Back Issues

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Established 1979
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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 1986; the latest issue is dated February 9th (scan / txt); the next one is due out on the 23rd.

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 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. An indispensible source of local information? a forum for the self-indulgent and self-important? a continuous experiment in collective, de-centralised organisation? Who knew? But in over six years it had never sold a single copy.

In this issue (scan / txt): Irma and Patrick are relatively strict Rastafari and believe in the minimum of contact with white society; they and their children are pushed from one damp bed and breakfast joint to another; their baby gets sick and stops eating; Patrick goes to the Registry Office to register the birth and so make it possible for an NHS doctor to treat the child; he is refused help because he doesn't have a doctor's certificate for the baby; the child dies and, both convicted of neglect, Irma is put on two years probation while Patrick is sent to Fairmile Hospital for unlimited psychiatric treatment. 6,000 workers of Rupert Murdoch's press empire strike, are sacked and replaced by "scabs at Wapping"; the Conspiracy aims to relieve monotony of performing arts in Reading and have fun doing it; the myth perpetuated by state, nihilists and some Red Rag contributors, of anarchism as implicitly violent must be broken down; and you can hack into the Shire Hall mainframe just by walking into Reading library: no password required.

New technology is simply a cover, workers' organisation is Murdoch's real target.