Downloadable publications

We’ve created a publications page on all three of our blogs where you can download printable PDFs of what we think are our more important pamphlets and documents.

Publications – South Essex Stirrer
Publications – On Uncertain Ground
Publications – The Estuary Alternative

Below are details of the three publications that we have put up so far on this blog. Obviously as this project develops, what pamphlets and documents go up depends on the purpose of and audience for each of the blogs we run. Eventually there will be a divergence as what may be of interest to readers of On Uncertain Ground will not be relevant to readers of The Estuary Alternative and vice versa.

A better future for the 3/4 estate in Vange
This was the final presentation we produced at the end of the Creating A Positive Revolution In Southend course facilitated by Graham Burnett and Sherry Fuller. The presentation is a long term vision for the future of the 3/4 estate in Vange which is on the southern fringes of Basildon in Essex. Along with Basildon & Southend Housing Action, we’ve been facilitating the work of the Vange Hill Community Group in empowering residents to start making their estate a better place to live.

Building the base for radical change
This is an explanation our strategy of building a movement for change from the grassroots upwards in our neighbourhoods. While it refrains from any criticism of other strategies and tactics to achieve radical change, it argues the case that there has to be a strong base in our communities. This piece draws on our experiences of working alongside Basildon & Southend Housing Action and facilitating the work of the Vange Hill Community Group.

Is cultural identity fixed or does it change? | Intersectionality – some tentative thoughts
These two pieces are basically me thinking out loud on the issues of cultural identity and intersectionality. Constructive criticism and civilised debate on what I’ve written are more than welcome.

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We really don’t want to be the only radical media outfit in Essex

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!

It’s down to us but most importantly, it’s down to YOU!

The point of our project at South Essex Radical Media (SERM) with our publications, The South Essex Stirrer and The Estuary Alternative, and our alliance with Basildon & Southend Housing Action (BASHA) is simple – to inspire, encourage and support people to take action at the grassroots in order to bring about meaningful change.

SERM is basically about propaganda. It’s our job to report on what we see across the region we cover and, not just point out what’s wrong but to stir people up to start acting collectively to bring about change. BASHA are community and housing activists. As well as holding Basildon Council to account for their repeated failings, they aim to encourage residents and tenants on the estates to start taking collective action to bring about change.

This is why we and BASHA support and facilitate the work of groups such as the Vange Hill Community Group (VHCG) and help to facilitate actions such as this: Doing it for ourselves on the ¾ estate in Vangehttps://theestuaryalternative.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/doing-it-for-ourselves-on-the-3/4-estate-in-vange/ It’s not for us to tell VHCG what to do – their supporters live on the estate and know exactly what needs to be done! All we do is provide logistical support and some equipment on clean up days and help them to produce their propaganda. We hope that what VHCG do will act as an example to other estates and inspire people to start collectively taking action.

With The Estuary Alternative, the ultimate aim is to hand the project over to grassroots activists in the region while we move on to other initiatives. As stated in this piece: The future of this project…https://theestuaryalternative.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/the-future-of-this-project/ we don’t want to be lumbered with the job of finding content for it for ever and a day. The aim of The Estuary Alternative is to foster a greater degree of communication and co-operation between and among the range of grassroots groups operating in the region. That means that ultimately, it has to end up as a collective, collaborative project…

There are only a few of us and we have to be focused on what we can achieve with what are limited resources. Running The South Essex Stirrer and the On Uncertain Ground blogs (and the paper) takes up a lot of our time and energy which is why when we launch an initiative such as The Estuary Alternative, we really do want other grassroots activists to eventually take it off our hands!

It’s the same with BASHA, there are only a few of them and they want to focus on their roles of a) holding Basildon Council to account and b) facilitating and supporting grassroots groups and activists on the estates. They are not a back up service to be called upon when the roads haven’t been gritted or the rubbish hasn’t been collected. If residents and tenants want to act together to deal with issues like this, BASHA will happily support and facilitate them but they’re not going to do the bloody job for them!

We’ve had a fair few discussions about this dilemma that we’re facing and why people look to us to do stuff rather than them collectively doing it for themselves. There’s no single answer to this…

In the case of BASHA, on a growing number of estates, it’s a toxic cocktail of factors such as a general collapse of morale in the face of austerity plus demographic reasons such as the growing number of buy to let landlords and houses of multiple occupation leading to a constant churn in the population. Atomisation isn’t just a word bandied about by sociologists in academia – it’s the brutal reality we increasingly find on the estates.

With SERM, our biggest headache is getting other people to write for our blogs. We do get a few guest pieces for which we are incredibly grateful but we still have to do a lot of the legwork in terms of sourcing content. To broaden our reach we’re increasingly using re-blogs and cut and pasting media releases from groups we trust but it’s no substitute for having a rota of regular contributors. With all of our publications, we really want to open them up to as many individual groups and activists as possible to make them truly representative of what’s going on.

Drawing to a conclusion, it seems that we are up against the evils of demoralisation and atomisation on the estates and a worrying degree of complacency in a number of grassroots groups who seem happy to plod along doing the same old thing rather than reach out, link up and step up a gear. Going into what is looking to be a turbulent and unpredictable 2018, we’re going to need as much solidarity as can be mustered to deal with the onslaught that’s coming our way.

We don’t pretend to have the answers to this dilemma by any stretch of the imagination. We’re more than happy to listen to what other people have to say on the problems of demoralisation, atomisation and passivity and how they think they can be overcome. We admit that this piece can be seen as us venting some of our frustrations! Having said that, the intention is to foster a constructive discussion on how we can move forward and get ourselves into a position where we can deal with whatever 2018 throws at us…