This post is in honour of our friend and comrade Anna Campbell, who fell defending Afrin on March 15th this year.
It has been hard to write something before today as the feeling of loss upon hearing of Anna’s death has been unimaginable, and, for those closest to her, it has been hard to put feelings into words. It is not that we haven’t wanted to write about her on this blog before now, it has simply been very difficult to know what to say. These are just some thoughts by one person who knew her well; there are many, many more stories and things to tell about her which I hope readers of this blog will also get to hear one day.
It is very hard for me to write about Anna in an abstract sense, she was a lot of things to me over the time we knew each other; comrade, friend, partner, motivational speaker, travel buddy, the list goes on…she was brave; often to a point where her bravery scared me. She was honest and dedicated. She never hid her politics or failed to stand up for what she believed in when it was needed and I believe her decision to travel to Rojava in May 2017 was proof of all of these qualities.
While she was away, we talked whenever we could. Mostly we goofed about on the phone, laughing about stuff that was happening in Bristol or chatting about something that she really missed from home (there was a while where I had to make a cup of tea and look like I was really enjoying it whilst we talked, or go in search of the right oranges to make marmalade for when she came home cos that was all she could think about that day). She was fun, and she was funny.
Anna Campbell was an intellectual. She ate books for breakfast. If Anna ever felt like she didn’t know enough about something she would read until she did. Anna read for fun and for the revolution, because education was something she really believed in. When we first moved to Bristol in 2014, one of the first things she did was take over ordering books for our local radical bookshop (Hydra books) so that she could share her reading with other people (she was an excellent book Tsar!).
Anna was an avid writer, she wrote letters constantly. I think we saw each other too much for me to be the recipient of many of her letters, but I watched her write letters to people all over the world; friends who were on holiday, friends who had gone to live elsewhere and maybe most importantly friends who were in jail. Before she left for Rojava, Anna contributed much of her time to Bristol Anarchist Black Cross, a project which, if she had come back, I know she would have continued to be passionate about. If you want to do something in honour of Anna Campbell, prisoner letter writing/any form of prisoner solidarity will always be up there as a fitting action.
Anna was talented, though she would never brag about it. Pretty much anything she turned her hand to she could do. When I first met her she was doing a dress making course in Lewes, which she used to make bunting and banners for various squatted anarchist social centres. Whilst I was completing my final year of uni, she learned to become a blacksmith because she was bored and there wasn’t a plumbing course she wanted to do in Brighton. Needless to say, she was amazing at it, even though it meant cycling 20 odd miles to Plumpton and back 4 days a week.
Anna was loved. At her memorial in April hundreds of people showed up to grieve our collective loss together. She is irreplaceable. Now, she is the person I think of when I need to be brave, she is the person I think of when I need to show commitment to something and she is the person I think of when I want to do better. Lewes, Sheffield, London, Brighton, Bristol, Dale Farm, the Zad (and many more) will never forget Anna Campbell and what she gave to all of us; her friendship, her love and her determination. We will never stop fighting because if we do, we will remember her name and it will make us go that extra mile.
Anna loved communiques, so I hope this one is fitting, if you were complicit in Anna Campbell’s death, fuck you, we are coming for you. Rest in Power AC/DS/HQ, we love you always.