RED RAG

Back Issues

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Established 1979
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(cover illustration)

These are the back issues of Red Rag. They'll be posted here every (usually) two weeks on or around the anniversary of their original publication. We're currently reissuing 1984; the latest issue is dated November 25th (scan / txt); the next one is due out on December 9th.

Red Rag, or Reading's only newspaper, had a noble tradition of misspelling, mixed metaphors, wrong facts, confused political judgements and a readership of 4000. It was produced by an incredibly fluid collective, some of whom had never met each other. It printed practically everything it got sent ("except poetry and party political broadcasts, provided it isn't racist, sexist, militarist or otherwise supportive of oppression"). It aimed to provide a decent alternative coverage of local news and issues from a radical non-aligned position; to promote subversive and creative initiatives; to provide a forum for unorthodox views; to allow some sort of co-existence between a huge variety of interests. And in five years it had never sold a single copy.

In this issue (scan / txt): food collections in Woodley for the Gwent Miners are obstructed by police threatening to charge the collectors with vagrancy; public-minded citizens motivated enough to address planning contradictions to council officers are told point blank, "leave it to us" and are handed one of the old Labour party internal memorandums: "do right, respect those in authority over you, go to the council meetings and always work"; whenever any Labour or Liberal Councillor mentions a piece of land at a Reading Borough Council meeting the so-called Chairman of the Housing Committee leaps to his feet with a silly grin all over his face and says "Sell it"; customs officers in London raid Gay's the Word Bookshop; and a new pinball machine is installed in The Dove.

Occupy the empty office blocks and turn them into stamping grounds. In every empty space, drums should be beaten, full speed and pagan, to bodies daubed with secret insignia in rhythm with ancestors of their neurons, as part of the liberation of this green and pleasant land.