“Let no good deed go unpunished” appears to be the official slogan of the British “justice” system. You’ll recall last month when The Defence Fund was compelled to lend some material support to Michelle – who’s behind bars for opposing fascists marching through the streets of Dover this past January. Unfortunately, Michelle wasn’t the only anti-fascist that the forces of law & order have decided to come after.
Another comrade from Bristol was recently arrested at his home and now has serious charges hanging over his head. This has so far resulted in looming legal fees running into thousands of pounds – all this before he even has his day in court!
The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was only too happy to be able to send this Bristol comrade some assistance to pay some of those legal fees. We stand by him and all anti-fascists that stood up to the Islamophobic, anti-refugee bigots in Dover that winter’s day not too long ago.
If you’d like to help our Bristol comrade with the costs of his legal case, you can contact Bristol Antifascists, who are supporting him, directly: firstname.lastname@example.org. You could also buy one of their limited-edition shirts (featuring the unmistakable Bristol Antifascists logo!). And of course you can always contribute to The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund to help us help more antifa in the future.
(above: antifa take the streets, Dover, January 31, 2016)
This past January, Michelle Smith – a single mother & union official – traveled for hours from one side of the UK to the other in order to stand with the people of Dover in opposition to a neo-nazi mob that intended to march through the town. Hundreds of anti-fascists joined her and dealt the bigots heavy losses throughout the day. Michelle herself was directly threatened by a racist coward and did what she had to do to defend herself and the town of Dover from their hatred & violence.
Weeks later Michelle was shocked to discover that she herself was facing criminal charges as a result of her heroic actions that day. Worse still, Michelle was convicted this summer of “violent disorder” and received a very severe 12-month sentence for the “crime” of defending Dover from racist scum.
Here at The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund
, we believe two things: that fighting fascism is a social responsibility, not a crime and that solidarity is our weapon! With both those truths in mind, we were happy to send the Merseyside Anti-Fascist Network
some money to help support Michelle and her young family while she’s locked up. We would encourage you to do the same
(when you make your donation, please indicate in the “additional instructions” window that your donation is to support Michelle). We very much look forward to the happy day when we can celebrate Michelle’s release.
This past summer proved to be the busiest three months for the Defence Fund since its inception. In June & July alone we received requests to help eighteen different anti-fascists/anti-racists in Belarus, Poland, and the U.S. and donated over $1000 to them – the most ever donated by the Defence Fund in one quarter. You can read about all of them on our blog.
Aside from the bad news of more people than ever before needing help, there was two bits of good news, though! Firstly, and thanks largely to our decision to print & sell anti-fascist/anti-racist stickers as a fundraiser, we raised more money for the Defence Fund this quarter than ever before. Unfortunately, it was still a bit less than what we gave out in support of anti-fascists/anti-racists in the same time period, but was still very encouraging. We hope that soon we are able to raise enough money to cover the amount of money we’ve given out in support, with maybe a little bit saved up for the next call for help we get (you can help us get there!).
The other good news is about what happened from mid-July to the end of August: not terribly much. After mid-July we did not receive any requests for support until the tail-end of August, which is probably the longest period of time we’ve gone without getting a request since the Defence Fund was established.
Since most of our requests happen as a result of opposition to racist events, this drop in requests for help may be coinciding with a decline in public activity by racists. It did seem that there were fewer racist rallies and marches going on in the last half of the summer. If that is true, it could be because bigots are now focusing their efforts on political gains they’re making through the electoral system (e.g. Brexit in the UK or Trump’s candidacy in the U.S.). Or it could be because they’re tired of fewer and fewer of them crawling out from under their rocks only to be smashed by more and more antifa. Here’s hoping it’s the latter!