Open Road, an ‘anarchist news journal’ published out of Vancouver, was in a class all it’s own.
While I had heard of Open Road, I actually only first got my hands on a copy around 1984 or so, when issue No. 8 of the aforementioned Resistance magazine came in the mail, wrapped inside Issue No. 17 of Open Road!
While I have put up one or two issues of Open Road on the ISSUU and SCRIBD sites, just recently all 25 issues of Open Road were uploaded to the web!
Just a fantastic left-radical resource that bears repeated visits … so very happy that this is all online, and very happy to have been able to provide a few OR issues for this essential archive!
Here is a recently written look back at the zine (from the Open Road Website):
“…the origins of Open Road offer us a pathway in to the politically transformative years of the 1970s, and beyond. In an immediate sense, the existence of the paper can draw our attention towards a global shift that took place within political and cultural character of the New Left. Like other activists at the time, the Open Road collective was deeply motivated by the New Left’s militancy and its emphasis on community organizing, anti-capitalism, and anti-imperialism, as well as its quest for social and personal liberation. Nevertheless, as Spanner notes, the political and cultural influence of Marxism-Leninism was also limiting for some activists. As a result, these radicals turned to anarchism as an alternate form of revolutionary socialism. In this search, anarchists in the 1970s were part of a much older pattern of leftist organizing that had sought to develop alternatives to state socialism since the 19th century.
In Vancouver, as in many other places, these political and cultural motivations produced a resurging pattern of anarchist activism beginning in the 1960s and 1970s. Locally, the publishing of Open Road helped to catalyze the promotion of new anarchist projects, including reading groups, agitprop initiatives, periodicals, and collectives that sought to bring anarchist politics into direct conversation with the broader radical traditions of the time. But these transformations were also global. If you turn to the pages of Open Road, you will see the geographical diversity of this resurgence in the form of published letters that were sent to the collective from anarchists around the world. In this sense, anarchist politics contributed significantly to the transformation of social movement activism in the decades after the 1960s, both in Vancouver and elsewhere.
This history is particularly relevant because of the strong connections that continue to link the post-1960s and the present. In the span of time between then and now, anarchist politics, culture, and activism have gone through many changes. Nevertheless, if you were to flip through the pages of Open Road you would find a diverse body of opinion on great number of familiar topics: indigenous struggles, gender and sexuality, anti-militarism, technology and the surveillance state, feminism, armed struggle, the politics of organization, environmental activism, workplace struggles and the labour movement, anti-imperialism, popular culture, prison abolition, and many other issues. The interpretation of these issues might seem deeply familiar. They might also seem different in ways that are inspiring, perplexing, infuriating, or downright disturbing. But regardless of whether we see in Open Road continuities with who we are now, or confirmations of what we are not, the very act of exploring will hopefully provide a sense of perspective to those of us who find value in understanding our own identities in relation to those who came before us.” — Eryk Martin, May 2015