…in Olathe, Kansas. He spots two off-duty engineers sitting quietly at their table. Both men are 32 years old. Both men are from India. He begins loudly insulting them, yelling at them to “get out of my country!” He pulls out a pistol and starts shooting at them, killing one and wounding the other.
As soon as the racist terrorist fires his first shots, another patron in the bar tries to intervene. “It wasn’t right, and I didn’t want the gentleman to potentially go after somebody else,” he’ll say from his hospital bed, after he, too, is shot by the racist.
Crowdfunding campaigns sprout up to help the victims of this racist terrorist act. One for the dead man’s family; one for his injured friend; and one for the Good Samaritan that was also injured. Donations flood in and all three crowdfunders greatly exceed their initial targets.
And there is where The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund comes in; we were asked to make a contribution to each of the crowdfunding campaigns for each of the victims. We discussed this for about a week, could not come to a consensus about what to do, and then took another week to vote on the various options that had come out of our discussion.
The difficulty we had boiled down to two key questions:
1) Should the Defence Fund support the victims of fascism and racism or limit itself to supporting those that actively fight fascism and racism?
2) If there is a situation that warrants the Defence Fund’s support but more-than-enough support has already been provided, should the Defence Fund still kick in money, even as a token gesture of solidarity?
In the end, the vote was to not make a contribution to any of the crowdfunding campaigns that came out of this horrifying, tragic act of racist terrorism. While we absolutely sympathize and stand in solidarity with the victims of racist violence, the Defence Fund is just too small to be effective at providing relief to those victims and must concentrate instead on supporting active anti-fascists and anti-racists.
While we see the man that tried to stop the racist terrorist from murdering people in the bar as engaging in anti-fascist/anti-racist work of the upmost importance and while we salute his courage, we also think it’s our responsibility to use the donations the Defence Fund receives as effectively as possible. If an anti-fascist/anti-racist is being more-than-adequately supported by their community, then it would be better for the Defence Fund to save its funds to be used to support another anti-fascist/anti-racist who isn’t fortunate enough to have that level of support instead of making a donation that would amount to a token gesture. That was the case here, so in the end the Defence Fund decided to applaud his heroic actions but hold on to our funds to help someone else who frankly will need the help more.
We probably will have to spend that money shortly, as the Defence Fund’s “Decisions Crew” (the 380+ people around the world that discuss and ultimately decide what to do when we receive requests for support) is currently looking at three other requests for help. When you add those to the 24 other anti-fascists we’ve been asked to back up in the last month alone, the importance of the Defence Fund is clearer than ever. We need you to help us back up our friends around the world who aren’t afraid to stand up to bigotry. Please make a donation to the Defence Fund today!