Roman is an anti-fascist in Brest, Belarus who was arrested in the spring of 2015 on suspicion of fighting neo-nazis two years before. Last fall, Roman was sentenced to an outrageous eight years in a penal colony for this “crime.” Adding insult to injury, the court also ordered Roman to pay 3500EUR in damages to the racist swine he beat to a pulp.
The good news is that Roman’s sentence was reduced to two years back in December, but the bad news is that Roman’s family was still responsible for paying the restitution – an amount equivalent to about eleven months’ average wages in Belarus.
This request raised some concerns with the Defence Fund’s decisions crew (50+ people & groups around the world who have donated at least 15EUR to the Fund). Several people objected to the idea of us essentially turning over money to give to neo-nazis while others pointed out that the situation was totally unfair but not helping only meant that Roman’s family would suffer further.
We were unable to come to a consensus about the request and had to make the decision via a majority vote. That vote was to send Roman’s family some money to help pay the restitution costs, which we have now done.
If you would like to support Roman’s family or send Roman a letter, please click here for more details.
June 2016 has been the busiest month The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has experienced so far. In just this past month, we helped seven different anti-fascists/anti-racists in three different countries, donating more than we donated in the first five months of the Defence Fund’s existence combined!
There is undoubtedly an urgent need for a standing fund to defend anti-fascists and anti-racists but if things continue at this pace we will run out of money to help in four months. We would strongly encourage everyone that believes in the struggle against hatred and bigotry to donate whatever you can to the Defence Fund. We’d like to specifically ask you to consider donating $5/month to the Defence Fund – we believe that’s all it would take to sustain the Defence Fund at current levels, if enough people/groups committed to doing this.
Can antifa around the world count on you to do your part?
Patryk is a Polish anti-fascist that has been living in London for the last ten years or so. He is a well-known and well-respected antifa in both Poland and the UK. Unfortunately, he’s also the victim of a complete travesty of justice that occurred when nazi scum in his hometown convinced friends of their to press completely fabricated charges against Patryk.
Patryk’s trial was a complete sham and while everyone else the boneheads pressed charges against were found not guilty, Patryk actually received a three-year sentence!
Understandably, Patryk fled to the UK where he has lived and been active in the antifa scene ever since. But on May 2016 British police arrested him on a European warrant.
Patryk’s currently fighting to stay in the UK, where his partner and eight-year-old son also live. We were happy to kick in some money to help him fight the extradition and we sincerely hope that he gets to remain free in the UK.
You can read more about Patryk’s case and how to donate here.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the southwestern United States. In Albuquerque, New Mexico. two minors and two adults were arrested for their part in a raucous protest against a Herr Drumpf rally. Then a few days later, a young woman in Glendale, Arizona was arrested for allegedly introducing a baseball bat to the head of a street preacher who decided the good lord wanted him to parade in front of the woman’s high school, shouting racist, homophobic, misogynist slurs through a bullhorn while carrying a sign that said “You Deserve To Be Raped!”
The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was happy to send some money to all five of these anti-fascists, who now face various charges.
If you’d like to help the ABQ people, you can donate to them here.
If you’d like to help our friend in Glendale, you can donate to her here.
If you think the Defence Fund did the right thing, you can help replenish our standing fund by donating here.
We didn’t know what to expect when we established The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund in June 2015 but we were tired of anti-fascists and anti-racists getting hurt, imprisoned, having their property destroyed, and even being killed and not being able to help them. Over the last year, we’ve received donations from all over the world; set up a global committee of more than forty anti-fascists who decide how to use our resources; and, most importantly, we’ve helped out four dozen anti-racists in ten countries. Here is our first annual report:
By The Numbers
(all figures in U.S. dollars)
- 48 anti-fascists & anti-racists in ten different countries received help from the Defence Fund, totaling more than $1700:
- Twenty in the U.S.
- Sixteen in Sweden
- Four in Germany
- Two in France
- One each in Australia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Russia, and Spain
- 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.
- 45 people in seven countries are currently on the Defence Fund’s decisions crew – the people who discuss and make decisions about proposals and requests. Any individual or group that donates at least $20 to the Fund is invited to join the decisions crew.
What We’ve Learned
Over the past year the need for this Defence Fund has been made absolutely clear. Based on the cases we looked at, it takes about $4500 on-average to repair the damage done to the lives of an anti-fascist/anti-racist when they’ve been arrested, physically injured, or had their property destroyed because of their work against hatred. Most are able to raise around 70% of that on their own or with the help of their friends & allies, leaving an typical shortfall of about $1350 to come up with. If its first year is any indication, the Defence Fund would need to raise $27,000 annually just to cover that gap. This might sound unrealistic, but don’t forget that in just a few days people all over the world donated over $30,000 to help out their friends in Anaheim who were arrested and/or injured in a confrontation with the KKK!
There are some real advantages to supporting the Defence Fund. Unlike anonymous crowdfunding pages raising money for specific incidents, the Defence Fund is made available to any anti-fascist or anti-racist in trouble; has a proven track record and a clear, democratic decision-making structure in place; and 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.
How You Can Help
The Fund relies completely on donations from people who support the struggle against hate. Obviously, we’d like every anti-fascist and anti-racist in the world to give what they can to the Fund.
- The best way is to pledge a monthly recurring donation via our Patreon account. If 225 supporters pledged just $10/month there, we would be able to donate $27,000 every year to antifa in trouble. Even $1/month adds up!
- We’re also happy to accept one-time donations of any amount via our crowdfunding page (where you can also see some of the rewards we are offering supporters) and directly through Paypal. We offer some pretty nice rewards for donations!
- If you’d like to donate to the Fund but don’t want to use those options, you can email us and we can discuss other ways to do it: firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you’re unable to donate yourself or raise money for the Fund in your community, you can still help us spread the word. Share the link to our crowdfunding page; share posts from our blog; print out and distribute flyers about the Fund!
We are looking forward to our second year of supporting anti-fascists and anti-racists around the world, with your help and participation!