When we were involved in the initial stages of setting up the Southend Radical Fair last year, one of our aims was to encourage other groups and people to set up radical blogs and papers. While the fair certainly did help in the process of bringing a variety of groups together, as yet, no new radical blogs or papers have emerged.
Since the fair, we have re-configured our blogs (see the links in the side bar) so each one has a fairly specific purpose. The South Essex Stirrer does what it says on the tin – it stirs things up from a class struggle / community activist perspective. The Estuary Alternative also does what it says on the tin – it promotes grassroots projects aimed at building a new world in the decaying shell of the one we currently endure. Then there’s this blog, On Uncertain Ground which as the title suggests, is us thinking out loud on a range of issues. Sometimes, as was the case with a few posts we put up on gender identity, we stray from uncertain ground into a minefield and have to beat a retreat back to a place where we’re a bit surer of what we’re dealing with!
While some observers may see these three blogs and the associated papers covering all possible angles when it comes to radicalism in Essex, we don’t see it that way at all. We’re not empire builders and we would be more than happy to see other blogs (and even papers) springing up across the region we cover. In fact, the ultimate aim is to make our blogs redundant as they’re replaced with a range of more localised and specialised ones carrying a radical and progressive message. The blogs and papers we produce are not an end in themselves – they’re a means to an end which is building a movement for radical change.
As we’ve stated before, our politics are class struggle politics underpinned by a base in community activism with some green and animal rights issues thrown in for good measure. That’s more than enough to be getting on with! At the moment, there are issues we do not cover. One is gender identity which is generating rows that in our view are having a toxic and divisive impact on our movement. Our brief foray into attempting to cover the issues caused by these divisions led to our fingers getting burnt, hence our withdrawal from the fray. However, if anyone in Essex feels that they want to blog about the politics of gender identity (to add to what Transpire are already doing with their blog), please feel free to do so…
To conclude, our blogs and papers coming under the collective umbrella of South Essex Media are a means to an end and a stop gap. If we’re still blogging on the same three platforms and bringing out the same two papers in five years time, we’ll have failed in our aim of encouraging other radical blogs and papers to spring up across the county. If you want to set up a blog and possibly a paper promoting your vision, feel free to get on with it. As far as we’re concerned, the more there are, the merrier it will be!