What is Guerilla Gardening, and why do you do it?
-Guerilla Gardening is growing food on land owned by capitalists in hopes of gaining a greater degree of self sufficiency. It is done by individuals or small groups who seek economic independence from agribusiness and other qualms of industrial food production, and more generally those wishing to escape industrialized life altogether.
Guerilla gardening is an effort to become independent from market economy, combined with the willingness to militantly expropriate land from capitalists who benefit from this exploitative market economy. By using expropriated land, gardening becomes an option for all people, not just those who can afford a house with a backyard. Guerilla gardening is an intersection of self-sufficiency and class war. It is an attempt at escaping capitalism without forgetting that one cannot escape capitalism without fighting it.
Is guerilla gardening illegal?
Isn't it wrong/immoral/evil to mess with someone else's property?
-We do not plant on land owned by individual people who use their land for personal reasons. We expropriate land from business interests, who would otherwise use that land for making money. We seek a direct connection to the land, not the mediated kind of connection economy offers. We feel that growing food is our right, and takes precedence over capitalist enterprise which only sees land as a resource for making profit (for a small minority).
Why are you so opposed to capitalism?
-Capitalism is a system of economics based on private ownership. Essentially, it involves a small minority of "owners" using the property they already own to gain more property and wealth. This is done with methods like rent, interest on loans, and wages. A corollary of this is that the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Owners of businesses for instance, employ workers to produce the goods being sold, then sell the product for more than they paid the worker to make it. Since the owner acquired this surplus not through labour, but merely by owning capital, we see it as undeserved.
Beyond the material inequalities inherent to capitalism, a much more grave and serious consequence arises. This is the authoritarian nature of the capitalist class and its structures. Ordinary people lose their autonomy, and are forced to follow the will of their employer. With this we see the loss of individual self-determination. People cease to be humans but mere cogs in a machine over which they have no control. We merely have to look at our own lives to realize this. How much control do you have over your activities at work? How much control do you have over the societal impacts of your company? The truth is, when we are at work we are only slaves. We follow orders without question, and any real show of self-determination is met with the threat of termination, and in consequence, eviction and starvation.
"Juridically [the worker and capitalist] are both equal; but economically the worker is the serf of the capitalist . . . thereby the worker sells his person and his liberty for a given time. The worker is in the position of a serf because this terrible threat of starvation which daily hangs over his head and over his family, will force him to accept any conditions imposed by the gainful calculations of the capitalist, the industrialist, the employer. . . .The worker always has the right to leave his employer, but has he the means to do so? No, he does it in order to sell himself to another employer. He is driven to it by the same hunger which forces him to sell himself to the first employer. Thus the worker's liberty . . . is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means for its possible realisation, and consequently it is only a fictitious liberty, an utter falsehood. The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a continuous and dismaying succession of terms of serfdom -- voluntary from the juridical point of view but compulsory from an economic sense -- broken up by momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other words, it is real slavery." [The Political Philosophy of Bakunin, pp. 187-8]
Have you been successful in getting big harvests?
-Yes. After a miserable summer in 2006, the following year we learned from our mistakes and wound up with a decent amount of foods. The legumes did particularly well. As we learn more and become more experienced, our harvests will get bigger as the years progress.
What do you grow?
-We focus on growing food. Specifically we grow tomatoes, corn, onions, beans and various herbs.
What are your politics/religion?
-WGGC does not exclude anyone based on any kind of political or religious affiliation. Inherently, guerilla gardening is influenced by anarchist methods of organization and action. Guerilla gardening is direct action at its finest, thus bypassing the need for political parties or other kinds of governmental strategies. This is not to say necessarily that we discredit other methods people are trying to affect social change (such as OCAP, Green Party or the Marxist-Leninist party). We believe in a diversity of tactics, and guerilla gardening is only a small part of an overall strategy to transform society. Which tactics are the most effective is something only history can reveal.
Is this a front for a marijuana growing operation?
-While certain participants of WGGC are known to smoke massive amounts of cannabis, WGGC focuses on food-orientated horticulture. This being said, we would wholly support and incorporate anyone growing marijuana by our principles and motivations. We also support the total and unconditional legalization of marijuana. Cannabis was one of the first plants cultivated by humans, and we surely owe alot to this magical plant.
How does this fit in with other socialist strategies of revolution?
-Urban, self sustenance gardening is the only possibility for food production in a post-oil world (socialist or not). There will come a time when our transport trucks, oil fertilizers and farm machines will no longer be what makes food production possible. How does GG fit in with a revolutionary strategy? The same way that expropriating the means of production does. Its reclaiming what we need to survive from capitalism. Its growing food in a decentralized, non-alienated, and (extremely) enviro-friendly way. Of course at the present, GG is done on a small scale, which may give the illusion of it being "individualistic". But this by no means is the limit to what GG can do. With more people collaborating and organizing, GG has the potential to make a quantitative difference in the way society produces food. So in short, GG is comparable to other forms of expropriation, the only difference is its possible on a small scale right now.
What if I don't like eating vegetables?
Humans' "natural" diet consisted of approx 70% vegetables and fruit. Only in the supermarket age of processed, frozen, prepackaged food are humans given the option of entirely cutting vegetables out of their diet. Any doctor or nutritionalist will tell you that eating vegetables is a very important part of a healthy life. They ain't kidding!
Aren't you just destroying Nature by planting gardens on undeveloped land?
Our focus is escaping the descruction brought by industrial agriculture. The ecological degradation caused by chemical pesticides and herbicides, GMO's, carbon emissions, fertilizers and soil depletion far outweigh the damage caused by our gardens.
Moreover, we plant trees and clean up garbage in the areas we garden so we "give back" to the land.