Dave (the editor)
On Sunday 9th December, a few of us from the Heckler and Basildon & Southend Housing Action went along to the Southend Xmas Vegan Fair where, at the request of the organisers, we were running a stall to put a bit of ‘politics and edge’ into the event. On the previous evening, the two person editorial team had been in London attending this event at the London Action Resource Centre: Working Class Anarchist Responses to Brexit and Tommy Robinson – A Discussion and didn’t get back until late at night. So as you can imagine, a pre 7am alarm call and an 8.30am pick up in the van wasn’t really what we needed!
Bleary eyed, we got to the venue just after 9am. At that time on a Sunday morning, apart from the seagulls and all the other stallholders going into the venue, Southend was empty. Somehow we found our re-located pitch and started to set up. Apart from a range of Vegan Army Surplus badges, what we were offering was mainly propaganda in its various forms so it didn’t take too long to set up once we’d lugged all of our gear up the stairs.
So we set up and waited… It was quiet at first but then it slowly started to get busier, people started to engage with us, interesting conversations took place, the Heckler papers and other propaganda started to fly off the stall. As well as meeting some interesting new people, a few familiar faces passed by and it was a good chance to catch up and discuss what’s going on locally and nationally. The day then went quickly and before we knew it, we were packing up and setting off home.
We’ve had a few days to reflect on the event and have realised that we’re starting to do what we set out to achieve when we were involved in the initial stages of setting up the Southend Radical Fair which took place at the Railway Hotel in Clifftown Road back in May 2017. Which is networking and strengthening links between groups and activists in the region. For the Heckler team, life intervened before the Southend Radical Fair took place and it’s only in the last few months that we’ve been able to get back on track and focus more of our energy on this project and the networking we want to do.
At the vegan fair, conversations took place between people that would never occur in London because of sectarianism. Operating out in the south of Essex along the estuary, we can’t afford to be sectarian. If there’s an issue that unites us and a range of other groups, we’ll forget our differences, offer our solidarity and get stuck in doing what we can to get a result. All of the left wingers, radicals and anarchists operating out here are realistic enough to know that in order to achieve a result, some differences have to be put aside in order to achieve that.
To say that we’re facing a challenging 2019 is an understatement. It’s a year that potentially offers opportunities to further the cause of radical, progressive politics. It’s also one that could pose a lot of danger for us. Which is why we’re really keen to network and build links across the south of Essex so when action has to be taken, we’re greater than the sum of our parts…