The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund: 2022-2023 Annual Report

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was established in June of 2015, when members of the Antifa International collective saw the need for a standing fund to be used to provide emergency support to antifascists when, as a result of their anti-fascist work, they were in trouble and needed immediate assistance.

Eight years on and 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 $200,000USD in emergency aid to more than 700 antifascists in 25 different countries.

Since last June, we’ve intervened eighteen times to provide game-changing levels of support and material aid to two dozen antifascists in eleven different countries (Canada, Germany, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, and the US). This amounted to $42,310.23USD worth of support we’ve provided since June 2022.

83% of the funds disbursed since June 2022 went towards legal defence, court costs, fines, and prisoner support; 16% of contributions covered emergency relocation costs for antifascists who had been threatened at their homes by fascists. Repairing property damage accounted for the remaining funds disbursed over the last twelve months (1%).

This was money well-spent; our interventions helped save antifascists from life-altering circumstances they were facing, solely because of their public opposition to fascism. Over the last twelve months, we’ve helped antifascists in dire situations stay healthy, get to safety, and stay free. You can read about the people we’ve helped on our blog with two exceptions – an antifascist whose circumstance require us to not publicly reveal any details of their case, for security reasons; and one whose upcoming trial might be harmed by revealing any details.

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 1500 antifascists from 25 different countries have been invited to join the Decisions Crew.

As more and more places drop COVID restrictions altogether, we are seeing increasing numbers of clashes between far-right extremists and people opposed to their bigotry and violence. We fully expect this “return to normal” to result in a huge spike in requests for emergency support over the coming months – indeed, during the past two months alone the Defence Fund handled five different request for help from eleven anti-fascists and sent out $22,500USD worth of emergency aid in response. In order to be prepared to offer as much support as possible, there is currently an urgent need to build our reserve fund back up, so it’s put to use as effectively as possible when called upon.

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!

One People’s Court

You’ve probably noticed by now that biggest proponents of “the master race” idea don’t tend to be outstanding examples of that same idea themselves. To be blunt, white supremacists do not tend to be obvious exemplars of the alleged mental, moral, or physical supremacy of the “white race.” This tendency towards the Dunning Kruger Effect also appears to extend to the realm of civil law, given that a white supremacist managed to hire a lawyer to sue The Torch Antifa Network over some imagined slight of some kind. The problem is he’s yet to, you know, sue The Torch Antifa Network and instead is attempting to sue venerable anti-racist charity One People’s Project on the basis of OPP having once registered a website for The Torch Antifa Network. We’ll let OPP head Daryle Lamont Jenkins tell the story:

So there you have it. The brilliant plan to sue The Torch Antifa Network out of existence stumbles out of the blocks by not managing to sue the correct group.

If you’d like to help One People’s Project turn their legal defense against this nonsense into a legal offense, you can make a donation to them here.

If you’d like to help the Defence Fund makes sure that anti-fascists are able to defend themselves against malicious and vexatious legal actions taken against them, you can make a donation to the Defence Fund here.

Messing With Texas

August 2022: Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club defending a drag event in Roanoke, TX.

The Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club gained fame/notoriety this past summer for having the gall to show up to defend drag & LGBTQ+ events in Texas from armed bigots who were turning up regularly to threaten event attendees. Note the word “armed” in that last sentence. Not being suicidal and also understanding that bigots on the far-right have been responsible for the lion’s share of terrorist violence in the US for years now, the EFJBGC came armed, too. Turns out the principle of “mutually-assured destruction” worked and the fascists kept their guns holstered and a respectful distance from the events they came to attack, as well as from the well-armed defenders of said events.

Which is not to say that the far-right left it at that. Fox and other far-right media channels went into full-on pearl-clutching mode about “armed antifa” and suddenly some of the most pro-gun news outlets out there were called for gun control! Needless to say, daring to show up well-equipped to defend drag/LGBTQ+ events had put the EFJBGC on the map and on the radar of the far-right.

So it comes as little surprise that last month, when our friends were doing their thing in defence of a drag show at a Texas brewery, the police put as much heat as possible on them, ignoring the far-right chuds that had shown up to try to shut the event down. Three of our friends took bullshit arrests that day and now need help defending themselves in the courts. The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund we honored to be in a position to help defend those defenders.

Day Of Dishonor

If you want to see just how bad things could have been in America if Trump had been re-elected to a second term in office, look no further than Hungary, which has had fascist Viktor Orban as its prime minister for the last twelve years. In that time, Orban has sabotaged the democratic process there to the point that democracy watchdogs now refer to the EU country as an autocracy. He’s described migrants as “terrorists,” “a poison,” and “Muslim invaders.” and then sent troops to the borders to stop a single Syrian refugee from claiming asylum. He’s used anti-semitic propaganda from nazi Germany to promote wild conspiracy theories about a secret cabal of wealthy Jews like George Soros plotting to replace Europeans with Muslim migrants by paying them to become refugees and seek shelter in European countries. He’s shut down radio stations critical of his reign and turned over their broadcasting rights to his cronies and passed laws allowing for prison sentences for journalists his regime accuses of spreading “disinformation.” And of course he is BFFs with the authoritarians in power in Russia and China. The judiciary, the press, the education system – all are under his complete control, as he works to dismantle human rights for marginalized groups.

This is the context that makes Orban’s Hungary a beacon of fascism, attracting other fascist insects like Tucker Carlson. It also draws neo-nazis from all parts of Europe, who make an annual pilgrimage to take part in the so-called “Day of Honor” march in Budapest commemorating nazi war criminals. Fortunately, Hungary still has anti-fascists who are not afraid to confront the march each year and shut it down, but at this year’s march, the Budapest police used the full force of the state to oppress the anti-fascists, kettling 150 of them and arresting four. The police then leaked mugshots, names, and addresses of the arrestees to the media, leading to manhunts and death threats from Hungarian fascists. Now both Hungarian and German police are collaborating to identify as many anti-fascists from both countries as possible, while Orban and his media cronies fuel a debate about banning anti-fascist groups altogether.

Right now, our main concern is with the arrestees, so we have answered Rote Hilfe Berlin’s call for donations and recommend you do the same. Fighting hatred is never a crime. Anti-fascism is always self-defence. Solidarity is our weapon.

Insult To Injury

It’s bad enough for the German state to lock up Jo & Dy – two anti-fascists who did what the state refused to do and took necessary action to protect their community from organized mobs of fascists. But not while they sit in prison, Jo and Dy now have a 140,000€ civil judgement against them to look forward to paying off when they are released.

You might recognize those two names because we helped to pay for their legal team when they first went on trial in 2021. Unfortunately, this is another case where, thanks to the civil indemnity judgement against them, support must continue well beyond that.

This decision by the Defence Fund was not without controversy. The Decisions Crew – the body of over 600 anti-fascists tasked with making all decisions related to the Defence Fund – had a vigorous discussion about the implications of helping to pay a court-ordered amount of money that would ultimately be going to the fascist “victims.” But, as Jo and Dy’s support team puts it, “not only the high prison sentences, but also the high costs are an aspect of state repression and represent a high burden for the two accused and their families. As an anti-fascist movement, we must also face this type of repression together and in solidarity. Even if the two anti-fascists have to go to jail on our behalf as a movement, we can at least relieve them of the costs.” In the end, we agreed with this and have sent money to help pay some of that crippling judgement down.

Fascist Fables in Elefsina

Anti-fascists in Elefsina, Greece (blurred) march past anti-fascist graffiti

It’s pretty obvious that fascist ideology is, well, sheer nonsense. None of the arguments for fascism or for the discrimination and persecution of their rotating list of people to target stand up to any degree of scrutiny. To be a fascist is to commit to breaking with reality to instead live in a delusional fantasy world of hate.

So it was probably par for the course when a Greek fascist hired lawyers to help him sue an anti-fascist for an assault in Elefsina, Greece that he claimed to be injured in that never actually happened. Seriously, we’ve seen enough cases to know that fascists embellish and stretch the truth about practically everything, but in this case the incident giving rise to a lawsuit happened solely in the mind of the fascist in question! The anti-fascist he was suing had no knowledge of or involvement in the attack in question.

While the basis of the lawsuit was fictitious, the consequences were very real, and our friend was compelled to hire a lawyer to defend him in the courts against this clear attempt to weaponize the civil law system against anti-fascists by straight-up lying. A crowdfunder was established to help defray those costs and, if the goal amount was met, help our friend counter-sue the fascist to strongly deter him or his ilk from trying this ever again. The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has made sure that our friend has what he needs to adquately defend himself and also go on the (legal) offensive.

Nazis Vs. Culture

OSCK Postój‘s adorable logo

If there is one thing nazis seem to hate besides anyone that isn’t exactly like themselves, it’s culture. While they may pretend to be the champions of something they call “white culture,” that very notion – that you can take hundreds of different and distinct cultures from societies that may have had few commonalities and just lump them together as “white” – actually erases what makes each of those cultures special, demonstrating a profound contempt and disrespect for each of them, not reverence.

So it’s not entirely surprising that, when young people in Wrocław, Poland opened OSCK Postój, a cultural drop-in centre to provide a venue for cultural activities for a broad range of people in the community, local boneheads decided to attack it, beating one of the volunteers and vandalizing the building itself twice over New Year’s Eve. OSCK Postój have responded with a crowdfunder to help them repair the damage and fortify their months-hold venue.

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was happy to help them reach their fundraising goal and hope that the Stopover continues to host shows, meetings, and cultural events that welcome everyone in the community and enrich the lives of the people of Wroclaw for years to come!

Loughed Down

Antifascists on their way to “welcome” the National Party to Dublin.

A few weeks ago, when the thoroughly racist Irish National Party tried to hold an event at Lough Erne – a swank golf resort (what is it with racist politicians and golf resorts?) near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland – they got a few more guests than they had anticipated.  Before they could get their hate fest going, a busload of antifascists showed up to the soirée to give the fascists a proper Irish welcome. In the aftermath, at least one antifascist was done up on charges and needed some help with the costs of the legal ramifications, which The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was pleased to step in and assist with.  

Free Alex!

Alex with one of his canine admirers.

You have to admit one thing about antifascist, artist, and independent journalist Alex Stokes – he’s got some guts. His fearlessness led him into the midst of the chaos around the protests against Donald Trump’s inauguration, where he was falsely arrested (and had his charges later dropped). It led him to the 2017 protests in Charlottesville, where he was injured in an attack by fascists. In 2020, he was on the streets, documenting the uprising around the police murder of George Floyd.

So it came as no surprise that when armed Proud Boys who didn’t join their pals in trying to overthrow the US government in the January 6th insurrection decided to show up at the NY state capitol to test democracy there, Alex was there among counter-protestors. And when the Piss Boys attacked the counter-protestors with weapons, Alex jumped up and defended those being attacked. This very detailed video describes step-by-step how Alex’s actions were clearly done in the defense of himself and others that day.

It’s incredible that, on the same day that Piss Boys engaged in the most serious assault against the US government from within in memory, police looked at this melée and decided that the person to be arrested should be Alex and not the well-armed Piss Boys who initiated the violence. It’s equally shocking that, given that everything was captured in great detail on video, the courts did not see what Alex did as clear self-defense and instead, convicted him on assault charges and sentenced him to twenty years in prison!

This is an obvious miscarriage of justice and the stakes of Alex’s appeal of his sentence could not be higher. The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is in direct contact with Alex’s lawyer and has already provided substantial support to bankroll his appeal, but more is needed, so we’ve also set up a dedicated crowdfunder to make sure Alex and his legal team have all the resources at their disposal required to overturn his sentence and get him free!

Biden < Revenge

Anti-authoritarians and anti-fascists take to Portland streets on the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration.

This will be news to far-right extremists, but most American anti-fascists do not view Joe Biden as The Great White Savior and do not anticipate great things from his presidency, other than defeating his outright fascist opponent, This perspective was front-and-center on the streets of Portland on Biden’s inauguration day as well as a few weeks later, when people took to the streets protesting the inauguration and Biden’s “business as usual” immigration policies. Stuff got vandalized and Dak, one of the sole arrestees, was left holding the bag, taking a plea deal that kept him out of prison but also left him on the hook to pay for all of the property damage done in both actions – nearly $50,000USD in all!

That’s a lot of money for anyone to come up with. A donation page has been set up to help with those costs and the Defence Fund, after a healthy debate and vote, decided to help contribute directly.

It’s fair to say that this was one of the more controversial requests for support we’ve dealt with, due to the nature of the event and what got damaged. There was a lot of discussion and disagreement on what to do in this case, but ultimately a majority of the 1400+ people invited to help make decisions about the Defence Fund decided that helping was better than not helping.

By the way, would you like to be part of those 1400+ people that run the Defence Fund? Donate at least $20USD and we’ll invite you to join us!