The Leveller

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For other uses, see Levellers (disambiguation).
The Leveller
The Leveller, August 1979
Type Monthly (ceased publication)
news magazine
Format Magazine
Owner(s) The Leveller Collective (dissolved)
Founded 1976
Political alignment Libertarian, leftist, marxist, socialist, feminist, anarchist collective
Ceased publication 1982
Headquarters London, England
Free online archives

The Leveller was a British political magazine, 1976 to 1982, collectively produced by a shifting coalition of radicals, socialists, marxists, feminists, and others of the British left and progressive movements. It was published during the years of the Labour government of James Callaghan and the beginning of the era of the Conservative administration of Margaret Thatcher. This period was also noted for punk rock, Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League.

The Leveller was involved in a well-recorded contempt of court case in 1979, which concerned identifying Colonel B, an unnamed witness who had previously testified in a case involving British intelligence and whose name the magazine published in its January and March 1978 issues. Convictions under the Official Secrets Act 1911 were quashed on appeal to the House of Lords.[1][2]

A statement frequently appearing in the magazine, which for most of its life appeared monthly, described it as "An independent monthly socialist magazine produced by the Leveller Collective. Owned by its Supporting Subscribers through the Leveller Magazine Ltd, a society whose AGM controls the magazine."

Members, who met for collective meetings initially in the Euston and Kings Cross areas of north London, and later in Brixton, included: Roger Andersen, Nick Anning, Julia Bard, Imogen Bloor, Dave Clark, Andy Curry, Brian Deer, Tim Gopsill, Cheryl Hicks, Terry Ilott, Phil Kelly, HO Nazareth, Mike Prest, Jane Root, Rose Shapiro, Russell Southwood, Dave Taylor, Adam Thompson, John Verner, Ian Walker. Steve Bell, the cartoonist, was a contributor.

A report on an annual general meeting of 21 July 1979, published in the September issue of that year, stated: "Differences within the collective - for which we had hoped to look to the meeting for answers - remained unresolved. The basic difference is over the impact that writing personally about politics should have on the news, political analysis, and so on, that we print. The collective is still discussing it."[citation needed] That year a company, Leveller Magazine (1979) Limited, had been incorporated on 25 May 1979 to operate the magazine.[3]

After the magazine ceased publication a few of the collective members formed Leveller Graphics, which was a community printshop offering typesetting and design. In a highly principled and admirable gesture, Leveller Graphics put some of its income towards paying off the debts of the magazine, including payments to printers.


The Leveller was noted on the British left for an eclectic design and visual style, particularly in its cover stories, representing the values and decisions of an open collective, rather than those of traditionally-designated editors, copy editors and writers and reporters. Cover stories during the magazine's life included:[4]

  • Pilot issue (February 1976) Insurgency And The British State
  • No 1 (November 1976) The rise of the ultra-right
  • No 2 (December 1976) Cuts, Capital and the crisis
  • No 3 (January 1977) Fingering a spook - the CIA in Britain
  • No 4 (March 1977) The Dirty Books business
  • No 5 (April/May 1977) NUSS The classroom revolt
  • No 6 (June 1978) Ex-SAS torturer speaks out
  • No 7 (July/August 1978) Music for socialism
  • No 8 (October 1977) The politics of contraception
  • No 12 (Feb 1978) Killer watts (nuclear power)
  • No 19 (October 1978) The Music Biz - Rock and Sexuality
  • No 20 (November 1978) Had a Lovely Time in China
  • No 22 (January 1979) Gays Coming Out
  • No 21 (Dec 1978) First World War latest
  • No 23 (February 1979) The Family - A Pack of Lives
  • No 24 (March 1979) Crifif, Crifif, Whar fuckin' Crifif (economy)
  • No 25 (April 1979) Rape
  • No 26 (May 1979) The People's Choice (general election)
  • No 27 (June 1979) Under New Management (workers' control)
  • No 29 (August 1979) Spoil Sports... Women in Rock
  • No 30 (September 1979) Men in Women's Clothes?
  • No 35 (Feb 1980) Bringing it all back home (Northern Ireland)
  • No 40 (October 1980) Start-rong - Learnin' kids to conform


  1. ^ lawindexpro - Case Law Attorney General v Leveller Magazine Ltd & Ors, 1 February 1979
  2. ^ "Hanna & Dodd: McNae's Essential Law for Journalists 21e - Chapter 14 (summary)". Oxford University Press. 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Leveller Magazine (1979) Limited". DueDil. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Spirit of Revolt Archive (John Cooper Collection). "The Leveller". Glasgow: Retrieved 25 July 2015.