Ian Birchall’s website carries a very useful bibliography of Rank and File publications.
This highlights the sheer number and variety of such publications – some durable with a wide circulation, others ephemeral and / or local- which existed mainly from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. And that is not to mention the factory bulletins which we have also previously covered.
Our holdings of Rank and File papers can all be found here.
Whilst some papers underwent changes in name or format, breaks in publication over the years, we have grouped variants of the same or similar paper into a single folder.
Thus Rank and File Technical Teacher contains Class Contact no1 later to become Technical Teacher from issue 2. This folder also has a number of related leaflets and bulletins.
Our largest collection is R&F Teacher– properly, originally, just called Rank & File. A very interesting and substantial paper with a wide variety of contributors- some of whom will be known to or remembered by readers of this Blog. It was somewhat moving to stumble upon articles written by Blair Peach.
The journal Black Bored, covered much the same ground as R&F and was to merge into it. We don’t recognise any of the people writing for it. Would anyone have any further info?
The Building Worker folder contains a couple of issues of Rank And File- paper for building workers from the 1960s. At the time, Building Worker was a title taken by an official union paper. Then we have Building Workers Charter in the early 1970s and Building Worker from the mid-1970s.
Whilst we have single issues of many papers, we do have a dozen or so Carworker from the early 1970s and also two issues of a (much) later series from 2000!
National Rank and File Fireman was a daily bulletin from the 1977 firefighter’s strike. We have 7 issues.
We have six issues of the miners’ paper The Collier from the 1970s
Rank and File Miner post-dates the 1984-5 strike and is not (as far as we know) an IS/SWP linked paper so it has its own folder separate from The Collier.
Other papers of note are Resistance– bulletin of the London Shop Stewards Defence Committee- 2 issues from 1967 and Cab News from as far back as 1958. This latter is in many ways the prototype for later R&F publications and we are told that Mike Kidron and Robin Fior used to meet up with some London cabbies in a backstreet café and help them put it together.
We also have a number of Rank and File pamphlets– nationally produced- and local Rank and File bulletins eg for Enfield or Hackney.
Later Rank and File morphed into the Right To Work Campaign and we have a few RTW pamphlets and materials here.
Some bulletins were produced by local groups of socialists- more substantial than a factory bulletin but not quite an industry wide rank and file paper.
So, Council Worker was a duplicated bulletin produced by Richmond IS for the Council Workers Action Group and Public Worker was produced by Lambeth IS.
We are aware that we are only really scratching the surface here and we expect to be able to bring more Rank and File and related papers in the coming months.
Thanks to Ian Birchall, Colin Fancy, John Rudge, Barry Buitekant and many others for loans of material and general advice and assistance!
If any readers can help supply further papers, please get in touch.
RANK AND FILE PAPERS Archive