If you were hoping that Greece’s Golden Dawn being declared a criminal organization marked the end of fascism in Greek politics, you’d be wrong. Current Greek Minister of Internal Affairs Makis Voridis is living proof of this. Years and years of active involvement in full-on Hitler-worshipping fascist organizations did nothing to deter his appointment to the Internal Affairs post.
But that doesn’t mean that Greeks are willing to just look the other way, least of all in Messolonghi. There local anti-fascists set up a “welcoming committee” after hearing of Voridis’ intention to attend an event there. They let all event attendees know in no uncertain terms that Voridis and his ilk were not welcome in Messolonghi.
Of course the police – whose disproportionate support of Golden Dawn when it was still pretending to be a legitimate political party and not the murderous gang of fascist racketeers and thugs it turned out to be – over-reacted to all of this and attacked the protestors. In the ensuing chaos, one cop allegedly got bopped on the head. In the end, nine people were charged; two with felonies. The two facing felony charges needed bail money and a crowdfunder was set up to cover that and other legal costs. Of course, The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is going to help pay bail for any antifascist in a situation like this, so that is exactly what we did.
This brave citizen of Peterborough went from facing prison time to going scot-free, because people like us had his back and made sure he didn’t have to worry about having competent legal defence representing him. He wrote us to tell us the good news, saying “I can’t possible thank all of you enough for coming to my defence! This has been super empowering and an amazing support to continuing to help and defend those in need! I feel like it’s a win for everyone! Be sure to pass along my greatest thanks too.”
And so, dear reader, if you have ever made a contribution to the Defence Fund, that gratitude is for you! If you’ve never contributed to the Defence Fund, isn’t it time you did?
What had GALE done to deserve such a severe measure? They had gained the scrutiny of the state after hosting a concert where performing MCs led the crowd in a round of the (in)famous French slogan toute le monde déteste la police (everybody hates the police). Upon further investigation, authorities discovered GALE had also produced a poster with the slogan “Death To The Nazis!” (Quentin Taratino might want to avoid Cannes in case they find out about Inglorious Basterds and issue a warrant for his arrest!).
That was the basis by which the French state banished GALE from existing.
GALE did not take this dissolution order sitting down and, with the support of the Defence Fund and other allies, hired lawyers to file an appeal. On May 11th, the appeal was heard and, once again, what actually dissolved was the French state’s arguments for ordering GALE’s dissolution.
These are two major courtroom victories for Lyon antifascists in less than a year – victories that the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund played a significant role in providing the necessary resources to ensure the outcome.
“We must rely on the state to contend with fascists!” liberals will tell you. “To fight bigotry and fascism, we have to give the authorities the legal powers to combat them for us!” they say. So what happens when a state has the legal authority to decide whether a political group has the right to exist in society? Who will the state wield that power against?
If you’re an anarchist or if you live in Lyon then you already know the answer.
The French state reserves for itself the right to ban or “dissolve” any group it deems to be “extremist.” The dissolution laws have been criticized by radical, extremist organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for their incompatibility with French republican values like freedom of association.
Wrong. Last month Groupe Antifasciste Lyon et Environs (GALE) were informed that the state had dissolved them. Their rationale? GALE had been involved in a concert months before where a hiphop artist performed got the crowd to join in chanting “toute le monde detestes les flics!” (“everybody hates the police!”). That was literally all it took for the state to target GALE and ultimately declare them dissolved. This is the first time we have heard of an anti-fascist group being “dissolved” by the state.
If you think being an antifascist is tough where you live, try doing it in the country that’s been called “Europe’s last dictatorship.” Recently, a dozen antifascists in Mozyr, Belarus found out just how tough that is when police raided their homes and arrested them. Two – Kita and Xvedia – remain locked up, while the others were released pending trial, after having their phones seized by the state. Their alleged “crimes?” Advocating against the Ukraine invasion, being against the Belrussian police, sharing links and videos from anarchist groups, and (of course) criticizing Lukashenko’s brutal regime. Now they face up to five years in prison!
Apparently in Fortress Europe, establishing blockades that effectively become death traps that kill tens of thousands of refugees is not a crime, but protesting this atrocity is a crime, which is why ten of the Stop The War On Migrants activists were charged and now have to defend themselves in court after defending the lives of migrants. They need help with their legal costs and the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was able to send some support to them. If you’d like to also help these activists who are now bearing the costs of defending the very lives of migrants, you can also contribute to their legal defence here.
Even though most Greeks came to understand the necessity and urgency of resisting Golden Dawn’s fascist violence, doing so came with consequences, including legal consequences (which was to be expected, given the high level of support for Golden Dawn among Greek police). Recently, friends in West Attica asked for some help paying off the legal fines and costs of ten antifascists who have been on the frontlines of the fight against Golden Dawn. We were happy to provide them with direct support with this, for which our friends there expressed their gratitude, telling us that “the money was a huge relief for our comrades who are financially struggle to cover their legal expenses.”
Meanwhile, 300kms away in Peterborough, Ontario, local chuds decide to copy this and hold a truck convoy of their own. Except the residents of Peterborough were not having it and at least one brave individual stood in front of the lead truck, blocking the convoy’s progress. The #FluTruxClan truckers were not pleased and very aggressively forced him out of the way of the convoy before police intervened – to charge both of them! Our friend is now facing an intimidation charge which, as plainly illustrated by video of the incident, will be a stretch for a prosecutor to explain in court.
Back in April 2018, full-on nazis from the National Socialist Movement held a rally in Newnan, GA. Anti-fascists showed up to defend the community from that threat and were attacked – by Georgia police. 400 cops pointed assault rifles at, beat, and arrested anti-fascists – ten people were arrested in all.
It’s important to push back on police repression of anti-fascism with every tool available. We are proud to have been able to help the anti-fascists who defended Newnan in 2018 to defend themselves in court and to aggressively go after the police for blatantly violating their rights.
The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund have dealt with two requests for support so far in 2022. The first one was a request to support Dr. Nathan Jun – a philosophy professor subjected to an intense harassment campaign by far-right trolls that ultimately led to his forced resignation from his teaching position – of of which appeared to be triggered by his appearance at a rally memorializing Breonna Taylor while wearing an anti-fascist t-shirt + (of all things) a post on a friend’s facebook page where he referenced a 150-year-old quote from a French priest. Happily, Dr. Jun managed to raise more than 2x his goal on a crowdfunder and since the Defence Fund has a guideline about saving our resources when a crowdfunder meets or exceeds its initial fundraising goal, we declined to provide additional support so we could put those resources to better use for anti-fascists that aren’t as fortunate.
Case-in-point: Rojos y Anarquistas Skinheads Bogotá. Being openly leftist in a country where right-wing paramilitaries murdered over 100 activists last year takes a special kind of courage but also comes with consequences. When one of these groups sent out a death threat naming a RASH crew member in Bogotá, Colombia as a target, he was forced to take extreme precautions to protect himself and his family. We will not get into more detail than this for obvious reasons, but we will say this: we have done what we can to make sure he can keep himself and his family safe.