Wow, over 650 hits to this blog and my post yesterday and not a single comment? Then I realized that I didn’t really make much of a comment either, I just posted other people’s words. So, here’s what I want to say.
Sure, Microcosm allowing comments on the post in the first place may have been problematic. It is also the easiest way to, you know, be transparent and”open the conversation” as they expressed in the statement. With that being said, I have several issues with the victim blaming excuse letter starting with the first sentence using the term “accusing” really? They say they don’t want a judge and jury trial, but that’s the language they are using. I find it an interesting phrasing that they say they care that the abuse was “named” and noticed that they never actually acknowledge that our (Sparky and my) experiences are/were valid or that, yes, Joe has issue with abuse and manipulation. Actually, in the letter posted last December, they did acknowledge that. Why not restate that?
As a survivor of emotional abuse, I am offended by this statement:
As abuse creates cycles of hurt, it’s been easier for those involved to put up a wall for personal protection rather than create resources for healing.
Really? After all I have gone through it is somehow my job to create a resource for healing for other people? Oh, I’m sorry, I was too busy working on shaking off the ghosts of abuse, building back my self worth and learning to form healthy relationships again. I didn’t know that I somehow had more of a responsibility.
As for Joe stepping down, I don’t buy it. I’m sorry,I just don’t. Someone I know e-mailed Microcosm to ask about it. He’s not really leaving, he’s just not a voting collective member. I’ll bet that means he still has his hands in just about everything he does now but they are trying to paint a pretty picture, aren’t they? and I see “Non-Adherence Policy” is just like saying “We don’t really care. We don’t think this is important. We don’t have the time but we have this really corporate sounding term to hide behind even though we distribute lots and lots of things that express that we really do care about radical politics, feminism, and supporting survivors of abuse.”
Something else that concerns me is that there are only 3 people who signed the letter. Isn’t the collective supposed to be 6 or 7 people? Where are the other members? Did they quit? Where they fired? It seems really suspicious to me.
The weird paragraph about partners of Joe being talented and creative was really awkward for me to read. The other partner they are referring to is Sparky. When I was in Chicago for the zine fest I met Sparky and we had a lengthy conversation about the situation. She expressed hope in the re-founding and so I kept quiet with criticism to wait and see what came out the other side. But with her 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,
Her name is obviously not signed to the statement Microcosm released and she clearly doesn’t work for Microcosm any more. She said she didn’t know how the other statement got onto Anarchistnews and she had fought to make a public statement something with substance that would show true effort at change. What made me most sad was hearing her experiences of emotional abuse that so mirrored mine as a partner of Joe and as a Microcosm worker and how easily it starts and how hard it is to stop.
Sparky and I were talking again and she wanted to know how to get the word out about her feelings about her experience with Microcosm. I offered her my support and to post her comment. Sparky is a smart, talented and creative woman and I wish her the best in whatever direction she goes from here. She and I both know that the only way is up.
Overall, the Microcosm statement isn’t worded how humans talk to each other. It is so intricately crafted as to say absolutely nothing of substance yet hits at hiding things. I wish I could say I wish them the best, but I no longer have any sympathy. -Alex Wrekk