Stirrer distribution completed

The distribution of the latest print edition of The Stirrer was completed in Southend today (14.11). Keen eyed readers of this blog may note that we got the latest batch delivered from the printer way back in the summer and may be wondering why it’s taken us so long to shift them. Let’s just say that life got in the way and that we’re only just about getting back on track now…

This is why we keep asking our network of supporters across the area we cover from Barking & Dagenham in the west to Southend in the east to step up to the plate and take a bundle to hand out to friends, neighbours and anyone else you know. Even if you can only take ten to twenty copies, multiply that ten times and that’s a quarter of our print run already distributed. Also, if you know of any venues that would be sympathetic to our politics and way of looking at local issues, let us know where they are and we’ll get a bundle over to them.

We’re starting to think about the next print edition of the Stirrer which will be coming out towards the latter part of January 2018. There are going to be a few changes in the content, layout and the way it’ll be distributed. The front page will be looking a lot snappier with more of an emphasis on imagery, leaving the wordage for the inside spread. We never rest on our laurels when it comes to our propaganda and everything we do is under constant review…

Regarding distribution, as stated above, we want to encourage our supporters to take small bundles of the paper and we’re on the lookout for friendly venues. The big change is that there will be a lot less in the way of door-to-door distribution and much more standing out on the high streets / in town squares handing the papers directly to the public. This takes a bit of planning as we want to make sure we have to numbers out on the day to a) create a bit of a buzz and b) for security in case any reactionary elements feel like having a go at us. We’d like to do this in Southend, Basildon and…Romford! If any of our supporters are up for joining us for a bit of high street action, let us know and we’ll take it from there…

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Getting on with it…

We don’t normally cross post from On Uncertain Ground but as a result of some of the criticism we’ve received since the London Anarchist Bookfair, we’ve got a few points to prove to certain people and would like to set the record straight…

One of the problems with anarchism are certain elements who are only too willing to criticise comrades involved in campaigns, grassroots community projects, actions and the like but who never seem to get out and do anything themselves. This post is a celebration of people and groups who just go out and get on with stuff – people and groups we’ll do our level best to support. Before we go any further, here’s a little warning… Some of those mentioned are not political in any way shape or form – they’re just local residents frustrated at the inaction of their local councils and who’ve decided to take matters into their own hands…

A couple of us volunteer as gardeners at the community run Hardie Park in Stanford-le-Hope – https://www.facebook.com/LoveHardiePark/ We remember what it was like back in 2007 and 2008 when we contested the Stanford East & Corringham Town ward…

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Here it is…

Now the London Anarchist Bookfair is over and having handed out all of the copies of the special bookfair edition we’d produced, here it is available as a downloadable PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/x5ixljqiomcwkx5/STIRRER_No_2.pdf?dl=0 We realise that not everyone is going to agree with our point of view…that’s okay… Constructive criticism and civilised debate are more than welcome:)

Reviewing our propaganda

This was how our propaganda looked when it was laid out on our stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 28th October. It was gratifying to hear praise from people for how neat the stall looked and the way our literature is designed and produced, however…

If we’re being brutally honest with ourselves, when we look at what we produce and who reads it, we still get the impression that a lot of the time, we’re preaching to the converted. Given the remit we and our comrades in Basildon & Southend Housing Action have set ourselves, preaching to the converted is NOT what we want to do! What we do want to do is reach the disenfranchised people on the estates who know they’ve been abandoned, are pissed off about it but at the moment, don’t know where to turn.

One thing we’re becoming acutely conscious of is the existence of the digital divide and the fact that many of the people we need to reach on the estates do not have, or cannot afford, a reliable internet connection. Therefore the only way we can reach them is via the tried and tested analogue method of flyers and newsletters. Punchy, eye catching flyers, papers and stickers that will grab people’s attention and inspire them to act. As stated previously, we’re an evolving project and if we’re honest, we’ve still got a way to go before we can produce the kind of propaganda that will grab the attention of the audience we need to reach and mobilise.

We think we’re getting to the point we want with the split in the blogs after the demise of the Heckler and the setting up of the Stirrer, The Estuary Alternative and On Uncertain Ground. Granted, we had to do a fair bit of explaining at the bookfair to people who knew us in our previous guise as the Heckler but they did understand our reasoning for doing it as each of these blogs is way more focused. However, we really would like more people to be contributing to all three of these blogs…

It’s the printed material we produce that needs to evolve to the point where it does the job it’s supposed to do which is mobilising people who feel they’ve been abandoned by the system to start fighting back. Which means more in the way of experimenting and trying out new ways of writing, designing, producing and distributing our material to see what does and doesn’t work. The one constraint is the cost of printing. We spent £50 for a stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair and it could be argued that we would have been better off turning up as punters and spending the money for the stall on printing the flyers and stickers we need to get our message across. Which is most likely what we’ll be doing next year…

What we always have to bear in mind that our propaganda is a means to an end – namely stirring people up to the point where they will start to take action. Supported by our producing material that will facilitate that. Which means that if we’re producing something that isn’t getting the results we want, it’ll get binned or substantially altered until it does start delivering results…nothing is sacred…

We’re going to be at the London Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 28th October

With our friends from Basildon & Southend Housing Action (BASHA), we’ll be jointly running a stall at this year’s London Anarchist Bookfair. The venue is Park View School, West Green Road, London, N15 3QR and the bookfair runs from 10am – 7pm.

This is a final call out for our friends and supporters to come along and have a chat with us about the work we’re doing out along the estuary. As we’ve stated previously, while we adhere to anarchist principles, for a variety of reasons stated in the special edition of the Stirrer we’ve produced for the bookfair, we find it hard to feel that we’re part of a broader anarchist movement. That may be down to the somewhat fractured nature of anarchist activism at the current time. We may be naïve but we hope that this year’s bookfair might see the first steps towards some degree of unity with more of an emphasis on class politics…

We recognise there are anarchists who do not share our analysis or approach…we don’t have a problem with that. Achieving radical change requires a variety of different approaches, depending on the circumstances prevailing. Despite our having a reputation of sometimes being a bit stroppy, we’re actually willing to listen to different viewpoints and learn from the experiences of others. We also welcome constructive criticism and reasonable debate as well. However, what we do not welcome is intellectual point scoring on the one hand and sneering abuse on the other – if that’s all you have to offer, please don’t bother coming over to our stall!

We’ll be at the London Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 28th October

With our friends from Basildon & Southend Housing Action (BASHA), we’ll be jointly running a stall at this year’s London Anarchist Bookfair. The venue is Park View School, West Green Road, London, N15 3QR and the bookfair runs from 10am – 7pm.

Why are we going? Firstly to talk to people about our community focused politics and actions, and the need to work from the grassroots upwards in our neighbourhoods if we’re serious about fundamental change. Secondly to boost the audience for all of the South Essex Radical Media blogs and publications, and hopefully get some donations to help with the cost of running and producing them:) Thirdly, to build alliances with any like-minded groups who share our approach and tactics in the project of building a movement for change. Finally, we also hope to be able to meet up with our supporters at the bookfair to plan and plot for the future…

We’re attending the bookfair because we try as much as we can to operate on anarchist principles. However, we can’t really say with our hands on our hearts that we really feel we’re part of the broader anarchist movement. That is partially down to our geographical isolation out on the Essex shore of the Thames estuary which means we can operate in a more flexible way if it means we get results and can build useful alliances.

Also, when we have been out on the streets during the course of this year, apart from a few outings with our friends from Class War, we’ve been out and about with a range of groups who don’t really see themselves as anarchists. United Voices of the World: Unions take note…this is how you take action!https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/unions-take-note-this-is-how-you-take-action/ and Focus E15: Marching from tower to towerhttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/marching-from-tower-to-tower/ are two of the groups we’ve been out with.

Basically, it’s showing solidarity with people who really are at the sharp end of what a dysfunctional society has to throw at them but who’ve no intention of taking it and fight back instead. In these circumstances, as far as we’re concerned, solidarity is considerably more important than ideological purity…

To conclude, the whole point of an anarchist bookfair is to have a space for constructive debate so we can all move forwards. We feel that a point has been reached where some serious soul searching is needed as to how we can make anarchism relevant to working class people…

We’re recruiting…

This is our tongue in cheek recruitment poster which we’ll be displaying on the joint South Essex Radical Media / Basildon & Southend Housing Action stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair which is taking place on Saturday 28th October – http://anarchistbookfair.org.uk/ Yes, we know that as anarchists, we’re not supposed to be into ‘recruitment’, however, needs must as there’s a lot happening along the estuary that needs dealing with and at the moment, we haven’t got enough people to deal with it! Also, as we’ve previously mentioned, it’s tongue in cheek and reflects the irreverent way we operate:)

Stirrer No.2 back from the printer

The second print edition of the Stirrer has come back from the printer – distribution will be starting soon. As we can only afford a limited print run, we’ve made this paper available as a downloadable PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/x5ixljqiomcwkx5/STIRRER_No_2.pdf?dl=0

As ever, any help with distribution will be appreciated. As the content of the paper is fairly generic and unlikely to date unless there are some seismic political and social shifts coming that we haven’t picked up on, distribution will be spread out over the couple of months or so. We will be keeping back a bundle for distribution at the London Anarchist Bookfair which is taking place on Saturday October 28th.

As per usual, if any of you want to take a bundle of papers to hand out to friends, neighbours, family or colleagues, get in touch and we’ll sort out a way of getting them to you. Also if you run or frequent a venue where you think the patrons would like to read the Stirrer, let us know where it is and we’ll bring a bundle along. As well as the above, we’re also planning some door-to-door distribution in selected areas and at some point, we’ll be handing them out on a high street – we’re just not sure which one yet!

As well as this edition of the Stirrer, we’ve also produced a special edition just for the London Anarchist Bookfair. However, as this is embargoed until the day of the bookfair, there’s no downloadable PDF available until after the event. Trust us, there are sound political reasons for this embargo which we’ll be more than happy to share with you at the bookfair…

Stirrer No.2 has gone to the printer

The second print edition of the Stirrer has been sent to our friends at Oxford GreenPrint for printing and will be getting distributed from the end of this month onwards. Given that we can only afford a very limited print run, we’ve made it available as a downloadable PDF from here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/x5ixljqiomcwkx5/STIRRER_No_2.pdf?dl=0

We’ve also produced a special edition of the Stirrer for distribution at the London Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday October 28th. As this paper tells a few home truths, it’s embargoed until the bookfair so sorry, no PDF for this one!

An explanation…

We’d like to apologise for the dearth of posts on this blog since the start of the month. This is down to us being busy, writing, laying out, reviewing and then scrapping and starting all over again the process of producing the next Stirrer paper. It’s not been an easy process in any way, shape or form!

Part of that is down to the fact that there’s so much we could write about, we honestly don’t know where to start! Another factor is that with the next edition of the Stirrer paper which is due to hit the streets in early September, we were writing it with the London Anarchist Bookfair (Saturday 28th October) in mind where we have a stall. That meant writing a paper for two different target audiences.

One of those audiences has had enough of the way things are going and wants some inspiration on how they can start to change things on their estate, in their neighbourhood or in their workplace. The other audience are the people who attend the London Anarchist Bookfair, some of who understand where we’re coming from and support what we’re trying to do at the grassroots and some who to be perfectly honest, we’re starting to have some real problems with…

As you can imagine, producing a paper to satisfy both of those audiences is nigh on impossible! So, we’re going to re-write the Stirrer paper so it’s pitched at our local audience but we will be getting extra copies printed for the bookfair so attendees can get an idea of what we think a grassroots paper should look like – this will be our usual four page format As well as that, we’re going to produce a two page newsletter aimed specifically at the bookfair audience explaining where we’re coming from politically and outlining some of our frustrations with the anarchist movement.

The two pager aimed at the London Anarchist Bookfair audience will be us living up to our name of the ‘Stirrer’. It may not win us a lot of friends and may even make us a few enemies but hey ho, sometimes you have to stick your head above the parapet, tell a few home truths and take the risk. Unlike the normal edition of the Stirrer, this paper will not being going up online as a PDF until after 28th October so if you want to see what we have to say, feel free to visit our stall at the bookfair.