RED RAG (cover illustration)

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 December 2nd (scan / txt); the next one is due out on the 16th.

Red Rag, or Reading's only newspaper, had a noble tradition of misspelling, mixed metaphors, wrong facts, confused political judgements and a readership in its heyday 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? In its first seven years it never sold a single copy; but now after much soul-searching a price had been put on the Rag's head...

In this issue (scan / txt): the Public Order Bill is passed: the police will have the power to ban or to determine the size, time and place of any demonstration; it will be an offence to organise a demonstration without police approval, and simply being a participant on an illegal march could mean a fine of up to 400. DHSS payments to Supplementary Benefit claimants for extra fuel costs in periods of severe weather are the latest area of the Welfare State to be "streamlined" by a government out to get the poor, the elderly, and the unemployed. BANC stop funding the Greenham Food Van; a free festival is planned near Reading next summer; the council did consult the public about the improvement and expansion of the Museum and Art Gallery but with loaded and inadequate information; and Reading is still Between the Lines.