What do we do about Guantanamo?

March 29, 2006

What do we do about Guantanamo?

I was asked this question recently, to which I replied (somewhat glibly), “burn the fucker down”. The questioner, to her credit, did not accept this for an answer, and pressed for more detail, which I did not give.

Why? Because I did not think she would take my answer, global revolution, any more seriously than my “burn the fucker down” comment. To me, however, this is the only answer.

Sure, sustained protest/public pressure conceivably could (and hopefully will) see the end of the US torture camp at Guantanamo Bay. Until the current system is replaced however, more things like it will keep popping up. And we shouldn’t kid ourselves – plenty of other countries around the world are already doing the same thing, and worse.

In my eyes, attempting to build an open, inclusive and welcoming anarchist/activist community is going to be far more effective in the long term at bettering this world than standing around and shouting outside the US embassy (although the latter can certainly have a part to play in the former).

My revolution sees these anarchist communities, and their associated resources (for now community centres and food co-ops, but later as we grow health clinics and sustainable villages) steadily growing in size and strength until it reaches a point where there are only two options – either they will take over from capitalism’s institutions and usher in a new age, or, more likely, the capitalist institutions will attempt to crush the new society thus bringing in a time of violent repression and revolution.

So why then do I bother with non-community building activism, such as environmental, anti-fascist, anti-war etc? Firstly, I would make the point that all activism, if targeted in certain ways, can and does build community. The main reason I do these, however, is split in two parts.

I am involved in enviro-activism for one main reason – we can’t ever hope to have an anarchist society without a planet to live on. Capitalism is destroying the earth at ever increasing rates, and it is already likely to be too late to ever reverse some of the destruction it has wrought. So I am involved in environmental campaigns in order to do what I can to ensure the planet and what lives on it survives for long enough to create a more sustainable society.

The reasoning behind my involvement in and support for other forms of activism is a little different. With these, I acknowledge that I have grown up with a lot of privileges in my life. As a middle class white male, I have automatically been given a head start in this society that many others have not had. While my attainment of privilege was not something I could have controlled, what I do with that privilege is certainly my choice. To me, it seems selfish for someone with privilege not to support the struggles of those without.

So what do we do about Guantanamo? Build our own communities, ditch the system and BURN THE FUCKER DOWN!


Random Photos

March 29, 2006

So, while flicking through some of my old photos, I figured I'd pick 10 of the ones that made me smile to chuck up on here. From various times and various places in various parts of the world (ask in comments if you want to know specifics…)

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Welcome to Anarchia

March 15, 2006

So, the blog that was formerly Left & Lefter has a new home (thanks WordPress!) and a new name. The name change has been in the making for a while as I got sick of L&L, but I just hadn’t been able to think of a new one until now.

Anarchia is also the name of my zine, which should be available both online (on this blog) and in hard copy (from your local anarchist infoshop) sometime in the very near future. It’s at 22 pages so far, just got to type up and format 3 or 4 more articles (all already written) then I’ll publish it.

In the USA in the 1800’s, many people who opposed a centralised federal authority and criticised the government were diagnosed with Anarchia, which was defined as having an “excess of the passion for liberty” that “constituted a form of insanity”. So thats where the name comes from.

I’ve transferred across some of the posts from Left & Lefter, but not all, because transferring many of them (such as the numerous “I’m going away, no posts for a while” posts) seemed pointless.

So, welcome to Anarchia, and I hope you enjoy what you read.


Returning To Happy Valley

March 12, 2006

The following is a crosspost from the Happy Valley Occupation Blog.

On February 28th, the one month anniversary of our occupation, I returned to Happy Valley after a week in Christchurch. The change couldn’t have been more marked. From concrete to native bush, from sparrows and pidgeons to Weka and Kiwi.

As I started the walk back into the Valley, I was quickly reminded of how special and unique an area it actually is. The red tussock wetland (much wetter than last time I was there!) was absolutely stunning, the swimming hole was deeper than ever and the campsite had had some additional improvements made to it.

The 2 baby Weka that live in the same area as our campsite had grown considerably since I was last in the Valley, and they were a lot more comfortable with being close to humans, although any sudden movements still caused them to run far away, squeaking as loud as they could. Along with their elder sibling and two parents, the Weka provide a prime example of exactly what stands to be lost if Solid Energy’s proposed mine goes ahead.

The weather is steadily heading away from the summer that we’ve been having so far – my last night in the Valley included a brief hailstorm, with 3 of us standing under an umbrella which was also covering our small fire. After the hail the sky cleared however, making for one of the best nights I’ve had in the Valley so far, with stars all over the sky in incredible numbers. The next day, we walked out in stunning sunshine with blue skies everywhere – so maybe the good weather will continue for a while yet?


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