A few of us went along to the Southend Radical Fair that took place on Saturday May 6th at The Railway in Clifftown Road. To be honest, we weren’t quite sure what to expect but when we turned up, we were greeted with the welcome sight of a busy, buzzing event with plenty of deep conversations and networking taking place. The stallholders were a fairly eclectic mix ranging from greens, community gardeners and vegans through to groups dealing with gender issues and some funky ‘zine makers.
Basically, the kind of groups who want to start making a difference in the here and now – in other words, starting to build a new world in the decaying, fractured shell of the one we currently endure. In all honesty, a bit of a contrast to the more class struggle focused, combative, stroppy attitude that we have here at the Stirrer! Which is fine because it takes all sorts to build a movement for change and all of us have a role to play. Being together under one roof for a few hours gave us a chance to learn from each others experiences and perspectives. What was refreshing was the open minded attitude of the participants to new ways of looking at things which may explain why a fair few copies of the Stirrer were shifted and all the Class War papers we had sold out!
We’re not quite sure what will come out of this event but we hope it will lead to a responsive and flexible network where groups and individuals get together to participate in actions or work together on projects as and when the need arises. What we don’t want is a formal alliance with all the bureaucracy that goes with it. What we would love to see is a flexible, nimble and ad hoc network that has the capability of being greater than the sum of its parts.
Lastly, but by no means least, we’d like to offer our heartfelt thanks to all of those who took over the reins when the fair hit a few bumps in the road in the middle of the process of building it. In particular, we’d like to thank Kamil of Southend In Transition – https://www.facebook.com/SiTcommunityAllotment/ – for his organisational skills that kept the show on the road. Some valuable lessons have been learned in the process and we hope this is the start of something positive in south east Essex…