While it was pointed out to me by my sister that my last post regarding my experience with Microcosm and Joe wasn’t as angry as I have been in the past, I realize that it doesn’t offer anything helpful besides information. I guess that’s what some people have wanted from me all along, information. I documented a very small fraction of my personal experiences of emotional abuse in a romantic relationship with Joe Biel in my Zine Brianscan 21. It seems people wanted more information about the business side so I tried to tie those together in that blog post.
What I didn’t offer was solutions or what I want specifically from Joe or the community. As for Joe, he has been given sufficient information as to what he needs to do to actually complete an accountability process, and he has been given yet another chance for that. As it was put in the statement of the last accountability team, Joe’s accountability should not be the burden of the community as it has already exhausted everyone involved. that being said, I think we need to seriously look at what can be done constructively.
When I said that survivors of abuse should be supported I alluded to boycotting Microcosm, but it’s not enough to simply boycott. If you mean to send a message you should let them know why you are not spending your money with them, why you don’t want your zine/book distributed or published or your artwork used by them. Also, if you have had specific problems with your interactions with Microcosm you should speak up. Trust me, you are not the only one. Let them know what they need to fix, what they need to pay more mind to. Give them an option, give them a choice to change because ultimately, it’s not only in their best interest, it’s the right thing to do.
If Microcosm truly wants to show that it is a collective, that they do not struggle with Joe’s abuses of power, and that they support the ideas and values behind the books and zine they publish and distribute then then should as Cindy Crabb said in this post, “come up with a collective statement confronting/admitting Joe’s abuse and manipulation, and/or for Joe to legally remove himself from the collective”. I’d also like to add another option, for people in the community and people who are associated with Microcosm to seriously encourage Joe to cooperate in a transparent accountability process because his hurtful actions and problematic behaviors are putting people’s livelihoods in jeopardy.
My intent was never to destroy Microcosm or Joe or anyone that works with Microcosm. I left Microcosm in October of 2006 because I was not happy with how the business worked or how I was treated. With a whisper I have been asking for accountability for almost 4 years, I got tired and left it to smoulder. But now I’m tired of seeing other people hurt and disrespected and having no voice and I’m really glad to hear that other people are recognizing this..
So, if you aren’t on the “Alex Wrekk is crazy” train,or the utilitarian “my calculator does social math and it tells me that the good out weighs the bad” camp, or the “Microcosm is great for me so why should I care?” brigade here’s some other awesome distros to check out to buy zines and maybe even have your zines distributed. If you know if more distros that should be on this list let me know:
Bird In Hand(Australia)
Black Lite Diner(US)
Things You Say(US)
Vampire Sushi (UK)
Check out the links on my site (ya, I know I need to update it) for stores, and zine events. Also check out all the people who sell zines directly on Etsy. We even have Team Zine with lots of people who sell zines on Etsy. I think ordering zines directly or trading for them should really be at the heart of the zine community, not one stop shopping at zine Wal*Mart.