Back To Harrisburg

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When Islamophobic asshats came to Harrisburg, PA on May 10th, were the police out in force to prevent them from intimidating local Muslims?  No, the cops came out to try to thwart the anti-fascists there to confront the bigots in solidarity with our Muslim friends, family, and neighbours.

And when the cops couldn’t provoke seasoned antifa from doing anything outrageously stupid, they just shoved random people and then slapped charges on them.  Like one of our friends, who was shoved backwards by the po-po into a police charged and then immediately arrested on absolutely ludicrous charges.  Adding insult to injury, the judge then set bail at $100,000.

This isn’t the first time The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has had to contribute  to to the bailout & legal defence of an anti-fascist framed by the cops and it’s not likely to be the last, either.  But we’re happy to be in a position to do so thanks to the hundreds of supporters that have made donations to the Defence Fund in the past.  Make sure we’re always able to defend & support anti-fascists and anti-racists whenever they run into trouble by making a donation today!

An Antifa Walks Into A Bar

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Imagine walking into your favorite bar in Tulsa, OK and quickly discovered a group of loud racist assholes in there dropping n-bombs and making racist jokes.  What would you do?

If you’re anything like our man Peter, you’re going to let them know that that shit is not welcome in your bar, even if you’re outnumbered.  Even if you’ll probably get jumped by the racist cowards.

Which, unfortunately, is what happened, leaving Peter with some serious medical bills + some time off work to heal.

We at The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund weren’t going to sit on our hands and let Peter struggle to recover on his own, so we kicked some cash into his crowdfunder.  Here’s what Peter had to say about all the support he received:

“Despite constant harassment, threats and sabotage by alt right, Trump supporters and local racists, I am recovering fine.  The fact is Tulsa is super racist and the assholes I got in a fight with targeted me because I am an outspoken antifascist  and have, in fact, called them out for creeping on drunk women and neo-nazi graffiti.  I live in a town with no antifascist activity.  I live in a town that routinely kills black men.  The support I have received worldwide has exceeded my wildest expectations and i have no idea on how to thank you all (I’m kinda choked up thinking about it) so thank you so much for your support.  I can only repay it by continuing to overcome all hurdles and organize as an ex-prisoner for IWOC/IWW. 

Solidarity, Love and Struggle. 
Peter”

If our contributions keeps Peter in the fight in Tulsa, then that’s money well spent!  Help us help the Peters of the world by donating to the Defence Fund today!

What We Got Up To In June

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Not sure where that whole month went – one minute we’re posting our annual report and the next minute it’s the Fourth of July!  Here’s what The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has been dealing with over the last month or so:

1) Portland.  If you’re reading this blog you’re probably also familiar with the incident in Portland where a white supremacist, verbally abusing two teenaged Muslim girls on public transit, expressed his objections to bystanders asking him to stop doing so by stabbing three of them, killing two and hospitalizing a third.  This seems like exactly the kind of thing the Defence Fund was set up for.  Except when you factor in how well-publicized and well-supported the Portland anti-Islamophia Good Samaritans were.  Within days no fewer than five different crowdfunding campaigns were set up and by the time we got to our decision those campaigns had collectively raised $1.5 million for the three intervenors + two victims of the initial verbal threats.

In the end, we decided that it’d be better for us to save the little we have in the Defence Fund for anti-fascists and anti-racists whose circumstances were not as well-publicized or supported.  Which segues nicely to:

2) Harrisburg.  The problem with confronting fascists is that their big buddies the cops will intervene to arrest or harm you, usually before your efforts can amount to anything.  This was the case for a friend from Philly, who went to Harrisburg to confront an Islamophobia rally only to be shoved by one cop back into a police horse, which was all the excuse the cops needed to lay no less than five separate charges, including assault on a police horse!  Bail was set obscenely high and so our pal was compelled to rely on support from other anti-fascists, which the Defence Fund was happy to contribute to.

We also received a few other requests for support but were either unable to confirm the circumstances of the case or a verifiable way to deliver material support to the person(s) in question.  Some of those we are still pursuing though + there is another proposal that we should reach a decision on this week, so stay tuned!

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund: 2016-2017 Annual Report

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And what a year it’s been!

When we established The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund back in June 2015, we believed there was both a need for a standing fund to help anti-fascists and anti-racists around the world who were in some sort of trouble as a direct result of their stand against hate.  We also believed that there was a large, global community of anti-fascists that would see this as a concrete way to demonstrate their solidarity with each other.  Turns out we were right!

The second year of the Defence Fund‘s existence has shown more than we ever could have imagined just how vital this project is.  By the numbers (all figures in U.S. dollars):

DEFENCE FUND YEAR ONE:

  • We donated $1700USD to 48 anti-fascists and anti-racists in ten different countries
  • 80% of the contributions covered legal defence, court costs, fines, and prisoner support;
    10% covered medical bills and injury recovery;
    5% covered damage to property;
    5% helped to pay funeral expenses.
  • The Defence Fund‘s Decisions Crew – the people who discuss and make decisions concerning proposals and requests received by the Defence Fund = 45 people in seven countries.

DEFENCE FUND YEAR TWO:

  • We donated over $15,000USD to 76 anti-fascists and anti-racists in ten countries:
    • Fifty-three in the U.S.
    • Ten in the Netherlands
    •  Three in the U.K.
    • Three in Belarus
    • Two in Ukraine
    • One each in Australia, Canada, Poland, Russia, and Sweden.
  • 84% of the contributions covered legal defence, court costs, fines, and prisoner support; 16% covered medical bills and injury recovery.
  • The Defence Fund‘s Decisions Crew grew to 413 people from 17 different countries.

So over the course of one year, the demand for help from the Defence Fund increased 58%.  We gave out 8.8x more financial support to anti-fascists and anti-racists than we did in our first year, while the crew of antifa discussing requests and making the tough decisions grew by a factor of nine!

We thought it might be of-interest to see how things went in the five months before Trump was elected vs. the seven months after:

Before Trump we supported 26 anti-fascists and anti-racists from six different countries, contributing $2815.95 to help them out.  Since Trump’s election, we helped out 50 anti-fascists and anti-racists in eight countries, contributing $12,171.70 to support them.  So in the era of Trump the need for the Defence Fund has doubled and the amount we’ve provided to anti-fascists and anti-racists has increased by more than 400% over the pre-Trump era.  When you look at our blog and read about the requests we’ve received and the decisions we’ve made, it’s not hard to tell what’s going on.  The state is much more likely to arrest anti-fascists than ever before and fascists are becoming increasingly violent, as shootings and stabbings becoming more commonplace.

The support the Defence Fund provided to our fellow antifa this year really mattered:

  •   Yvette, who we supported when her employer suspended her for confronting knife-and-gun-wielding neo-nazis, told us that she had 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 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. 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!”
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  •   Oleg, who was severely injured in an assault by neo-nazis, wrote us to say that he was “very grateful to you for your help and solidarity, I truly appreciate your support and care.Thank you very much for the financial help. Once again I wish you from the bottom of my heart thank you for your help.”
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  • When we helped an Australian anti-fascist pay off an absurd legal fine, he sent us this lovely thank-you note“As many other activists know, it is not easy to confront the far right and fascists on the streets.  The threat of violence from them, their supporters, and often from the police as well, is always present.  You keep going because you know from history that you need to directly stop these fascist groups from organising when they are small.  If they manage to grow, their ability to use violence will also increase, with devastating effects on all of us.  You keep going because of the solidarity and comradeship with your fellow sisters and brothers who attend the meetings, go out in public to advocate and publicise, and who stand shoulder to shoulder with you on the streets confronting the fascists.  You keep going because you know that if you get hurt, if you get targeted, if you get arrested, if you get fined, there are people out there who recognise and respect your efforts and sacrifices. They will pick you up, support and stand in solidarity when you need it.  This is why I keep going.  I deeply appreciate and thank all the people who showed support for the fight and donated money.  In solidarity and struggle to all anti fascists around the world.”
  • After we sent T. some money to help defend himself against false charges resulting from him being attacked by Islamophobes at a hate rally, he let us know that “I have been slotted into what will likely be a year-long process of hearings, meetings with lawyers, and potentially a trial. The missed days of work for attending court and legal fees have put me in an even more precarious position than is the norm for a young working class person, and I cannot express enough how relieved I was to learn of the International Antifascist Defense Fund and receive financial assistance for my case…I sincerely thank all the comrades worldwide who help sustain the defense fund. Solidarity is our best weapon, and our best defense. No pasaran!”

Clearly, The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is vitally important.  It is the only standing defence fund for anti-fascists and anti-racists and makes itself available to anyone anywhere in the world that runs into trouble because they took a stand against bigotry and hatred.  It has a documented track record of its activities and is governed by a clear, democratic decision-making process that emphasizes consensus whenever possible.  It is the only Fund out there that has been endorsed by three different anti-fascist/anti-racist networks.   Money is ready to go and usually goes to the people who need it within two weeks.  The Fund reports on every contribution it makes to anti-fascists in need on its blog in addition to posting quarterly and annual reports about its activities, accessible to anyone.  These are some of the major differences between the Defence Fund and the kind of single-event, unverifiable crowdfunding page that seems to pop up immediately after a well-publicized clash.

If you think anti-fascism and anti-racism are things worth supporting; if you believe that no one should suffer personally because of their courageous stance against hate; if you believe that solidarity is our weapon, then your support of The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is needed now more than ever.  The best thing you could do is commit to a regular, monthly contribution to the Defence Fund via our Patreon.  This helps us immensely because it is a regular amount we can count on month-to-month.  Even a small regular amount of, say, $5/month has a huge impact when its combined with dozens of similar amounts.  Of course, we’re happy to accept one-time donations as well, either through our crowdfunding page or directly via Paypal.

While we sincerely hope that the next year will be a slow one for the Defence Fund, we’re pretty certain that the fight against hate is just beginning to gear up and the people defending their friends, their families, and their communities from the forces of hatred will need our help more than ever before.  Join us!

T. Sends His Thanks!

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You’ll recall that a little while ago we heard about T., an antifascist in Toronto that had bizarrely been charged by the cops after he was assaulted by an Islamophobe.  Of course, we sent him some money to help with his legal defence and mitigate the losses he’s incurred as a result of being charged.

T. was nice enough to send us a thank-you note.  If you’ve made a donation to The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund, this is for you:

“On March 4th, I was falsely accused of assaulting a hateful bigot who stood shoulder to shoulder with members nearly every white supremacist, Islamophobic, and xenophobic organization in Southern Ontario in an attempt to garner support for their bilious politics. As a lifelong Toronto boy, I have a deep love for all the people of this wonderful city, no matter where they come from, and it makes me sad and upset that bigots exist who seek to demonize and exclude people based on their culture or beliefs.

The racists were heavily outnumbered by the good people of this proudly diverse city, but that didn’t stop them from behaving aggressively. I did not hit, punch, or otherwise assault the man who was able to press charges against me, but due to the byzantine workings of our city’s backlogged criminal justice system I have been slotted into what will likely be a year-long process of hearings, meetings with lawyers, and potentially a trial. The missed days of work for attending court and legal fees have put me in an even more precarious position than is the norm for a young working class person, and I cannot express enough how relieved I was to learn of the International Antifascist Defense Fund and receive financial assistance for my case. 
It is imperative that racists and their ilk be prevented from growing as a force in society. But, as we confront them it is equally imperative that we build up networks of solidarity and mutual aid that will help us measure up to the challenges of the day.   The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has been tremendously supportive to me, and I sincerely thank all the comrades worldwide who help sustain the Defense Fund. Solidarity is our best weapon, and our best defense. No pasaran!

Contributing to The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund enables us to help T. and the dozens and dozens of other anti-fascists and anti-racists we’ve supported over the last two years.  We can only continue to do this with your support.  Please make a donation today.

Standing Your Ground In Los Angeles

33cb3c4c00000578-3571113-image-a-32_1462287610188(Tess Asplund doing what anyone of good conscience would do when racists are marching through town).

When Tess Asplund single-handedly stood against a march of 300 neo-nazis in Borlänge, Sweden a  year ago, she received worldwide praise for her courage to confront the cowardly clowns.

Fast-forward one year later, when Los Angeleno J. was walking down Hollywood Boulevard when he came face-to-face with a group of over 100 racists marching down the middle of the street.  “Honestly, what went through my mind the whole time, was these racists cannot march down Hollywood in Los Angeles, without anyone challenging them,” J. said.  In a move very much like Tess Asplund’s, he took it upon himself to become a one-person counter-demonstration.  But unlike what happened to Ms. Asplund, J. was physically attacked by three marchers and then promptly arrested by the police, who shook one of the assailant’s hand afterwards.  For exercising his free speech rights, J. received trumped-up felony charges and bail set at $20,000.

We’re happy that Ms. Asplund didn’t run into similar troubles when she took a stand against hate, but The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund would be there for her if she had.  So of course we were happy to lend some support to J.

J. sent us a thank-you note shortly after: “Thanx to all for this needed and necessary comradeship and this international working class act of solidarity.  It’s one and the same struggle everywhere no matter who what when or where.”

From Borlänge to L.A., literally standing up to hate is not a crime!

 

 

Defending Against The Dover Witchhunt

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(antifa on the ground in Dover, 31 January 2016)

It must’ve been embarrassing for Dover coppers to lose control of the situation a year-and-a-half ago when they tried to respond to racist extremists marching in the streets by kettling anti-fascists there to stop the fash.  That didn’t work out so well and the coppers were left with egg on their faces as area antifa worked their way around them and went on to confront & prevent the bigots from running amok as best they could.

Not ones to use a humiliating situation like this to learn anything, the coppers have instead wasted taxpayer money on a months-long witchhunt to prosecute persecute the antifascists that had given them the slip on that day.

Which brings us to our friend from Kent.

Eleven months after the fact and just a few days prior to Christmas, our friend had his door kicked in by the coppers, who charged him with violent disorder.  The resulting prison time he’s been made to serve has put his family in dire straits.

When the Kent Anti-Racism Network contacted us about their mate’s plight, we were happy to kick in a few quid to help him and his family while he’s at her majesty’s pleasure.

Decisions, Decisions

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The International Anti-Fascist Defence’s Fund‘s Decisions Crew are the 300+ people in 18 different countries (so far!) that have to make the call on requests the Fund receives.  Recently, the Crew had to say no to one request and yes to another.  Here’s how that looked:

Last month, the Decisions Crew said no to a proposal to donate to a crowdfunding page purported to be backing Louise, an antifascist assaulted by Nathan Damigo – a white supremacist with a criminal record of violent hate crimes.  It was not so much that we had doubts about Louise’s situation, but we had doubts about the crowdfunding page itself.  Specifically, we were unable to verify who set the page up or if they had any connection to Louise at all.  It would be irresponsible for the Defence Fund to contribute to every crowdfunding campaign that claims to be in support of anti-fascists without verifying if that is actually the case.  In fact, one of the reasons the Defence Fund was established in the first place was to provide a verifiable way for people to materially support anti-fascists in trouble.  Unlike anonymous crowdfunding campaigns, the Defence Fund has been endorsed by three different anti-fascist networks;  has a clear, democratic decision-making process in place; and reports regularly on its activities.

But we digress!  In the end, Louise appears to have received the support she needed by others and the mysterious crowdfunding campaign changed its goal to funding an app to help with labor organizing – certainly laudable, but also beyond the mandate of the Defence Fund.

Then earlier this month, the Defence Fund decided via consensus to lend support to T., a Toronto-based anti-fascist that was physically-assaulted on March 4th by Islamophobes when he went to counter their hate rally at city hall.  Adding insult to injury, police charged T. with the attack, putting his volunteer work as a tutor at-risk!  T.  has had to miss some work for court stuff and will likely have to pay a lawyer to get this mess settled, so we were happy to send him some money to help with that.

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is here to help anti-fascists & anti-racists wherever they are whenever they’ve run into trouble as a result of their stand against bigotry and hatred.  As long as we can verify the legitimacy of a request, it’s very likely to be supported.

 

Backing Benji

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On April 18th, 2017, Richard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist leaderlittle rich boy human punching bag of the “Alt-Right,” gave a talk at Auburn University in Alabama and was protested by students and anti-racists.

Two anti-racists were arrested outside Foy Hall on campus, following an altercation which began when a League of the South LOSer (a secessionist/white nationalist organization) launched an attack.  Benji, a musican and active member of the Birmingham arts community, was one of them and now has court and legal expenses to look forward to.

Using The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund‘s resources to help Benji deal with those expenses was a no-brainer.  The only real concern we had was whether or not the crowdfunding page set up to support Benji was legit, but we were soon able to confirm that with the help of Atlanta Antifascists (thanks!).  We encourage all antifascists to stand with Benji and donate to Benji’s legal defence (as well as, um, you know, The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund!).

Never Let Them Have Esther Short Park!

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(Above: Vancouver, WA. antifa assemble to confront a mixed-bag of bigots on April 2nd, 2017)

When America elects a fascist as president, fascists come out of the woodwork to attempt to build a mass movement of Nazi-like street thugs to support his efforts, not unlike Hitler’s Sturmabteilung.  And just like 1930s Germany, we are now seeing more frequent and blatant collaboration between these racist paramilitaries and the police.

For example, take the events at a Trump support rally in a park in Vancouver, Washington on April 2nd.  In a blatant display of the old adage “cops and the Klan go hand-in-hand,” members of the racist 3% militia gleefully worked alongside cops in Vancouver, WA. to point out antifascists they’d like arrested for the crime of confronting and disrupting their mini-Nuremberg rally.  The cops were practically falling over themselves to arrest whoever the fascists didn’t like the looks of on trumped-up (pun intended!) non-violent misdemeanors.

All the antifa arrestees were released on bail and now must defend themselves on these bullshit charges.  The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was happy to kick in to their legal defence crowdfunder.  We encourage all anti-fascists, as well as all of those concerned with the police acting as lethally-armed goons doing the bidding of racist extremists, or those who think that public protest is a right and not a crime, to contribute as well.