We’re not even going to attempt to try and predict what’s going to happen in 2023. As has been said elsewhere, prediction is a mug’s game where you could well end up with egg on your face come the end of the year! What we want to do is look back at 2022 and then highlight how people at the grassroots in their neighbourhoods can start to make a difference if they choose to get together and do so.

It’s all too easy to get sucked into the doom cycle of what passes for news and journalism to the point where people simply give up and just try to do the best they can to survive, while hoping that someone will sort out the mess we’re in. That’s exactly how those who presume to rule over us want us to be – fearful, anxious and reliant on those in authority to sort things out. They also like us divided – you only have to look at the way things are being stirred up over what’s been dubbed the ‘culture wars’ to see that. Don’t fall for their games: Don’t let them divide us 12.9.22. Bear in mind that the last thing the elites want is confident, empowered people at the grassroots taking action to sort things out and start to build a better world.

2022 certainly saw a lot in the way of direct action. Just Stop Oil (JSO) were one of the groups who got a lot of attention with actions ranging from blocking oil terminals in Thurrock and blocking a number of key motorways such as the M25 all the way through to throwing a can of soup over a Vincent Van Gough painting in the National Gallery in London. The painting stunt and the motorway actions caught the headlines but probably not in the way that Just Stop Oil wanted. The focus was inevitably on the disruption of the motorways and the significance of the soup stunt in the so called ‘culture wars’. The focus was also on the thorny issue of protest tactics and how what JSO did would be used as a justification for a further clampdown on protest.

Down our way, there have been actions which while they didn’t grab the headlines, certainly hit the nail on the head. XR Youth Bristol have undertaken a number of actions highlighting the hypocrisy of First Bus ploughing more resources into the lucrative services running between the city and the airport out in the countryside while at the same time, cutting vital services across the region. Mogg Watch held a protest outside a constituency surgery of the MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, in protest at his voting down an amendment to the Environment Bill that would have placed a legal duty on water companies to not pump waste into our rivers. It should be noted that Wessex Water have discharged sewage into our rivers 52,488 times over the last two years! These are both the kind of actions that we’re more than happy to get behind and support.

Protest and direct action has its place, there’s no denying that. However, as a fair number of people involved in protest and direction will tell you, that’s not the be all and end all of setting about making the world a better place. There’s the aspect of getting stuff done at the grassroots as well. The covers everything from community food kitchens, food banks and warm spaces through to community food growing and guerilla gardening. The kind of activity that not only makes an attempt to solve the problems inflicted upon us by a dysfunctional political, economic and social system, it also starts to bring a bit of power and control down to the grassroots. One key point about this kind of activity is that it empowers the people taking part in it. Also, it shows how people can collectively organise in their neighbourhoods and offers a model of what life could be like in a society with no rulers or hierarchies.

It’s this kind of empowering grassroots activity that we want to support and promote as we go through 2023. This is what we’re trying to achieve with these resource and campaign directories:

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Downloadable, printable A4 PDFs of our resource/campaign directories are available here:

ALTERNATIVE ESTUARY Directory (Essex) – January 2023

GRASSROOTS ALTERNATIVES Directory (Avon) – January 2023

While we only upload these downloadable PDFs of the directories around once a month, the online versions – Essex | Avon – are updated on an ongoing basis. Both of these directories are works in progress.

The Avon edition of our resource/campaign directory has been growing rapidly. So rapidly that we’ve had to relay it completely, running it to four pages to allow for future expansion!

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Last but by no means least, there’s also the practical projects we’re involved with which, amongst other things, are discussed in this post: Our strategy 7.11.22. Hopefully we’ve covered all bases in the brief review and that it’s onwards and upwards from here.