The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund came to the rescue of anti-fascists confronted with difficult & potentially life-altering or deadly circumstances 17 times over the last 12 months. Here is an overview for you:
- We donated over $22,000USD to 61 anti-fascists. For the fourth year in a row, the amount of monetary support we provided anti-fascists globally has increased.
The number of anti-fascists we provided support to dropped significantly from last year, but that was entirely due to the lack of a record-setting mass prosecution of antifascists like the #J20 case, where we helped fund the successful legal defence for 200 of the accused. Accounting for that single incident, we supported twice the number of anti-fascists over the past year than we did in 2017-2018, which is also a record high.
- The support we provided went to antifa in eight countries:
- 33 in the United States
- Nine in Canada
- Eight in France
- Four in Australia
- Three in Russia
- Two in Germany
- Two in the UK
- One in Finland
- 80% of the contributions covered legal defense, court costs, fines, and prisoner support; 14% of contributions covered medical bills, injury recovery and living costs while antifa dealt with injuries sustained in attacks against them; 5% of contributions covered emergency relocation.
- The Defence Fund‘s Decisions Crew (the body that discusses and decides on what support to give requests or proposals received) grew 25% to include 728 antifa from 18 different countries.
It’s quite likely that this makes The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund’s Decisions Crew the world’s largest anti-fascist network!
Some interesting developments from our work supporting & defending anti-fascists came out over the last year:
- We became aware of not one, but two separate defence funds that have been modelled on our own. The Australian-based Solidarity and Defence Fund and the International Anarchist Defence Fund are both providing similar supports to activists and rebels beyond the scope of anti-fascism. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, we are incredibly proud that the people behind both of these defense funds were inspired by ours. We wish them the best of luck and look forward to collaborating with them when our mandates intersect!!
(This might be a good time to come clean and admit that The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund wasn’t a completely original idea we came up with; we adopted it from the Anti-Racist Action Network’s Anti-Racist Defense Fund, which was active in the late 90’s/early 00’s.)
- If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, raising their ire of your opponents is probably the 2nd-sincerest form of flattery. So we were feeling quite proud of ourselves last summer when Breitbart, the “voice of the alt-right” and former vanity project of racist Baron Harkonnen lookalike Steve Bannon, singled us as a target for its audience to take down. And they tried, but WE’RE STILL HERE! We didn’t need them to confirm that the unwavering support we’ve provided to anti-fascists the world over poses a direct threat to their plans for white supremacy and genocide, but it was nice of them to do so anyway.
- It became increasingly obvious that the police are solidly on the side of the fascists and their willingness to do the dirty work of racist extremists become more and more evident. Some key examples from the past twelve months: that time the Berkeley po-po decided the best thing to do when white supremacists march in the streets was to attack, assault, and arrest as many of the 1000+ antifascists there to counter the march as possible. And immediately release photos and full names of the antifascists arrested on social media. That same month, someone in the Portland Police Bureau decided an appropriate response to a non-violent, non-confrontational anti-fascist counter-demonstration would be to try to murder one of the counter-demonstrators by firing a flash bang grenade from a launcher aimed directly at the person’s head from close range. The grenade penetrated the person’s bike helmet and doctors said would have killed him if not for the helmet.
But perhaps the most absurd police action of the year goes to the police in North Carolina. After a white supremacist “pro-confederacy” gang failed to show up to their own event @ UNC and the anti-fascists & students there made the best of it with a potluck picnic and food drive for the food bank, the police moved in, confiscating donated food items & then randomly tackling & arresting people. For having a picnic. And collecting food for the food bank.
Sometimes we hear from liberals who tell us that we should just call the police on nazis and let the authorities take care of the problem. The last twelve months added at least three new stories to our ever-expanding list of examples of why it’s a bad idea to rely on them to do so.
- Every year, some antifa actions stand out from the rest for one reason or another. This past year, there were two that rang out particularly loudly for us. One was the case of Tim “Sauce” Jones, a talented MC, active anti-fascist, and friend of Heather Heyer – the woman murdered in Charlottesville by white supremacist terrorist James Alex Fields Jr. on 8/12/17. Imagine Fields’ surprise to run into Jones in jail! Apparently their their jailhouse tête-à-tête was quite animated and Sauce somehow caught an assault charge after the encounter. We were only too happy to kick in to help him beat those charges as soundly as we hope he did Fields.
The other case involved some late-night renovation work by antifascistes in Lyon, France, who built a cinderblock wall in record time directly in the doorway of the local clubhouse of the fascist Social Bastion gang.
Les flics were not amused and went beyond arresting a few of the renovators; they also seized every scrap of anti-fascist literature and fundraising material they could find. Until the antifa of Lyon get their own HGTV renovation show, we were happy to help them make ends meet.
- Again this year, high-profile cases of anti-fascists being arrested or injured led to numerous crowdfunders being set up to raise money to help them. More than a few of these crowdfunders were established by people that didn’t know the anti-fascists in question; hadn’t contacted them; had no way of actually getting the money to them; and/or didn’t even know how to get in touch with them. A few may have been outright fraud attempts, but we like to believe that most were simply well-meaning but ham-fisted efforts to do something to support anti-fascists in trouble.
These of course create a problem for people who genuinely want to assist the anti-fascists who risk everything by confronting fascism in their communities: how can you be certain that your support will go where it was intended?
We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again: over the last four 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. We have a four-year proven track record of supporting over 400 anti-fascists in seventeen different countries; we’ve been endorsed by The Torch Network in the U.S., The Anti-Fascist Network in the UK, and Föreningen Fånggruppen in Sweden. We’re transparent about our decisions and how we operate. We publish the result of every request and proposal it receives on our blog and we publicly report our activities quarterly and annually.
The calls for help from anti-fascists are coming from all corners and coming faster and faster. As of this writing, the Defence Fund has four separate requests under simultaneous consideration. We don’t expect things to slow down any time soon.
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.