Madeline Nelson

I’ve known Thadaeus since about 2005, through activist circles including Time’s Up!, 123 Space and Grub. I also had limited contact with Margie. My impression of both of them was positive, although I didn’t feel I knew either of them well.

I was one of the people who received the email from survivor support network (SSN). My initial reaction was to side with the person declaring oppression, although I found it strange that the email was anonymous, and wondered where the sender had gotten my email address. I asked for a discussion. It was Margie who called me, and we talked for an hour or more.

The kinds of behavior described in that email and that Margie described in our conversation are sadly quite plausible—I have been close to at least 3 activist men that I have observed engaging in manipulation of younger, more naïve female activists, and exhibiting poor communication bordering on abuse. It would hardly be surprising for such behavior to be intensified in an intimate relationship. The fact that I hadn’t personally witnessed the behavior in this case did not, for me, undercut Margie’s statements, although I found the tactics of SSN very harsh.

I subsequently saw Thadaeus’s statements copping to some of the behavior, and that he was seeking both counseling and community discussions. That is why I did not exclude him in any of the ways SSN called for—I wanted to keep an open mind, evaluate for myself how to relate to this creative and committed anarchist man who might well have some oppressive personal baggage. Don’t we all? During those “neutral” years my contact with Thadaeus was always positive if somewhat reserved on my part.

I’ve been very involved in Occupy Wall Street and deeply value what Thadaeus and In Our Hearts have done within this movement. Due to their efforts and consistent presence, solid information about anarchism has become widespread in a whole new wave of activists. My recent interactions with Thadaeus have been without exception very positive, and my trust for him has grown a lot during these months.

I’m deeply disturbed that there is still what I would now call a smear and hate campaign going on, completely out of proportion to anything that may have happened in 2007-2008. A permanent campaign of revenge does not, I think, have any place within an activist community, especially when the target has made sincere efforts to change and to engage in honest communication. This is what I believe Thadaeus has done.

My hope is that soon neither of these websites will have reason to exist.

-Madeline Nelson