Awesome Alex Update!

Our man Alex in action against hammer-and-knife-wielding, gun-toting nazis.

The black school bus with mesh screens over the windows looked right out of Mad Max: Fury Road as it drove up to counter-protestors who had just successfully confronted fascists at a Unite The Right-style rally in Portland, OR. In it were members of “American Guard” – a nazi bonehead splinter group – and they came well-armed. The first one off the bus pulled a knife and tried to stab the first anti-fascist he saw, but luckily tripped, dropping his knife. A second nazi came right behind him, with a pistol on his belt and a claw hammer in his hand, aiming a blow to the skull of the antifa the first nazi had failed to stab.

That’s when Alex stepped in. Thinking quickly, Alex grabbed the hammer and tore it from the nazi’s hands, then managed to throw it before the nazis panicked and slammed the bus door shut to make their getaway. Alex’s actions likely prevented an antifascist from being bludgeoned to death that day.

But Alex’s fiercest opponents weren’t the armed, violent nazis who had driven into Portland that day to try to murder anti-fascists; they were the police & prosecutors who, while declining to charge any of the nazis, slapped Alex with multiple felony charges, claiming they were justified because Alex “assaulted someone with a hammer” (maybe Andy Ngo was running the prosecution office that day?) For saving someone’s life by intervening to disarm an attacker, Alex was now facing a minimum of five years behind bars and needed a skilled lawyer to defend him. A crowdfunder was soon launched and The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund, along with many others, pitched in to make sure he could hire the best lawyer possible.

Fast forward two years later and Alex is in a courtroom packed with supporters for his trial, watching as his lawyers COMPLETELY DEMOLISH the District Attorney’s case.
Had the DA’s office contacted any of the nazis that were on the bus? No they had not.
Was the DA able to establish that Alex injured anyone? No. In fact, one of their own witnesses stated that he was “uninjured and unafraid” of Alex after a brief interaction.
Can the prosecutor explain why they are demanding a prison sentence and a $10,000 fine? No.
Will the prosecutor describe the facts of their case to the Judge? No, they defer to Alex’s attorney to do that!
In the end, with the prosecution’s case in shambles, the judge wisely ruled Alex to be guilty of only the mildest of his many charges and decided that no jail and a $1k fine or community services -“whichever (Alex) prefers” to be the appropriate sentence. That might not sound like a complete vindication but it could well be enough for the DA to defer from appealing the case.

Have no doubt that things could have gone very differently and turned out much, much worse for Alex had he not had the funds to hire a competent lawyer. The list of antifascist prisoners is full of people who weren’t as lucky as Alex was in terms of having quality legal representation. We are happy things turned out as well as they did for Alex and that we were able to play a role in them turning out as they did. Just like Yvette Felarca, or two antifa moms in SC, our three friends in Austin, TX, our friends in Corvallis, OR., an antifascist in Lünenberg, Germany, and – just last month- seven antifascists in Lyon, France we were able to help pay for legal defence that kept anti-fascists free and in their communities so they can continue the fight against hate!

As Alex wrote to us after we sent him some help, “I am aware of what a huge gift this is from you. Thank you so much for believing in me. I know there are others out there like me who need help, too. Thank you, truly, for what you’ve done.


UPDATE: Victoire à Lyon!

Some of the 2000+ antifascistes in the streets of Lyon in October 2021

We are happy to report some good news from Lyon, France! You’ll recall that last month we sent some emergency support to help provide for the legal defence of seven antifascists there after a confrontation with les fachos this past summer. The situation was grim, with three of our friends in pretrial detention for weeks and all of them facing the possibility of years behind bars.

On 4 November the family & supporters of the seven defendants packed a Lyon courtroom to witness a brilliant legal display as our friend’s defence lawyers – lawyers who the defendants were able to hire thanks in no small part to our contribution – tore the prosecution’s case to shreds!   

This story goes into full detail about the day’s proceedings.  Suffice to say, not having a working copy of the surveillance video that was to be the centrepiece of the prosecution’s case was encouraging.  Then the defence lawyers brought up the illegal searches of the accused’s homes; the lack of “victims” willing to come forward to testify or provide evidence; and the attempt to criminalise anti-fascism and even anarchism by using anti-fascist/anarchist stickers & books as “evidence” in the case.  At times, the ludicrious nature of the prosecution’s case merited outbursts of laughter from the gallery. 

In the end, the defence’s arguments – that the police knowingly concealed video evidence, refused to produce witness, and tried to frame anti-fascism as a crime – won out!  Three of the seven defendants are acquitted completely; four are found guilty on the most minor of charges and fined €300; two of the four received one-month suspended sentences for refusing to provide the police with the password for their cell phones or DNA samples.

This was a huge victory for anti-fascism in a city rocked by fascist attacks in recent months and it was made possible in no small part by the contribution we were able to send to pay for good lawyers to defend our friends!  If you’ve ever made a contribution to The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fundyou were a key part of this victory!  Please take time today to raise a glass to yourselves! If you haven’t yet made a contribution to the Defence Fund, there is no time like the present to do so!

Freiheit für Jo und Dy!

Some of the 600 antifascists at the solidarity rally to support Jo & Dy outside of the Stuttgart courthouse.

No place is immune to the creep of fascism, but you’d think Germany — of all places — would be especially averse to right-wing nationalists and demagogues and supportive of anti-fascist causes.

Sadly, it seems the opposite is true, as in the recent case of Jo and Dy – two anti-fascists who are now serving harsh prison sentences for the “crime” of defending the German city of Stuttgart from fascists. 

The two activists were arrested after a physical confrontation with members of the fascist group “Zentrum Automobil” on May 16, 2020 during the right-wing Querdenken anti-lockdown, COVID-19 conspiracy protest march in Stuttgart. The state used the confrontation as a convenient excuse to further crack down on anti-fascist activity in Stuttgart and surrounding cities. It quickly became apparent that the specially-created investigation group “Wasen” aimed above all at weakening and intimidating the anti-fascist movement. 

The trial itself was politically motivated and it seemed Jo and Dy’s conviction was a foregone conclusion, despite shaky and questionable evidence, blatant falsehoods and conspiracy theories from the prosecuting attorneys and the inability of supposed eyewitnesses to positively identify Jo and Dy.

At the end of the trial, Jo and Dy received the outrageously severe sentences of 4.5 years and 5.5 years in prison, respectively. The conviction and the harsh sentences are part of a recent and growing trend by German authorities to suppress the far-left and to deter anti-fascists in particular.

Throughout the trial, a solidarity rally was held in front of the courthouse, which responded to the verdict with a loud protest that drew some 600 people. On October 23, 2021, the solidarity campaign “Antifascism is Necessary” called for ongoing demonstrations with the motto “Freedom for all Antifas!”

“With its judgment, the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court has once again made it clear that the persecution of anti-fascists is not about a legal assessment of the evidence, but about deterrence by all means,” said Anja Sommerfeld from the Federal Board of Rote Hilfe. “Such high prison sentences, which are purely politically motivated, are intended to intimidate the anti-fascist movement and to deter activists from their engagement against Nazis. We see similar methods in Saxony, among others, where the investigative authorities are even pursuing the anti-fascist structures as a ‘criminal organization’ and dragging three anti-fascists (including Lina) to court. “In conclusion,” Sommerfeld declared, “We show solidarity with Jo and Dy and stand by their side.”

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has made a contribution to Jo and Dy’s commissary account and to help them pay for legal expenses. We will continue to support Jo and Dy and all other anti-fascists who are imprisoned by the state. We pledge to do whatever is necessary to support them and see them walk free. Solidarity!

Lyon, Lyon – Toujours Antifasciste!

October 2021: Over 2000 antifascists in Lyon take to the street to protest fascist attacks.

Lyon, France has been enduring a rash of violent mob attacks by organized fascists over the last several months. Supporters of The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund will recall back in April we helped to rebuild a left-wing bookstore earlier this year after a mob of Generation Identitaire fascists mobbed it and destroyed it. There is currently a real battle for the streets – one which Lyon antifascistes have no intention of losing!

It was in this context that a confrontation between antifascists and the far-right religious extremists of Civitas took place in August at a demonstration against France’s proof of COVID vaccination laws. A skirmish occurred and while no one has pressed charges against anyone else, the French state has taken matters into its own hands and are prosecuting seven antifascists.

Our friends now must defend themselves in a court of law against numerous charges related to the incident in August, after antifascists in Lyon have endured months of state harassment and targeting. None of the fascists involved in the incident have faced charges and fascist groups all over the city still enjoy access to venues to organize from without fear of state intervention, while officials threaten to cut funding to any venue that dares to host an antifascist event. Lyon antifascists are now in a three-way fight – countering fascist violence and zealous state represssion; the charges against our seven friends is another battleground in that fight.

In the words of antifascists in Lyon: “We will not allow our comrades to be locked away by the same authorities that protect the worst fascist filth by doing nothing.” The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has made a contribution to the legal defence of the seven who currently stand accused and we pledge to do whatever is necessary to support them and see them walk free.

From Belarus To Ukraine, Antifascists Stand Together!

Alexey Bolenkov (with mic) and Artur Kondratovych

Last month we told you about some of the difficulties of being an antifascist in Belarus these days. But you know what might be even more difficult than that? Being a Belrusian antifascist living in Ukraine.

For example, there’s Alexey Bolenkov and Artur Kondratovych – two Belrusian antifascists and anarchists who have been living in Ukraine for several years now, doing really solid organizing work in the community there. Ukranian authorities have been keen to rid themselves of people challenging them on issues such as police brutality, the plight of refugees, and the creeping fascist presence there and have actively deported several people for their completely-legal participation in peaceful demonstrations. Such is the context in which they have attempted to illegally deport Alexey and Artur.

Our two friends have challenged this illegal extradition on the courts and have every sign of winning there. But this is costing a lot of money and they need help to fight for their rights – a situation made more difficult by Alexey recently losing his job as a result of all the publicity.

On top of that, the case has attracted a lot of public attention, particularly from no fewer than four separate fascist gangs operating in Ukraine. These gangs have coordinated their efforts, physically attacking Alexey’s and Artur’s supporters and, in one especially bold move, attacking Alexey himself outside of the courthouse prior to a hearing, in full view of Ukranian police and court security.

It’s fair to say that Alexey and Artur are in a tight spot and need support from antifascists to help see them through it. That’s what the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was established and that’s why we were happy to be able to come to their aid!

Bad Times In Belarus

You’ll probably remember the uprisings in Belarus last year, when autocrat Alexander Lukashenko very plainly falsified election results to maintain his 25-year grip on power there. Four of the 5000+ people who took to the streets in protest – antifascists Vitaliy Shishlov, Tamaz Pipiya, Timur Pipiya, and Denis Boltut – were convicted in July of this year on charges stemming from their participation in the protests, based largely on coerced confessions that were extracted under beatings and torture by regime goons. All four were given prison sentences of between five and six years.

ABC Belarus reached out to us about their cases and asked us to help provide support to pay for the legal costs involved with the four cases, as well as to provide some funds to help support the families of the four convicted antifascists. After a short discussion, we quickly came to a consensus that we needed to show international solidarity by providing real material aid to help them. We were happy to be in a position to do so.

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!

Police Story

Scottie Tripn under arrest by the LAPD, January 6, 2021

We’d be understating the point if we told you that the LAPD has had a race relations problem over the last several decades. There’s a reason Black Flag wrote “Police Story” about them waaay back in 1981 and NWA would write “Fuck Tha Police” about them seven years later.

So don’t be surprised if we tell you that in 2021 ain’t a damn thing changed. Witness the po-po’s actions on January 6th. While MAGA chuds in DC attempted to overthrow the government, their LA counterparts came downtown to attack people there. Well-known LA musician, veteran, and Black Lives Matter supporter Scottie Tripn came down to make sure people weren’t hurt by the fascist losers.

Not long after he arrived there was an alleged interaction between him and one of the Piss Boys.  These two photos – of Scottie getting bear maced & how “captain america” looked afterwards tell the tale:

How it started.
How it’s going.

Witnesses report that after defending himself ably from the cosplaying shitsack that bear maced him, Scottie was then jumped by more fascists, then dragged off and beaten with nightsticks by the LAPD. Now Scottie faces serious charges and has mounting legal and medical bills from this attack.

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was able to make a significant contribution to Scottie’s crowdfunder and we encourage y’all to follow suit, just as we encourage you to kick in to the Defence Fund itself so we can continue to stand with the anti-fascists that stand up in the streets for their communities.