Cockroach Zine: DIY feminist publishing

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On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, Scott Neigh speaks with Meg Crane. She is a freelance writer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and she publishes a grassroots ecofeminist publication called Cockroach Zine.

When Crane was younger, she was someone who cared a lot about the suffering in the world but she felt powerless to do anything about it. Then, at a pivotal moment in her teens, she realized that you didn't need to be someone richer, or someone older, or someone more important to take action -- you, whoever you happened to be, could act, could make a difference in people's lives.

Also in her teen years, Crane read a lot of feminist publications, but none of them were quite what she wanted. Many of them came from the United States, and she also found many of them pretty depressing. What she really wanted was a publication local enough to touch on the issues most relevant to her, and one that took a more uplifting kind of tone.

In 2011, she started the Creative Communications program at Red River College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and in the second year of that program part of the curriculum was to do a major independent project. She realized this was her opportunity to create the Canadian feminist publication that she felt was lacking. She called it Cockroach Zine.

All along, Cockroach Zine has been not just feminist but -- reflecting Crane's passion for environmental issues as well as feminist issues -- it has been ecofeminist. For Crane, an important element of feminism is the idea of justice for all people, and the importance of a sort of caring for all people. Similarly, her environmentalism is about extending justice and care to the rest of the planet. So the two naturally blend together in her understanding of the world.

Crane enjoyed the process of making that first issue, and it felt useful and empowering. Four and half years later, she hasn't stopped. It comes out six times a year and publishes submissions from people across Canada. She circulates it in on-the-ground ways mostly in Winnipeg, but she has slowly been building up a subscription base among feminists not just across Canada but also in the U.S. At the beginning, it had more of a journalistic focus, but now much of what you can find in Cockroach Zine is things like personal essays about important feminist and environmental issues, related creative content like art and poetry, and also guides for do-it-yourself making of things like food and crafts. Along with its core ecofeminist commitment, Crane takes an approach to the zine that tries to be intersectional and sex-positive, and she works to ensure that the voices and issues of concern to queer, trans, and racialized people are present.

Crane talks with me about the trajectory of Cockroach Zine, the work of publishing it, and the politics informing it.

To learn more about Cockroach Zine, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show check out its website here. You can also follow us on FaceBook or Twitter, or contact [email protected] to join our weekly email update list.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Hamilton (formerly Sudbury), Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

The image that was modified for use in this post is from the Twitter feed of Cockroach Zine.

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