Criminalizing Books

criminalizing books(re-posted because it’s important…)

The arrest of Hugh Farrell and Tiga Wertz is ridiculous and upsetting enough.  The two Bloomington, Indiana environmentalists were arrested back in April 2009 under a federal law that was created to target corrupt businesses, specifically the mafia.  But award-winning journalist Will Potter has found a piece of information that truly calls into question the ethics of these arrests.

While combing through the motion for Hugh’s $20,000 bail (keep in mind, they were arrested for conspiring to commit non-violent crimes – not even for committing them), Potter found an interesting justification for the high amount:

“The defendant has been observed advocating literature and materials which advocate anarchy, property destruction and violence, including ‘Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching’ or ‘Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook.’”

You may recognize these books from our catalog (here and here).  Potter is correct in stating that criminalizing anarchists is nothing new, but that this case has very significant social impact.  From Potter:

  • It reflects more wasted resources on surveillance of First Amendment activity. Why was Farrell being “observed” by law enforcement while allegedly “advocating literature” in the first place?
  • It is intended to punish people for their political beliefs. Even if it is true that Farrell was observed advocating literature and that the literature advocated “anarchy,” how does this relate to whether or not he’ll show up for his court date (which is what bail is all about)?
  • Criminalizing books has no place in a democracy. Make no mistake, that’s what this is about: criminalizing dissent. The government isn’t burning the books, and it isn’t saying it is illegal to own them, but prosecutors are saying that if you *do* own them or “advocate” them it reflects negatively on your character.

Ignore for a moment the horrifying implications of monitoring someone for a legal activity such as “advocating literature.”  A place where our reading material (or advocacy thereof) can be held against us in a court of law is certainly no democracy.  It intimidates the population into reading only titles that they hope fall off the radar of political dissent or subversiveness.  If we are unable to read dissenting opinions and form our own analysis, we do not live in an informed democracy, but rather some form of totalitarianism or fascism (mind you I don’t like using those terms lightly).

Potter concludes:

As with so many of the cases I write about on this site, this isn’t about threats to public safety, it isn’t about property destruction, it’s about demonizing people because of their political beliefs. Well, in this case, it’s not even about that: It’s about demonizing people because of their books.

A case must be built upon facts, not implications based upon what one reads.  If anything, this should serve as a call to read those books that are deemed dangerous.  Investigate with vigor those ideas which are deemed dangerous.  It doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. [We suggest researching] why a government representative would actively censor them (in any form).  Follow the rabbit down the hole to see just where this case takes you.  Perhaps it’s true.  Books can be dangerous.  But only to those that care to maintain control over us.

For more info about this case:

Support Hugh and Tiga site

Mafia Law Used Against Environmentalists for Tree Sits, Civil Disobedience, Blog Post

Stop I-69

Image credit: Cliffard Harper from Reproduce and Revolt

Calls for Submissions: Queer Zines

out of the closets!Future Fuck All

“Hello friends, I am putting out a call for writing, art, comics, photographs, on the practicial and philosophical aspects of gender, sexuality, bodies, and queerness.  Personal experiences (good, bad, and other), philosophies, rants, funny stories, observations, interviews, dreams of the future.  Ultimately, I want to put a zine out that is a positive fuck yeah for queernessi, transgenderisms, bodies, sexualityies, and ultra wave inclusive feminism.  A recognition that all oppressions are interconnected, and the time is now to share our stories and deconstruct the dead ends.  

Years ago I did four issues of a crudely similar zine call “Girl-Boy” with a co-editor.  It was a fun and enlightening exploration, I want to do it again, this time with everybody!

After the submissions have been picked and assembled I will submit the final zine to an awesome independent publisher.  I might also put it on a blog thing for he world to share.  If you want to specify rights reserved in your works, write that on the work, or let me know in some way.  This is not a profit venture, it is to share experience and open minds, our own, and anyone that reads.  

If you have suggestions for a title, please send them in!  My original brainstorm title idea “Beyond Girl-Boy” seems entirely cheesy.  My new working title is” “Future Fuck All.”  

Deadline is November 1, 2009.

Drop me a note if you have questions.”  – Robert, robotearl(at) 

Nowhere 2 Be Found Magazine

is a fanzine that focuses on diverse views & culture from a queer perspective. We’re looking for gear heads, geeks, dorks, sci-fi/horror fans, punks, metalheads, those dealing with health, mental health, & substance abuse, doing project…to tell their stories, share their art, poetry, fiction/non-fiction, advice, how to, sites, project, events, etc. Send all submissions to nowheretwobefound(at) You can find more info on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace.

Call for submissions: substance abuse zine

all about glasses

Please send all submissions to or a hard copy to:

ben yager
po box 48131
denver, co 80204

I’m compiling a zine about substance abuse, getting clean, and supporting people struggling with it.  After spending a lot of my life personally struggling with addiction, I’m interested in hearing other people’s stories and putting together a resource to help other people getting clean and give some advice to people supporting someone going though it.

This is a call out for submissions from people who have gotten clean, sobered up, cut back, fixed their shit, relapsed, never got clean/sobered up/cut back/fixed their shit, and everything in between.  I’m looking for personal stories, experiences, thoughts, and ideas about: getting clean; getting sick, jonesing, and dealing with cravings; support from your community: what worked and what didn’t; moderation versus abstinence; tough love; harm reduction; and everything else that comes up for you.  I’m not looking for “and this one time, I got so fucked up…”

All pieces must be non-fiction; there is no style requirements (poetry to theory is welcome); there is no size limit, just keep in mind that pieces that are very long/short are less likely to be used; art submissions should be in jpg format.  Experiences are welcome from people who were direct support to someone getting clean, but priority is given to personal experience with substance abuse.  The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2009.  Anonymous writing/pen names is fine.  Hopefully the zine will be assembled and printed by October.

Do you have a call for submissions for your zine that you would like Microcosm to share with the world?  Send it to chris(at) or 222 S. Rogers St., Bloomington, IN 47404.

Blog: a dirty word in the print world… here’s my contribution to the death of print.

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I’m the Australian intern at Microcosm. Secondly my name has been Americanized, I’m now being referred to as Staples. And thirdly, I agree: Fosters is a terrible beer and most Australians have never seen a Fosters before, let alone drank that terrible sewer juice from the Australian outback. I’ve never actually seen a can of drink that freaking huge before. The stereotypes of everything is bigger in the states is actually true.

I’ve been residing in the beautiful town of Bloomington, Indiana for the past three weeks. A genuine community is the first thing that springs to mind about this place. It seems like everyone here either works at a rad socially aware workplace or they volunteer at three or four killer nonprofit organizations with little to no sleep. I’m not just working with the cool cats at Microcosm during my stay in Bloomington. I’ve also had the opportunity to do many insane things that the ‘big cites’ simply can’t offer. The highlight has definitely been the crazy ass quarry jumping, closely followed by the 100ft slip and slide in 9th street park, thanks to Mr.Matt Ray.

Sure I sound like a broken record. Everyone is sick to death at the house where I’m staying when I mention my disbelief of corn syrup shit in everything, and its amazing health benefits. That’s another rant for another time. Back to Bloomington: It feels so great to be in a real town with real people and real food. I’m not sure how much longer I could have taken being in LA eating overpriced terrible salads. That said, I did see a salad here, which may or may not have been consumed by one of the Microcosm workers. A salad that had those biscuit gold fish in it. In a garden salad. Crazy!

If you ever venture in these parts, which I strongly recommend you to do, your must stops have to include Boxcar Books, a very cool, volunteer run, non profit with an extensive collection of books on any topic imaginable. A close second would be Rhinos youth space, a super tight all ages music venue that hosts everyone from Dillinger Escape Plan to Against Me! But they also keep it real by supporting local emerging acts. A very cool space, well worth checking out even if you can’t buy booze.

In my time at Microcosm, some might say I’ve learned a ‘shit ton’. You know you’re working with rad people when you get in trouble for having the stereo too low. Publishing and distribution isn’t rock and roll but if you’re wanting to support the zine scene, educate people, and make people think outside the square, it might be for you.

If you’ve ordered anything over the past three weeks and it has been messed up, you can blame the Aussie. It’s been hard adjusting to everything back to front when coming from the land down under.

Support Microcosm, stop cutting your hair and quit that real job. Start a zine or a distro, dust off that screen printing gear and mess the system that doesn’t give you the time of day. 

Favorite American Experiences to date:

  • Getting my photo taken next to the tree that Lindsay Lohan crashed into in LA
  • Purchasing a Hollywood homes tour ticket then being asked if I was interested in an eight ball of coke.
  • Being bitten to death in New York City by bed bugs
  • Catching Greyhound buses
  • Getting pulled over by the cops. But then getting a lift to the airport in the front seat.
  • Shipping Australian zines back to Australia.
  • Visiting the restaurant that my country was founded on. My home town is actually on the menu. Toowoomba, it’s actually about three hours west of the ocean. But the dish is actually a seafood dish.
  • Scoring a twenty dollar ticket to a Broadway show. Front row center!
  • Meeting all the rad people of Tucson, Detroit, Bloomington and San Francisco.
  • Crashing at Guilty Pleasures at Bloomington. RIP best basement shows even though it’s the only basement show I’ve been to.
  • Quarry jumping

*(the photo from left to right – Adam Gnade, E. Chris Lynch, and Jeremy Staples)

Check out our BFF program– the best deal in town!

Subscribe to Microcosm Publishing ~ Be our Best Friend Forever!

(image from – we like it)

Click ME to be our BFF!

Just like supporting your local farmers, we offer a “subscription” to everything that we publish! Every time we publish something new we’ll send it to your door! Perfect for people who love to get a monthly package but don’t have time to sift through what they want! * Minimum subscription period is 6 months. Subscription begins the month after it is purchased. To receive more than 6 months, add multiple orders to your quantity.  Email for any questions.

Internship Experience

I’m halfway through my internship with Microcosm.

Before I came here, I got teased endlessly about not being “DIY enough” for Microcosm. I only ride my bike sometimes, I’m not vegan…blah blah. The publishing and distribution part, run out of Bloomington, is actually inside of a house. A far cry from the cubicles and corporate offices my friends are interning at in New York City.

But I love zines. So I came here. So far…I’m super glad I’m interning here, where I can listen to my own music and wear whatever rather than getting coffee and being uninvolved with process.

I’m a magazine journalism major at Ohio University, and we are told day in and day out that print is dying. “If you are to succeed, you must create a personal brand. You must master Twitter, and stalk the internet so that you can make the headlines your status before someone else does.” This is what we are fed in school.

Print is only dying because we let it. But not here. And personal brand? That’s what each and every zine is: someone’s individual gift to all us, something they worked hard on so that other people can be informed, humored, and amazed.

So in essence this internship is simultaneously reinforcing and proving wrong what my journalism professors lecture. It’s a learning experience; what an internship should be.

Though my tasks here usually involve packing orders, counting inventory, folding and stapling zines, etc…I am happy with the amount of input I get to have. I can give my opinion at an admin meeting, I can choose whether or not I feel like making buttons or reading submissions, and nothing I say or do here is judged.

The most important lesson this internship is teaching me, though?

I would rather work in a collective environment doing something myself and others are passionate about than obsessively following every new social network and technology just to keep a career afloat.

If you are in the Detroit area, come say hi next weekend! Steven and I will be tabling at the Allied Media Conference.

Also, if you want to set up an internship or volunteer with Microcosm (which you totally should)- email and fill one of these out.

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Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall is underappreciated.

Today was notable for everyone that I talked to because it represented the passing of an era; marked by the celebrity deaths of Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. But it can, and arguably, should point to the larger truth: people that are important to our lives are sick all around us, all the time. Most of the last two years is memorable to me because of the unbelievably number of deaths in people that were close to me; people I grew up with, people I met on tour and kept in touch with, people that I respected mutually, my friends’ kids, my dad, former roommates, plenty of friends’ parents, people who I had toured with, people I wished I had toured with, people I would have loved to have known better. There are plenty of situations I don’t even want to think about.

It seems that I can’t go for a week without the news of another friend passing away. Most recently it was Samantha Dorsett, who Chris wrote about raising money for a month or so ago. I didn’t know Sam as well as many but the sheer number of communications going through me about this huge loss have triggered something new in me. And I’m trying to think of a way to commemorate Sam and the importance of supporting friends in the releasing of the Plan It X DVD.

With SICK coming out last week, the stars were aligned in a rare moment of clarity.

Even the internet hoax of Jeff Goldblum’s death overshadowed the public consciousness and stole more of the spotlight that could have gone to basic community support.


We all have innumerable friends suffering from crippling physical, mental, or emotional health problems. And we are all busy. But I’ve heard far too many times about the situations of neglect that people fall into when they are disabled in some fashion. They aren’t as fun to hang out with so they get ignored.

I’d like to hear about someone receiving more support than they expected or hoped for. I’d like to hear the success story of those whose will and spirit improved so much through support from their community.

I’m tired of hearing denial of the suffering of our peers (“She’s making it up to get attention”). It’s time to take it seriously; even and especially from people that ARE trying to get our attention.

Now is the time to visit your troubled, in pain, or sick friend.

That, to me, is what punk was always about.

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