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!

From Richmond to Rojava.

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Richmond VA. takes to the street in support of Rojava, October 12, 2019.

By now, much of the world is well-aware of what’s happening in Rojava right now.  That tiny sliver of northern Syria – home to one of the most radical experiments in direct-democracy on the planet – has fought to defend its revolution for the last five years from the genocidal fascists in Daesh (aka ISIS).  Just when the battle looked to be over and the brave fighters in the YPG, YPJ, and various international brigades could claim victory, Turkey’s autocratic despots hatched a back-room deal with Trump, wherein he would withdraw U.S. military support for the defenders of the Rojava revolution, allowing Turkey & its fascist paramilitary allies to invade the territory and begin the systematic displacement and genocide of the Kurdish people living there, along with their non-Kurdish neighbours.

It’s hard to know what do to in the face of the most powerful military forces around.  A call for an international day of solidarity with Rojava went out for October 12th; demonstrations in support of Rojava were held around the world, including in Richmond, VA.

The Richmond event started off very well, with a lively crowd taking over the hip Carytown neighborhood for an hour.  But then Richmond police decided their free speech rights were no longer valid and without warning, attacked the crowd, violently arrested two protestors.  Now, for showing solidarity with people facing extermination by fascist military regimes, they’ve been charged with various “unlawful actions,” like “wearing a mask” and “assaulting a police officer” (which we are VERY CERTAIN DID NOT HAPPEN!).

Richmond IWW has set up a crowdfunder to pay for the lawyers these two people now need to get these bullshit charges thrown and they asked us to help pay for those lawyers.  A lively discussion ensued among the 750+ members of the Defence Fund’s Decisions Crew.  Some felt that this action was too far removed from anti-fascist work; others disagreed.  In the end, we were unable to reach consensus and had to resort to a vote, which clearly showed that the majority of Decisions Crew members supported helping our friends in Richmond.  We did that this morning.

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund remains the only standing fund out there dedicated to provide emergency support to anti-fascists when they need it the most.  If you want to show some real solidarity with the people putting themselves on the line to confront and resist hatred and bigotry the world over, you should make a contribution to the Defence Fund today!

December 2019 – Quarterly Report

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Some of the people & situations we helped out with in October alone!  From the top left: Jock Palfreeman is initially released on parole in Sofia; LGBTQ+ activists in Lublin, Poland take to the streets and face violence by organized mobs of homophobes; unarmed antifa in Newnan, GA. peacefully protesting a nazi march through town have assault rifles pointed at them by the kkkops; antifa at the Brenner Pass protest Austria’s xenophobic migration policies. 

Hey there, how was your fall?  Was it as busy as ours?  Here’s our busy ours was: we helped defend & support 47 anti-fascists in seven different countries over the past three months!  Let’s recap what went down, shall we?

  • When alt-right clod Luke Lenzner picked a fight with the wrong mixed-race couple in Portland, he got a big ol’ black eye for his efforts and the couple got slapped with assault charges.  Which were later dropped entirely, but not before we sent them some money to hire a lawyer to defend them!
  • Also in Portland: our man Alex stopped a white supremacist gang from attacking people in that city with a claw hammer by taking the hammer away from the goon trying to smash people in the head with it, showing that anti-fascism is truly self-defence!  Unfortunately, Alex has to now prove that in the courts, as he was the one charged with a crime from that incident.  We helped to make sure that he’s got a quality lawyer with him when he goes to court.  Alex wrote to us to say “I am aware of what a huge gift this is from you. Thank you so much for believing in me.Thank you, truly, for what you’ve done.”  THANK YOU FOR DEFENDING PDX, ALEX!
  • In Germany, the very first case the Defence Fund ever helped out with has finally come to a conclusion four years later.  The six other German antifa ultras that successfully defended themselves against an attack by fascist scum in 2015 ended their legal proceedings with no jail time for the good guys but a hefty €17500 in legal costs.  Thankfully, we’ve received a few more donations since we first helped out one of the accused and were able to make a more generous contribution to paying off that legal bill this time.  FORZA SV WERDER BREMEN ANTIFA!
  • Speaking of antifa ultras, a member of Brigada Ultrá Clapton faces a trial for their part in a 2016 open borders demonstration at the Bremmer Pass, which sits on the Austria/Italy border.  Three years later and the trial still hasn’t happened, but the bills from the defence lawyer have, so we did what we could to help take care of those.
  • Another blast from the past came to us via Newnan, Georgia.  That’s the town where last year at least 400 kkkops responded to a peaceful, unarmed counter-protest of a full-on nazi march through town by pointing assault rifles at the anti-fascists, tackling and assaulting anyone that spoke up or refused to put their lives at risk by de-masking.  Last year, we helped with the legal defence of one of the antifa that tried to de-escalate the situation; here we are more than a year later and one of the other anti-fascists, who was charged & convicted of wearing a mask in public (Georgia has an anti-Spider-Man law or something?), is challenging their conviction and taking it as far as possible through the legal system.  That’s a fight we can get behind, so we did.
  • Poland has been a flashpoint for violence against LGBTQ+ civil rights activists.  The governing political party is openly homophobic and the mayor of Lublin banned a Pride march this fall.  Queer people were not having it and went ahead with the march anyway, which led to attacks by mobs of far-right homophobes who blocked the march route and assaulted Pride marchers.  When two of our friends left the march, they were pursued by a pack of screaming homophobes who were threatening to kill them in the street.  When the homophobes charged, our friends gave them a blast of pepper spray and fought them off.  So of course the homophobes ran to the nearest police to play victim and now our friends are up on charges!  We’ve ensured that both our friends have competent legal representation to defend them against these fictitious charges and are looking forward to the good news of their acquittal when the whole mess goes to trial.
  • Jock Palfreeman is an Australian national who, while backpacking through Sofia, Bulgaria in 2007, witnessed a mob of bigots attacking two young Roma boys.  Jock stepped in to intervene and was set upon by the mob.  In the ensuing altercation, one of the attackers died of a stab wound, Jock was charged with the stabbing, and a sham trial led to a 20-year prison sentence for him.  Last month and after serving 11 years in prison, Jock was suddenly and unexpectedly granted parole.  But before anyone could pop champagne corks, Bulgaria’s Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov intervened, seizing Jock’s passport, placing him essentially under house arrest, and demanding that the supreme court review the parole decision, .  This move was unprecedented, appears to have no basis in Bulgarian law, has been condemned as political interference in the judicial system, and was likely motivated by pressure by Bulgarian extreme-right groups.  While Jock holds up in a safe house in Sofia awaiting the Bulgarian supreme court to decide his fate, we were able to provide an amount to make sure he’s taken care of.
  • Speaking of taking care of people with experience in the prison system, we were very sad to hear that our friend David was headed into Rikers for the crime of having his leg broken by the NYPD during a protest at a 2018 Mike Cernovich event in NYC (we helped David pay his rent while he healed up back then).  The fucking pig completely fabricated charges against David (maybe to help cover up his outright brutality and excessive force?) and when video evidence made the kkkop’s lies plain to see, the Manhattan DA changed the charges to “gang assault,” which you can be convicted of without laying a finger on anyone.  Faced with 3.5 years in jail, David took an 18-month non-cooperating plea deal and is now locked up until 2021.  We hate to see this happen to such a good person and it’s frustrating that all we could do was put enough money in his commissary to keep him comfortable for a few months, but we do what we can.
  • Halloween in Denver was a little more eventful thanks to the anti-semitic trolls that crawled out from under their rocks and devoted the day to terrorizing and threatening as many Jewish people as they could.  Fortunately, anti-fascists in Denver were not having that and did what they could to disrupt the anti-semites’ plans.  Unfortunately, the cops were called and (wait for it) sided with the anti-semites out threatening Jewish people!  Now three anti-fascists are facing charges and we helped out to get them proper legal representation.
  • Two days later and 4660 miles away from Denver, anti-fascists in Oslo were very successful at finding out the secret location of a super-secret nazi meeting and then surrounding the location and basically ruining the nazis’ day!  This pissed off both the nazis and the Oslo cops, who were completely out-maneuvered and caught flat-footed by the antifa that day.  Cops hate being embarrassed so they reacted by attacking the anti-fascists and then putting 28 of them up on charges and petty fines, which cumulatively were not so petty – 300,000 Norwegian krone ($32,000USD) to be exact.  We answered the call of AFA Bergen & AFA Oslo to help pay those fines off as best as we could, given our limited funds.

If you’ve read this far, you must be exhausted and also probably able to understand how exhausted we are handling the amount of requests for emergency support we’ve received over the last twelve weeks.  But that’s why The Defence Fund exists – to help anti-fascists in the emergencies that go hand-in-hand with defending their communities from bigotry and hatred.

The other thing that is exhausted from all this activity is our bank account.  The Defence Fund relies 100% on donations from people who believe that anti-fascism is a social duty and that solidarity is our most effective weapon, but at the rate requests for help are coming in, it will not be long before our funds are depleted.  You could do something about this, of course, by making a contribution to the Defence Fund right now!

From Denver To Oslo.

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Oslo’s Antifascist 28.

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was called on earlier this month to help with the legal defence of 31 anti-fascists in Denver, CO. and Oslo, Norway.

Halloween in Denver this year was marked by the emergence of a small group of anti-semitic ghouls calling themselves the Goyim Defense League.  These disgusting assholes kicked the day off with an anti-semitic banner drop over a freeway, then moved on to harassing Jewish-owned businesses and threatening Jewish community members with violence.  Fortunately, Denver anti-fascists were there to confront them and shut them down.  Pretty soon the police got involved and now guess which side is now facing charges?  So there is now a crowdfunder set up to pay for the legal defence of the three Denver anti-fascists who were arrested and we were able to make a sizeable donation to it, thanks to the contributions of our donors .

Meanwhile, two days later and 4,660 miles away in Oslo, Norway: the location of a top-secret neo-nazi get-together got leaked to members of Antifascistisk Aksjon, who managed to out-maneuver both the fascists & the cops, shutting down the entrance to the meeting spot, convincing the landlord to ask the police to evict the nazis from the meeting space, and basically ruining the nazis’ entire day.  The Oslo cops, perhaps a bit hurt that they had been outwitted, waited until the end of the day and then attacked the antifascists, arresting 28 of them and fining them a combined total of 300,000 Norwegian krone (which = about $32,000USD).  AFA Oslo & AFA Bergen are calling for donations to help pay off these outrageous fines and we were again able to make a contribution to help our 28 friends in Oslo with that.  Here are the details if you’d like to help with that as well:75341056_1378983062264230_3554565073617813504_o.png

International solidarity with 31 antifascists in emergencies really demonstrates why The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund exists.  But the month is not over and we know that more anti-fascists will be counting on us to help them get out of dire and dangerous circumstances; something we’re only able to do with your supportPlease make a donation today!