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 March 23rd (scan / txt); the next one is due out on April 6th.
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 six and a half years it had never sold a single copy.
In this issue (scan / txt): the Student's Union at Bulmershe is instructed to totally obliterate the phrase "Nelson Mandela Building" from its headed notepaper, failing which disciplinary action will follow including suspension of the Union's two sabbatical officers; there's something of a link between dramatic increases in the level of Council rent and a 277% rise in arrears; the South-East Women's Conference proved that women really are doing things for themselves; someone's conspiring in Reading; the Stonehenge 86 Campaign are to meet with the Chief Constable; and there are now several different anti-statist or anti-capitalist groups in the locality: Reading DAM, Revolutionaries of Everyday Life, Industrial Myths of the Near Future, Discordians, Bracknell Anarchists, Thames Valley Anarchists and the Airstrip One Liberation Army. Some of these groups do not exist and never have. But most of them appear to have contributed their opinions to Red Rag recently.
Was this South Africa or Chile? Neither, it was Wapping, Britain 1986! 6,000 print workers sacked. Union monies sequestrated, riot police attacking peaceful demonstrators, all to preserve the freedom of that British press, i.e. the freedom of the likes of Murdoch, Matthews and Maxwell who control 80% of the British newspapers to print their lies and filth and accumulate their millions.