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 May 18th (scan / txt); the next one is due out on June 1st.

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, inexplicably and illegibly decorated in the style of a Nigel Molesworth diary (scan / txt): a US flag is burned at a demonstration in London against the bombings in Libya. A straight looking American appears out of the blue with a couple of newsmen, brushes his hair for the camera and gives the one-liner: "these people say they are against terrorism, but what are they doing about it?". Labour is reluctant to oppose the Housing & Planning Bill which will give local authorities like Reading Borough Council the legal right to sell entire estates to private developers and evict all tenants who refuse to move; the period for which people are not allowed to claim unemployment benefit if they have left a job voluntarily (for example, in response to sexual harassment or racist abuse) is raised to 13 weeks; customs officials have seized books which they claim are "indecent or obscene" from Gay's the Word bookshop; the Real Time Collective is busy; Victorians are making a comeback; and Labour's new policies offer so much more than revolution could ever hope to achieve.