It’s becoming increasingly common for The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund to deal with multiple requests for support at the same time. Such was the case earlier this month, when the 500+ antifa who discuss requests and call the shots at the Defence Fund contended with two different requests that resulted in two differing decisions.
First, we received a request to help an antifa couple in the Twin Cities who joined over 200 other antifascists to confront a talk by racist troll Laura Southern on October 25th. Fascists tried to pick off the couple in a physical attack and badly injured a woman’s knee. This single incident created compounding problems, include the loss of her job due to her injury.
As one member of the Defence Fund’s Decisions Crew put it, “this kind of ‘low level’ disruption of the lives of antifascists must be countered through this kind of mutual aid and material support. We can and must make sure comrades are supported when taking part in the struggle takes a toll.” So we were happy to help her get back on her feet and back in the fight.
The other request we were asked to consider was to help with the legal defence of a member of Redneck Revolt who was charged by police with some bullshit after having the nerve to attend a protest of a police shooting of a Latino man. This request generated a lot of back-and-forth discussion among the Decisions Crew and we were unable to reach consensus about what to do. After taking a vote, we decided to not provide support for this request.
There were a few reasons why we opted out of contributing to this. Some people argued that the action involved didn’t quite meet the definition of anti-fascist/anti-racist work, which is what the Defence Fund’s mandate is limited to. Others pointed out that Redneck Revolt have their own defence fund (which they call their “war chest”) and felt that would be the appropriate resource to access for support.
But most of the opposition to this request had to do with one of Redneck Revolt’s co-founders, Dave Strano. Strano has been outed as a serial abuser of women; something that Redneck Revolt does not appear to have done much of anything about to-date. The Torch Antifa Network issued a statement condemning Strano and disassociating itself from Redneck Revolt until that organization takes meaningful action to address Strano’s abuse. Many other antifa crews have done likewise. As such, many in the Decisions Crew were not at all comfortable with supporting a request from Redneck Revolt until they take the necessary steps to deal with their own house.