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 June 1st (scan / txt); the next one is due out on the 15th.

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 austerity issue (scan / txt): the TUC has connived at a national disaster - the transformation of the Manpower Services Commission, once a far sighted planning team meant to align the labour market to the real needs of the people and the nation, into a pliant pusillanimous tool of Thatcherism. Feminist Book Fortnight comes to Reading; there are video screenings and workshops everywhere you look; the Rag is skint again; and there's a question mark over the next issue as it hasn't even got a co-ordinator yet. Why not?

If the media of this country had stopped puking up horror stories about the "gay plague" several years ago when AIDS first became "news" then none of this need have happened.