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Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

The Subversive Graffiti Collective produced a free news sheet (around 8 issues in 1981/1982), with for example, reports on male violence, strikes and direct action by communities and workers.

The aims as stated in the news sheet were: (1) to support, seek solidarity for and be involved in struggles for the needs of the vast majority of people, against the elite of businessmen, politicians and bureaucrats. This includes activities at the workplace, by the unemployed, by tenants, against oppression on the grounds of sex or sexual orientation, (2) to urge that all involved control these actions, not leaders such as Union officials or political parties, (3) to aim at the overthrow of all governments, bosses and leaders by the conscious action of the majority of the people. We want a world without any relationships of domination and submission, where all have an equal say in how things are run, and where production is for human need not profit.

As well as producing the news sheet, the Collective held informal discussions in Summer Street Community Centre. The 1st issue states the new sheet was produced by people in the group Solidarity (Aberdeen) and ‘other revolutionaries in Aberdeen and the North East’. The Collective address was c/o Boom Town Books, 167 King Street, Aberdeen.

There was also a similar news sheet in Peterhead, ‘Bloo Toon Graffiti’, produced by the Bloo Toon Graffiti Collective (also c/o of Boomtown Books).

Related entries: Aberdeen People’s Press and Social Revolution/Solidarity.

References: see below.

Sources: copies are held at the Scottish Radical Library/ACE archive in Edinburgh and also at the Spirit of Revolt archive in Glasgow.

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The Big Print: North-East Libertarian Paper, was produced by a collective, and printed by socialist publisher Aberdeen People’s Press. The Big Print had a number of similarities with the newspaper Aberdeen People’s Press (which ran from 1973 – 1976), with investigative reporting, listings of local pressure groups, yet, it was more strident in its political outlook. It had monthly sales of between 600 and 700.

The first editorial in 1978 set out the aims: “We aim to be an alternative both to the establishment and to the papers of left-wing parties who only want to take power for themselves. By exposing the day-to-day problems that most people have to face we hope to give a clearer picture of present society’s priorities , as well as publicising the activities of people engaged in changing them…Big Print has a clear political outlook. Rejecting the charade of the parliamentary system (with its M.P.s and councillors) doesn’t mean that we place our hope in some ‘revolutionary leadership’ assuming power on behalf of the working people. On the contrary we believe that only through independent action by people in similar situations, with decisions being made by everyone involved, is there any hope of changing the system as a whole”.

Related entries: Aberdeen Libertarian Socialist Group and Aberdeen People’s Press.

References: copies of The Big Print newspaper (issues 1 – 22, 1978 – 1980)

Sources: newspaper held at University of Aberdeen Library.

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The Free Information Network (FIN) was a publishing movement that grew out of the counter-culture, traveller, free festival scene of the 1980s and there were local FIN groups issuing newsletters in many cities across the UK. These D.I.Y. community papers covered multiple areas such as anarchism, animal rights, anti-capitalism, anti-fascism, civil rights, environmentalism, prisoner support and squatting. The network was centered around direct action as the 1990s was the time of large protests against environmental destruction caused by the building of new roads and the introduction of the Criminal Justice Act, Jobseekers Allowance and the Poll Tax.

Newsletters because they were part of a wider network would also include a directory of other FINS, local activist groups and a diary of future direct actions. An important part was that the newsletters relied on contributions from activists and for a donation or stamp addressed envelope, you could receive information from other members of the network.

There was a FIN in Aberdeen and it would seem to have first been active in around 1994. The aims were stated as: to promote and support the development of alternative lifestyles, to promote and support underground music and publications, to highlight all injustices in society, to encourage widespread communication and co-operation and to encourage freedom of though and expression.

References: Aberdeen F.I.N. and ABFIN newsletters c. 1994 – 1997

Sources: 3 newsletters held at Scottish Radical Library/ACE archive in Edinburgh.

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William Lindsay was born in Newhills parish, son of a shoemaker, and followed that trade for a period. Lindsay then established himself as a newsagent and bookseller in the Gallowgate in the 1840s. He was a member of many radical political groups throughout his life.

He was involved in 1832 Reform Act agitations and also joined the Chartists. In 1837 he was a member of an Owenite socialist committee which was formed after a lecture in Concert Court, Broad Street, held by the Owenite Robert Buchanan. A committee was formed with the purpose of keeping the subject of socialism before the attention of the people of Aberdeen. Buchanan started a democratic paper in Glasgow and Lindsay was appointed as the Aberdeen correspondent. In 1841 Lindsay and colleagues invited Robert Owen to Aberdeen and he came in 1842 and lectured in the hall of the Royal Hotel.

Lindsay was a founder member of the Aberdeen Liberal Association in 1877, founder member of the Northern Co-Operative Company and was a member of the Aberdeen Workmen’s Peace Association from 1875.

Lindsay was involved in other social issues, and in the 1840s, along-with fellow delegates from the different trades and sympathetic professional men and merchants, formed a Committee of Sympathy which provided food to poor families on Sundays.

Related entries: Aberdeen Charter Union, Aberdeen Female Radical Association, Aberdeen Working Men’s Association (1838 – 1840), Committee of Sympathy, ‘Owenite Society’ and The Utilitarian Society (Aberdeen).

Aberdeen Charter Union and Aberdeen Working Men’s Association

References: Some Notes Personal and Public by William Lindsay (W & W Lindsay, Aberdeen, 1898) and Aberdeen 1800 – 2000 A New History (W Hamish Fraser & Clive Lee (eds.), Tuckwell Press, 2000).

Sources: unknown.

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The Press, ‘Scotland’s Socialist Community Printers’, was established as a non-profit making company in 1973 and ran until 1983. The Press produced the community newspaper ‘Aberdeen People’s Press’, was a commercial printing service for socialist and community groups and also published relevant works.

The newspaper ran to 59 issues from 1973 until summer 1976, with a circulation of between 800 and 1700. Although billed as a local newspaper: its viewpoints, news and analysis were radical. There were in depth reports on criticising the effects of the oil & gas industry, military bases in the north-east, abortion providers in the north-east, health and safety in the oil & gas industry and councillor’s business interests etc.

Although the newspaper was no longer published, the Press started to commission and publish books with more in–depth analysis. These are still excellent publications: ‘Oil Over Troubled Waters: a report and critique of oil developments in north-east Scotland’, ‘Aberdeen in the General Strike’, ‘Fascism in Aberdeen: street politics in the 1930s’ and ‘James Leatham (1865 – 1945)’.

The Press were initially housed at the Aberdeen Arts & Community Workshop, then at a house in Rubislaw Den South. In 1976 though the Press moved into the basement of 163 King Street, and shared the space with the the Workers’ Educational Association, and shops on the ground level: a wholefood shop (Ambrosia Wholefoods/Cairnleith Croft) and a bookshop (Boomtown Books).

Related entries: The Big Print Collective.

References: see below. Also, Scottish Community Newspapers (Brian Murphy and Alan Marshall, Aberdeen People’s Press, 1978).

Sources: papers held at University of Aberdeen Library as well as a near complete set of the published newspapers. Also representative works from their own library including hundreds of publications from across the UK and a number from overseas. The publications date from the 1960s through to the 1980s and represent a variety of socialist, anarchist, ecologist, anti-capitalist and feminist groups.

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Leatham was born in Aberdeen in 1865. He was a socialist advocating nationalization and municipal ownership, to be achieved through political representation and popular enlightenment. Already a militant trade unionist (by trade he was a compositor), from 1888 until 1893, Leatham was principal standard bearer of the emerging socialist left in Aberdeen, leading the local branch of the Scottish Land and Labour League/Socialist League and latterly the Aberdeen Socialist Society.

From 1889 – 1892 he ran his own printing and publishing co-operative (the 1st socialist press in Aberdeen), selling progressive and socialist literature, including his own very popular propagandist pamphlets. In the winter of 1891–1892, supported by the Aberdeen Socialist Society, he produced The Workers’ Herald, the first, though short-lived (there were 6 issues), avowedly socialist weekly paper in Scotland. The first issue sold 3000 copies in spite of newspaper boycott and police harassment of sellers. It existed for only 6 weeks though. The prospectus stated that the new newspaper will be dedicated to Socialism, and that it is in favour of shorter working hours, nationalization of industry, town and city councils as landlords, municipal public transport, male suffrage, home rule, disestablishment and disendowment of state churches, abolition of standing armies, abolition of the monarchy and abolition of the House of Lords. It stood against all other local papers which ‘…are owned by capitalists, written by men with capitalist sympathies, supported by capitalist advertisers…’

He published influential works such as – ‘The Most Important Thing In The World’ (1903 lecture about the establishment of a Co-operative Commonwealth where there is local administration and nationalisation); ‘An Eight Hours Day, with Ten Hours Pay’; ‘The Class War’ and ‘What is the good of the Empire’. He published and distributed other publications such as works by John Bruce Glasier, Scottish socialist politician, Robert Cunningham-Graham, socialist and nationalist politician, DJ Nicoll, editor of Commonweal (Journal of the Socialist League) and Rev. Alexander Webster, Unitarian minister and Christian Socialist. He also wrote articles for many other national newspapers and journals such as Commonweal, Justice (journal of the Social Democratic Federation) and Progress: a monthly magazine of advanced thought (G.W.Foote’s secularist journal).

In April 1893 Leatham left Aberdeen for Manchester, working on Robert Blatchford’s ‘Clarion’, returning north to edit the Peterhead Sentinel from 1897. After another brief spell in the north of England he returned to Scotland, settling in Turriff in Aberdeenshire. His own journal called Gateway was published from 1912 to his death in 1945, and from 1916 published at his own Deveron Press based in Turriff.

Related entries: Scottish Land and Labour League/Socialist League (Aberdeen branch) and Aberdeen Socialist Society.

References: see below. Also, autobiography (unfinished) ’60 years of World-Mending’ which was serialised in Leatham’s own journal ‘Gateway’ from 1940 – 1945 and James Leatham 1865-1945 (Bob Duncan, Aberdeen People’s Press, 1978).

Sources: papers held at University of Aberdeen Library as well as copies of his publications and Socialist Songs: Socialist League, Committee of the Aberdeen Branch (Aberdeen, 1889). Copies of The Workers’ Herald are held in Aberdeen Public Library.

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