Andy Worthington’s Top Five Enthusiasms for 2018

1.1.18

Happy New Year 2018!Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months of the Trump administration.

 

Happy New Year to my friends and supporters, and to anyone passing by! If you don’t know me, I’m a reader-funded journalist, activist, photographer and musician, working through these media to inform, educate and entertain, and to address important issues involving human rights and social justice. Below are my main passions, and what I hope to achieve in 2018, and you’re more than welcome to get on board and get involved with any or all of them! Donations to support my work, however large or small, are always welcome, as I very genuinely cannot do what I do without your support.

1. Closing Guantánamo

Regular readers will know that the last twelve years of my life have largely been given over to telling the story of Guantánamo and the men held there, and working to get the prison closed — first via my book The Guantánamo Files, and, since May 2007, via my website, where I have, to date, published 2,154 articles about Guantánamo, and, since January 2012, via the Close Guantánamo campaign and website that I established (with the US attorney Tom Wilner, who represented the prisoners in their Supreme Court cases in 2004 and 2008) on the 10th anniversary of the opening of the prison on January 11, 2012.

Every January, since 2011, I’ve visited the US to call for the closure of Guantánamo on an around the anniversary of the prison’s opening, and I’ll be doing the same this month, flying out to the US next Monday to take part in events in Washington, D.C. on January 10 and 11, including a protest outside the White House, and I look forward to more dates being added soon. If you want an interview, or want to stage an event, do let me know — and if you want a spur to donate to support my work, then it will help with my visit!

2. Playing kicking punky reggae protest music with my band The Four Fathers

My band The Four Fathers play political rock and roots reggae — and we brought 2017 to a close with the release of our second album, ‘How Much Is A Life Worth?’ (available on CD and to download), which contains ten original songs — eight by me, and two by guitarist Richard Clare — with my songs including the title track, asking why white westerners see their lives as more significant than those of foreigners (with reference to 9/11 and the illegal wars that followed it, the current global refugee crisis, and the reason for the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US), ‘Riot’, warning the UK government about the dangers of endless austerity and greed, ‘London’, in which I lament how, over the last 30 years, London has gone from wild to dull, and money – and an insane housing bubble – are now horribly dominant, ‘Equal Rights And Justice For All’, a celebration of habeas corpus, and ‘Close Guantánamo’, used as a campaign song for the Close Guantánamo campaign.

Do get in touch if you want to work with us, or can offer us any kind of gigs.

3. Stopping the destruction of social housing in the UK and seeking justice for the Grenfell survivors

In 2017, I was appalled by the entirely preventable fire that consumed Grenfell Tower in west London in June, which highlighted my long-standing interest in social housing (not for profit housing), and led to me meeting filmmaker Nikita Woolfe and being asked to narrate her documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates and residents’ resistance, which had its first screenings in December. I also set up a campaign, ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’, to provide a focus for the various campaigns agains the destruction of council housing and community spaces in the London Borough of Lewisham, where I live (in social housing), and wrote a song, ‘Grenfell’, which a German TV crew recorded The Four Fathers playing at the end of October, and which we released on video in December, marking six months since the Grenfell fire.

Check out the video below, via YouTube:

Do get in touch if you want to show ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’ in 2018 (and especially if you’re part of a housing campaign), and also do get in touch if you’re interested in putting on a ‘No Social Cleansing’ gig anywhere in London (to follow up on the Deptford gig I put on in November), and also if you’re interested in helping in any way with our planned recording of ‘Grenfell’ in a studio and its release.

4. Chronicling ‘The State of London’ via photos taken on daily bike rides

Since May 2012, I have been cycling around the 120 postcodes of London, taking photos of now-destroyed sites, endangered buildings, forgotten corners, the river, canals, the play of light, the rain, the night — and the remorseless rise of overpriced towers for the domestic and international super-rich — and in May last year, on the 5th anniversary of the start of the project, I finally began publishing a handful of these photos — a photo a day — on a Facebook page I set up, ‘The State of London.’ I then set up a Twitter page, and in 2018 I hope to set up the as-yet skeletal website, and hopefully have an exhibition and publish some sort of book.

Do follow the pages, and get in touch if you can help.

5. Stopping Brexit, getting rid of the Tories and getting rid of Donald Trump

Perhaps this list seems a bit over-ambitious, but we can only live in hope and try to work to make the world a better place, and right now, for this to happen, the corrosive, destructive power of Britain’s proposed departure form the EU, which I have been writing about in sorrow and anger since June 24, 2016, must be stopped. My hope right now, spelled out in another new and as yet unrecorded song for The Four Fathers, ‘I Want My Country Back (From The People Who Wanted Their Country Back)’, is that Brexit “will destroy whoever makes it real”, and the Tories will wither as the people are allowed to change their minds, and a Labour government, genuinely interested in a new form of socialism, takes over.

And while I’m feeling buoyant in the new year, I also hope that 2018 will be the year that we see the ongoing mental collapse of Donald Trump — although I will settle for the Republicans suffering huge defeats in the mid-term elections in November, and the Democrats finding a credible leader who will take them, like the Labour Party, to the left.

It’s January 1, and, at the dawning of a new year, we can but dream, eh?

Peace.

Andy

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Donald Trump No! Please Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2017), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Happy New Year, friends, supporters and any passers-by! As we start a new year in hope, here are the five things I expect I’ll be working on this year – seeking to close Guantanamo, playing with my band The Four Fathers, seeking to stop the destruction of social housing, screening ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, the film I narrate, and seeking justice for the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, continuing my photo project, ‘The State of London’, and generally seeking to topple the two pillars of western idiocy right now, Brexit and Donald Trump. I hope you’ll be with me for some of all of the above! Remember – we are many, and they are few!

  2. Tom says...

    Actual coverage of innocent people at Guantanamo? Innocent immigrants being kicked out of the US and other countries (for being non white)? ____ that. What really matters is the Michael Wolff book megahype. For anyone who doesn’t know, Wolff is a political gossip writer who used to write for the Guardian (among others). Now, actual news headlines in the US are “Ivanka is as f*****g dumb as a brick”.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, in one way, Tom, the book publication and all the hoopla seems to be just the latest phase of the 24/7 Trump soap opera, while real issues – like the impending 16th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo – get brushed under the carpet.
    That said, I do think at some level exposure of the unsuitability of Trump as a legitimate president is inching towards some sort of tipping point, although what good that will do with Pence in the wings and the Republican party so generally rotten, and with the Democrats unable to decide that they need a left-leaning leader, and to locate one, is open to question.
    Another challenging year ahead, I fear …

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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