Seven years ago, the people comprising the Antifa International collective grew tired of seeing antifascists jammed up in emergencies trying desperately to raise the funds they needed to get through said emergencies. They thought that a standing fund tasked with providing emergency support to antifascists in trouble was needed. Rather than waiting for someone else to do it, they established
The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund in June of 2015.
Since then, the Defence Fund has provided emergency support to antifascists the world over, whenever they’ve faced dire circumstances resulting from their work thwarting bigotry and fascism. It remains 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 $175,000USD in emergency aid to more than 650 antifascists in 23 different countries.
Since June 2021, we’ve intervened nineteen times to provide game-changing levels of support and material aid to 63 antifascists in eleven different countries (Austria, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Ukraine, the UK, and the US). This was a 72% increase over the number of times we provided emergency support in the previous 12-month period (an increase that may be due to the relaxing of COVID restrictions globally allowing for more people to clash with each other in contentious settings). The $46,468.59 USD worth of support we provided marked a 40% increase over the previous 12-month period; in fact, 45% of all monies the Defence Fund has distributed in its eight years have gone out over the past two years.
89% of the funds disbursed since June 2021 went towards legal defence, court costs, fines, and prisoner support; 11% of contributions covered emergency relocation costs for antifascists who had been threatened at their homes by fascists.
This was money well-spent; in over half of the cases we intervened in, the antifascists we supported in the last twelve months had criminal charges against them reduced, dropped altogether, or else were found not guilty. One antifascist group that had been banned from existing by the French government won their appeal of the “dissolution” order and have returned to full-force. Antifascists in Colombia and the United States are safe because we helped them relocate to safer homes after they received death threats. In all of these cases, our intervention helped save antifascists from life-altering circumstances they were facing solely because of their public opposition to fascism.
Happily, this was the first 12-month period since the Defence Fund’s inception where we did not have to cover medical expenses or help with the costs of an antifascist recovering from an injury sustained in a confrontation with fascists. We think this is most likely because of the reduced number of street-level confrontations between antifascists and fascists due to COVID lockdown restrictions and anticipate this peaceful blip to vanish over the next twelve months, as antifascists are once again compelled to defend their communities from fascist terror campaigns.
The Defence Fund is operated by the Decisions Crew – a body of antifascists from around the world who have made contributions of at least $20USD to the Defence Fund. Decisions about how the Defence Fund operates 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, more than 1350 antifascists from 25 countries have been invited to join the Decisions Crew.
A year ago, we predicted that Donald Trump’s relegation to obscurity would lead to a drop on contributions to the Defence Fund, as the cause of antifascism subsequently fell from the headlines. At the same time, we also predicted an increase in the requests for emergency support as a resurgent global fascist movement made gains by infiltrating and co-opting the COVID conspiracy movement. Unfortunately, we have been proven correct on both counts. Contributions to the Defence Fund were down 17% over the last twelve months while at the same time dispersal amounts to antifascists in need increased by a massive 40%. Despite our long track record of excellent stewardship, this places the Defence Fund in an untenable position. If contributions to the Defence Fund do not increase, we will be forced to curtail support of antifascists facing emergencies.
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!