(Anna died on the 15th March 2018 – We remember her here with the Memoria from The Anarchist Federation)
It's with heavy hearts, full of sadness, love, and rage, that we say goodbye to Anna Campbell, known in Rojava as Helîn Qerecox. She was killed in a missile strike by the Turkish state, after joining in the defence of Afrin with the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).
Anna was a proudly queer feminist anarchist, committed to every aspect of revolutionary struggle. She supported prisoners and fought against the prison industrial complex as a core member of the Empty Cages collective and as part of Bristol Anarchist Black Cross, Community Action on Prison Expansion, Smash IPP and the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee. She fought fascism both ideologically and physically, undeterred by arrest or by injury. She fought for animal liberation, and would regularly go out to save wildlife with the hunt saboteurs. She organised books in Hydra, planned events, fixed bikes, combatted the arms trade, took part in environmental activism, helped defeat the mountain of admin work that any revolution produces, worked at Kino (a cafe cooperative), lent her voice to videos, and did countless other things to help fight oppression in all its forms.
More than just a list of accomplishments and campaign involvements, however, we'll remember what she brought to the movements and communities she was a part of. Proof that you could take struggle completely seriously, be reliable, be committed, and yet at the same time be joyous, fun, and uplifting. That you be intelligent, insightful, and well read, without ever being condescending. That you could take part in an almost unbelievably large amount of revolutionary work, yet never make anyone feel lesser for what they could or couldn't do. That putting people down is never an option when you are able to welcome them in instead.
Anna was deeply inspired by the social revolution in Rojava, the steps being taken there to dismantle patriarchy and bring about a new world in the shadow of oppression. It would come as no surprise to anyone that knew her that she would risk her life to defend Rojava and the friends and comrades she met there. In fact, she gave her commanders an ultimatum: ‘Either I will go home and abandon the life as a revolutionary or you send me to Afrin. But I would never leave the revolution, so I will go to Afrin’. No force on Earth could've stopped her, and no force will stop her fight from living on in the people she inspired and the actions we'll continue to carry out.
We'll leave the last words to her, rest in Power Anna."Our search for what could be possible means accepting a rich heritage. The women of the Paris Commune of 1871, and the worker's militias of the Hamburg Uprising of 1923 - that's us. The comrades of the October Revolution and the Spanish Civil War - that's us. The workers on strike in India and the Guerrilla in the mountains of Kurdistan - that's us. We are the Anarchists of Greece, we are squatters, we are the witches and the rebellious farmers of the early modern period. We who are working here in Rojava as internationalists are part of the world wide fight of the oppressed against the reign of state, capital and patriarchy." ■