CrimethInc.: Memories of Aaron Bushnell: As Recounted by His Friends

February 29, 2024

On February 25, Aaron Bushnell set himself on fire at the gate of the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC as an act of protest against the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. Hostile critics have attempted to shrug off Aaron’s action as the consequence of mental illness. On the contrary, Aaron’s choice was a political action arising from his deeply held anarchist convictions. In the following collection, we share Aaron’s own summary of his politics, followed by testimony from three of Aaron’s close friends.

As Aaron recounted to his comrades in a mutual aid group in San Antonio, he grew up in a very Christian conservative white enclave in Cape Cod. He was 18 years old when Donald Trump was elected; he joined the Air Force in 2019. While in the Air Force, he arrived at anarchist politics through a process of self-education.

In February 2023, Aaron prepared a document aimed at helping this group to become more cohesive. As another participant in the group told us, “Aaron sought to formalize and mature some of our organizing methods, and he felt that having deep and open discussion was a crucial first step for building long-term trust. He created a list of questions as a way for our ragtag group of lefties doing mutual aid to start a conversation with each other.”

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