The next paper will be…

As much as we’d love to keep the momentum going with the Stirrer paper, with the political situation being so unpredictable and volatile at the moment, it’s difficult to write, layout and print a paper without the sodding thing being outdated by ‘events’ while it’s on the way back from being printed! We’ve made the decision to postpone production of the next Stirrer paper until the autumn when we might have a better idea of the political landscape we’re operating in. This edition will be ready in time for distribution at the London Anarchist Bookfair that’s taking place on Saturday 28th October.

What we will be doing in the meantime is to bring out another paper – The Estuary ALTERNATIVE which aims to report on and support grassroots community projects out here along the estuary. We’ve already set up a blog for this which is admittedly, still a work in progress: The content of The Estuary ALTERNATIVE will be more generic which means the distribution of the paper can be spread out over a few months without any fears of the content being outdated by fast moving events. Unlike the Stirrer which as its name suggests, is about stirring and agitation, The Estuary ALTERNATIVE is about efforts to start building a new world in the decaying, fracturing shell of the increasingly dystopian one we have to currently endure. Watch this space for developments…

A housing reading list

From speculation about new housing association homes at the Bata Fields development in East Tilbury going to people from outside of Thurrock, through rumours that some homes on the St. Clere’s development in Stanford-le-Hope are being brought by London councils to re-house people decanted as a result of ‘re-generation’ (a.k.a. social cleansing) to verifiable stories of people re-housed out here from the capital being victimised by resentful locals, there’s a lot of misunderstandings about the housing situation that need clearing up. Below is a list of pretty much everything we’ve written or re-blogged about the housing crisis…

A lot of this reading list focuses on what’s happening in London with the wholesale re-generation of housing estates that leads to social cleansing as residents are turfed out and re-housed many miles away, all too often out of the capital altogether. The point we want to make is that what happens in London with housing has a direct impact out here along the estuary. Which is why we ask people concerned about the housing situation here in Essex to take a step back, look at the bigger picture and show their solidarity with the housing struggles across London that are being fought by residents facing re-location as their estates are effectively destroyed in the name of ‘re-generation’.

One of the problems we face out here are the divide and rule merchants who don’t want people to see the bigger picture and through rumours and lies, create the kind of situation where anger is focused on the people moved out here who are the victims of what’s going on in London rather than the corrupt councils and developers who are the root cause of the problem in the capital. We’re not prepared to tolerate these divide and rule merchants with their nefarious, reactionary agendas in any way shape or form…

Clusterfuck! Labour’s Shameless Council Estate Rip-off (re-blog from ASH)
10 Myths about London’s Housing Crisis (re-blog from ASH)
No More Fake News! This is reality (re-blog from Focus E15)
A reminder of why we support housing struggles in London
Screwed up priorities…
Why I am a Focus E15 campaigner (re-blog from Focus E15)
The housing domino effect…
Is this the start of the gentrification of Tilbury?

Time for some light relief:)

Ever since Theresa May’s announcement of talks with the Democratic Unionist Party in a bid to come to some kind of an arrangement to prop up her tattered and battered government, the Internet has been having loads of fun at her expense. Below are our favourite memes:)

We got it wrong on the turnout…

A few posts back, we predicted that there would be a low turnout at the general election: Election 2017 – some thoughts from outside the bubble Well…we were wrong on that one weren’t we?! The turnout was up, boosted by many young people registering to vote and then going on to exercise that right: Huge number of young people believed to be behind vote that rocked Tories

A fair number of them voted for Corbyn’s Labour. It has to be acknowledged that despite Corbyn starting out from a pretty dismal position in the polls, the ensuing campaign energised a lot of younger people into registering and voting, making May’s campaign look wooden and stilted by comparision. Yes, regardless of our criticisms of Labour, we’re admitting that Corbyn has created a new force in British politics and that has to be acknowledged. The question is, what happens now?

We still stand by every criticism that we and our comrades have made of Labour, particularly the way Labour controlled councils in London are actively complicit in the process of social cleansing in the name of ‘re-generation’: Clusterfuck! Labour’s Shameless Council Estate Rip-off However, we also realise that many of the people who were swept up by the enthusiasm of Corbyn’s campaign were not aware of the reality of what Labour councils in the capital are actually doing. Those of us who are calling these councils to task (Architects 4 Social Housing, Class War, Focus E15 to name a few) don’t have the reach or clout we would like to get the message across and we know we have to up our game in order to do so.

The election is over and we would like to leave the arguments within anarchist circles about voting or not voting behind us and start to look at the task ahead. If just some of the people who were energetically campaigning for Corbyn can get stuck into grassroots activism in the community, workplace, colleges and out on the streets, it really would start to make a difference: What now? Fighting austerity in a hung parliament

Welcome to the ‘coalition’ of shite

It looks as though Theresa Mayhem is going to try and prop up the battered Tory government by an ‘arrangement’ with the Democratic Unionist Party: DUP leader Arlene Foster vows to bring stability to UK with Conservatives It’s common knowledge that the DUP has had links with Loyalist paramilitaries: DUP has been criticised for loyalist links

This is a flavour of the reactionary policies the DUP espouse: So, who are the DUP? Creationists, climate change deniers, anti-gay, anti-abortion…what a lovely bunch of people NOT! Let’s just get this straight – May wants to enter a coalition with a party that has links to organisations such as the Orange Order that are happy to tolerate the kind of scum shown above turning up at their events. If this isn’t an act of utter desperation from a prime minister whose reputation has been trashed in a disastrous election campaign, we honestly don’t know what is. However, we should not be surprised at the depths the Tories will sink to in order to stay in power…

Obviously as anarchists, we do not recognise the right of government to impose itself upon us. That’s a formal position that informs our politics and analysis. What we are now experiencing is a raging visceral gut reaction that we will never, ever kowtow to a government that gets into bed with the likes of the DUP. As far as we’re concerned, the administration that May wants to cobble together with the DUP has zero legitimacy in our eyes.

Somehow, we don’t think this coalition of shite is going to enjoy a long life. A period of uncertainty and instability awaits us. It’s a period that will bring danger and pain but if we as anarchists and radicals can get our act together, it’s one that could provide the best opportunity we’ve ever had…

Initial reaction…

Well, it looks as though we have a hung parliament: Election results live: Theresa May under fire as hung parliament confirmed As things stand, it’s difficult to see how a government is going to be formed. Whatever government is cobbled together as a result of shady backroom dealing, they will have little in the way of legitimacy.

Constitutional and political chaos has arrived and could well delay the start of the Brexit talks that are due to start later on this month. There is already talk of another election in a bid to clarify things – in other words, keep voting until the powers that be get the result they want! The one thing the City and the financial sector hate is instability – well, they’ve got that big time! The pound has already plummeted in reaction to the election result – if it stays down as the constitutional chaos develops, that will impact on the economy and inflation. The financial sector and the security establishment will be desperate for some kind of stability sooner rather than later, regardless of how it’s achieved. Suffice to say, we live in interesting, challenging and potentially dangerous times…

Obviously, the production of the next print edition of The South Essex Stirrer is on hold until we get a firmer idea of how the political landscape we operate in will shape up. Needless to say, whatever content does go in will be generic in nature as opposed to newsy – we don’t want to be saddled with hundreds of out of date papers as a result of fast moving political developments!

What is a concern is that if there is another election in the next few months, the time and energies of a lot of activists will be sucked into another push to get Corbyn’s Labour party elected to government. That in our view would be a waste of time and energy that should be going into grassroots campaigning on the estates, in the workplace, on the campuses, in our neighbourhoods and last but by no means least, out on the streets…

The sweet taste of victory


UVW is proud to announce that the LSE cleaners will be BROUGHT IN-HOUSE and become employees of the LSE from Spring 2018! This will ensure they get, among other things, 41 days annual leave, 6 months full pay sick pay and 6 months half pay sick pay, plus proper employer pension contributions of up to 13% of their salary.

This is the most significant victory for any group of workers in UK higher education today, and will hopefully set a precedent to follow for other degraded outsourced workers across the country.

This announcement comes on the back of an awe-inspiring 10 month battle for dignity and equality waged by the cleaners, through their union UVW which represents the near entirety of the unionised cleaners on the LSE campus.

This dispute saw the largest number of cleaners – all of whom are migrant and BAME workers and most of whom had never been unionised before – in UK history strike from a single workplace, and saw the the cleaners take 7 days of strike action in total, with 3 more pledged for the LSE’s student graduation days in July. There were also several protests and two occupations through the course of this dispute.

The cleaners were heavily supported by the student led Justice for LSE Cleaners Campaign and the wider trade union movement. Support from people such as Owen Jones, who refused to cross the cleaners’ picket line, was also crucial in bringing pressure to bear in support of the cleaners actions.

We are particularly gratified that the new UNISON branch secretary wrote to UVW to congratulate us and the cleaners on the success of our campaign.

This victory is yet another vindication of the power of organised workers and the importance of collective action, including strike action, in winning dignity and equality at work.

Our members will be meeting in the near future to vote on the details of the deal and, in particular, the transitory offer of enhanced T&Cs until the move in-house takes place.