Recently in Basildon there have been incidents of Christian fundamentalists standing outside Colors (an LGBT friendly venue in the town) handing out homophobic leaflets. There have also been reports of these leaflets being handed out on some of the estates near the town centre.

At South Essex Working Class Action, we’re doing our level best on the estates we operate on to generate a sense of unity. It is a hard slog and it’s not made any easier when religious fundamentalists start delivering their hate leaflets door-to-door. The likely consequence of these leaflets coming through the door of someone who’s LGBT is to make them fearful and inward looking. This means they’re less likely to work with neighbours on initiatives to make make life on their estates better because they’re worried about how people in the area may react to them.

We’ve no intention of letting religious fundamentalists aid the agenda of the divide and rule merchants who want people on the estates divided and fearful of each other rather than working together to fight for better conditions. We see fighting these attempts to divide our communities as a class issue and we’re happy to work alongside anyone challenging this bigotry.

In response to the Christian fundamentalists a range of local LGBT activists and sympathisers got together to organise the Basildon ‘Mini-Pride’ which took place yesterday (Saturday 15.9) in the town centre. As a gesture of solidarity, we took part in the parade. Given that it was mooted and organised in just three weeks, the turnout was pretty good and definitely into three figures. The parade brightened up an increasingly forlorn looking town centre and generally got a pretty positive reception from bystanders. A few actually joined in!

In what’s seen by some as a somewhat fractious time in radical politics, it was good to see a range of groups and individuals from across the south of Essex get together in common cause. Along with the coalition building that’s been done by the Save Southend NHS campaign, there’s some cause for optimism about what could be achieved in the future by working together on issues that concern us all.