Stirrer No.6 has arrived:)

The spring/summer print edition of the Stirrer has just arrived from our friends at Oxford GreenPrint. Distribution will start next week – read the front cover from the downloadable PDF (see link below) and you’ll see why…

As ever, if any of our supporters want to take a small bundle to hand out to friends and neighbours, feel free to get in touch and we’ll work out a way of getting them to you. We’re going to be out and about at various events during the course of the summer – as and when we get close to them, we’ll post up details on this blog so you know where to get hold of a paper and meet us. If you run or know of a venue that you think would be sympathetic to our politics and would be willing to take a small bundle for their patrons, please let us know. We will be experimenting with other distribution methods as well, including some high street locations.

For a variety of reasons, printing costs are not getting cheaper. We probably could find a cheaper local printer but Oxford GreenPrint are a) a workers co-op and b) the Riso print process they use for our papers (printed on recycled paper) is environmentally friendly so we want to continue using and supporting them. Supporting workers co-ops using environmentally friendly processes is an integral part of our ethos. So, if you want to support our paper and an ethically sound business, any donations to our printing costs will be greatly appreciated:)

As we can’t afford a massive print run and haven’t got the resources to distribute a large number of papers, a downloadable PDF of the Stirrer is available from here.

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We’ve been going for a year…

Today is the first anniversary of this blog and it’s sister project, On Uncertain Ground. Our predecessor was the South Essex Heckler which had been going in various forms since 2011. At the start of last year, we thought the Heckler had lost its focus and was trying to be all things to all people. It was veering from fairly punchy posts focusing on local and some national issues, attempts at more theoretical pieces through to what some would see as more ‘fluffy’ promotions of community focused projects.

Having all of this under one roof became too much so we binned the Heckler in early February last year and after a short experiment with localised blogs covering Thurrock and Basildon respectively, the South Essex Stirrer was launched and this is where we are. Our other sister blog, The Estuary Alternative which as you may guess from the title, promotes positive alternatives in the form of grassroots projects that make a difference in the here and now, was launched in the aftermath of the Southend Radical Fair which took place in early May last year.

How are we doing? Reader numbers on the Stirrer are up to what they were on the Heckler before it was scrapped so we’re making pretty good progress here. With On Uncertain Ground which is for the longer, more theoretical pieces, it only gets updated every couple of weeks so when a new post goes up, the hits come in but then tail off until the next update. As for The Estuary Alternative, it’s not taken off in the way we wanted. That’s down to a number of factors, one of which was not having the time to seriously push the project last year. We’ve reviewed the situation, come up with a few new ideas which we’ll be implementing so hopefully it’ll be onwards and upwards for The Estuary Alternative this year.

The Stirrer, On Uncertain Ground and The Estuary Alternative all come under the umbrella of South Essex Radical Media which has a presence on Facebook. This is where we announce the updates for all of our blogs as well as briefly commenting on issues and sharing events and items of interest from other like minded pages. South Essex Radical Media also has a presence on Twitter as well.

What we want to do with all of our blogs is make them more open and collaborative. We do not want to be writing all of the posts for the blogs and all of the copy for any papers we bring out. With the Stirrer, we’re making reasonable progress in sourcing material from external sources but we would warmly welcome more! With On Uncertain Ground, as it’s intended to be a bit more theoretical in its outlook, we’re more than happy to accept guest posts from people who are broadly in agreement with our politics. As for the Estuary Alternative, the long term aim is to hand that over to other grassroots activists in the south of Essex so we need you to start contributing to it sooner rather than later!

All of the above blogs and the Facebook page are linked to in the side bar on the right hand side.

Stirrer No.4 is back from the printer

The fourth print edition of the Stirrer has come back from the printer. Firstly, many thanks to our friends at Oxford GreenPrint for doing their usual superb job on printing the paper. As we’ve mentioned previously, there are going to be some changes to how the paper will be getting distributed – this is how we intend to do it…

Handing the Stirrer out on the high streets / town squares. So far, we’ve lined up Southend and Basildon as definite venues and possibly Romford. If any of our supporters want to join us in distributing the paper to the public in these areas, let us know and we’ll sort out a mutually convenient date.

Handing the Stirrer out on protests / rallies and at fairs. There’s a few events coming up we’ll be supporting and handing out copies of the Stirrer in a way that respects the event and helps with our aim of networking and alliance building.

Leaving bundles of the Stirrer at venues that are sympathetic to our politics. We’ve got a couple of such venues but we can always do with some more. If you run or know of such a venue, feel free to get in touch with the details and we’ll take it from there.

Door-to-door distribution. We still intend to do this but to a much lesser extent than in the past…

Lastly but by no means least, we would love our supporters across the region we cover from Havering in the west through to Southend in the east and up to Brentwood, Billericay and the Dengie Peninsula to take a small bundle to hand out to their friends, neighbours, colleagues and families. We know you’re out there:) Feel free to get in touch and we’ll sort out a way of getting the Stirrers to you.

As we can only afford a small print run, we’re making all the print editions of the Stirrer available as downloadable PDFs. This is the one for Stirrer No.4: https://www.dropbox.com/s/s03kekq9ik8bk5j/StirrerNo4.pdf?dl=0

Stirrer No.4 off to the printer

The fourth print edition of The South Essex Stirrer has just been sent to our friends at Oxford GreenPrint ready and waiting for them when they get back from their festive break. We’re aiming for this to be hitting the streets by the middle of January.

As mentioned previously, we’re changing the distribution model with the emphasis switching to high street / town square hand outs of the paper and away from door-to-door deliveries. The reason for this is that as we can only afford a small print run, we want the papers to get into the hands of people who actually want to read them. We’re planning to do this in Southend, Basildon and possibly Romford. If any of our supporters want to come out and join us in any of these locations on a Saturday, feel free to get in contact and we’ll let you know when we’re out. For obvious security reasons, we don’t want to be publicly advertising distribution dates on here.

If any of our supporters want to take a bundle of Stirrers to hand out to friends, neighbours and colleagues, feel free to get in touch and we’ll sort out a way of getting them to you. Also, if any of you run or now of a venue that is sympathetic to our politics and would be willing to take a bundle for their patrons, let us know and we’ll take it from there.

When there are events, actions and protests out here in Essex, we’ll be along with bundles of the Stirrers to hand out. However, there is a proviso… If a protest out here in Essex is about a specific issue, while we’ll be attending and supporting it, out of respect for the aims of the protest and the organisers, we won’t be distributing the Stirrers until the end when people are leaving. There are two reasons for this a) we’re serious about alliance building and networking and we won’t make headway with this if we blatantly ponce off other groups events and b) we want to put clear blue water between us and those political elements who attend protests with the sole aim of handing out /flogging their papers.

Lastly, as a festive treat, we’re making a downloadable PDF of the Stirrer available for you here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/s03kekq9ik8bk5j/StirrerNo4.pdf?dl=0

Get your copy of the The Estuary Alternative paper

This was first posted on our sister blog, The Estuary Alternative but, as this one gets more traffic, we’re posting it here because we want to see as many of you as possible when we’re distributing the paper:)

If you want to get hold of a copy of The Estuary Alternative paper and talk to us about what we want to achieve with this project, you’ll have your chance this coming weekend. On Saturday 16th, we’re going to outside the Southend Christmas Vegan Fair (Bellvue Baptist Church, 484 Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2QA) – https://www.facebook.com/southendveganfair/ – from 1pm onwards for a couple of hours. On Sunday 17th, we’re going to be at the Stop the Cliff Development Demonstration (Prittlewell Square, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1DW) – https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/protest-against-the-development-desecration-of-the-cliffs/ – from noon onwards. If we have any papers left over from the Saturday, we’ll be handing those out at the protest – if not, we’ve got flyers to hand out instead. We look forward to meeting as many of you as possible this coming weekend and to work out a way of taking this project forward in 2018…

The future of The Estuary Alternative…

This post was originally published on one of our sister blogs, The Estuary Alternativehttps://theestuaryalternative.wordpress.com/ We’re re-posting it here, because unless enough local activists step up to the plate in 2018 to contribute to The Estuary Alternative and help to turn it into the collaborative project it was intended to be, sadly there will be no option but to pull the plug on it…

The Estuary Alternative was launched after the Southend Radical Fair that took place back in May. The original aim of this project was to a) promote projects and actions offering a positive alternative to the dysfunctional political, social and economic system we currently have to endure and b) to act as a clearing house for an exchange of ideas, experiences and expertise between the various alternative / grassroots projects operating across southern Essex. The question we’re now asking ourselves is this – is the project achieving the aims we set out for it?

The harsh truth that has to be faced is that it’s falling well short of those aims. Apart from a small handful of groups sending us information about what they’re doing, we’re having to do a lot of the legwork to get content for this blog – we’re also having to do a lot of legwork to get The Estuary Alternative paper distributed as well. Regarding the paper, the current issue is a one off produced to get the ball rolling. If there’s going to be a second edition a) funding from grassroots groups across the region will be needed and b) content will also be needed as on the back of the current edition, we clearly state that we have no intention of writing any copy for the next edition!

This is supposed to be a collaborative project with the eventual goal of it being handed over to grassroots activists across southern Essex by the autumn of 2018. It’s still our intention to do this – however if by the summer of next year, we’re still doing most of the legwork in producing the content for this project, sadly we’ll have no alternative but to pull the plug on it. So, if grassroots activists across the region want an online resource (and a paper) where, ideas, experiences and expertise are exchanged as well as a diary for what’s going on, now is the time to step up to the plate and get involved…

We’ve had a bit of a slim down of the content on this blog as well… The reason being was that we felt it was turning into a bit of a lifestyle listings resource and straying from it’s original remit of covering and supporting ideas and actions aimed at building a new world inside the decaying shell of the dysfunctional and increasingly dystopian one we currently have to endure. In other words, it was getting too fluffy, and while there’s a place for that, it’s not in a project like this which is aimed at bringing about fundamental political, economic and social change.

We really do want this project to succeed but it has to be on the understanding that it’s a collaborative project. We’re going to be at the Southend Vegan Fair – https://www.facebook.com/southendveganfair/ – for a few hours on Saturday 16th handing out copies of The Estuary Alternative paper and talking to people about what we want to achieve. We’ll also be at the protest against the proposed development of the cliff top in Southend – https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/protest-against-the-development-desecration-of-the-cliffs/ – on Sunday 17th from noon onwards to hand out any papers that are left. We look forward to meeting people willing to join us in taking this project forward…

The next print edition of The Stirrer will be hitting the streets by mid January

Work has started on writing and laying out the next print edition of The Stirrer which will be going to print as early as possible in the New Year. There are going to be a few changes, the most obvious one being a front cover that’s visually attractive with more of an emphasis on imagery and graphics – the wordage will be inside and on the back. We never like to stand still with this project hence the experimentation with ways of making the paper more attractive so our message can get out to more people.

As we think about what’s going to be in the next print edition of The Stirrer, we’re also thinking about changing the distribution method. We’ll be cutting back on the door-to-door distributions and focusing more on handing them out on the high streets / town squares. This is why we want a visually attractive front cover!

So far, we’ve lined up Southend – High Street, Basildon – Town Square and Romford – South Street as possible locations for handing out The Stirrer. These will be taking place (depending on the weather!) from mid January onwards. Obviously, the more people we can get out to help us the better, as it creates a buzz that will attract the punters and gives us better security. We’ll be fixing definite dates after the New Year… If any of our supporters want to join us on any of these distributions, contact us with your preferred location and we’ll take it from there…