An Oktoberfest Of Emergency Antifa Aid!

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Top to Bottom: Jock Palfreeman is initially released on parole in Sofia; LGBTQ+ activists in Lublin, Poland take to the streets and face violence by organized mobs of homophobes; unarmed antifa in Newnan, GA. peacefully protesting a nazi march through town have assault rifles pointed at them by the kkkops; antifa at the Brenner Pass protest Austria’s xenophobic migration policies. 

We have to apologize for the lack of updates over the last six weeks or so, but the month of October kept us much busier than we were expecting to be.  We received at least one new request for support from an anti-fascist in trouble every single week and this kept us hopping.  Since we’ve managed to find a spare minute, let’s tell you about what we got up to last month:

  • In 2016 Antifascists headed to the Austrian-Italian border crossing at the Brenner Pass to protest Austria’s inhuman & xenophobic migration policies and were met with a battalion of well-armed riot cops who attacked them.  83 antifa were arrested: 5 were convicted of various charges, 13 have been acquitted of all charges, & 65 more are still waiting to go to trial.  We were contacted by friends of one of those awaiting trial and asked to help cover his legal defence costs.  Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to cover the majority of the costs he’s facing (crowdfunder here in case you’d like to donate directly)!
  • Last April, antifascists converged on Newnan, GA. to confront a nazi march through town.  The antifa were met by 400-800 heavily-armed kkkops that pointed assault rifles in their faces and tackled anyone wearing a mask.  When one antifa tried to speak to the cops and de-escalate a potentially lethal situation, she was body-slammed to the ground and arrested (some of you will recall that we were able to cover nearly half of her legal defense costs, again thanks to our donors).  A second defendant, charged with the crime of wearing a mask in public, is fighting the charge as far as possible in order to challenge the constitutionality of Georgia’s anti-mask ordinance.  We were happy to be able to pay for a big chunk of the fine he’s received so far & some of his lawyer bills (if you’d like to contribute directly, here’s his crowdfunder).
  • Poland has been a flashpoint for violence against LGBTQ+ civil rights activists.  The governing political party is openly homophobic and the mayor of Lublin banned a Pride march this fall.  Queer people were not having it and went ahead with the march anyway, which led to attacks by far-right homophobes who blocked the march route and assaulted Pride marchers.  When two of our friends left the march, they were pursued by a pack of screaming homophobes who were threatening to kill them in the street.  When the homophobes charged, our friends gave them a blast of pepper spray and fought them off.  So of course the homophobes ran to the nearest police to play victim and now our friends are up on charges!  We’ve ensured that both our friends have competent legal representation to defend them against these fictitious charges and are looking forward to the good news of their acquittal when the whole mess goes to trial.
  • Last but not least: Jock Palfreeman is a name familiar to many of you.  The Australian national was backpacking through Sofia, Bulgaria in 2007 when he witnessed a mob of bigots attacking two young Roma boys.  Jock stepped in to intervene and was set upon by the mob.  In the ensuing altercation, one of the attackers died of a stab wound, Jock was charged with the stabbing, and a sham trial led to a 20-year prison sentence for him.

    Since then, Jock has not only been a model prisoner, but has founded and run the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association, which fights for the inalienable human rights of prisoners in Bulgaria.

    Last month and after serving 11 years in prison, Jock was suddenly and unexpectedly granted parole.  But before anyone could pop champagne corks, Bulgaria’s Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov intervened, seizing Jock’s passport, placing him essentially under house arrest, and demanding that the supreme court review the parole decision, .  This move was unprecedented, appears to have no basis in Bulgarian law, has been condemned as political interference in the judicial system, and was likely motivated by pressure by Bulgarian extreme-right groups.

    While Jock holds up in a safe house in Sofia awaiting the Bulgarian supreme court to decide his fate, we were able to provide an amount to make sure he’s taken care of (you can too via this crowdfunder).

All this supporting of anti-fascists costs money.  So far this year the Defence Fund has spent 25% more defending and supporting anti-fascists the world over than it did in all of 2018 and there are still two months left in 2019.  Where does this money come from?  100% of our funding comes from individual donors around the world.  So if you believe in the work we’re doing now would be a great time to show your support by making a donation.

If I Had A Hammer/Full Circle

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Alex literally defending other anti-fascists by grabbing a hammer from a member of the white supremacist “American Guard.” 

When Florida-based “Proud Boy” and Infowars chatterbox Joe Biggs called for a rally in Portland on August 17th specifically targeting anti-fascists, he made it very clear what kind of rally he wanted it to be.  Quoting coverage from The Daily BeastIn repeated social media posts promoting the rally, Biggs called for blood. “Get a gun. Bu[y] ammo. Get your gun license. Get training. Practice as much as you can and be ready because the left isn’t playing anymore and neither should we,” he wrote in one of many similarly violent posts, among which was a picture of a person being suffocated with a plastic bag with the caption “death to antifa.” He repeated the sentiments in a video while holding a pro-Trump baseball bat.

So it probably shouldn’t be surprising that some of the people that answered Biggs’ call came ready to hurt people.  The ADL-identified white supremacist gang America Guard, for example, drove up from Utah in a Mad Max-style schoolbus and, when stuck in traffic and confronted by yelling anti-fascists, a couple of them opened the bus door and tried to smash people in the head with a claw hammer.

Fortunately, our man Alex was one of those people and he acted quickly enough to defend against this potentially-deadly attack in short order.  Which, of course, led to charges being laid against him.  In fact, the Portland prosecutors are intent on making example of him by laying the most serious felony charges imaginable.  So while it’s possible he saved some people’s lives that day, he’s now facing years and years in prison for doing so.

When The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund heard about this, we got some money together to help Alex get proper legal representation and got it to him via his crowdfunder.  Alex was nice enough to write us a thank-you note:

I am aware of what a huge gift this is from you. Thank you so much for believing in me.

I know there are others out there like me who need help, too. I pledge to use this money only for the stated purpose of legal defenses with regards to these specific cases.

Thank you, truly, for what you’ve done.

Meanwhile in Germany: we were asked to help out with a case we’re all-too familiar with.  Four years ago, anti-fascist fans of the SV Werder Bremen were returning from a football match when they encountered a much larger group of drunk nazis.  The antifa ultras tried to avoid trouble but the Bermen police pushed them back into the mob of nazis, who they then literally had to fight their way out of.  Which they did very handily, only to be arrested by the same cops that forced them into the situation in the first place!

One of the antifa arrested in all of this was the very first anti-fascist the Defence Fund provided legal support to, way back in 2015!  Now the case against the other six arrestees has wound down and while no one else served prison time, the court fines and legal costs amounted to an astounding €17500.  The Defence Fund was able to make a contribution towards paying that fine off via the crowdfunder established for that purpose.

It doesn’t matter what country you’re in; it doesn’t matter how long your fight for justice takes – if you’re forced to defend yourself and your community from nazi violence, we’ve got your back, thanks to the thousands of anti-fascists that have donated to the Defence Fund!  We depend on people showing genuine solidarity by continuing to make contributions to the Defence Fund, so if you haven’t done that in a while or if you’ve never done it, now’s the time.

 

 

 

Bar Crawl.

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Chat Shit, Get Banged: The Luke Lenzner Story

We know how to have a good time, but the various trolls of the alt-right have some weird ideas about what a fun night out looks like.  Take 34-year-old Luke Lenzner.  He decided a great date with his wife would be for them to hit several Portland bars, where he’d threaten the patrons and lie about being a veteran (thought right wing extremists were against “stolen valor?”).  “Come outside and see what happens” he challenged people drinking at The Vern – all of whom were minding their own business when Lenzner waltzed in, trying to provoke a fight.

Lenzner’s dry spell came to an abrupt end at Growler’s Taproom, where Lenzner decided to confront a biracial couple and got a big ol’ shiner for his efforts.  Which is, of course, what he wanted; by now you’ve probably noticed a pattern of alt-right trolls picking fights with anti-fascists, racialized people, LGBTQ+ people, etc. and then when they come out on the losing end, filing charges with their police pals, uploading heavily-edited video, and ca$hing in via crowdfunders.  Right, Andy Ngo?

Anyways, Lenzner’s narrative of being a poor innocent victim attacked by the savage leftist mobs of Portland just because of his MAGA hat quickly collapsed when video of his antics at other bars that night surfaced.  But the two people who “attacked” Lenzner were still up on charges & had to raise money to defend themselves, which we of course pitched in to help out with.

And here’s the happy ending: a grand jury threw out all the charges against the accused couple!  This probably isn’t the last we’ve heard from Lenzner, but hopefully he’s deep in his hole, licking his wounds, for a long time.

Thanks From Star!

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August 25, 2018: Charlottesville survivor Aubtin Heydari visits the site of the attack two weeks later, after leaving the hospital.

About two weeks ago, The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund sent some support to Star, one of the survivors of the 2017 white supremacist terror attack in Charlottesville, VA., after she reached out to us for help.  In response to our support, she sent us this lovely note:

Oh my gosh thank you **so** much. I am so incredibly grateful I am crying.  I seriously can’t thank you enough.  So many people seem to have already forgotten about the car attack. Unfortunately there are those of us who still live with its ramifications every day. Thank you for not forgetting about me.

 

If you’ve made a donation to the Defence Fund in the past, that thanks goes out to you, since the Defence Fund is 100% funded by individual donors and you made it possible for us to send Star the support she needed within days of her reaching out.

If you haven’t made a donation to the Defence Fund, maybe now it the right time for you to make a contribution of any amount, so we are ready to support the next anti-fascist that reaches out to us for help when they need it the most!  Here’s how you can do that.

 

September 2019 – Quarterly Report

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After police in Hamilton, Canada arrested LGBTQ+ people who defended a Pride event from a attack by violent homophobes, Hamiltonians took to the streets to let them know what’s what.

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund had a very, very active summer; over the past three months we’ve looked at ten different requests for support from 17 anti-fascists.  Here’s a recap for you:

That’s a lot of work that for a group of volunteers to take on over the course of three months, isn’t it?  It all added up to thousands of dollars going out to help anti-fascists.  100% of that money came from individual donations from anti-fascists around the world.  If we’re to keep doing this work, we need to replenish the Defence Fund and replace the money we’ve doled out.  That’s where you come in!  If you support the people putting themselves on the line to protect their communities from fascism and bigotry,   we are counting on you to demonstrate that by stepping up and giving whatever you can

Charlottesville: Solidarity Forever

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Heather Heyer Way & Market Street, Charlottesville, VA.

If you are reading this, we trust that you already know what happened in Charlottesville, VA. on August 12, 2017.  Maybe you were one of the thousands of people that responded to the white supremacist terror attack that day that killed Heather Heyer and severely injured 30 others by donating to one of the many crowdfunders that sprang up in the aftermath in support of the survivors.  Maybe you attended the all-star benefit concert to support them.  In the two years since that terrible day, maybe you’ve wondered what happened to all that money and how the survivors are doing now.

Star could fill you in on all of that.  She was one of the people severely injured by James Fields Jr. in the attack, which left her with broken legs, a broken spine, and and other injuries so severe that she nearly lost a foot, has undergone five separate surgeries, and has been fighting to walk normally again for the last two years.

Some of the money never made it to any of the survivors, or was delayed for months and months thanks to well-meaning but inept/inexperienced organizers, pointless bureaucracy, and other problems.  The $200,000 raised by the DSA probably being the most infamous case of this.

The money raised that actually reached the survivors was quickly eaten up by the massive hospital bills incurred by the 30 injured survivors.  A fund set up specifically to pay the living costs of people whose injuries stopped them from going to work, is going to run out of money very soon.

This leaves the still-injured survivors in dire straits.  One can’t afford the operation required to fix their back so she can work & support their kids again.  Star is still facing additional surgery and is in dire financial straits because of all the limitations of her injuries.

This isn’t how we should be leaving the people who stood up to the most violent fascist gathering in modern US history and were badly, badly injured doing so.  Every single person opposed to fascism and bigotry owes a debt to these survivors and it’s high time to pay that debt by making sure they’re taken care of.  This is what anti-fascist solidarity means; this is why we established The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund in the first place;  this is why we’ve supported Charlottesville survivors in the past; and this is why we didn’t hesitate to support Star now.

Donate to Star’s crowdfunder here.
Donate to The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund here.

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August 25, 2018: Charlottesville survivor Aubtin Heydari visits the site of the attack two weeks later, after leaving the hospital.

Good News For A Change.

 

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The call went out & the court was packed!

 

Sometimes we feel like all we do here at The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is tell y’all about terrible things happening to antifa and awful situations they find themselves in that we need to come together to help them get through.  But we don’t do enough to let you know what happens after or about the small victories we help make happen for the anti-fascists we support.  So here’s two recent stories for you:

You’ll recall back in June we helped out two antifascist moms being harassed by the FBI and local nazis for warning their neighbors about local racist extremists.  The feds pulled every trick in the book to make the two moms crack without any luck, including putting them up on bullshit charges.

Well, last Thursday was their preliminary hearing and antifa packed the courthouse to show support and be there to witness the judge throwing out all the charges!  We’re ecstatic that we were able to help them pay for the legal defense team they needed to make this happen!  The cops, on the other hand, have now threatened to indict the moms directly/press more charges, but given how incompetent they were at laying charges so far, that’s probably going to be a losing strategy/waste of taxpayer dollars.  The moms are still looking for help w/ legal costs and moving costs (since the FBI made good on their threat of giving their home addresses to local nazis!), so if you can help out, please do so here.

Over in Europe, Oleg – the Russian antifascist that was forced to seek asylum in another country – told us that thanks to our help with application fees, his wife and child will be leaving Russia to join him in his new home later this month!  Oleg writes:

Thank you very much for your help, support and solidarity, I am sincerely grateful to you for what you have done for me and my family.
We did the necessary documents for family reunification in St. Petersburg. In the coming days, my wife goes to the embassy in St. Petersburg and will apply for a tourist visa.  If everything is fine and she receives visas and is able to come, then we will immediately submit the documents for family reunification to the migration service. then we will need to pass through several interviews in the migration service where the officers will sort out our family relationships. It may take up to six months. I hope everything will be OK.
I am very grateful for your help, thank you very much.

We are very happy to have played a part in making that family reunion possible.

If you have donated to the Defence Fund, please know that you were part of both of these stories; if you haven’t donated to the Defence Fund yet, make sure you do now so you can be part of the future happy endings we help create for anti-fascists!

Summer’s Heating Up!

 

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Hamilton, Ontario comes out in support of the people who stood up to violent homophobes & defending Pride.

Well, things are certainly heating up and we’re not just talking about the weather!  We’ve been extremely busy here at The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund.  Here’s what we got up to just in the last couple of weeks:

You might recall from our last post that a Pride event in Hamilton, Canada was attacked by super-violent homophobes and religious extremists while the cops stood aside and watched.  This left it up to the community to defend itself, which it did in short order.  But after the dust had settled and people started calling out the police for not doing a goddamn thing, the police responded by arresting five people.  Four of those five people were LGBTQ+ folk either defending against the homophobic attack or – in the case of Cedar Hoppington – daring to publicly criticize the police but who wasn’t even at the event in question!

As we mentioned previously, our last action was to send money to help Cedar with their legal expenses.  Then, after learning about the arrests of three more Hamilton Pride defenders, we contributed to help with their legal defence as well.  You can too by making a donation here (be sure to let them know what it’s for!).

Meanwhile, in the city where an alt-right Islamophobe troll can make six figures by begging online after getting milkshaked & silly stringed, PDX antifascists countered a “rally” by the “Proud Boys” that was intentionally billed as a violent attack on whoever opposes their thinly-veiled white supremacy.  Three good people on our side now face legal & medical difficulties and Rose City Antifa have established a crowdfunder to help them out; we were happy to be able to contribute to that.

Meanwhile in Scandinavia, our friend Oleg continues to sort out the repercussions of a 2004 attack by armed nazi thugs that left with with a permanent brain injury and subsequent threats that forced him to flee Russia and see asylum in another country.  We’ve provided ongoing support to Oleg for the last four years, so when he came to us to ask for assistance paying for the various costs & fees related to repatriating his wife & child to live with him in his new home, it was an easy call for us to make.  We’re looking forward to seeing the reunion photos, Oleg!

We’re not even one month into summer and so far the Defence Fund has sent out literally thousands of dollars to help eight different anti-fascists in three countries.  We couldn’t do this at all if not for donations from thousands of anti-fascists around the world; we’re counting on you to allow us to continue this important work by contributing to the Defence Fund today.

 

Easy Calls & Tough Calls

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From a post in support of Cedar.

Late last month, The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund had to consider two requests for support.  One (the “tough call”) was from an anti-fascist in Ohio that had their home searched by the cops in response to allegedly threatening tweets they had made about Donald Trump.  The cops found a box of ammunition and have charged the person in question with being a felon in possession of ammunition.

There was no question as to this person’s antifa credentials, but what caused the 700+ members of the Decisions Crew (the body that discusses & decides what action to take whenever we receive a request for support) to hesitate was whether this specific incident was clearly related on anti-fascist work.  On one hand, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see Donald Trump as anything but a fascist.  On the other hand, the arrest was possession of ammunition and not about anti-fascist work itself.

The case seemed very close to one we dealt with about two years ago, where people had been accused of vandalized a Trump golf course.   In that case, we had a very spirited discussion but decided in the end (via majority vote) that the actions were not specifically anti-fascist enough to meet the Defence Fund’s mandate and we declined to provide material support.  So was the case with our friend in Ohio.

A much more clear-cut request (the “easy call”) came from Hamilton, Canada, where antifa had intercepted a group of homophobic hate preachers and right wing extremists on their way to fuck with a Pride event in a public park.  Armed with a 15-foot-tall mobile black curtain, our heroes managed to block the view of the haters from the LGBTQ+ people they were targeting for harassment.  This of course infuriated the bigots, who then physically attacked the antifascists several times while police blithely looked on (when one bystander asked why a cop why they weren’t intervening, the cop reportedly said “don’t you remember?  You didn’t want us to be invited to Pride!”  This has led to lots of people people putting “POLICE NOT INVITED” signs on their doors, since, like vampires, the police apparently have to be invited in before they can do their thing!).

The police took a lot of public heat for failing to step in and after a day or two began making arrests – OF QUEER/ANTIFA PEOPLE WHO DEFENDED PRIDE!!!  Their first arrest was Cedar – a well-known transgender woman, anarchist, and anti-fascist.  Claiming that Cedar violated parole by attending “a violent event,” police arrested them at a public meeting days later where Cedar openly criticized the cops.  Important to note: CEDAR WASN’T ANYWHERE NEAR THE PRIDE EVENT IN QUESTION!  That will come out in court days or weeks from now but in the meantime Cedar sits in jail, on a hunger strike.

We were asked to help come up with money to bail Cedar out and get them proper legal representation and we have done so without hesitation.  Meanwhile, cops have continued to arrest queer/antifa Pride defenders as well as people that have publicly protested to criticize their actions & the collusion of Hamilton’s mayor.  So the fallout is nowhere near over.  Which means that we’ll be counting on you, dear reader, to help us support these antifa & the antifa that will surely face consequences defending their communities from the fascist attacks to come.  Take 30 seconds and make a donation to the Defence Fund today.

Always Got Your Back.

 

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Some of the 600 anti-fascists that faced off against an equal number of cops & all of nine KKKlowns in Dayton, OH.

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was set up four years ago to be something anti-fascists and those fighting against bigotry could rely on to help out when help was needed the most.  Here are two more examples from this month of this in action:

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Luke, Portland anti-fascist and survivor of an assassination attempt.

If you’ve been following us for a while, then you’re probably familiar with Luke – an old-school Portland antifa who in 2010 was targeted for an assassination attempt by area nazis, who shot him in the street.  Luke survived the attempt on his life, but was paralyzed from the waist down in the attack.  He’s spent the last nine years trying to do what many said he’d never do – walk again.  He reached out to us two years ago for some help funding alternative therapies, which we were happy to help him access.  We were extremely happy to hear that he’s getting feeling back in his legs and making big progress in physical therapy, so this past January we again sent him some money to pay his therapists.  Most recently, he set up a crowdfunder to help pay for his next round of treatment, and once again we were there to pitch in.  We understand that recovering from a devastating gun injury can take years and years and we’re going to be with Luke for as long as it takes.

Meanwhile in Ohio, the KKK decided to crawl out from under their rocks and make a public appearance; well, nine of them did, anyway.  They were met by 600+ antifa in the streets, ready to shut down the festivities early if not for the 600+ police there to protect the nine KKKlowns.  Seriously, 66 cops for every KKKoward.  A little taxpayer-funded overkill, don’t you think?

But we digress!  After the event fizzled and the Klan turned and ran, some of them showed up later at a local family restaurant where their unwelcome status was made abundantly clear.  This then led to one of the bigots running down the street in a nazi helmet, waving a Klan flag.  An impromptu community watch took care of that problem but unfortunately three of those civic-minded citizens now face criminal charges as a result of taking care of the situation.  Now they need lawyers to help them fight absurd charges leveled against them, so the Defence Fund has stepped up and contributed what we could to help them fight those charges.

If the Defence Fund wasn’t around, it’s unclear whether Luke would have been able to access any therapy at all for his injuries.  If not for the Defence Fund, our friends in Ohio might be relying on public defenders to help them fight for their freedom.  The only reason the Defence Fund is around to help in situations like these is because of the people that donate to the Defence Fund.  If that’s not you yet, we have a deal for you:

Sign up to become a monthly contributor to The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund before the end of June (or, if you already contribute monthly, increase your monthly contribution by at least $5) & we’ll enter you in a draw to win an author-signed copy of one of these excellent books:

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Mark Bray’s ANTIFA: THE ANTI-FASCIST HANDBOOK & Gord Hill’s THE ANTIFA COMIC BOOK: an author-signed copy of each to be given away to our monthly contributors!

On top of that, you’ll also get access to this limited-edition, exclusive antifa shirt:

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Available only this month & only to monthly contributors to the Defence Fund!

It really does not get better than this, so sign up now so you don’t miss out!