...not forgetting Alliance, Good Earth, Ecology Party News, EcoBulletin, Green Line, EcoActivist, Green Activist and Real World.
This article lists the publications used by Movement for Survival, PEOPLE, Ecology Party and Green Party to carry party news to members. Most of these were distributed automatically to all members. Some were purely focused on internal party activities, others were aimed at a more general audience of sympathisers who might become members and also carried general interest articles on broadly green issues.
0. The Ecologist and Towards Survival
Having kicked off the whole political green movement in the UK with Blueprint for Survival issue promoting a Movement for Survival in January 1972, The Ecologist found itself needing to cover the consequences of its initiative. When Benfield and the gang of four approached Goldsmith, and the merger/takeover of MfS by PEOPLE occurred in 1973-74, Goldsmith offered to carry news from the new party in the Ecologist. The Ecologist was already carrying a page of regular news from Friends of the Earth groups that were springing up and snippets of PEOPLE news duly appeared in a few issues.
Towards Survival was founded by Keith Hudson in early 1972 as part of the Movement for Survival and was published as a hefty small-format magazine from June 1972 until March 1975. In effect Towards Survival, together with the Ecologist, was the unofficial magazine of Movement for Survival. It was basically a one-man band, supported by his family and a range of contributors. From about March 1974 there was an agreement between Michael Benfield and Keith Hudson to distribute the magazine to PEOPLE members as a monthly resource - the cost probably being carried by Michael for PEOPLE; the accounts are opaque.
1. PEOPLE Newsletter 1973-1975
PEOPLE attracted people from all over the country so fairly rapidly the need was identified to have a regular newsletter that could be cheaply reproduced and send to all members. Thus PEOPLE Newsletter was born. It was prodcued by Michael Benfield. It started as two sides of A4 roneo'd (duplicated from a stencil) and posted out to the membership. 10 issues were produced between Feb 1974 and April 1975, by which time it had grown to 16 sides of typescript to be duplicated. It appears by then to have been sent in bundles to local organisers (where they existed) to distribute on to their members.
The first two issues were described as a newsheet, It was then renamed PEOPLE Newsletter and expanded with the numbering restarting from 1. All 10 issues can be found in the document library under PEOPLE - Newsletters although the scan quality leaves something to be desired, these are taken direct from the Benfield archive. They appeared approximately every couple of months; by the end Benfield was appealing for financial support to put the venture on a secure footing - he had been subsidising it from his own pocket
2. Alliance 1975-1976
When the name was changed to Ecology Party in June 1975 the existing "PEOPLE Newsletter" changed its name and format to "Alliance" with the sub-head "The Ecology Party Journal". Alliance was central to the party's movement building strategy, and the front page listed the organisations it was targeting. Produced by Michael Benfield it ran to 32 pages (approx A5 size) with a wide range of content. Gradually Ecology Party News became a smaller and less prominent part of the journal, and after six issues it disappeared in Feb 1976. Despite being underwritten by Michae Benfield himself the production cost was more than the party could bear and the hoped for external sales barely materialised.
3. Ecology Party Newsletter 1976-1979
Alliance was followed by a much simpler roneo'd newsheet on A4.
"Ecology Party Newsletter" was initially edited by Keith Rushworth (Colin Fry, the party information officer, edited the first issue but promptly resigned as he had too else much to do). Five issues were produced from Dec'76 to July'77.
Howard Hoptrough took over as editor and relaunched with an improved look and numbering started again from issue 1 in Nov'77. Issue 3 of the new series in March'78 acquired a proper masthead and continued to issue 7 in January'79 when Howard resigned as editor after a disagreement with the national council over editorial independence.
4. Good Earth 1976-?
The party also had a deal to carry party news with an independent Conservation Society magazine "Good Earth" edited by Ron Andrews who was also conference organiser for the party. Good Earth was offered to members on a bulk purchase arrangement. In effect the party was subsidising the production of Good Earth and continued to do so until it too folded. We have been unable so far to track down any copies of Good Earth...
5. EcoNews 1979-1980
As well as the new name the paper was now offset litho printed allowing smaller fonts and greyscale images to be included. The presentation was a big step up from previous party produced newsletters aiming to be of interest to a wide range of supporters. Initially it was still A4 in format.
Peter produced the first seven issues from March/April 1979 through until March 1980 with an issue coming out every two months.
All seven of these and the preceding Ecology Party Newsletters are in the document library under Ecology Party/Newsletters. There may have been one or two further issues before the autumn 1980 conference but we do not yet have these.
We have a copy of EcoNews #13 June 1982 which has reverted to a simple single sheet of A3 folded to give four sides of A4 very clearly targeted at members. The sub heading is "Ecology Party Newsletter". At present we are far from having a complete collection. After #7 and #13 the next issue we currently have is #32 Nov.86.
The 1981 Election EcoNews was numbered 10 so there were two further issues between #7 and the conference decision to change it. There must also be two issues between the 1981 election special and #13 in June 82.
6. EcoBulletin 1980-1982
Conference decided that it wanted a cheaper information bulletin as well as a more broadly based political publication of the sort that ecoNews had become. Since the party could not afford both, EcoNews went into abeyance and a new publication "Ecobulletin" was distributed to members.
Anne Rix was the editor (in 2006 she was still editing the SW Region newsletter when I took over from her - RogerCO) and in the second issue (we are missing the first) Gundula Dorey (National Council Member) was at pains to respond to the "cry from the heart - whatever happened to econews?" going up from several quarters. She explained that it was a question of money and that it was hoped that support, and an editor, would be forthcoming to relaunch it as a quarterly journal. The intention was to have more sophisticated green political news and be capable of appealing to a wider audience; supporters and potential supporters as well as members.
Ecobulletin was to be published every two months and distributed to all members. We have issues 2 (Dec/Jan 80/81) through to 9 (Oct'81) and these will be appearing in the library shortly.
Issue 3 carried a front page piece from Jonathon Porritt suggesting that since no-one had come forward to take on EcoNews the Political Committee would sponsor a one-off election special and calling for members to contribute material. Evidently this was produced as Ecobulletin #5 has an advert for members to get bulk copies for use in the election campaign.
Ecobulletin #6 saw a new editor, Alan Hornsey taking over from Anne Rix. The Internal Communications Committee report to autumn 1981 conference (printed in #9) explained that since issue 6 of Ecobulletin it being obvious that EcoNews was not going to be produced independently the Political Committee had produced a "Forum" insert for the bulletin. There was continuing concern about production and distribution costs, at £8913 for the year to 31st March it was the largest single line expense in the accounts presented at autumn/81 conference.
7. Green Line 1982-1998
To fill the void left by the hiatus in EcoNews a group of ecology members and others in Oxford decided to start publication of Green Line as a general publication on Green issues, also carrying Ecology Party news. The prime mover in starting it was John Carpenter and was the initial editor, but it rapidly evolved into a collective operation by those who turned up to work on each issue. The first issue of Green Line appeared in March 1982 and it continued publication of 10 issues a year with a brief hiatus in 1989-90 right through until the late 1990s.
EcoNews returned with an Election Special in June 1982, after which GreenLine dialled down it's Eco Party news section and went its own way. It continued as a successful and respected independent magazine run by the collective based in Oxford. (see substantial article here). Green Line ditched its sub-head "A Magazine of Ideas and Action from the Ecology Party and the Green Movement" to become the "Magazine of the Green Movement" by issue 4 in Summer 1982.
5a EcoNews redux
Having been revived for the Election Special, EcoNews went on to produce 18 numbered issues between June'82 and November'86. It was published as a quarterly journal from then onwards. By EcoNews #32 in November 1986 the front cover was again looking a bit neater with "econews" in green and the sub heading "The Green Party's Newsletter". It was printed on 2 double sided A3 sheets folded to give an 8 page A4 newsletter, but still very much focused on internal Green Party issues. The next issue, #33 dated February 1987 sees a complete change of format and style. It became an A3 sized newsprint paper with some green highlighting on the outside sheet. Inside there is a somewhat wider range of material. In 1987 editions were produced in February (33), May(34), August(35), and November (36) so it was evidently still coming out quarterly. We currently have awaiting scanning isues 32 (Nov'86)-35, 37, 39, and 41-60 (May 1992). Or to put in the other way we are missing #8-#31 inclusive and #36,#38 and #40. If you have any of these lurking under the stairs please do get in touch. The Issues that we do have from 33-60 will be available in the library as soon after we have the A3 scanner commissioned.
8. Green Mailing/Green Activist 1990-1993
Green Activist started in 1990 as a replacement for something called "Green Mailing" (we have yet to see a copy of this). Initially Green Activist was sent out free to local party contacts and by subscription to all members. It was intended to carry more urgent and topical information in between EcoNews issues.
9 Green Link 1992-1998
Edited by the Local Party Support Co-ordiunator on the Executive this was specifically for local party coordinators - although also available to all members. Very much focussed on issues around running a local party and sharing best practice.
10. Real World 1992
After issue 60 of EcoNews in May 1992 two copies of an A4 magazine entitled "Real World" were produced. This was launched by the new Green 2000 executive as an important plank of their strategy. The executive wanted to have more direct control over the party's newsletter.
However at the 1992 autumn conference AGM a motion was passed that the content and publication of a Party Newspaper should rest with an editorial board elected by, and accountable to, conference - this was intended to remove the newspaper from interference by the executive. The purpose would be to "inform members impartially of Party business and significant developments within the party, and to provide a forum for the networking of information, ideas and opinions between all levels and sections of the party."
11. Green World 1993-continues (since 2018 online only)
Writing introducing the first edition of Green World in February 1993, Janet Alty who was convenor of the editorial board described Real World as being a "magazine with feature articles targeted mainly at those with a university education, and less towards the communication needs of the Green Party"
She concluded "The Board hope the paper will be a mx of humour and ideas which members and supporters will find useful and stimulating". The sub-heading under the title Green World was "The Newspaper of the Green Party"
It was printed on A3 newspaper with green highlights on the front and back cover. Unusually the back cover was printed as two sideways A4 sheets allowing the whole newspaper to be folded in half giving an A4 appearance with two 'front" pages - and A3 one and an A4 one.
We have copies of issues 1-8 (Feb'93 to Nov'94) awaiting scanning - although it may be some time before these appear here as I priority for 2019 is to get as much material from the 1970s and 1980s available.
Green World has survived until the present (2023) day, although sadly now as an online publication. The 100th edition, published in 2018, was the last (for the moment) to appear in paper format.
You can read more on the history of Geen World here - an article written by Peter Barnett for the 75th issue
12 Green Activist redux 1996-2005, then online only till 2017
Relaunched initially as a members supplement to Green World, which was moving towards a more general outreach publication and less inclined to cover internal party issues. Around 2005 it went online only, and by 2017 when it was being produced by the Young Greens it petered out as social media had taken over as a more interactive medium.
Local & Regional Newsletters
In addition to the above nationally produced publication as the party grew both local and regional parties and groups became large enough to support their own newsletters. Regional newsletters were typically targeted at the membership, particularly were there were relatively isolated members far from any local party.
Local party newsletters were more often targeted at potential green voters as well as members and distributed as widely as possible within a ward or district in between elections.
We have a few examples which will appear in the document library in due course; many more are held in diverse archives.
The new LSE official Green Party Archive has a particularly good collection of local party material. Much of this being election related and collected by the redoubtable Chris Rose who was Election Agent for the national party for many years. It includes some national newsletters that are still missing here - and material right up to the 2000's.