As we’ve written previously, 2018 has the potential to be a volatile and unpredictable year where we will have to be on our mettle: Looking back and looking forwards – https://onuncertainground.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/looking-back-and-looking-forwards/ We’re writing this piece in the spirit of openness so people can know what to expect from us over the coming year. It covers who we ally ourselves and network with. It also covers what we do in a bid to try and try to get people to have more realistic expectations of what we can offer.
ALLIANCES AND NETWORKS
We’re not empire builders but we do want to work with other groups on an ad-hoc basis in an informal, flexible network, linking up and supporting each other as and when required. When we work with a group, we’re not expecting ideological purity or an exact match with our beliefs – if we did apply these criteria, life would get very lonely indeed! Obviously when we work with a local community group, we do undertake a check first to make sure there are no racist / reactionary elements lurking within.
When it comes to political groups and organisations, we’re happy to work with them on an ad-hoc basis on issues of mutual concern. Which is why we’ve found ourselves out on the streets with the likes of Focus E15 whose work is facilitated by the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG). Focus E15 are a housing activist group – with our alliance with Basildon & Southend Housing Action, we’re also housing activists – why shouldn’t we work with the likes of Focus E15 when there are areas of mutual concern?
With the anarchist movement in a state of flux after the fallout from events at the London Anarchist Bookfair (28th October, 2017), we’re taking a bit of a step back when it comes to our engagement with it. This is down to us not wanting to get dragged into the debate around the issues of gender and identity politics that informed the tensions at the bookfair. Given the areas of activity we engage in and our lived experience, we don’t have a detailed understanding of the issues of gender and identity politics behind the tensions and as such, feel it’s not our place to comment upon them.
Obviously we extend our solidarity to those comrades who feel threatened because of their identity and sincerely hope that the movement will reach a point where people no longer have to hide who they really feel they are because they fear being on the receiving end of repressive behaviour. We’re aware of forthcoming discussions aimed at trying to find a way forwards for anarchism in London after recent events – we hope that all involved succeed in this aim.
Needless to say, whenever possible, we will still be out with our comrades from Class War… As things stand at the moment, they’re about the only anarchist group in London actually out on the streets doing actions in their usual irreverent, theatrical style and it would be rude of us to not support them when we have the chance to do so:)
Having said this, we expect to be out and about in 2018 with groups and organisations who are not from the anarchist tradition such as the RCG, the United Voices of the World Union and the like… We’re not making any apologies for this – as one of our number comes from an anti-imperialist, communist tradition, why shouldn’t they continue to express this as a component of their politics, particularly as imperialism is still a major issue in the global imbalance of power?
WHAT WE DO AND WHAT WE CAN (AND CAN’T) DO
South Essex Radical Media, as you can tell from the title, is primarily a propaganda group. A key part of our propaganda is about encouraging people to act collectively to start to bring about radical change. It’s also about encouraging the formation of a network of grassroots groups who will work together as and when required and are willing to learn from each others experiences and exchange ideas and skills.
We work closely with Basildon & Southend Housing Action (BASHA) who are community and housing activists. They see their role as holding the council to account and encouraging residents and tenants to start collectively taking action to improve conditions on their estates. BASHA see their role with tenants and residents as facilitators and they’ll willingly provide whatever support is needed to help a group get off the ground – we take an active part in that when a propaganda aspect is needed. What BASHA and we will not do is hold the hands of a group forever – we want to empower people to collectively act for themselves, not to become a client group of ours because we simply don’t do client groups!
We refer you to this piece we wrote recently which we hope will make things clear: It’s down to us but most importantly, it’s down to YOU! – https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/its-down-to-us-but-most-importantly-its-down-to-you/
OPENING UP OUR PROJECT
At the moment, we write the majority of the content that goes up on our blogs. That’s not an ideal situation as we really would like all of our blogs (and any papers we produce) to be collaborative projects. Ideally, we’d only be writing around twenty to thirty percent of the content and editing the rest written by people who support our vision for bringing about radical change from the grassroots upwards.
As we’ve mentioned previously, we’re into networking and alliance building as a strategy for building a movement that can bring about meaningful change. A key part of building that is having blogs (and papers) which reflect the strength and diversity of these networks and alliances so, please start sending in your reports, thoughts and musings and let’s open things up!
This also applies to distribution of our papers which currently is a right pain to undertake. On the basis that many hands make light work, any help with distribution will be greatly appreciated: Stirrer No.4 off to the printer – https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/12/26/stirrer-no-4-off-to-the-printer/