We’re moving…

This blog was born out of a series of misunderstandings in the early stages of building for the Southend Radical Fair, held in May 2017, that led us to pulling out of organising the event. These led us to conclude we had to scrub the predecessor of this blog, the South Essex Heckler, which was closely associated with the early stages of building the fair and start anew with this blog. The problem was that alongside this, we also started two other blogs – The Estuary Alternative and On Uncertain Ground. All had their specific functions but to be honest, it was a bit messy and many people looking at our range of blogs were, quite rightly, left wondering exactly what we were about. Also, this blog had been straying from it’s original remit, thereby adding to the confusion.

The Estuary Alternative and On Uncertain Ground blogs have been deleted. This blog is being terminated after this post and will remain online as an archive. As a number of people have linked to or re-blogged material from this blog, it would be a bit rude of us to delete it!

We’re starting a new blog with a class struggle anarchist / community activist perspective which in tandem with the South Essex Working Class Action Facebook page and Twitter feed, is a considerably more straightforward proposition. This is the new blog:

The Heckler – https://thehecklersewca.wordpress.com/

Yes, we’re bringing the Heckler name back! Hopefully, it’s onwards and upwards from this point…


There’s a solution to this issue…

Over the decades, various brownfield parts of Thurrock have been attractive to off road scrambler and more recently, quad bikers. It could be argued that it’s part of the culture of the region. The latest manifestation of this in the area we cover is happening in Stanford le Hope: Biker menaces top of the agenda at Stanford-le-Hope street surgery. This report is about a ‘street surgery’ attended by the Essex plod plus the two local Tory councillors (Cllr. Hebb and Cllr. Piccolo) and the local Tory MP, Stephen Metcalfe.

The two of us who make up the editorial team for the Stirrer live in Stanford-le-Hope and can confirm that yes, the quad and scrambler bikers can sometimes be a nuisance. We can also confirm that this is not a new issue round here by any stretch of the imagination. Back in the 1980s and 90s, a walk along the path across Stanford Warren or down on the seawall would frequently be punctuated by us having to stand aside to let a scrambler biker go past with us getting smothered in dust if they didn’t slow down enough!

The quad and scrambler biker presence around Stanford-le-Hope has been getting more noticeable since the middle of 2015. It’s no coincidence that this has happened since the one facility catering for quad and scrambler bikers in the region, Action Park was closed down by Basildon Council. The operators of Action Park are working behind the scenes to try and get the facility up and running again. Being north of the great divide in Basildon known as the A127 and up against the edge of the greener, leafier Tory voting areas, we’re not sure how much luck Action Park will have in their endeavours.

Why are we as radical anarchists interested in this issue? Because this shows what a combination of a lack of joined up thinking and obstructive planning can do in creating a problem. It’s part of human nature to want to take a few risks and have some fun in the process. That’s why some people get on quad and scrambler bikes and ride them off road to test their skills and endurance. What gets us is that there was a facility for this to take place that has now been closed down, thereby creating the issue there is at the moment. Perhaps Messrs Hebb, Piccolo and Metcalfe could have a quiet word with their mates in the Tory Mafia over in Basildon to suggest they support the re-opening of Action Park and see if that resolves the issue.

What will not work is hassling the quad and scramble bikers away from one area because as sure as night follows day, they will find another location to ride off road. If Action Park is not permitted to get up and running, then with a bit of imagination and flexibility, some kind of informal, ‘at your own risk’ arrangement on the still numerous brown field sites that are scattered across the region could be reached.

A suggestion:)

Below are a couple of memes we’ve created in the hope of encouraging some resistance to the wave of social cleansing in the name of ‘regeneration’ across London. Click the link below the image for an A4 PDF of each one. Please feel free to use, share and ideally, implement:)

Broadwater Farm version

Carpenters Estate version

‘Regeneration’ threatens the future of martial arts club

We noticed this story in the Thurrock Gazette with some alarm: 1,000 sign to save martial arts. The Martial Academy based in the old fire station in Civic Square in Tilbury specialises in teaching martial arts and fitness classes and also ensures that disabled and vulnerable people of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to take part in a range of health, wellbeing, and sporting activities. It’s the kind of volunteer run charity that plays a vital role in ensuring community well being and is effectively plugging the gap left by years of austerity that have left social services from local authorities in tatters.

Yet despite all of this, Thurrock Council in their arrogance have informed the Martial Academy that they intend to demolish the current venue but as yet, have made no steps to offer them alternative accommodation. You would have thought that a charity providing a vital service to a local community would receive considerably more in the way of support and encouragement from the council – sadly, that does not appear to be the case.

The good news is that the people of Tilbury are not taking this lying down and are ding what they can to persuade Thurrock Council to ensure that the Martial Academy has a future. A petition that has already gathered over 1000 signatures has been launched – it can be signed here.

Resident direct action getting the job done on Vange Hill

Yet again, local residents facilitated by the Vange Hill Community Group are getting the job done where the authorities have failed. In this case, it was one of those corner plots on the Vange Hill estate in Basildon that was getting the attention. Corner plots designed into the estate with the best of intentions back in the day when there were the resources to maintain them. Corner plots that for years, have been neglected through a combination of the impact of austerity and the incompetence of the authorities. Corner plots where the shrubs have been allowed to grow out and obstruct the path while acquiring a layer of litter (and more dubious items) that never gets cleared because it’s impossible to reach.

Well, that all changed yesterday (Tuesday 19th June) when residents at the foot of Dewsgreen got to work cutting back and trimming shrubs and trees, and clearing a pretty disgusting smelling accumulation of rubbish from underneath them. This is just a start – more work is scheduled to enhance this plot and make it attractive to look at. Something that will boost morale on an estate that has more than its fair share of issues to deal with. What was also pointed out by the volunteers from the Vange Hill Community Group was the role these work parties pay in getting people out of their homes, talking to each other while working together to make their estate a better place to live.

On this day in 1984

From the Working Class History Facebook page

On this day, 18 June 1984, the battle of Orgreave took place when striking miners faced off against thousands of police as they attempted to blockade the Orgreave coking plant. The police showed the lengths they would go to to break the strike, with violent attacks, mass arrests and deliberate but fortunately unsuccessful attempts to fabricate evidence and frame miners. And the BBC reversed footage of miners defending themselves from police attacks to try to pretend police were attacked first. This is a pamphlet about media lies about the miners, written by a striking anarchist miner. If you want to support our work researching and promoting people’s history, please back us on Patreon.