The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund: 2021-2022 Annual Report

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!

The Dark After The Dawn

Banner at the protest against Greek Minister of Internal Affairs & former Golden Dawn bigwig Makis Voridis 

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.

UPDATE: Unintimdated!

Our guy, back to a Mack truck, dealing with the person he was accused of “intimidating”

When local chuds in Peterborough, Canada decided to hold their very own #FluTruxKlan convoy, one brave soul literally stood in their way, by blocking their progression down city streets. The anti-health chuds very aggressively went after him, while the cops looked on and did nothing. When that altercation was done, the cops did weigh in and press intimidation charges against our guy!

We heard about it & were not having it. The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund helped him to secure a very good lawyer and paid the lawyer’s bills. How good was the lawyer? So good that all charges were dropped.

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?

UPDATE: Undissolvable!

ON NE DISSOUT PAS UNE REVOLTE QUI GRONDE! – Groupe Antifasciste Lyon et Environs

The French state keeps trying to criminalize antifascism and French antifascists keep beating them. You’ll recall last year’s failed attempt to frame up seven Lyon antifascists on criminal charges -charges they resoundingly beat with the help of skilled legal counsel the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund helped them retain. Then just last month, the state used its extraordinary powers to “dissolve” (ban) Groupe Antifasciste Lyon et Environs – rendering their existence a criminal matter.

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.

If the idea of antifascists beating the state at its own game, using its own court system, delights you as much as it does us, get in on the fun – make a contribution to the Defence Fund today!

Liberté? Egalité? Fraternité?

“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.

The city of Lyon has been a hotbed of fascist violence as of late. Last year, les fachos mobbed up to attack a pro-choice/pro-LGBTQ+ march; destroy a Kurdish community centre, injuring the volunteers working there; and wreck a left-wing bookstore (something the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund stepped in to assist with afterwards). So it would stand to reason that those would be the groups the French state would target for dissolution, not the groups opposed to them.

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.

GALE plan to appeal this draconian crackdown via the French courts and have set up a crowdfunder to help pay for that appeal; the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund unanimously decided to make a sizeable contribution to that appeal. If you support the values upon which the French republic was established, you should do likewise.

Backing Belarussian Antifascists

Kita, one of twelve Belrussian antifascists targeted by the dicatorship for opposing the fascist invasion of Ukraine.

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!

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was asked for emergency aid to help replace the confiscated phones as well as assistance paying the mounting legal bills for the arrestees so of course we responded as quickly as possible. We are fortunate in that most of the people who operate the Defence Fund do not live in a dictatorship – this privilege both allows and compels us to do what we can to support antifascists who are not as fortunate. You can help our friends in Belarus, too – one of their support groups is running an Instagram account that has information on how to help. And as always, if you want to make sure antifascists are able to receive emergency support when they need it the most same way, you can make a contribution to the Defence Fund here!

Your Borders Kill

“Your borders kill” is a slogan tailor-made for the lethal border policies of Fortress Europe. As of 2018, over 34,000 refugees have lost their lives trying to make their way through Europe’s militarized borders; today the number of dead migrants has exceeded the 40,000 mark.

Refugees feeling dangerous conditions at home shouldn’t be forced to risk their lives during their journey to safety, but that is precisely the situation Frontex’s miliarization of Europe’s borders has created. This deadly arrangement is precisely what activists from Stop The War On Migrants were demonstrating against when they blocked the entrance to a Frontex training facility on a military police base in Schipol, Netherlands by chaining themselves to the main gate in December 2021.

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.

Playing For Keeps In Greece

antifascist graffiti in West Attica, Greece

During the rise and fall of the fascist Golden Dawn party in Greece, the stakes were very high for antifascists. This was made clear for the whole country when Golden Dawn thugs murdered antifascist MC Pavlos “Killah P” Fyssas – an act that ultimately led to the downfall of Golden Dawn itself.

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.”

You can help them pay off the legal expenses by contributing to this crowdfunder; likewise, you can help make sure the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is always there for antifascists wherever they may be by making a contribution to the Fund.

Fuck The #FluTruxKlan

Our hero with the orange gloves, trying to stop from being assaulted or run over.

Formerly known as the United States’ more-reasonable neighbour to the north, 2022 has shown the world that even Canada is not immune to far-right quackery, as full-on white supremacists & Islamophobes organized & led thousands of COVID vaccine conspiracy theorists and people opposed to public health measure in a truck convoy and occupation of that country’s capital. For three weeks, the country’s 6th-largest city was paralyzed as the #FluTruxKlan convoy loudly aired their myriad grievances, shutting down local businesses, threatening and assaulting residents, and in one case, nearly burning down an apartment building while the residents slept.

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.

That said, our friend won’t be going to court alone, as The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has stepped in to ensure that he has enough to pay for a good defence lawyer to represent him in this matter by making a contribution to his crowdfunder.

As the old Anti-Racist Action point of unity goes, “never let them have the streets!”

Newnan Update

April 21, 2018: Police in Newnan, Georgia respond to the dangerous threat of non-violent, unarmed people wearing masks by pointing assault rifles at them before assaulting and arresting them.

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.

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund stepped up at the time to help out – paying a big chunk of the legal defense costs for two anti-fascists and helping one in his constitutional challenge of Georgia’s anti-mask ordinance, which he was on the wrong end of when he was charged under it at this action. Our help, along with the support of groups like The Atlanta Solidarity Fund, helped get these antifa out of jail and made sure they had good lawyers representing them when the time came.

It’s been a minute but the ASF posted a recent update, so we thought this would be a good time to fill y’all in on some of the things that have happened since then:

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.