You’ll recall last week The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund sent some material aid to Yvette Felarca – one of the heroes of the confrontation with racist terrorists in Sacramento this past June who is now fighting to keep her job as a school teacher after her employer capitulated to a witch hunt run by those same bigots.
Yvette was nice enough to send us a thank-you note, which we are happy to share here with the hundreds of anti-fascists who have donated to the Defence Fund, making it possible for us to help Yvette directly:
I have a hard time finding the words to express the gratitude that I feel toward the sisters and brothers in the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund. As soon as word got out about my discipline by BUSD in retaliation for my participation in the anti-Nazi/KKK protest in Sacramento, they contacted me virtually the next day and offered support. They generously donated their hard-earned money toward helping me recoup my lost wages and pay for my legal expenses. Now, they’ve started this crowdfunding page to help me reach my goal of $10,000 to pay for my state and federal lawsuit against BUSD. Let’s make sure that I and other teachers and students get justice. No one should face attack by their employer for standing up to nazis and the KKK. Thank you, again, from the bottom of my heart. Si se puede!
Yvette is still fighting for her reinstatement at work – if you’d like to help her in her struggle, we are running a limited-time crowdfunding campaign with her consent that you can contribute to & share. As always, if you’d like to help other anti-fascists and anti-racists when they run into trouble, you can’t go wrong donating to the Defence Fund!
Many of you will recognize Yvette Felarca as the courageous anti-racist who was front-and-center in Sacramento the day of a planned neo-nazi rally, confronting racist scum twice her size and carrying the fight to the foe. Yvette, like nine other antifa that day, was injured by the racist goons, but still managed to give a rousing 10-minute interview with media after the bigoted clowns were run out of town.
Responding like the cowards that they are, the nazi filth began sending anonymous death threats to the school Yvette works at. Then they escalated to making demands that the school district fire Yvette for her courageous and principled actions in Sacramento on June 26th.
Incredibly, Yvette’s employer appears to be acquiescing to the demands & threats of racist trolls. Yvette has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. As of this writing, Yvette is out-of-pocket for thousands of dollars and her career is now on the line.
The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was happy to be able to send Yvette some funds to help cover what her employer has taken away from her and to help her continue to fight the witch-hunt against her. An educator willing to risk their own safety to defend their community from fascists = an educator that should praised, not punished!
We’ve also set up a crowdfunding page with Yvette’s consent and will donate all proceeds directly to her. You can Yvette defend herself against this betrayal by her employer by making a direct donation there and by sharing the link with your friends and colleagues.
The Kungsan 15 are fifteen Swedish anti-fascists who were persecuted by the Swedish state for the “crime” of trying to prevent neo-nazis from marching through Stockholm. As a direct result of the legal action taken against them, they were slapped with 350,000KR in legal expenses (about $40,000USD)!
Their support group, Fria Kungsan 15, waged a long and tireless struggle to raise money to off-set these costs, their goal being to raise enough so that none of the fifteen anti-fascists had to pay out of their own pocket to cover these legal expenses. In December, the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund sent what we could to help with this.
We are happy to report that last week, Fria Kungsan 15 achieved their goal, raising all 350,000KR and ensuring that the financial cost of anti-fascism for these 15 brave antifa was taken care of. This was the result of a truly international effort and demonstrates what real solidarity among anti-fascists and anti-racists can achieve.
FIGHTING HATE IS NOT A CRIME!
ANTI-FASCISM = SELF-DEFENCE!
SOLIDARITY IS OUR WEAPON!
“Let no good deed go unpunished” appears to be the official slogan of the British “justice” system. You’ll recall last month when The Defence Fund was compelled to lend some material support to Michelle – who’s behind bars for opposing fascists marching through the streets of Dover this past January. Unfortunately, Michelle wasn’t the only anti-fascist that the forces of law & order have decided to come after.
Another comrade from Bristol was recently arrested at his home and now has serious charges hanging over his head. This has so far resulted in looming legal fees running into thousands of pounds – all this before he even has his day in court!
The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was only too happy to be able to send this Bristol comrade some assistance to pay some of those legal fees. We stand by him and all anti-fascists that stood up to the Islamophobic, anti-refugee bigots in Dover that winter’s day not too long ago.
If you’d like to help our Bristol comrade with the costs of his legal case, you can contact Bristol Antifascists, who are supporting him, directly: email@example.com. You could also buy one of their limited-edition shirts (featuring the unmistakable Bristol Antifascists logo!). And of course you can always contribute to The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund to help us help more antifa in the future.
(above: antifa take the streets, Dover, January 31, 2016)
This past January, Michelle Smith – a single mother & union official – traveled for hours from one side of the UK to the other in order to stand with the people of Dover in opposition to a neo-nazi mob that intended to march through the town. Hundreds of anti-fascists joined her and dealt the bigots heavy losses throughout the day. Michelle herself was directly threatened by a racist coward and did what she had to do to defend herself and the town of Dover from their hatred & violence.
Weeks later Michelle was shocked to discover that she herself was facing criminal charges as a result of her heroic actions that day. Worse still, Michelle was convicted this summer of “violent disorder” and received a very severe 12-month sentence for the “crime” of defending Dover from racist scum.
Here at The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund
, we believe two things: that fighting fascism is a social responsibility, not a crime and that solidarity is our weapon! With both those truths in mind, we were happy to send the Merseyside Anti-Fascist Network
some money to help support Michelle and her young family while she’s locked up. We would encourage you to do the same
(when you make your donation, please indicate in the “additional instructions” window that your donation is to support Michelle). We very much look forward to the happy day when we can celebrate Michelle’s release.
This past summer proved to be the busiest three months for the Defence Fund since its inception. In June & July alone we received requests to help eighteen different anti-fascists/anti-racists in Belarus, Poland, and the U.S. and donated over $1000 to them – the most ever donated by the Defence Fund in one quarter. You can read about all of them on our blog.
Aside from the bad news of more people than ever before needing help, there was two bits of good news, though! Firstly, and thanks largely to our decision to print & sell anti-fascist/anti-racist stickers as a fundraiser, we raised more money for the Defence Fund this quarter than ever before. Unfortunately, it was still a bit less than what we gave out in support of anti-fascists/anti-racists in the same time period, but was still very encouraging. We hope that soon we are able to raise enough money to cover the amount of money we’ve given out in support, with maybe a little bit saved up for the next call for help we get (you can help us get there!).
The other good news is about what happened from mid-July to the end of August: not terribly much. After mid-July we did not receive any requests for support until the tail-end of August, which is probably the longest period of time we’ve gone without getting a request since the Defence Fund was established.
Since most of our requests happen as a result of opposition to racist events, this drop in requests for help may be coinciding with a decline in public activity by racists. It did seem that there were fewer racist rallies and marches going on in the last half of the summer. If that is true, it could be because bigots are now focusing their efforts on political gains they’re making through the electoral system (e.g. Brexit in the UK or Trump’s candidacy in the U.S.). Or it could be because they’re tired of fewer and fewer of them crawling out from under their rocks only to be smashed by more and more antifa. Here’s hoping it’s the latter!
For eight years, Corey Menafee would go to his job in food services at Calhoun College and be faced with some of the ugliest historical reminders of the slavery and genocide his ancestors were subjected to.
Calhoun College – run by Yale – is named after pro-slavery advocate John Calhoun. Students and staff alike ran a principled campaign to convince Yale to change the name of the college. In April of this year, Yale chose to ignore their pleas.
And so, every day that Corey punched in and began his shift, he’d face historical portrayals of the “happy” slaves in the cotton fields, etc. Until one day this July, when he finally decided that enough was enough and took care of one particularly egregious stained-glass window.
“I took a broomstick, and it was kind of high, and I climbed up and reached up and broke it,” he told the New Haven Independent. “It’s 2016, I shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that.”
No one should be forced to face racist propaganda as a working condition. Corey should have been applauded for doing what needed to be done. Instead, he lost his job and was charged with felony offences.
Yale is beginning to understand that the optics of their response to Corey’s anti-racist direct action is not good for them, but Corey’s employment and legal situation both remain uncertain. We wanted to do our part to make sure that neither Corey nor his family suffers because of his brave actions, so we’ve contributed to his defence. You should do that same!
17-year-old Abdul Juma is a black Muslim living with is family in San Diego. At a party marking the end of the school year, a pack of five homophobes starting harassing a trans student from Abdul’s high school. Abdul did the right thing and stuck up for his schoolmate, who he didn’t even know personally. A fight broke out, knives were drawn, and Abdul’s finger was severed. When police arrived, they of course let the homophobic cowards go free and charged Abdul.
Abdul’s family was able to post bail, but now instead of graduating high school and moving forward with his life, he is now facing felony charges and combined legal/medical bills of nearly $40,000.
Standing up to bullies and defending trans people is something that should be applaued, not prosecuted. We were happy to donate some money to help pay for Abdul’s lawyer and his medical bills. You should kick in some cash, too.
By now most of you will have heard about the neo-nazi rally scheduled for June 26th in Sacramento that was foricbly prevented when hundreds of anti-fascists and anti-racists took the rally point from the bigots and then ran them out of Sacramento.
The bad news for the good guys was that nazis aren’t above stabbing people and nine antifa were hospitalized – mostly with stab wounds. Hospital visits are tremendously expensive in the U.S., so we were happy to be able to contribute to the fund set up to help defray some of these costs.
If you’d like to help out our friends in Sacramento or would like updates on how they’re doing, please click here.
Roman is an anti-fascist in Brest, Belarus who was arrested in the spring of 2015 on suspicion of fighting neo-nazis two years before. Last fall, Roman was sentenced to an outrageous eight years in a penal colony for this “crime.” Adding insult to injury, the court also ordered Roman to pay 3500EUR in damages to the racist swine he beat to a pulp.
The good news is that Roman’s sentence was reduced to two years back in December, but the bad news is that Roman’s family was still responsible for paying the restitution – an amount equivalent to about eleven months’ average wages in Belarus.
This request raised some concerns with the Defence Fund’s decisions crew (50+ people & groups around the world who have donated at least 15EUR to the Fund). Several people objected to the idea of us essentially turning over money to give to neo-nazis while others pointed out that the situation was totally unfair but not helping only meant that Roman’s family would suffer further.
We were unable to come to a consensus about the request and had to make the decision via a majority vote. That vote was to send Roman’s family some money to help pay the restitution costs, which we have now done.
If you would like to support Roman’s family or send Roman a letter, please click here for more details.
June 2016 has been the busiest month The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has experienced so far. In just this past month, we helped seven different anti-fascists/anti-racists in three different countries, donating more than we donated in the first five months of the Defence Fund’s existence combined!
There is undoubtedly an urgent need for a standing fund to defend anti-fascists and anti-racists but if things continue at this pace we will run out of money to help in four months. We would strongly encourage everyone that believes in the struggle against hatred and bigotry to donate whatever you can to the Defence Fund. We’d like to specifically ask you to consider donating $5/month to the Defence Fund – we believe that’s all it would take to sustain the Defence Fund at current levels, if enough people/groups committed to doing this.
Can antifa around the world count on you to do your part?