Thinking About Aaron Bushnell

self-immolation of serving soldier

Personal thoughts on the martyrdom of a man

Submitted by Zapagon on March 1, 2024

Aaron Bushnell

This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal

I have often wondered about how someone in a revolutionary and liberatory movement should treat death. Like many things I believe in, I think it’s a balance. You should fully understand and prepare for the fact that you will most likely die before you see the movement achieve its goals, not only in the sense that you are killed but also that you might simply pass away from old age and see not much change.

At the same time, however, you should also understand that you must never seek death. It sounds cold but to be direct, you are more useful alive than dead. There are very few situations where the death of a person is necessary for the advancement of a movement.

These thoughts and many others came back to me on the morning of Monday, February 25th when I woke up to the news that Aaron Bushnell, a committed anarchist and US Air Force airman, had committed self-immolation outside the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C in protest of the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli state.

Over the past few days, I have almost constantly gone back to thoughts of him. Not even particular thoughts, just his act of extreme self-sacrifice. I have also been thinking about what I am doing as an anarchist to help anybody. I have to admit I can’t go many places and that I don’t know any other anarchists in my area but still.

Some of my favorite things to read about anarchism are other anarchists: their lives, their actions, and their ideals. I feel like every couple of decades or so we get someone special in our movement or just the idea that humanity should be free. People like Kuwasi Balagoon, Nestor Makhno, Emiliano Zapata, Emma Goldman, and the hundreds of people who despite doing the work of several dozen people have simply been forgotten to time.

Aaron Bushnell was one of those people. I wish he could’ve been persuaded not to go ahead with his self-sacrifice but what’s done is done. We need people of his caliber more than ever. The sad truth however is these kinds of people rarely live long.

We will try to create the world that he not only wanted but that the people of the world need.

Comments

westartfromhere

2 months 4 weeks ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on March 1, 2024

"My name is Aaron Bushnell. I am an active-duty member of the United States Air Force, and I will no longer be complicit in genocide."

One thing from Aaron's statement that is clear is that he did not see the genocide of the working class in Palestine as solely the responsibilty of the State of Israel but equally, and more importantly to him, it was the responsibilty of his own state.

These are not the words of a martyr, not an ideologue of anarchism, but of a man in an untenable position with no way out, in his mind, to escape the role he was playing in the genocide that has been carried out.

During the class war between the gilets jaunes and the French state, many members of the French forces of order chose the same fate and committed suicide rather than carry out their role of brutal oppressor.

The question we should ask ourselves is not why a man or woman should take such drastic action but why others do not. It's only human after all.