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 1987; the latest issue is dated April 7th (scan / txt); the next one is due out on the 21st.
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): 150 officers, 20 vehicles and nine months of planning and undercover work go into a raid on Mandela Court which seizes a paltry amount of soft drugs; one local person comments that "...at the moment cannabis is virtually impossible to get hold of", but adds "almost every other drug is available". The Police and Criminal Evidence Act's authorisation of prolonged detention of up to 96 hours for questioning until the suspect breaks down is in flagrant contradiction of the right to silence; Reading students protest about government cuts in arts education, a block to any kind of education which encourages questioning, analytical thinking and curiosity; how handing out anti-fascist leaflets gets you branded a fascist yourself; and under the powers of the Public Order Act (only three weeks old) the police have can control the size and route of marches, and the CND footslog through London later this month will be their test case. What will happen?
On being challenged to reconcile his position as a trustee of the Vegetarian Society with the promotion of meat products he retorted that the Society's existing rules allow a butcher or even a slaughterman to serve on the Council.