In the interests of transparency and accountability, the two of us who are now operating in Keynsham, Somerset, are presenting this brief outline of our strategy and tactics.
While having a chat at our local pub, we agreed that we needed to shift the balance of what we do from online to analogue. Analogue covers everything from physically handing out papers and other propaganda to practical, community focused activity.
The algorithms are throttling us out of existence online, particularly when it comes to our social media reach. As we use social media to promote our blog posts, the reach of our blogs is being throttled as well. Judging from the conversations we’ve had, we’re far from the only people / groups this is happening to. Now we could waste hours of our lives speculating on why this is the case, and then even more hours trying to work out a way round it. The thing is, we could do all of that and be no better off than we are now. Life is too short to waste in this way, particularly if it’s going to make us feel even more frustrated and fed up. We have to take the hint and adjust how we operate accordingly. There are a few ways we can go to shift the balance of our activity towards analogue.
We’ve written a lot about prefigurative action. Over the years, we’ve got stuck into various community based activities. There have been the estate community clean ups with Basildon and Southend Housing Action. There was Stanford Blooming Marvels, followed by volunteering as gardeners at Hardie Park. Now we’re staring to get our feet under the table in Keynsham, there’s gardening with the Plot in the Park and the litter picking with the Wombles: Starting local and then working outwards from there 1.10.22. One more practical, community based action, should round this off nicely.
There’s doing what we can to support actions and campaigns that chime with us. This takes in attending the small protest against the #attackonnature that took place on College Green in Bristol on October 3rd: Against the attack on nature 4.10.22. It also takes in attending the Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) meeting in Keynsham and going to the vigil outside the court where BAAN are having an appeal hearing: An update on actions opposing the expansion of Bristol Airport 7.11.22. Both are campaigns on local / regional issues that will impact our lives. Having skin in the game ensures our commitment…
Then there’s the networking. Some of this has taken place when we’ve been dropping off bundles of the Grassroots Alternatives papers to venues such as the Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft and The Cube. Some has been on protests such as the #attackonnature one on College Green. One lot of networking was done at the Community Eco Festival in Keynsham: Very glad we went:) 17.11.22. We hope to do some more at the upcoming Bath Vegan Festival.
Then there’s the propaganda. This should be underpinning all of the above. It shouldn’t be the dominant part of what we do with the practical activity and campaign protest support as an afterthought. The balance of the propaganda, finance permitting, should move towards printed material – papers, leaflets, posters and stickers. At some point, we’re going to have to have a stall at an event. Obviously, we need a bit more in the way of propaganda than one edition of a paper!
Having seen the range of stickers and posters other groups and people have put up around the region, we intend to carry on with the tactic of stickering and postering. Mind you, we’ve been spreading stickers around Bristol when we’ve been down to visit, before we moved! So it’s carrying on with that but widening the reach:) As for the posters, we need to have a think about what issues we focus on, and where they go up.
Finally, there’s the online propaganda. That’s both social media and the blogs. To build up traction again, we need to engage more on social media. Time consuming but if we cut down on the doom-scrolling, we can do it:) There’s an ongoing process of enhancing the content on the blog ahead of a mini relaunch.
Hopefully, that’s all bases covered in this brief review. As with any review, it’s subject to change if circumstances change. Looking at this review, it feels like we’ve got the basis to head off in the right direction. Onwards and upwards:)