The Better End

Up with this sort of thing!

The South Essex Stirrer - Archive

Romford has a reputation for being a bit right wing and ‘traditional’ – whether that reputation is deserved is something, that in our view, is up for debate. With that kind of reputation, we’d never thought we’d read the words and phrases ‘Romford’, ‘activists and squatters’ and ‘independent environmental and cultural space’ in the same paragraph!

Well, sometimes life can offer up some interesting surprises, one being that what used to be The Bitter End pub on the High Street is being transformed into an environmental and cultural space by a group of activist squatters. Ed Gold, a photographer, spent three weeks living alongside the activists in April and this is the story he produced about the experience: Bitter to better: Squatters transforming a derelict pub.

It’s an interesting project, all the more so for being located in Romford. Given that it’s a ‘caretaking’ arragement while the future of that…

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There’s No Such Thing as Revolutionary Government: Why You Can’t Use the State to Abolish Class


Emma Goldman knew it. Mikhail Bakunin warned everyone about it half a century before the Russian Revolution. Veterans of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army AshantiAlston and KuwasiBalagoon drew the same conclusion. There’s no such thing as revolutionary government. You can’t use the instruments of government to abolish oppression.

Since the mid-19th century, anarchists have maintained that the key to liberation is not to seize the state but to abolish it. Yet from Paris to St. Petersburg, from Barcelona to Beijing, one generation of revolutionaries after another has had to learn this lesson the hard way. Shuffling politicians in and out of power changes little. What matters are the instruments of rule—the police, the military, the courts, the prison system, the bureaucracy. Whether it is a king, a dictator, or a Congress that directs these instruments, the experience on the receiving end remains roughly the…

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Keeping Havering Special?


‘Keep Havering Special’ was the slogan that the local Conservatives used whilst campaigning here in Havering; they may claim it helped them pick up votes but in reality it was the Non-Voters Party who won.  The overall turnout was as low as ever – with a paltry 26.6% of eligible voters going to the polls in Gooshsays;  Upminster ward had the highest turnout, but even there the turnout was a not-very-impressive 45.47%. The reasons for this pitiful turnout may be discussed in a future post on this blog, but going back to the Tory slogan – what DOES it actually mean?

According to them, it means preserving the borough’s green spaces, avoiding over-development of (albeit much-needed) housing, and generally preventing the borough from looking like inner-city London – “letting Romford become a concrete jungle is something I will fight to stop!” as Romford MP Andrew Rosindell wrote in…

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Anarchist reading group #2

London Anarchist Federation

After discussions at the last reading group moved into ideas around education, what is it for and what is a ‘good’ education, this reading group looks at some texts on anarchist pedagogies. We’ve selected a few which cover both theory and practical examples.

Come and join us for a discussion of these texts on the 3rd Tuesday (19th June) at 7pm at Freedom Bookshop. The texts themselves are fairly short (8 pages for one- cheers, Colin!) so shouldn’t be too onerous and all available online as pdfs.

Colin Ward, Schools no longer (In Anarchy in Action, p.79

Judith Suissa, Anarchism goes to school (Escuela Moderna and the Ferrer School) p75-88 (in Anarchism and Education: A philosophical perspective

Jeffery Shantz, Learning to Win: Anarchist Infrastructures of Resistance (in Anarchist Pedagogies

Justin Mueller, Anarchism, the State, and the Role of Education (in Anarchist Pedagogies

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#SaveSouthendNHS statement on STP consultation

We’re getting deja vu here. The same sorry charade is being played out all over this island. It’s vital that we link all the healthcare defence campaigns together directly, not through political parties, lobby groups or even unions, but from worker to patient to worker across the country.

The South Essex Stirrer - Archive

The Mid and South Essex STP (Sustainability & Transformation Partnership a.k.a. Slash, Trash & Privatise) public consultation report was released this week. Below is the #SaveSouthendNHS campaign statement issued to the Echo by their secretary Mike Fieldhouse. Here’s the link to the full consultation report. The #SaveSouthendNHS will be meeting to plan the next steps of their fight to stop the destruction of our local NHS services.

“Anyone who attended either of the STP’s public consultation meetings in Southend would have to be completely deluded to claim, as this report does, that he public were “broadly backing the STP’s plans”. It is quite evident that the main purpose behind this proposed reorganisation is to cut costs and plug holes in services created by chronic underfunding, including a worsening staffing crisis in the NHS. Instead of tackling the root causes, these are desperate measures attempting to patch things up that will…

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LGBMI5? More on pinkwashing and guilt by association

Cautiously pessimistic

In the recent controversy over proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act, there’s been a lot of claims made about how each “side” of the argument should be understood. Helen Steel, one of the most well-respected and high-profile figures to have come out against allowing people to self-identify their gender, recently made a post – the original is no longer available, but copies have been publicly circulated since – that, in my view, mixes some accurate observations with some completely unjustifiable conclusions. Examining her claims seems like a good starting point to evaluate the political forces at work here.

Much of this post will be a re-statement of arguments I first made about six months ago, but it seems worth engaging specifically with such a clearly stated counter-argument, especially as it comes from virtually the only person associated with the campaign to have any credibility in anti-capitalist/anti-state circles.


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