Rescues & Rebellions

The Crew of the Iuventa rescuing some of the 14,000 refugees they’ve saved from drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.

Last month, The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund showed some genuine solidarity with two groups doing real anti-fascist work in Europe.

The Iuventa is a rescue ship that’s been operating in the Mediterranean Sea since 2016. During those four years it save saved the lives of over 14,000 refugees risking their lives to find safe haven by traversing the deadliest border in the world.

If you’d think that such heroic efforts would be lauded the world over then you won’t be surprised that the crew of the Iuventa have received awards from The Paul Grüninger Foundation and Amnesty International for their life-saving work.

But not in Italy.

Italy has taken the position that saving refugees from drowning is a criminal act and has seized the Iuventa and launched an absurd investigation into the crew for “people smuggling.” The Iuventa 10 now face criminal prosecution in Italy on charges that could lead to 20-year prison sentences if convicted.

We can think of fewer actions that more closely embody the values of anti-fascism than to literally save the lives of thousands of refugees. We are honoured that we were able to make a donation to the legal defence of these 10 antifa sailors and we encourage everyone who believes that the value of human lives transcends borders to do the same.

While the Defence Fund’s Decisions Crew was discussing this case, the post-election situation in Belarus transformed into a full-scale rebellion against that country’s autocrat. The state’s response has been mass arrests, kidnappings, and brutal violence. Anarchist Black Cross Belarus made a call for support for the legal defence of those detained/arrested and The Defence Fund was one of the first organizations to respond with a large contribution.

Anti-fascism doesn’t always look the way it’s portrayed in the news media.
Sometimes it means rescuing migrants from drowning. Sometimes it means standing up to dictators. But anti-fascism is always about showing true solidarity with anti-fascists doing such important work. That is why The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund exists. So if supporting actions like these is something you want to do, we have a simple way for you to start doing that!

Defend Wien!

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Wien’s finest, protecting & serving fascists by shutting down anti-fascists while allowing fascists to  publicly march in the streets.

The gif of the incident tells the entire story – a fascist goon in Wien chooses a much smaller anti-fascist as his target at an anti-fascist rally and aggressively goes after them, not anticipating that the antifa would effectively defend themselves with a decent left hook!  Anyone can see who the aggressor is here and who was defending themselves.  But of course that wasn’t good enough for the police, who charged the anti-fascist for failing to leave the scene before being attacked!  And it apparently wasn’t good enough for the courts, either, who convicted our friend!

If you’ve been following our activities, this shouldn’t come as any surprise – the police and the courts seem to think their role is to prosecute anti-fascists while enabling fascist violence – that is when the police aren’t directly involved in attacking antifa themselves.  Does that sound hyperbolic to you?  Take a look at this list of police attempts to harm anti-fascists we published two years ago.  Or ask yourself: when is the last time you heard of the police tear-gassing or pepper-spraying or firing rubber bullets at or beating fascists like the KKK or the Proud Boys, etc.?
whencopsshowuptothenazirallySo our friend in Wien – who now is faced with paying heavy fines and legal costs for the “crime” of defending themselves against a fascist clearly bent on attacking them – isn’t the first anti-fascist criminalized by a legal system hell-bent on facilitating fascist violence and they won’t be the last.  But we’re here to support our friends whenever they are attacked – by fascists without badges or by fascists with badges – for as long as we have funds available to do so.  Please make sure we’re always around to do this work and stand in solidarity with anti-fascists criminalized by the courts by making a contribution today.

 

The Flag Of Victory!

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Attention Lüneburg prosecutor: THIS FLAG IS FREE & LEGAL!

You might recall a case from this past spring where we sent some money to an antifascist in Lüneburg, Germany to help him mount a defence against charges he received for flying the flag you see in the image above.  The prosecutor in that town somehow got the idea that flying this particular flag was against the law and charged our friend for doing so.

We’re all quite certain the prosecutor’s intent was to have our friend plead down to a lesser sentence, pay a simple fine, and be done with it.  What they didn’t account for our our friend’s determination to not allow the German state to criminalize antifascism and solidarity with the Kurdish people and the revolution they are fighting for in Rojava.  So instead of accepting a plea deal, he demanded a trial, and we helped to make sure he had all the legal resources he needed to mount an effective case in court.

How effective a case?  We got the news yesterday: the judge threw out all the charges against our friend and acquitted him!

Because our friend had all the legal resources he needed to make his case, he’s walked free and the attempts by the state to make support for antifascism and the Rojava revolution a crime have failed.  Because we were able to provide him with a chunk of the necessary funds, he had those legal resources to fight his case and win.

So if you have ever contributed to the Defence Fund, please know that this victory is also your victory.

And if you haven’t ever contributed to the Defence Fund, today’s the day to change that!

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund: 2019-2020 Annual Report

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The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund began five years ago, a year after we started the Antifa International social media collective.  As we did our thing on social media, we noticed more and more that antifascists were winding up in emergency situations because of their work fighting hatred and bigotry and would then have to rely on themselves and their friends scrambling to come up with the resources required to help them out of those situations.  We thought that, with our increasing connections to antifascists the world over, we could do better.  We thought that setting up a standing fund to defend and support antifascists in times of crisis would be an excellent way to demonstrate real solidarity.  So we established The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund and set to work raising money for it and reaching out to antifascists internationally.

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About a month later we made our first contribution, which went to the legal defence of Valentin – an antifascist and SV Werder Bremen supporter  arrested after he defended himself and others from an attack by neo-nazis after a football match in Bremen, Germany.  After a few weeks of fundraising, we were proud to be able to contribute a whopping €45 (about $49USD).

Five years on, we’ve donated over €76,000 ($83,000USD) to help out more than 500 antifascists in 22 different countries!  Every decision we make is reached democratically by the Defence Fund’s Decisions Crew – a body of 863 antifascists (and counting!) from around the world.  Every time we provide support to an antifascist, we blog about it, so our decisions are as transparent as possible.

Year Five: 2019-2020

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Some of the anti-fascists we helped support during times of crisis over the last twelve months.

Over the last 12 months, The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund came to the rescue of anti-fascists confronted with difficult & potentially life-altering or deadly circumstances 25 times – a 47% increase over 2018-2019.  Here is an overview for you:

  • We donated $23,400USD to 90 anti-fascists; the largest amount we’ve ever donated in our five years.  The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund: Donations To Anti-Fascists
    Screen Shot 2020-05-13 at 12.25.02 PM2019-2020 also marked a 48% increase in the number of anti-fascists we supported from the previous twelve months, when we helped out 61 people.
  • The support we provided went to antifa in 13 countries:

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Map of countries where anti-fascists receiving support from The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund over the last 12 months were located 

    • 28 in Norway
    • 20 in the United States
    • 11 in Russia
    • 10 in Ireland
    • 7 in Germany
    • 4 in Canada
    • 2 each in Greece, Poland, and Sweden
    • One each in Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, and the UK
  • 71% of contributions covered legal defence, court costs, fines, and prisoner support; 16% of contributions covered medical bills, injury recovery and living costs while antifa dealt with injuries sustained in attacks against them;  13% of contributions covered emergency relocation.

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The kinds of emergencies we helped anti-fascists contend with over the last 12 months.

  • The Defence Fund‘s Decisions Crew (the body that discusses and decides on what support to give requests or proposals received) grew 20% to include 872 antifa from 18 different countries, making the Decisions Crew the largest organization of anti-fascists in the world (to our knowledge!).
    Decisions Crew Membership

All of this has been accomplished with the collaboration and cooperation of literally thousands of anti-fascists around the world.  Donald Trump’s early birthday present yesterday tells us that the fight is far from over and the struggle isn’t about to get any easier.  La lucha continua and we look forward to seeing all of you standing with us, side-by-side.  If you haven’t made a contribution to the Defence Fund or signed up to become a monthly contributor, it is more important than ever before for you to do so now.  Here’s where to do that! 

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We’ve Got Gothenburg

 

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What it looks like in Gothenburg, Sweden, when the people turn out to counter a nazi march.

Gothenburg is not the kind of city that would normally spring to mind when you hear the phrase “street battles with fascists,” but over the last few years as Sweden’s so-called Nordic Resistance Movement tried to gain a foothold there, that’s been the reality.  The nazis there have bombed the city’s bookstores and refugee camps but also tried to publicly own the streets with marches and rallies.  The good people of Gothenburg were not having it and 20,000 of them ran the NRM off the streets in 2017.  A year later, the fascists tried to attack the city’s May Day march and were stopped dead in their tracks.  Then last year the NRM tried to hold a rally on May Day in neighbouring Kungälv but again were shown by thousands the error of their ways.

This all sounds like good news, of course, but we haven’t told you about the police yet.

Just like police everywhere, Gothenburg’s focused their policing efforts during these events not on the genocidal terror gang that had run a bombing campaign in the city, but on the anti-fascists opposed to them.  And just like everywhere, this meant that anti-fascists were faced with the choice of allowing murderous thugs free reign in their city or risking arrest to confront them.

Our friends, as described above, did the right thing but unfortunately this meant some arrests on our side.  Two anti-fascists there are currently awaiting trial for the “crime” of defending their city against nazi filth; a crowdfunder has been established to cover their legal costs, and of course The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has made a contribution to it.  We encourage others to do the same, just as we encourage you to contribute to the Defence Fund today so we can support anti-fascists no matter where they are, when they run into an emergency like this.

To Russia With Love

Russia’s FSB (the successors to the infamous KGB) have a well-earned reputation for the kind of “state security” that only the worst dictatorships would employ.  Aside from the usual corruption, fraud, and racketeering scandals that distinguish it as more of a state-controlled mafia than a legitimate security agency, it’s also been implicated in the assassinations of human rights activists and regime critics both within Russia and abroad and blamed for a series of bombings of Moscow apartment buildings as a false flag operation to win support for Russia’s war against Chechnya.

So when FSB agents arrested ten young anti-fascists in 2017 and accused them of operating a secret terrorist organization called “The Network,” it was obvious that the only terror being perpetrated was by the Russian state against its own people, yet again.

After nearly three years of detention, the systematic denial of both the legal and human rights of the arrestees, and unbelievable forced “confessions” extracted under well-documented torture, the FSB has accomplished its goal of ruining the lives of ten young men and throwing their families into chaos and uncertainty.  Seven of the ten have already received prison sentences of between six and eighteen years.  Meanwhile, fascist gangs roam Russia’s streets, committing brazen assaults and murders with total impunity, while police and the FSB turn a blind eye or assist them.

As anti-fascists, we don’t turn our backs on our fellow anti-fascists when they’re facing repression no matter where they are.  We do whatever we can to support them.  So The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has sent a significant contribution to the team providing support to Andrey, Igor, Arman, Viktor, Ilya, Mikhail, Yuliy, Maxim, Vasiliy, and Dmitriy and their families.

If you’d like to help, please check out their support site here for information about how to write to them or donate to their support fund.  If you’d like to make sure The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is always ready to provide support to anti-fascists the world over, make a contribution today.

 

Flying The Flag

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This flag will get you arrested in Lünenberg. 

See that sweet antifa flag above?  A few months ago, we were selling them to show solidarity with the Rojava revolution and raise money to support them (the green-and-yellow background being a common Kurdish revolutionary motif).  But if you are in Lünenberg, Germany, flying this flag in public will get you arrested, as our friend there found out recently.

What is the crime?  The Lünenberg prosecutor has apparently decided that any and all displays of support for the Rojava revolution or the Kurdish people must actually be displays of support for the banned PKK organization, and is prosecuting our friend accordingly.

This would be a laughably-absurd overreach on the part of the state at any time, but in the context of the recent mass murder of Kurds in the city of Hanau by a right-wing extremist, the chilling effect on any support for the Kurdish people or the fight to establish a society in Rojava that’s clearly more democratic than Germany itself is shameful.

We are fairly certain that the prosecutor cynically assumed our friend would take a plea deal, pay a fine, and be done with it.  But our friend has refused to do so and is going on trial to fight the state’s attempt to criminalize anti-fascism and solidarity with the Kurdish people and the revolution they are fighting for in Rojava.

We weren’t about to let our friend stand alone in this fight and have sent him a contribution to help pay for the legal costs involved in the struggle.  Because if the German state succeeds in banning an anti-fascist symbol synonymous with solidarity with the Kurdish people and the Rojava revolution, what will they ban next?

The Luck Of Irish Antifa

 

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February 2016: Police attempting to stop the good people of Dublin from expressing their “welcome” to PEGIDA.

If you are going to set up an organization devoted to religious intolerance and bigotry, maybe attempting to expand your reach to Ireland is not the smartest idea.  That country has had more than its fill of hatred motivated by religious differences.

So it was a bit of a surprise move when the Islamophobes at PEGIDA decided it would be a brilliant idea to hold an event in Dublin.  And not just anywhere in Dublin, but outside of the General Post Office, which some of you might realize has very important political significance to the Irish.

Not surprising: the response by Dubliners, who so ferociously ran PEGIDA out of the city in what amounted to the largest anti-fascist mass action the country has ever seen that PEGIDA has never dared to do anything in that city again.

This should have been the happy ending to this tale, but of course the police got involved and decided it was best to punish the anti-fascists.  Which they have, through a dragged-out legal process that resulted years later in suspended sentences and over €10, 000 in fines meted out.

As AFA Ireland put it in their crowdfunder, “we must bear collective responsibility for those injured or arrested in their resistance to this fascism- and pay more than lip service to the saying ‘an injury to one is an injury to all.’ No one person should have to bear the brunt of being brave enough to put themselves on the line.”  That’s a great summary of why we started The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund in the first place so the decision to make a contribution to help pay those fines off was an easy one for us to make.

Happily, we were able to donate enough to get the crowdfunder to its goal amount, which we hope means those Dublin antifascists that sent the Islamophobies packing weren’t out a single penny for their efforts.

Two We Turned Down.

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As these three white supremacist terrorists found out this month, a good way to be arrested is to invite an undercover FBI agent into your plot to murder two anti-fascists.

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund does not provide aid to everyone that reaches out to us to request it.  Maintaining the integrity of the fund is important to us.  In order to do that, we’ve established some guidelines to help us figure out the kinds of things we will and will not lend a helping hand with, which means that sometimes we turn down requests we receive.  In the first month of 2020, this happened twice.

One case involved a foiled murder plot.  In mid-January, the FBI arrested six members of the white supremacist terrorist group “The Base.”  Four of them had been plotting to murder an anti-fascist couple in Georgia (after three of them planned to murder the fourth white supremacist, who they didn’t trust to keep his mouth shut!).  Naturally, the antifa targeted for murder were understandably concerned about this and a crowdfunder was started to raise funds to pay for security measures to keep the couple safe.

This is normally something the Defence Fund would absolutely support.  But one of our guidelines is that if a crowdfunder meets or exceeds its initial fundraising goal, we won’t contribute to it, given that there is enough support for the initiative already and our resources would be put to better use for anti-fascists that aren’t as fortunate.  Happily, this crowdfunder hit 200% of its initial goal in just two days!  No need for us to step in and we’re very happy to hear our two friends are safe & well-supported.

The other case involved a woman who was targeted for a harassment campaign by Florida white supremacist Augustus Invictus and his minions, after she helped Invictus’ teenaged fiancé leave him in 2017.  This woman feels that should Invictus – who is currently awaiting trial on kidnapping and domestic violence charges – be granted bail, she would be a target for further and intensified harassment.  Therefore, she felt the need to relocate immediately.

There was much discussion about this second request for support, but in the end it was rejected for a few different reasons.  Like the other crowdfunder mentioned above, this woman’s crowdfunder did surpass its initial goal.  The crowdfunder also listed some expenses that the Defence Fund felt were not related to the harassment the woman was being subjected to by Invictus & company, which many members of the Decisions Crew for the Defence Fund took into account when considering her request.  It was also unclear whether this woman was an anti-fascist doing anti-fascist work that resulted in this circumstance (something that the Defence Fund is mandated to assist with) or whether she was a victim of harassment and threats by white supremacists (something that the Defence Fund is not mandated to assist with and lacks the resources to assist with).  This latter point was further complicated by the lengthy intimate relationship the woman had had with Invictus prior to 2017 (as documented in a memoir she had previously published), which made any anti-fascist bona fides she may have claimed somewhat murkier.

Sometimes it’s difficult to decide how the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund should be utilized.  That’s where the 800+ members of its Decisions Crew come into play, by first discussing each proposal or request and then, should consensus not be forthcoming, making a decision via a vote.  Anyone who donates a minimum of $20USD to the Defence Fund receives an invitation to join the Decisions Crew – maybe you should secure your invitation today!

From Athens To America

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After Greek fascist terror group started murdering people, their “offices” were subjected to extreme makeovers.  With fire.

Not two weeks into 2020 and the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has already helped out three antifa in bad circumstances.

First up was our friend in the U.S., who was recently doxxed by fascists in an intensive harassment campaign, which resulted in them having to leave their job and find a new residence.  For reasons that should be self-apparent, we can’t get into much further detail than that, but rest assured that we did what we could to help them transition safely.

Meanwhile in Athens: police arrested two anti-fascists there and are claiming that they were part of the the group responsible for the successful destruction of a clubhouse used by the fascist terror group Golden Dawn (responsible for the murder of rapper Pavlos “Killah P” Fyssas, the stabbing death of a teenaged Iraqi refugee, and who knows how many others) a year ago.  This is probably one of those cases where antifascists perform an important civic service and get arrested instead of praised for it.  In any event, it sure does look like the police picked up the wrong people and now they have to come up with thousands of Euros to mount a legal defence.  Thanks to our contributors and supporters, we were able to help them with that.

2020 is looking like its going to be extremely busy for us, with antifascists all over the world counting on us to provide them with the emergency support they need when they need it.  We need you to help us do that; make a contribution to the Defence Fund today!