Glad Colston’s Gone

The statue of Bristol slave trader Edward Colston is transported to a more-suitable location.

For 125 years a statue honouring a mass murderer loomed over Bristol’s city centre. Edward Colston made his fortune in the trade of kidnapping human beings and selling them into slavery. It’s estimated that he profited from the enslavement of about 84,000 Africans – 19,000 of whom died in abject misery in the holds of Colston’s slave ships.

For decades, the good people of Bristol – many of whom descended from the very people kidnapped and sold as chattel by Colston – pleaded with the authorities to remove this monument to human avarice and tribute to genocide, all to no avail.

That changed about a year ago. Fueled by the righteous anger at the systemic murder of black people by police, a crowd of thousands gathered in the heart of Bristol, tore the obscenity in question from its plinth, dragged Colston’s effigy through the streets, and dumped him in the habour.

Of course the powers-that-be read this as an affront to their authority and began a witch hunt to prosecute those responsible. Out of literally thousands of people who participated in the action, four have been singled and and charged with offences.

Fortunately, the team behind Glad Colston’s Gone has started a support campaign to ensure that the four accused have all the resources they need to mount an effective legal defence and beat the charges, including setting up a legal defence crowdfunder. Thanks to the support of its contributors, The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has made a significant contribution to their legal defence and we would implore all those who believe monuments to slavers belong in the bottom of the sea to follow suit.

San Diego Standoff

Antifascists show up to defend San Diego from armed, violent white supremacists, January 9, 2021

You would have thought that, three days after a violent insurrection at the nation’s capitol that resulted in five deaths, America would have had an awakening about the dangers of allowing fascists to publicly organize and gather. Maybe the officers of San Diego Police Department would have looked at the people who beat a cop to death and injured 140 other cops on Capitol Hill just three days before, then looked at the people holding a white supremacist rally in Pacific Beach (at least five of whom were the same people), and adjusted their response accordingly.

But no. No, instead what happened was several of the would-be insurrectionists + their Proud Boy pals + members of a white supremacist gang recently facing an FBI investigation for violent attacks showed up on the beach on January 9th to face off against a courageous group of antifascists. Guess which side received 100% police collaboration & protection? Some clues:

-at one point, a gang of Proud Boys chased a military veteran into an alley and severely beat him.

-moments later, a swastika-tattooed white supremacist sucker punched an Asian man, then pulled out a hunting knife and threatened to stab people coming to the man’s aid.

This man sucker-punched an Asian man in the face in full view of the police, then pulled out the hunting knife you see in his right hand to threaten other people with. He was reportedly disarmed – not by police – but by local skaters.

So of course, like we’ve seen them do time and time again, the police did react – by targeting & attacking the anti-fascist counterprotestors while letting the violent white supremacist extremists do whatever they want. The cops fired pepper spray & shot projectiles at anti-fasicsts and journalists alike while fascists joined in, stepping out from behind police lines to throw munitions at the antifascist counterprotestors. When the police eventually declared an unlawful assembly, they were careful to only declare it for the area occupied by antifascists, allowing the fascists assembled to move on and attack locals.

Oh, the cops did arrest people – two antifascists, JW & TC, both of whom now have to come up with the money to hire legal teams to defend themselves in court. Both have had crowdfunders set up here and here to help them with this. Of course, we were very pleased to be in a position to make significant contributions to both, which we were only in a position to do because of the contributions of anti-fascists all over the world to the Defence Fund. Maybe you’d like to make a contribution? If you sign up to become a monthly contributor this month, we’ll enter you a lil’ antifa prize package giveaway contest!

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund: 2020-2021 Annual Report

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is six! Since 2015, we have provided emergency support to antifascists the world over, whenever they’ve faced dire circumstances resulting from their work thwarting bigotry and fascism. We are the only international anti-fascist solidarity project we’re aware of that’s dedicated exclusively to supporting antifa in emergencies. To-date we have provided over $140,000USD in emergency aid to more than 600 antifascists in 22 different countries.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve been able to provide very significant levels of support to 125 antifascists in six different countries (Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, France, Germany, and the U.S.). We provided emergency support to antifascists 15 times since June 2020 – a 40% drop over the same period in 2018-2019 that we believe is entirely attributable to COVID-19 restrictions on things like public gatherings. That said, the $48,000USD of financial support we provided marked a 66% increase from the previous year and the most money we’ve ever contributed for emergency aid to antifascists since the Defence Fund began.

Emergency support provided to antifascists by the Defence Fund ($USD).

As usual, the majority (76.7%) of the funds disbursed went towards legal defence, court costs, fines, and prisoner support; 8.9% of contributions covered medical bills, injury recovery and living costs while antifascists recovered from injuries sustained in attacks against them;  7.8% of contributions covered emergency relocation; and 6.6% was used to repair serious damage to buildings after fascist attacks and to improve physical security/defences.

All decisions about how the Defence Fund is used and operates are made by the Decisions Crew – a body of antifascists from around the world who have made contributions of at least $20USD to the Defence Fund. The decisions are made via consensus wherever possible and by majority vote in circumstances where consensus is not forthcoming. In our first year, there were all of 45 Decisions Crew members. As of today, over 1200 antifascists from 25 countries have been invited to join the Decisions Crew.

Normally in our annual reports, we like to highlight particular cases we dealt with over the previous 12 months that we felt were significant or special in some way. This past October, New York antifascist David Campbell was released from prison after being forced to accept a non-cooperating plea deal on charges that were largely fabricated. David was good enough to create this message for us:

Looking forward to the twelve months ahead, we anticipate a a drop in contributions to the Defence Fund. Since Donald Trump is no longer occupying the most powerful position in the world and since he has lost most of the channels he used to rail against antifascists, the cause of antifascism may not seem as urgent to some who we could normally count on for support. Compounding this expected reduction in contributions, we also foresee a marked increase in requests for support as more regions move out of COVID-mandated lockdowns and antifascists have to contend with a resurgent fascist movement which wasted no time infiltrating and co-opting the COVID conspiracy movement.

We are extremely proud of the work we’ve done with The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund and we firmly believe it has proven itself as one of the most effective ways to support antifascism. We strongly encourage anyone opposed to bigotry and fascism to make a contribution to the Defence Fund today and become actively involved in our project of international antifascist solidarity!