(as we are also publishing an annual report, this report will only cover the activities of The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund from March-May 2016).
The final quarter of the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund proved to be its busiest so far! It started off with a request to help seven anti-racists who had successfully shut down a KKK rally in Anaheim, California and were stabbed and arrested as a result. This particular request was interesting for a few reasons: by the time we were discussing the request, there were already two anonymous crowdfunding pages up and running, which together managed to raise over $50,000 in a few days. Controversy later erupted when one of the seven anti-racists was himself accused of making racist comments on social media in the past.
In the end, we decided to make a donation to the crowdfunding page that was being administered by two groups whose names we recognized and forego contributing to the other crowdfunding page, which was set up anonymously to allegedly support the person who had been accused of making racist comments.
This situation really emphasized for us the importance of the Defence Fund. Instead of anti-racists hoping that they have tech-savvy friends that can set up crowdfunding pages for them, the Defence Fund has money ready-to-go when people need it the most – to make bail, to pay for legal defence, to pay medical bills, etc. Unlike anonymous crowdfunding pages where donors can’t verify the page has an actual connection to the people it’s purporting to raise money for, the Defence Fund has a year-long, verifiable record of helping dozens of anti-fascists and anti-racists around the world and is endorsed by three well-known anti-fascist networks. Finally, the Defence Fund’s standing decisions committee of 44 anti-fascists and anti-racists have the flexibility to discuss and decide on matters that make requests more complex (like the alleged racism of one of the potential recipients, as in this case).
Aside from Anaheim, the Defence Fund also contributed to a fund to help Jason Hammond transition back into the world after his release from prison, where he had served out a sentence for the Tinley Park action in 2012. Welcome back, Jason! We were also happy to help pay a court fine for M, an antifascist in Marseille who was arrested for being part of the antifa crew that successfully disrupted a front national meeting last year. Meanwhile in Copenhagen, we contributed to the legal defence of Peter, who was arrested for taking part in a confrontation of Pegida DK. Finally, we contributed to the legal defence of several antifa in the U.S. who were arrested on trumped-up charges when they attempted to disrupt and shut down a KKK rally in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
In other news, the UK’s Anti Fascist Network became the third anti-fascist network to endorse the Defence Fund. The Anti Fascist Network is the largest, fastest-growing, and most active anti-fascist network in the UK, with its member chapters involved in every major anti-fascist mobilization there in recent months. We also received a lovely thank-you letter from the Klinika collective in Prague, who we helped rebuild after neo-nazis firebombed their community/refugee support centre and attacked and injured several people.
Helping anti-racists harmed in five different actions in three countries in just three months – yeah, we’ve been busy!