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.

 

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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!

 

 

Hitting Close To Home

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Last week we dealt with two requests for support that hit the antifascists involved right where they live.

In South Carolina, two moms who also happen to be active antifascists had their homes raided by the FBI.  The feds raided their homes and vehicles, scoured their social media accounts, and arrested one of the moms in front of her kids for “harassment.”  During her interrogation, one of the FBI agents told one of the women that he was close friends with local neo-nazis.  When she was released from jail, three neo-nazis were waiting for her in a truck, blocking her driveway.  This all appears to stem from attempts by local antifa to expose known white supremacists in the area.  Details of the case are up on a blog here.

Meanwhile in another place we won’t name for reasons that will soon become apparent, antifascists have been targeted by nazis who are rolling up to their homes with guns and threatening to murder their families.  Imagine for a moment that this was your situation – racist extremists, who follow an ideology that praises and encourages the murder of its opponents – arrive at your house with guns, threatening to kill you & everyone you love.  Oh, and because they’re fascists, there is a good chance the police would side with them (if they haven’t already provided your address to them – see above!).

You’d have to immediately move you & your family someplace safe, correct?  With the support of the Defence Fund, that’s exactly what the family in question here did.  The next time the nazis come to burn them out or shoot them dead, they’ll just find a vacant home.

White supremacists and their close friends in law enforcement are bringing their race war right to the front doors of their enemy – anti-fascists.  We need to stand together to make sure our people are safe.   If you’d like to contribute to the legal defence of the antifa in South Carolina, here’s where you can do that.  If you’d like to ensure that we’re able to keep anti-fascists and their families safe from the kind of terror tactics described above, now is the time to make a contribution to the Defence Fund.

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund: 2018-2019 Annual Report

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The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund came to the rescue of anti-fascists confronted with difficult & potentially life-altering or deadly circumstances 17 times over the last 12 months.  Here is an overview for you:

  • We donated over $22,000USD to 61 anti-fascists.  For the fourth year in a row, the amount of monetary support we provided anti-fascists globally has increased.
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    Figure A.: Per-year increase in International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund spending.

    The number of anti-fascists we provided support to dropped significantly from last year, but that was entirely due to the lack of a record-setting mass prosecution of antifascists like the #J20 case, where we helped fund the successful legal defence for 200 of the accused.  Accounting for that single incident, we supported twice the number of anti-fascists over the past year than we did in 2017-2018, which is also a record high.

  • The support we provided went to antifa in eight countries:
    • 33 in the United States
    • Nine in Canada
    • Eight in France
    • Four in Australia
    • Three in Russia
    • Two in Germany
    • Two in the UK
    • One in Finland
  • 80% of the contributions covered legal defense, court costs, fines, and prisoner support; 14% of contributions covered medical bills, injury recovery and living costs while antifa dealt with injuries sustained in attacks against them;  5% of contributions covered emergency relocation.

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    Figure B. 2018-2019 breakdown of Defence Fund spending by category

  • The Defence Fund‘s Decisions Crew (the body that discusses and decides on what support to give requests or proposals received) grew 25% to include 728 antifa from 18 different countries.
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    Figure C. Growth of Decisions Crew by year.

    It’s quite likely that this makes The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund’s Decisions Crew the world’s largest anti-fascist network!

Some interesting developments from our work supporting & defending anti-fascists came out over the last year:

  • We became aware of not one, but two separate defence funds that have been modelled on our own.  The Australian-based Solidarity and Defence Fund and the International Anarchist Defence Fund are both providing similar supports to activists and rebels beyond the scope of anti-fascism.  Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, we are incredibly proud that the people behind both of these defense funds were inspired by ours.  We wish them the best of luck and look forward to collaborating with them when our mandates intersect!!

    (This might be a good time to come clean and admit that The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund wasn’t a completely original idea we came up with; we adopted it from the Anti-Racist Action Network’s Anti-Racist Defense Fund, which was active in the late 90’s/early 00’s.)

  •  If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, raising their ire of your opponents is probably the 2nd-sincerest form of flattery.  So we were feeling quite proud of ourselves last summer when Breitbart, the “voice of the alt-right” and former vanity project of racist Baron Harkonnen lookalike Steve Bannon, singled us as a target for its audience to take down.  And they tried, but WE’RE STILL HERE!  We didn’t need them to confirm that the unwavering support we’ve provided to anti-fascists the world over poses a direct threat to their plans for white supremacy and genocide, but it was nice of them to do so anyway.
  • It became increasingly obvious that the police are solidly on the side of the fascists and their willingness to do the dirty work of racist extremists become more and more evident.  Some key examples from the past twelve months: that time the Berkeley po-po decided the best thing to do when white supremacists march in the streets was to attack, assault, and arrest as many of the 1000+ antifascists there to counter the march as possible.  And immediately release photos and full names of the antifascists arrested on social mediaThat same month, someone in the Portland Police Bureau decided an appropriate response to a non-violent, non-confrontational anti-fascist counter-demonstration would be to try to murder one of the counter-demonstrators by firing a flash bang grenade from a launcher aimed directly at the person’s head from close range.  The grenade penetrated the person’s bike helmet and doctors said would have killed him if not for the helmet.
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    Above: a flash bang grenade protruding from the helmet of an anti-fascist, after PPB police fired it directly at his head in a clear attempt to murder him.  

    But perhaps the most absurd police action of the year goes to the police in North Carolina.  After a white supremacist “pro-confederacy” gang failed to show up to their own event @ UNC and the anti-fascists & students there made the best of it with a potluck picnic and food drive for the food bank, the police moved in, confiscating donated food items & then randomly tackling & arresting people.  For having a picnic.  And collecting food for the food bank.

    Sometimes we hear from liberals who tell us that we should just call the police on nazis and let the authorities take care of the problem.  The last twelve months added at least three new stories to our ever-expanding list of examples of why it’s a bad idea to rely on them to do so.

  • Every year, some antifa actions stand out from the rest for one reason or another.  This past year, there were two that rang out particularly loudly for us.  One was the case of Tim “Sauce” Jones, a talented MC, active anti-fascist, and friend of Heather Heyer – the woman murdered in Charlottesville by white supremacist terrorist James Alex Fields Jr. on 8/12/17.  Imagine Fields’ surprise to run into Jones in jail!  Apparently their their jailhouse tête-à-tête was quite animated and Sauce somehow caught an assault charge after the encounter.  We were only too happy to kick in to help him beat those charges as soundly as we hope he did Fields.

    The other case involved some late-night renovation work by antifascistes in Lyon, France, who built a cinderblock wall in record time directly in the doorway of the local clubhouse of the fascist Social Bastion gang.

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    Build that wall, antifascistes Lyonnais!

    Les flics were not amused and went beyond arresting a few of the renovators; they also seized every scrap of anti-fascist literature and fundraising material they could find.  Until the antifa of Lyon get their own HGTV renovation show, we were happy to help them make ends meet.

  • Again this year, high-profile cases of anti-fascists being arrested or injured led to numerous crowdfunders being set up to raise money to help them.  More than a few of these crowdfunders were established by people that didn’t know the anti-fascists in question; hadn’t contacted them; had no way of actually getting the money to them; and/or didn’t even know how to get in touch with them.  A few may have been outright fraud attempts, but we like to believe that most were simply well-meaning but ham-fisted efforts to do something to support anti-fascists in trouble.

    These of course create a problem for people who genuinely want to assist the anti-fascists who risk everything by confronting fascism in their communities: how can you be certain that your support will go where it was intended?
    We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again: over the last four years The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has established itself as the most credible and trustworthy way to provide support to anti-fascists and anti-racists internationally.  We have a four-year proven track record of supporting over 400 anti-fascists in seventeen different countries; we’ve been endorsed by The Torch Network in the U.S., The Anti-Fascist Network in the UK, and  Föreningen Fånggruppen in Sweden. We’re transparent about our decisions and how we operate.  We publish the result of every request and proposal it receives on our blog and we publicly report our activities quarterly and annually.

    The calls for help from anti-fascists are coming from all corners and coming faster and faster.  As of this writing, the Defence Fund has four separate requests under simultaneous consideration.  We don’t expect things to slow down any time soon.

    If you support the goals of anti-fascism; if you believe in opposing bigotry, discrimination, and hatred; then you really should be supporting the work the Defence Fund does.  Start by signing up to become a monthly donor, or by making a one-time donation, or by printing out and sharing our flyer, or by holding a fundraiser, or by sharing this post.  Don’t wait because right now there someone somewhere who can’t wait for the help they need.

June 2019 – Quarterly Report

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The antifa that turned out to shut down and Islamophobe hate rally in Edmonton, Canada: March 2019.

This spring was actually a little quiet for The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund.  We only dealt with six requests for support over the past three months.  This is a slower pace than we’re used to but we were very thankful for the lull as it allowed us to catch our breath and try to build the Defence Fund back up to a respectable level that would allow us to make a real difference when people needed help.  In any event, that brief slow period looks like it’s over; as of this writing, we’re dealing with four new requests simultaneously.  It could be a hot, hot summer, y’all!

OK, a recap of what happened over the previous three months

Look, can we be straight with you?  This is hard fucking work we’re doing to support anti-fascists in trouble no matter where they happen to be in the world.  We need contributions from all anti-fascists to make this work.  We are counting on your to step up and give whatever you can.  This month only, we’ll offer you a little incentive, even: everyone that signs up in June to make monthly contributions to the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund will be entered in a draw to win an author-signed copy of one of these books:

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Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook or Gord Hill’s The Antifa Comic Book

Already signed up for monthly contributions to the Defence Fund?  If you increase your contribution amount by at least $5USD/month in June, we’ll enter you in the draw as well!

Light On Details.

 

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Appropos of nothing, here’s a picture of anti-fascist youth in Leuven, Belgium on the march earlier this month.

If you’ve been reading this blog for long enough, you’re well aware of the dangers inherent in anti-fascist work.  One way antifa try to make it a bit safer is to keep the public dissemination of details of actions to a bare minimum.  On one hand, that’s good “opsec,” but when you’re doing something like trying to run a defence fund for anti-fascists, that can create some difficulties when you need to confirm the details of a particular request or proposal for support.

One way we’ve dealt with this tension is relying on well-established, reputable antifa crews that we’ve built a relationship over the years to be our “eyes & ears” and verify or vouch for the circumstances of anti-fascists in emergency situations that we’re told about.  Case in point: a request to help with the legal defence of an antifa in a specific region, facing charges after confronting a well-known area nazi.  Because charges are pending + there is a real threat of retribution, we weren’t provided many more details beyond that.  What we did have, though, was the word of two highly-regarded antifa crews in the region who we were able to vouch for the veracity of the request.  In the absence of the kind of details we’d normally require before considering a request for help, the word of these two crews was enough for us and we were able to deliver funds to the antifa in trouble.

We’ve learned over the last four years of running the Defence Fund that it’s important to confirm that the events surrounding a request or proposal for support can be verified.  It’s also important to confirm that the person(s) trying to raise money are in contact with the subject of the request/proposal (we’ve seen many well-intentioned but poorly thought-out attempts to raise money set up by people that weren’t even in contact with whoever they were raising money for!).  After helping out more than 400 anti-fascists in eighteen different countries, we’re proud to say that we’ve never heard of a circumstance where we were tricked into providing support under false pretense.

 

Stop Pretending Your Bigotry Is Patriotism.

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Antifascists face off against outnumbered, flag-waving bigots.

Rah-rah America!  USA! USA!  America #1!  And what better way to show your patriotic devotion to the greatest country in the world than to gather a ragtag pack of bigots & miscreants like the white supremacist gang Proud Boys, anti-choice zealots, and violent gang leader Joey Gibson to come to a highway overpass and wave flags around.

On May 5th, Eugene, Oregon responded to just such an event in a big way, bringing out a counterprotest that outnumbered the white supremacist “patriotic” rally four-to-one.  That couldn’t have been encouraging for the extreme right, many of whom came in from out of town for this debacle.

Probably more encouraging for them was their police pals showing up to defend them.  Which largely consisted of turning a blind eye whenever they felt like shoving people and focusing their attention instead on the “dangerous” antifa there.  You know antifa, that super-violent movement that’s killed zero people, compared to the hundreds murdered by the far right so far this year.

Anyways, things ended rather predictably, with the extreme right fuckjobs slinking off to whatever rocks they crawled out from under, and the po-po arresting one person – of course, on the anti-fascist side.  Said person now needs to pay a lawyer to get the utter bullshit they’re charged with thrown out in court.  Their friends set up a crowdfunder to raise the cash and we were happy to be able to throw in a big chunk of money to help with that.

Should you donate to our friend’s crowdfunder?  Of course you should!
Should you donate The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund so we can continue to defend anti-fascists standing up for their communities in the face of bigotry and terror?  of course you should!

We leave you with something Banksy once said: “People who enjoy waving flags don’t deserve to have one.”

“PARIS! PARIS! ANTIFA!”

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 Some of les antifascistes du Paris responsible for running fascists out of les gilets jaunes.

France’s gilets jaunes movement has been enormously successful.  What started as a protest against the ruling classes’ attempt to shift the responsibility/costs of climate change on to France’s overly-burdened working class quickly became an effective working-class movement, demanding things like a liveable minimum wage, improvements to education and health care, and proportional representation.  Despite having no leadership, they’ve won big concessions from the French government.

Predictably, a movement this successful is bound to attract fascist shitbags hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the movement.  In the UK and Canada we’ve seen white supremacists take off their white robes and put on yellow vests in a ham-fisted attempt to co-opt the French movement.  In France itself, all manner of fascist gangs have tried to infiltrate the movement on the streets.

As such, it’s been up to France’s legendary antifa crews to keep the bigots off the streets and out of the movement.  Which they’ve done so with much success!  Social Bastion, Génération Identitaire, the Zouaves Paris the Militia Paris, and others have all been sent running whenever they’ve tried to worm their way into the movement.

But recently, members of the fascist gangs have taken to crying to their friends les flics about the poor treatment they’ve received from antifa.  Which of course led the police to press charges against several Parisian antifascists recently.

A crowdfunder has been set up to help pay for the legal defence of those arrested antifascists and when the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was asked to help, we of course contributed our share.  We strongly encourage anti-fascists everywhere to demonstrate our international solidarity with those arrested by donating either to the crowdfunder for our friends in Paris, to the Defence Fund itself, or both!

 

Feeling Yes, Feeling No.

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The scene in Grantham in August 2017

A few times a year, The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund‘s Decisions Crew – the 700+ anti-fascists around the world who discuss and decide on how the Defence Fund is used – come across a request for help that they just don’t feel meets our mandate.  Such was the case of J., an antifascist who had spent several years behind bars for the “crime” of defending themselves & their community against white supremacist scum.  Now out of prison, J. was looking for some support getting back on their feet.

And if it were as simple as that, the Decisions Crew may have been more inclined to lend a hand.  But there were some complicating factors, including the fact that J’s recent release was for a second conviction – this one unrelated to anti-fascist work and stemming from a non-political crime they committed when they initially got out of prison for the altercation with the nazis.  That + some other stuff = this request feeling a little too far out from the Defence Fund’s mandate to “provide immediate support to anti-fascists and anti-racists anywhere in the world, whenever they found themselves in a difficult situation as a result of their stand against hate.”

On the other hand, the Decisions Crew also dealt with a more clear-cut request from Bristol Antifascists.  One of their own had been done up by the coppers at a confrontation with the National Front in Grantham two years ago and after an agonizingly slow process before the courts, came out on the other end with a hefty fine.  Bristol Antifascists were looking for help paying off about half of the fine (as they could cover the rest) and we quickly came to a decision to do just that.  It’s outrageous that anyone would be fined for defending their communities against fascists and we weren’t about to let our friend stand alone for doing so.