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!