To be honest, a lot of anti-fascists weren’t sure if any of us were going to survive the onslaught of fascist extremism and violence that communities all around the world were subjected to in 2017. We lost several committed anti-fascists to horrific levels of bigoted violence and terrorism (as we write this almost exactly a year after an alt-right white supremacist stabbed two men to death in Portland for coming to the aid of two Muslim girls the bigot was harassing). For every anti-fascist that fell in 2017-2018, dozens more were terribly injured; for every antifa injured, dozens more were arbitrarily arrested by the fascists’ enforcers/protecters – the police (more on them in a moment!).
For The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund, this meant that our third year of operation was one when more than ever, anti-fascists from all over the world depended on us to help them out of difficult and potentially life-altering or life-ending circumstances. Here’s what we did to help over the last twelve months:
- We donated over $21,000USD to 242 anti-fascists. This was 40% more monetary support to anti-fascists than the year before. The number of anti-fascists and anti-racists we were able to provide material aid to tripled from the previous year. This support was truly international and went to help antifa in nine countries:
- 228 in the United States
- Four in Canada
- Three in Germany
- Two in France
- Two in the UK
- One each in Austria, Finland, Poland, and Rojava
- 87% of the contributions covered legal defence, court costs, fines, and prisoner support; 12% of contributions covered medical bills, injury recovery and living costs while antifa dealt with injuries sustained in attacks against them; 1 % of contributions covered emergency relocation or to support the family of antifa imprisoned or murdered.
- The Defence Fund‘s Decisions Crew (the body that discusses and decides on what support to give requests or proposals received) grew 41% to include 581 antifa from 17 different countries.
Some interesting developments from our work supporting & defending anti-fascists came out over the last year:
- The crack legal defence team that anti-fascist Yvette Felarca was able to hire partially thanks to our support uncovered extremely disturbing documents in their preparation for her defence. What they found was a clear collaboration between the neo-nazis that tried to murder several people in Sacramento and the police to frame anti-fascists – a collaboration they then exposed to the world media. It’s doubtful any of this would have come out if Yvette was unable to hire decent lawyers to defend her; it’s doubtful Yvette would have been able to hire decent lawyers without the solidarity and support of the Defence Fund and other anti-fascists.
- Likewise in Austin – three antifascists faced serious prison time on charges laid after they defended their campus from white supremacists. We were ecstatic to hear a few weeks ago that all charges had been dropped after the legal defence team they were able to hire tore the prosecution’s case apart. Our friends in Austin wrote to say “we want to especially thank those who donated to their legal funds. Without such generous donations, we would not have been able to afford their legal team. We can’t say enough how much countrywide and international solidarity means for the comrades here in Austin who faced decades of prison time between them all.”
- After the horrific 2017 nazi terrorist attack in Charlottesvile that killed Heather Heyer and seriously injured 19 others, there was an outpouring of grief and outrage and support for the victims of the attack. Many individuals and groups sprang up and competed with each other to raise money for the victims. Some of these were legitimate, some of these were legitimate but not well thought-out, and some were outright fraudulent. We published advice for people that wanted to help to ensure their generosity got to where it was intended to go. Despite this, there were several examples of money being raised that did not go to the victims – most infamously the $200,000 raised by the Democratic Socialists of America not being accessible to the victims they raised the money for. One badly-injured victim, frustrated by the refusals he received from the DSA fund, came to us instead; we sent him support within a week of him contacting us.This really underscored what we’ve been saying since we started the Defence Fund three years ago. Whenever a tragedy like Charlottesville happens, it’s important to know that the support people are pledging is going somewhere with a proven track record of supporting anti-fascists; that is recognized and approved by credible antifa groups; and is transparent about its decisions and how it operates. The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has helped over 350 anti-fascists in seventeen countries over the last three years. We’ve been endorsed by The Torch Network in the U.S., The Anti-Fascist Network in the UK, and Föreningen Fånggruppen in Sweden. How the Defence Fund arrives at its decisions is no secret and it publishes the result of every request and proposal it receives on its blog, in addition to publicly reporting on its activities quarterly and annually.
There is no question that over the last three years The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has established itself as the most credible and trustworthy way to provide support to anti-fascists and anti-racists internationally, just as there is no question that the need to stick together and have each other’s back is greater than it’s been in decades. If you support the goals of anti-fascism; if you believe in opposing bigotry, discrimination, and hatred, then you really should be supporting the work the Defence Fund does. Start by signing up to become a monthly donor, or by making a one-time donation, or by printing out and sharing our flyer, or by holding a fundraiser, or by sharing this post. Don’t wait because right now there someone somewhere who can’t wait for the help they need.