On 22nd July cartoonist Dave Walker was issued with a 'cease and
desist' notice from SSG, giving him just a few hours to remove all posts
about SPCK/SSG from his Cartoon Church blog, or face libel action. Dave
complied with the request, but many bloggers are concerned that he has been
put under undue pressure.
2 other bloggers were issued with 'Cease and Desist' notices: one on the same day as Dave (Phil Grooms SSG/SPCK blog), another the day after for republishing some of Dave's posts (Sam Norton). Both have disputed the claims in the letters, and have not taken down any blog posts.
So far, the threatened response from SSG has not materialised. In the meantime, the attempt to censor blogging has resulted in even more scrutiny upon SSG, and those who run it.
This Facebook group will remain up until the Cease and Desist letter to Dave Walker has been retracted by Mark Brewer, and all the SPCK posts restored to his blog.
Daily updates and links posted at http://spckssg.wordpress.com/ and http://friendfeed.com/rooms/dave-walker-spck, and weekly roundups at Matt Wardman (http://www.mattwardman.com/blog/) , and David Keen (http://davidkeen.blogspot.com/) will continue.
For those interested in the wider issues around the former SPCK bookshops, the ongoing industrial action against the Society of St. Stephen the Great by former SPCK employees, work to salvage individual shops, non-payment of suppliers etc. please visit/join the SPCK Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6124687292 .
There will probably be some overlap between that group and this one for the time being.
Most recent news (Aug 29th) is that SSG's attempt to be declared bankrupt in the USA has been throw out 'with prejudice'. This is one of the episodes they didn't want Dave W and others blogging about - not surprising!!
For more details see http://spckssg.wordpress.com/2008/08/29/reflections-on-a-campaign-so-far-and-ssg-not-bankrupt/ and the links there.
I had hoped to have closed the group down by now, but I guess J Mark Brewer has been too busy with legal business in the US to send Dave a retraction letter. I'm slightly embarassed that the membership has overtaken Dave W's original 'group for those who mourn the tragic demise of SPCK bookshops'! I'm hoping that things like the Durham petition, ongoing industrial action etc. will be discussed at the SPCK group rather than the DW group, but it's quite hard to control 478 people!
Instead of my own reflections on where we've got to, read Matt Wardmans summary here, which pretty much says it all. Apart from the Cease and Desist letters themselves, online scrutiny of the management of SPCK is now much stronger than it was 7 weeks ago, with a whole host of people now interested (Matt Wills is the latest (now corrected from 'Mark Wills'!)). This is exactly the opposite of what the Cease and Desist letters were supposed to achieve. It has also created a stronger sense of support for those involved - Matt Wardman writes:
One title of the Holy Spirit is 'paraclete', which in my limited understanding means 'advocate' or 'one who stands alongside'. Without making divine claims for any of this, if we've been able to stand alongside those who are victims of injustice or bullying, then that's good.
I would stress the positive balance this has provided to the
staff who have and are undergoing the tribulation caused by the brewers, I know
that many of them really have found this to be a positive boost to their morale
and also have found it to be a focus of strength that has even enabled some of
them to begin undertaking more positive and stronger action on their own behalf
some of which we might come to know about later.