The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund: 2016-2017 Annual Report

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And what a year it’s been!

When we established The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund back in June 2015, we believed there was both a need for a standing fund to help anti-fascists and anti-racists around the world who were in some sort of trouble as a direct result of their stand against hate.  We also believed that there was a large, global community of anti-fascists that would see this as a concrete way to demonstrate their solidarity with each other.  Turns out we were right!

The second year of the Defence Fund‘s existence has shown more than we ever could have imagined just how vital this project is.  By the numbers (all figures in U.S. dollars):

DEFENCE FUND YEAR ONE:

  • We donated $1700USD to 48 anti-fascists and anti-racists in ten different countries
  • 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.
  • The Defence Fund‘s Decisions Crew – the people who discuss and make decisions concerning proposals and requests received by the Defence Fund = 45 people in seven countries.

DEFENCE FUND YEAR TWO:

  • We donated over $15,000USD to 76 anti-fascists and anti-racists in ten countries:
    • Fifty-three in the U.S.
    • Ten in the Netherlands
    •  Three in the U.K.
    • Three in Belarus
    • Two in Ukraine
    • One each in Australia, Canada, Poland, Russia, and Sweden.
  • 84% of the contributions covered legal defence, court costs, fines, and prisoner support; 16% covered medical bills and injury recovery.
  • The Defence Fund‘s Decisions Crew grew to 413 people from 17 different countries.

So over the course of one year, the demand for help from the Defence Fund increased 58%.  We gave out 8.8x more financial support to anti-fascists and anti-racists than we did in our first year, while the crew of antifa discussing requests and making the tough decisions grew by a factor of nine!

We thought it might be of-interest to see how things went in the five months before Trump was elected vs. the seven months after:

Before Trump we supported 26 anti-fascists and anti-racists from six different countries, contributing $2815.95 to help them out.  Since Trump’s election, we helped out 50 anti-fascists and anti-racists in eight countries, contributing $12,171.70 to support them.  So in the era of Trump the need for the Defence Fund has doubled and the amount we’ve provided to anti-fascists and anti-racists has increased by more than 400% over the pre-Trump era.  When you look at our blog and read about the requests we’ve received and the decisions we’ve made, it’s not hard to tell what’s going on.  The state is much more likely to arrest anti-fascists than ever before and fascists are becoming increasingly violent, as shootings and stabbings becoming more commonplace.

The support the Defence Fund provided to our fellow antifa this year really mattered:

  •   Yvette, who we supported when her employer suspended her for confronting knife-and-gun-wielding neo-nazis, told us that she had a hard time “finding the words to express the gratitude that I feel toward the sisters and brothers in the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund. As soon as word got out about my discipline in retaliation for my participation in the anti-Nazi/KKK protest in Sacramento, they contacted me virtually the next day and offered support. They generously donated their hard-earned money toward helping me recoup my lost wages and pay for my legal expenses. No one should face attack by their employer for standing up to nazis and the KKK. Thank you, again, from the bottom of my heart. Si se puede!”
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  •   Oleg, who was severely injured in an assault by neo-nazis, wrote us to say that he was “very grateful to you for your help and solidarity, I truly appreciate your support and care.Thank you very much for the financial help. Once again I wish you from the bottom of my heart thank you for your help.”
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  • When we helped an Australian anti-fascist pay off an absurd legal fine, he sent us this lovely thank-you note“As many other activists know, it is not easy to confront the far right and fascists on the streets.  The threat of violence from them, their supporters, and often from the police as well, is always present.  You keep going because you know from history that you need to directly stop these fascist groups from organising when they are small.  If they manage to grow, their ability to use violence will also increase, with devastating effects on all of us.  You keep going because of the solidarity and comradeship with your fellow sisters and brothers who attend the meetings, go out in public to advocate and publicise, and who stand shoulder to shoulder with you on the streets confronting the fascists.  You keep going because you know that if you get hurt, if you get targeted, if you get arrested, if you get fined, there are people out there who recognise and respect your efforts and sacrifices. They will pick you up, support and stand in solidarity when you need it.  This is why I keep going.  I deeply appreciate and thank all the people who showed support for the fight and donated money.  In solidarity and struggle to all anti fascists around the world.”
  • After we sent T. some money to help defend himself against false charges resulting from him being attacked by Islamophobes at a hate rally, he let us know that “I have been slotted into what will likely be a year-long process of hearings, meetings with lawyers, and potentially a trial. The missed days of work for attending court and legal fees have put me in an even more precarious position than is the norm for a young working class person, and I cannot express enough how relieved I was to learn of the International Antifascist Defense Fund and receive financial assistance for my case…I sincerely thank all the comrades worldwide who help sustain the defense fund. Solidarity is our best weapon, and our best defense. No pasaran!”

Clearly, The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is vitally important.  It is the only standing defence fund for anti-fascists and anti-racists and makes itself available to anyone anywhere in the world that runs into trouble because they took a stand against bigotry and hatred.  It has a documented track record of its activities and is governed by a clear, democratic decision-making process that emphasizes consensus whenever possible.  It is the only Fund out there that 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.  These are some of the major differences between the Defence Fund and the kind of single-event, unverifiable crowdfunding page that seems to pop up immediately after a well-publicized clash.

If you think anti-fascism and anti-racism are things worth supporting; if you believe that no one should suffer personally because of their courageous stance against hate; if you believe that solidarity is our weapon, then your support of The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is needed now more than ever.  The best thing you could do is commit to a regular, monthly contribution to the Defence Fund via our Patreon.  This helps us immensely because it is a regular amount we can count on month-to-month.  Even a small regular amount of, say, $5/month has a huge impact when its combined with dozens of similar amounts.  Of course, we’re happy to accept one-time donations as well, either through our crowdfunding page or directly via Paypal.

While we sincerely hope that the next year will be a slow one for the Defence Fund, we’re pretty certain that the fight against hate is just beginning to gear up and the people defending their friends, their families, and their communities from the forces of hatred will need our help more than ever before.  Join us!

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