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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Stirrer special edition back from the printer

For a while we’ve needed something we can hand out at anarchist/radical bookfairs, on protests and to any people interested in what we’re doing to explain what we’re about. Sure we can give them a printed copy of the Stirrer but that’s generally us commenting on local issues from our political perspective rather than explaining where we’re coming from as activists. To resolve this, we’ve produced a special edition of the Stirrer on two sides of a sheet of A4 which explains our roots in class struggle and community activism, arguing that to achieve real change, you have to build from the grassroots upwards. It’s fairly generic in its content so it’s a resource we can use for the rest of this year – or until we run out:) All things being equal, we hope to be at the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday May 12th and we’ll be handing them out then. Hopefully our message about building from the grassroots will get a positive reception and we’ll take it from there…

As ever, we don’t have a massive budget and can’t afford long print runs so we’re making the paper available as a downloadable PDF from here.

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 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

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…

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…

Work on the next Stirrer paper is underway

At long last work on the next Stirrer paper is underway. The aim is to have it written, laid out and off to the printer by the latter part of August ready for distribution from mid September onwards. We will be getting more copies than normal printed as we’ll be distributing the paper at the London Anarchist Bookfair which is taking place in north London on Saturday 28th October – http://anarchistbookfair.org.uk/ We’ve got the tricky balancing act of producing a paper that people out here on the estuary will want to read while also appealing to the very different audience who attend the bookfair. You’ll find out how we resolved that tricky little issue when the papers come back from the printer!

We we’re going to bring out the Stirrer paper fairly soon after the general election. However, with all the uncertainty that followed the election and continues to be a feature of political life, we held off producing one as we didn’t want to be saddled with loads of papers rendered redundant by fast changing events! This is why the next paper will have more of a generic feel to it that will reflect that uncertainty and draw attention to the opportunities that provides for those of us of a radical persuasion.

As ever, any help with distributing the paper will be more than welcome. If you want to take a bundle to hand out to friends, neighbours, family, colleagues and comrades, let us know and we’ll work out a way of getting them to you. If you run or know of a venue sympathetic to our politics who are willing to take a small bundle for their patrons, please feel free to get in touch with the details. Lastly, we want to undertake a few high street distributions during the latter part of September running into October. If you’d like to join us in one of these, let us know and we’ll take it from there.

In the meantime, we’ve produced another paper to complement our sister blog, The Estuary ALTERNATIVE – https://theestuaryalternative.wordpress.com/ Unlike the Stirrer which is ‘in yer face’, this paper and blog celebrates and promotes positive alternatives and the building of a new world in the crumbling shell of the dystopian one we currently endure. Distribution of the ALTERNATIVE is proceeding at a steady pace and if we get a positive response, we’ll be bringing out future issues. So the way it’s potentially shaping up is two issues of the Stirrer and two issues of the ALTERNATIVE a year.