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Inventory of the Records of The Body Politic & Pink Triangle Press
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Page 9 / Inventory Series 1
Policies, planning and budgetting

This series encompasses the business of The Body Politic Collective as a central policy- making and planning body.

Membership in the collective was by invitation, usually made after a person had been involved for some time as a volunteer. The size of the group changed, shrinking at times to as few as five or six people and once briefly, in the summer of 1983, rising to as many as 24. [1] A list of everyone who ever served on the collective, and when, appears in Appendix 2.

There was no formal hierarchy within the collective, apart from rotating appointment of "coordinators" early on and "collective secretaries" much later. But there were legitimate suspicions of informal power: a group of members who lived together were dubbed "the Kitchen Collective" and later, once some members were paid, there were grumblings about the "Staff Collective." There were endless debates (and memos) about the collective's role as it changed over time.

The collective often dealt with details of office procedure, business administration and editorial concerns, especially in the early years. [2] This creates substantial overlap in material between this series and many of the ones that follow, especially Series 2 (Business and office administration).

With the evolution of staff and of editorial and administrative working groups, however, the collective was able to spend more of its time on general policy- setting and planning. For most of its history it met weekly (Monday nights at 8:00), though less often by the early '80s. In my time (after mid-1977), most decisions were made by consensus, with votes taken only to break deadlocks. But some minutes from the earlier '70s show elaborately formal series of motions and votes.

Many of the papers here reflect significant moments in the history of the collective, TBP and the Press, especially regarding advertising policy, internal structure and publishing goals. For instance:

From Nov 1982 though May 1987, many of these developments were reported to regular donors who made up The Body Politic Sustainer Group. The quarterly Sustainer Letter (a full set of which was received by the Archives after the 1988 Inventory was finished) is included in this series as a concise source for the internal workings of TBP and the Press in this period.

The Body Politic Collective survived even The Body Politic itself, formally disbanding only in Dec 1987. Collective egalitarianism had gone before that, with the appointment in Sep 1986 of Ken Popert as publisher, charged with saving the Press from collapse. Which he did.

83-010 / 01
The Body Politic Collective. Minutes, 1973-1981.

87-004 / 01
The Body Politic Collective. Minutes, 1981-1985.

88-004 / 12
The Body Politic Collective. Minutes, 1985-1987.

84-024 / 02
Collective Sounding, 1980.

87-011 / 01
The Body Politic Collective. Minutes and memos, 1986-1987. (Files collected by Gerald Hannon.)

84-024 / 01
The Body Politic Collective. Internal memoranda ("Collective Attention"), 1983.

88-004 / 13
The Body Politic Collective. Internal memoranda, 1984.

87-004 / 16
The Body Politic Collective. Hart House Farm retreat, Jun 1984.

88-004 / 14
The Body Politic Collective. Diversification planning memos (binder), 1983-1984.

87-004 / 01
Diversification Implementation Committee. Minutes and memos, 1983-1984.

87-004 / 02
Monitor. Minutes, 19 Jun 1984 - 31 Jul 1985.

83-010 / 12
Advertising policy discussion, 1976.

87-004 / 02
"Houseboy" classified advertising controversy (from Jan 1985). Internal memos (complete). [3]

83-009 / 02
Budget preparation papers, Apr 1979 - Mar 1982; General journal, 1981.

84-024 / 02
Budget and Planning Committee. Minutes, 1980-1981.

85-007 / 01
Budget preparation papers, 1982.

85-007 / 02
Budget preparation papers, 1984.

85-007 / 03
Financial statements, 1984 (computer printout).

88-004 / 01
Pink Triangle Press. Financial statements, 31 Dec 1986.

88-004 / 12
"PTP Crisis, 1987." Minutes, memos and financial papers related to restructuring, Jun - Nov 1987.

Accessions not listed in the 1988 Inventory
88-023 / 01
Memos and correspondence related to publication of Tom Waugh's 1983-1984 articles on the photo and film collections of the Kinsey Institute. [4]

89-075 / 02
The Body Politic Sustainer Group. Sustainer Letter, # 1 (Nov 1982) - # 16 (May 1987).

  1. See a report on this sudden (and short-lived) expansion of the collective in the Aug 1983 issue of the Sustainer Letter.
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  2. For some early attempts to rationalize collective procedures, see: "Editorial page," TBP # 4 (May / Jun 1972), p 2; and "Changes" (editorial), TBP # 9 (mid-1973), p 2.
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  3. For published material on this major battle over issues of race and sexuality, see: "31 words," TBP # 113 (Apr 1985), pp 29-32, 45.
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  4. See "A heritage of pornography," TBP # 90 (Jan 1983), pp 29-33; and "Photography passion & power," TBP # 101 (Mar 1984), pp 29-33. Files here record debates on whether to publish the second article, an act which our lawyers (whose opinions are included) said would bring an obscenity charge. The article as published was redesigned on legal advice (an earlier draft design is on file here), and an alternate feature was on-hand in anticipation of trouble with our printer (which came: they complained but did print the issue). In the end, no charge was laid. But this is the only instance of the collective planning to be charged for something it published.

    The very existence of this accession speaks to that plan. It contains files from across the operation -- collective memos, "Midmag" editorial group minutes, even fundraising correspondence (Tom was a sustainer donor) -- that might have implicated specific people in the decision to run the article. Clearly, all this potentially incriminating material was being pulled together in one place -- for easy removal from the office. In both the "Men loving boys loving men" and "Lust with a very proper stranger" cases, charges had been dropped against individuals for lack of evidence that they had been personally responsible for publication.
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