As 2021 comes to a close, the Local Matters team joins millions of others in looking back at the past twelve months. For us, this was the year that we began to see the fruits of our labour.
We began the year with the release of Localism: Manifesto For A Twenty-First Century England, a book written by five English Localists, designed to create a solid lens for readers to view our ideas, theory and vision. We sold over a hundred copies over the course of our first year, and we can only expect that our sales will continue throughout 2022. Here are a few reviews from readers of our book, none of which are members of Local Matters:
“Very good. Positive viable vision, enthusiastically and logically presented.” – Peter
“Before reading the book I didn’t know anything about my local culture at all except maybe cheese rolling and very well known things to do with Gloucestershire. But the manifesto told of these separate cultures within England of which I had not given any thought. After reading the manifesto however I went into my work library where I read everyday and I found books about my local culture and English culture as a whole. This lead me down a path of wanting to learn about one’s nation and culture which has lead me to being interested in english poetry (a year ago I would’ve hit you if you told me to read poetry) and I sought more regional music and found local bands and songs about my area which is great because you feel a connection to it. I also learned of things I had seen but weren’t taught about like wassail and it’s a great shame we aren’t taught about local culture in schools because it truly is marvelous. I had no idea what a first past the post was and would’ve probably told you it was a pub. Nowadays though I have done some research on it, I’ve joined Make Votes Matter and I’ve convinced my friends that the system is flawed and I hope to campaign for a change in the system because then we can have what I would call “true freedom” and then if I wanted to try and become an MP and stand a chance I wouldn’t have to run under labour or conservative. Before reading the book I would say I was somewhat consumeristic in the sense that I might buy the odd thing off Amazon here and there however I was (and still am) largely against ‘made in china’. After reading I now frequent local vintage shops when they are open and buy my clothes from there or from online small businesses and because of it I changed style completely. I will be reducing fast food intake massively and when I can eat from local/regional food makers.” – Tyler
“Deserves to be widely read, debated and influential.” – Chris
“I was reading it and thinking man it would be awesome if some rich person could just buy like a million copies and just post them in peoples’ letterboxes.” – Sam
“I really liked this book and I’m going to keep an eye out for others like it and keep a copy on my shelf where I expect to thumb through it regularly.” – Matthew
We are extremely proud of our book, which has already proven to be an extremely important tool in conveying our ideas, because all of the problems which we recognise and work to resolve are wholly intertwined in a clutter of connections, causes and effects.
Through our activism, we bring attention to specific problems or resolutions. From this point, the audience can learn further by discovering our hundreds of social media posts. Then, greater detail is found in the dozens of articles on our website, which finally lead to the book, thus connecting all ailments and antidotes together in one singular ideological stance.
Speaking of activism, 2021 has seen more Localists on the streets than the previous year.
Throughout the year, Localists throughout England have picked litter and put up hundreds of stickers across the country. These small, individual efforts chip away at everything we fight against, and although small, stickers and picking litter are certainly not insignificant.
In the first quarter of the year, a small town in Kent, Snodland, opposed the building of a KFC in their community. Despite community upset, including a petition with hundreds of signatures, and even community-made DIY banners, the KFC persisted. Localists in Kent took posters to the town, including a massive print which plastered the side of the bus stop, adjacent to the planned building site.
At the other end of the country, Greenbank Park in Merseyside faced a similar threat – a cafe hoped to expand onto the public space, overlapping much greenery and land which belonged to the community. Localists in the area delivered a letter to the local councillor, and within a month, the planning application to expand the cafe’s land had been withdrawn. We are delighted to have been a part of this resistance.
On the other side of the north, Localists attended a KillTheBill demonstration in Leeds, which saw thousands of people from across the political spectrum coming together to oppose authoritarian restrictions against activism.
Periodically during the year, Localists set up on the streets of English towns and cities to speak to people about democracy, devolution, and its relevance to their community. This included flyers, discussing Localism: Manifesto For A Twenty-First Century England, posters, and recording a number of interviews with people who shared their thoughts.
Meanwhile, several activists took to Primark to oppose fast fashion. Hundreds of business cards were planted in the pockets of the shop’s clothes across the county, surprising customers with a cry against globalisation.
In November, the streets of Manchester were filled with a protest against the centralisation and authoritarianism of our government. This happened simultaneously alongside hundreds of cities across Europe, uniting behind a common cause: freedom. The Manchester crowd was led by a banner at the front: NO MORE LONDON RULE. New Parliaments – Local Parliaments – People’s Parliaments.
Finally, we ended the year with a march for freedom in London. In reportedly more than 150 cities across 40 countries around the world, the World Wide Freedom March spanned continents in order to bring people out into the street, campaigning for decentralisation, collaboration, community, stability and peace. We were glad to be a part of it.
Our volunteers love to get out on the street, whether that be on the ground, such as posting up stickers, holding banners or handing out flyers, or digital activism, including all of our social media efforts, written articles and graphics. We have a great time doing all of it, and everyone is able to contribute something. If you want to help us to forward Localism in England, please get in touch via DM on any of our social media pages.
Our social media platforms have continued to grow steadily over the course of 2021. We continue activity on Instagram, Twitter, Telegram and Facebook, as well as /r/LocalismEngland. Our graphics team has consistently accomplished great work with creative and attractive posts, alongside articles, comments on current events, ideological statements and more. You can read our articles here, and you can find our social media links here.
For 2022, we plan to attend more demonstrations against authoritarianism and centralisation, offering an alternative democratic model, with flyers and banners. We also are working on a project with several other organisations, which we should see come to light in Spring of next year. Additionally, we will be significantly increasing our efforts to focus on community-driven activism. Amongst all of this, we hope that restrictions are eased so that our volunteers can meet more often to discuss, plan, and socialise. Finally, we are building our mailing list in order to bring important information to our followers when the time calls for it.
You can support us via Patreon or PayPal, even the smallest donations can make a huge difference. All of our funding comes from our volunteers and our patrons, whom we could not continue without. Social media promotions, prints, equipment, travel, website hosting and more all comes at a cost. If you enjoy our work, please consider becoming a much-appreciated patron.