Everyone knows about The Big Issue, and the importance of its existence for London’s homeless people. But recently, you may have seen another publication being sold on the streets of London. Its name is DOPE Magazine and it’s being described by some as the ‘anarchist Big Issue’. Craig Clark from DOPE’s publisher, Dog Section Press, tells us more.
We started DOPE just over two years ago. It’s a quarterly publication in a newspaper format, which is pretty much a journal of radical art and politics. It features various perspectives, from anarchists like Ruth Kinna and Carne Ross, to more mainstream radical voices such as Benjamin Zephaniah and Jason Williamson from Sleaford Mods. We try to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible, so it also features a lot of artists, including people like Paul Insect, Stanley Donwood and Gee Vaucher.
“We started handing out copies to local homeless people to sell, as a bit of an experiment”
Our office is situated above Freedom Books in Whitechapel, London, where homelessness is shockingly visible. We started handing out copies to local homeless people to sell, as a bit of an experiment. We knew it was possible, because there’s an odd quirk of law (which goes back to the English Civil War) that means you don’t need a license to sell a newspaper in a public place. We wanted to get our newspaper out to as many people as possible, and we thought this was a nice way to practice mutual aid. We like to say that it’s solidarity, not charity.