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New Hogtown Press
New Hogtown Press was a Canadian left-wing publisher active during the 1970s and 1980s.
The press originated as the literature service of the Canadian Union of Students (CUS), producing and distributing pamphlets on education, Canadian political economy, and other issues during the late 1960s. When the Canadian Union of Students dissolved in 1969, a group of Toronto CUS activists decided that the literature service should be kept going as an independent organization. They formed Hogtown Press, continued distributing the CUS pamphlets, and began producing and distributing new titles as well.
After a period of time, the original collective moved on, and in 1972 a new group, initially funded by the University of Toronto Students’ Administrative Council, took over the operation. The new collective shifted the project’s focus away from the campus to a broader range of issues, and changed the name to New Hogtown Press. Subsequently the press became an independent non-profit corporation. The all-volunteer collective began to publish a substantial number of new pamphlets, with particular emphasis on Canadian working class and radical history, women’s liberation, and social history.
In its Spring-Summer 1974 Catalogue, Hogtown defined its goals by stating that “We hope to distribute an increasing amount of working class material and writing from the Canadian Left in general. Our aim is to promote a comprehensive selection of literature dealing with critical issues in Canadian society from a socialist perspective.”
New Hogtown Press also became a distributor for pamphlets produced by a broad range of other small left-wing publishers and collectives, such as Dumont Press Graphix, This Magazine is About Schools, Toronto Committee for the Liberation of Portugal’s African Colonies (TCLPAC), Latin American Working Group, Development Education Centre (DEC), Better Read Graphics, NC Press, Women’s Press, Exploding Myths Comic Book Collective, Pollution Probe, Peoples Press, New England Free Press, Black and Red, the New Tendency, Wages for Housework, Industrial Worker, New Star Books, Socialist Reproduction, and Press Gang Publishers.
In 1975, Hogtown started to publish books as well as pamphlets. The first title off the press was Jesse Lemisch’s On Active Service in War and Peace, which documented the way in which the American historical profession had put itself in the service of American state and corporate power.
Subsequent titles included The Great War and Canadian Society, Imperialism, Nationalism, and Canada, and Eight Men Speak.
Members of the collective during its period of peak activity included Richard Wright, Joel Lexchin, Russell Hann, Gregory Kealey, Thom Schofield, Craig Heron, Krys Dobrowolski, Ulli Diemer, Elaine Farragher, Lori Rotenberg, Daphne Read, Miriam Ticoll, Karolyn Kendrick, and Gus Richardson.
An ongoing challenge for Hogtown was that of setting publishing and political priorities. Some members were primarily interested in academically oriented manuscripts, especially in the fields of Canadian labour history, women’s history, and social history. These were publications which would typically take several years to move from their date of conception to their publication date.
Other collective members, who saw the primary mandate of Hogtown as popular education, were more concerned with publishing popularly oriented materials which dealt with current issues and which could be written, published, and distributed quickly in response to changing circumstances.
From a business point of view, neither kind of title could be counted on to generate reliable revenue flows, so throughout its existence, Hogtown struggled with the financial challenges of operating a socialist enterprise in a capitalist system, attempting to carry out a professional publishing program on an all-volunteer or almost all-volunteer basis. The press nevertheless produced a substantial list of titles through the years of its existence, and for a time was a major distributor of left-wing materials in English Canada. A possible indicator of its perceived importance in the eyes of the powers-that-be was the fact that on at least two occasions in the early 1970s, break-ins in which nothing of apparent value was stolen occurred at the premises occupied by Hogtown.
After two decades of operation, New Hogtown Press gradually wound down its publishing program around 1990, although previously published titles continued to be available for a number of years subsequently.
Pamphlets published by Hogtown Press and New Hogtown Press (partial list)
Margaret Benston: The Political Economy of Women’s Liberation. (1970)
Books published by New Hogtown Press
Jesse Lemisch: On Active Service in War and Peace: Politics and Ideology in the American Historical Profession. (1975)
Catalogues published by New Hogtown Press:
Diemer, Ulli: New Hogtown Press: After Retrenchment, a Few Steps Forward. The Varsity, October 31, 1975.
Aussi disponible en français: New Hogtown Press.
Related topics in the Connexions Subject Index
Book Publishing –
Canadian Books –
Canadian History –
Canadian Studies –
Labour History –
Left History –
Organizations & Movements founded 1950 1979 –
Publishing Industry in Canada –
Social Change –
Women’s History –
Book Publishing – Canadian Books – Canadian History – Canadian Studies – History – Labour History – Left History – Organizations & Movements founded 1950 1979 – Publishers – Publishing – Publishing Industry in Canada – Social Change – Women’s History – Workers’ History
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