffered real harm & acting as allies to them, and engaging in open discussion and sincere corrective efforts. Microcosm has not shown a s true willingness to do these things.

  27. Dear Joseph Mueller:

    Here’s how life works, bro:

    When someone is hurting you, you have the right to defend yourself. All due respect to Alex and Sparky, but what is almost as troubling to me as the actions of one person are attitudes like yours. Sadly, you can’t count on ANY community to live up to their face value. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Catholic church or crust punks. Pieces of shit live in all of these communities, and there will always be people tripping over each other to be the first to swing on the nuts of someone that does something fucked up. Thankfully, genuinely good people are in some of them, and those are the ones you count on, not the institution they happen to be part of.

    Color me unimpressed with utilitarian theories. By their works you will know them, as some piece of fiction once espoused, and I know a snake when I see it. “That’s just the way marriage is”…… Fuck you. I know people that have lost their lives because too many people said that shit. Imagine if your house was on fire, and people right next door just said, “Well is supposed to burn, isn’t it?”. By the gods…… I’m glad I don’t know you and that you seem to be far enough away from people I care about. Too bad not everyone can say that.

  28. Pingback: East Coast Adventures: part 3 « love letters to irony

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  30. Pingback: The Rise and Co-optation of Microcosm Publishing | Seattle Free Press

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