Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

Abuse Isn’t Vegan August 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 9:16 am
Tags: , ,

What’s it worth to you to have good vegan recipes? Would it bother you to pay money to a publishing company run by an abuser? (more info here; linkdump here.) This cookbook has gotten a lot of positive reviews, but I won’t buy it because I can’t stomach giving money to Microcosm.

Probably a lot of people reading this blog, who may have this cookbook or be thinking about ordering it, won’t know the story behind its publisher. Given that people have been speaking up about this recently, I thought it would be good to add my voice to theirs. I am thankful for the bravery of people speaking out. Because there’s backlash. There’s always backlash. I know the arguments that will be used to dismiss any concerns about Microcosm here; I have been hearing them for years, in the largely non-public discussions about the issue of abuse in zine/activist/punk rock/whatever communities in general & Joe Biel in particular. And every excuse given to defend Joe Biel & denigrate those critiquing him I’ve seen used before to defend other abusers.

People say, have said, will say: who cares, they sell good zines! We can’t boycott everybody! Every company has something bad about them! The good done by these zines outweighs any bad done by Joe Biel! He said he’s sorry! Are we really sure Alex is telling the truth? It’s one person’s word against another! (& why, why should we believe women who say they have been abused?) She’s just jealous! It’s just blown-up zinester drama! Blah blah blah ad nauseum.

I’m going to moderate comments to this post pretty closely: if you are thinking of throwing out any of those trite dismissive arguments, your comments are subject to deletion.

Sure, some of Ploeg’s recipes sound delicious. But do I need to have them at the cost of supporting a company whose head purports to support anarchist & feminist ideals, yet enacts precisely the opposite?

No. That cost is too high. As Alex says:

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.


13 Responses to “Abuse Isn’t Vegan”

  1. b Says:

    I am ashamed to admit that I did not know any of this was going on. Thank you for enlightening me johanna. I truly appreciate it and am wading through the links now. As a sexual abuse survivor myself, this is not up for debate. Peace.

  2. charles Says:

    Thank you for this post! I also didn’t know about this, and I’m really glad you used this space to talk about it.

  3. prof susurro Says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for this because I had no idea that there were DSV issues surrounding this publisher and I do think that information is important. People who read my blog are pretty clear that despite all the mainstream feminist support for Seal Press, I supported the girlcott of them for not giving equal publishing, advertising, and recruitment support to women of color and I feel equally strongly about not giving money to abusers just because they publish material that is written by or philosophically supports feminist, alternative culture, or vegan issues. There are other places to by this material and when there is not, we can put our money and our energy into building them rather than quantifying support. I know the non-violent, non-abusive, non-racist artists suffer in the short term with these decisions, but I have to believe there are other ways to support them in the short term while supporting and creating just spaces in both the short and long term.

  4. prof susurro Says:

    “there are other places to buy this material” not “by” sorry

  5. […] at Vegans of Color today, Johanna published “Abuse Isn’t Vegan,” related to a situation in a publishing/zine community. I recommend reading her post, as well as […]

  6. […] AND work toward inclusive publishing in favor of “some is better than none”? via Vegans of Color What’s it worth to you to have good vegan recipes? Would it bother you to pay money to a […]

  7. Sarra Says:

    Damn. Damn damn damn. I bought that book. I bought it from Amazon. I did know about the Microcosm stuff, though not directly from Alex, but I didn’t realize that the book was a Microcosm book. Damn it. I’m really unhappy about that. All I can do is try to do better in the future. And talk about the problems with Microcosm when given a chance.

  8. Noemi M Says:

    Thanks Johanna-for making this clear connection. Ive not supported mIcrocosm for years & now that Alex is okay with making it public it’ll hopefully encourage others not only looking at zines they are buying but the distro behind them. Microcosm has other problems with it’s operation. Its been called the walmart of distros. I guess that’s another discussion though.

  9. Doris Says:

    Thank you so much for publicly discussing this. Another example of how we can’t afford to be single-issue. And by “we” I mean everyone.

  10. Joanna Says:

    Thank you for posting this. I had no idea any of this was going on at Microcosm. I have ordered from them before and supported them. I will look somewhere else for zines and books in the future.

  11. […] at Vegans of Color today, Johanna published “Abuse Isn’t Vegan,” related to a situation in a publishing/zine community. I recommend reading her post, as well as […]

  12. i had no idea who this publisher was or what was going on. i had to look it up and saw i had a few books from them and wanted other titles. abuse isn’t vegan, so i will refrain from purchasing more.

  13. random blog follower Says:

    wow, thanks for the headsup. will not be supporting microcosm until this issue is resolved.

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