Our relocation down to near Bristol will be happening this summer. It will entail some re-thinking of how we operate politically. That means finding a niche which suits us and not treading on anyone’s toes. It will also mean a bit of a re-think of how we get our message across in a way that engages people. I’ve been blogging and churning out papers and leaflets for more years than I care to remember! More recently, as you can see from the image above, we’ve been experimenting with stickers. We want a bit of a shift from being word based towards a greater use of graphics and images. I’m a photographer and have thought that there’s scope for bringing this into play when producing our propaganda. As an aside, we also want to be out and about engaging with people more and actually getting stuff done!
As I’m in a bit of a reflective mood, I decided to look back over the last decade or so to see if there were enough images in the archives that would illustrate various aspects of our activism. Well, it turns out there were:) What follows has been broken down into three sections. They are protest, the weirdness of the Covid lockdowns and last but by no means least, some of the local stuff we’ve had to deal with in Thurrock over the years.
The above is just a snapshot of the many protests I went on during the 2010s. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to go on them. Looking back, I’m wondering exactly what they achieved (if anything) and asking – would more targeted and militant forms of direct action have made more of an impact? For what it’s worth, here’s my current thinking about going on protests: Going on protests… 15.6.22.
As mentioned in the post linked to above, if I’m going on a protest these days, there has to be a reason for it. With the above two images, it was showing solidarity with Focus E15 who we had a lot of respect for (and still have) and also to hand out papers. Handing out papers means talking to and engaging with people. Occasionally, things can get a bit testy doing this but by and large, it’s an activity that achieves something and is generally, pretty enjoyable.
It won’t come as any surprise to many of you that I got a fair bit of stick from a number of now former comrades for attending these protests. Rather than re-hash the arguments I made defending my decision to attend, please read this piece which hopefully, explains everything: Dealing with reality… 2.2.22.
I’ll admit that at the start of the Covid crisis in early March 2020, not knowing what it was really about and what the real risks were, we initially went along with the restrictions that were imposed upon us. However, after about a month with an increasing number of things not adding up and chafing under restrictions that were starting to cause some unhappiness, I started to ask questions, my scepticism grew and the rest is history!
As well as blogging about the impact of the lockdowns and as we went into 2021, attending a number of the anti-lockdown/anti-vaccine passport protests, we found ways of fighting back on our own doorstep…
Regarding the use of posters and stickers as a means of getting a message across, these are some of our thoughts about this tactic: Analogue methods of getting the word out 26.4.22.
In a different political existence, I stood as a candidate in the local council elections for the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA) in the Stanford East and Corringham Town ward. I stood in 2007 and in what was possibly one of the bigger mistakes I’ve made as an activist, I stood again in 2008! After an exhausting and gruelling campaign in 2008, I made a solemn vow to my wife that I would never, ever stand as an election candidate again… As an aside, there is a photograph of me as the candidate but hopefully you’ll appreciate that for security reasons, I don’t want images of my fizzog on the internet!
Then there’s this which is still ongoing…
If you want a fuller account of this sorry saga, there’s this piece: The sorry saga of Stanford-le-Hope railway station continues… 9.2.22.
Last but by no means least, we have been on a few protests in Thurrock itself…
A brief conclusion
I’ve found it interesting going through and compiling this photo essay looking back at some aspects of my activism. Obviously, you’ll appreciate why it’s only a partial record and why certain parts of it have to be kept away from the public gaze!
Anyway, going forward, when it comes to producing propaganda, given that I’m a photographer, albeit an amateur one, it would make sense to incorporate more photography in our output. That’s because, as you’ll hopefully gather from the above, sometimes a photo with a caption can say a lot more that paragraph after paragraph of text:)