Oleg Serebrennikov, Russian antifa.
Oleg Serebrennikov is a Russian journalist and well-known antifascist in Izhevsk. In 2004, a group of about twenty neo-nazis armed with clubs and knives attacked him. He spent three months in the hospital recovering from his injuries. During his time in the hospital, neo-nazis visited him, threatening to kill him if he pursued charges. One of his attackers is from a very powerful Russian family and took steps to ensure Oleg didn’t receive necessary treatment; this was followed with the police threatening him with false charges. Oleg now suffers from a permanent brain injury that prevents him from working or leading a normal life.
After it became increasingly clear that the police and the state was collaborating with neo-nazis to harass, intimidate, and threaten Oleg, he did the only thing he could do, fleeing to Finland as a refugee.
Oleg first came to us asking for some help in 2015 when he needed help paying for his medical treatment; we helped him then. A year later, when he determined that it was no longer safe for him to stay in Russia, we helped him relocate to Finland. Now, he’s come back to us again for help paying to get some drugs that he needs but are out-of-reach financially at the moment; of course, we helped him again.
We recognize that the consequences of fascist violence are far-reaching and can play out over years, not days. We will not turn our backs on anti-fascists and people fighting back against hate when they reach out to us for solidarity and support. The sole reason we’re able to be always here for heroes like Oleg is because of the generosity and support of the hundreds upon hundreds of people just like you that have donated to the Defence Fund. Whether it was a dollar or a thousand dollars; whether it was just once or something they’ve signed up to do monthly – our donors made it possible for us to have Oleg’s back this whole time.
If you are one of our donors and you can’t contribute a little bit more right now, why not reach out to a friend and hit them up on our behalf (here, we made you a flyer to help explain what we’re about); if you’ve donated once or twice before, why not think about signing up on our Paypal or Patreon to kick in a little bit every month? If you’ve never donated to the Defence Fund, today is a great day to start!
We all know that no one – NO ONE – is a bigger defender of free speech than a neo-nazi politician like Austria’s Heinz-Christian Strache (mind you, that might be due to the tendency of bigots to be the biggest “free speech” champions). Whether exercising his free speech rights in his early years by leading a mob of neo-nazi boneheads in an attempt to storm a Jewish synagogue or playing soldier in the woods with gun-toting white supremacists or holding events to commemorate nazi war criminals, Strache has perhaps chosen some peculiar ways to demonstrate his reverence for free speech over the years, but no one could question his commitment to being allowed to dehumanize Jews and Muslims and refugees and racialized people, etc. as a matter of “free speech.
So when Austria’s Left Turn Now! made a video in which Austrians tell Strache to fuck off, one would have thought Strache would applaud their use of their free speech rights. But noooo! Instead, Strache filed a slander lawsuit against Left Turn Now, demanding compensation for the “damages” they caused by telling him to fuck off. Between this and Lucian Wintrich’s assault on a woman when she took him up on his defence of his own free speech by literally grabbing a copy of his speech, we’re beginning to wonder if racist scumbags only care about free speech when it’s them trying to peddle genocide as a good idea. But we digress!
The good news: the judge who heard the case decided against Strache, calling his whiny lawsuit “snivelling.”
The bad news: defending oneself against a slander lawsuit, even one as frivolous as Strache’s, costs money. So Left Turn Now have set up a donation page to help them pay for the costs of this absurd, hypocritical action by Strache.
The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was happy to contribute to their defence & hope they continue to tell Strache & the FPO to fuck off for as long as it takes for Strache & the FPO to finally fuck off!
This is Katie (and her pup!). Katie works with students at a community college in Connecticut. This fall, Katie heard that racist troll Lucian Wintrich was going to speak at the University of Connecticut. Like most of us, we assumed that would be him standing in a parking lot, probably near a dumpster or something for camouflage.
But nooo! The U of C not only refused to support a “no platform for racists” policy; they quite literally gave this bigoted loser a platform to speak from: a stage, a theatre, a lectern, hired goons to protect his scrawny ass – the whole thing.
Would they listen to their own students & faculty about why they shouldn’t be graciously providing this platform to this white supremacist nobody? No they would not. Did they care one whit about the danger they were placing their own students and faculty in by facilitating a hate rally on-campus, particularly in light of the shooting at the University of Florida after a similar hate rally the month before? Apparently not.
So when the U of C wouldn’t do the right thing and the cops showed up to protect this racist weiner at his own event, Katie & some friends did what needed doing: they showed up to confront the creep, so he & his ilk knew they were not fucking welcome there.
One of the highlights of the event was when someone took the “free speech” arguments of the night literally and grabbed Wintrich’s cue cards right in the middle of his blathering. This made Wintrich fly into an apoplectic rage and we jumped from the lectern and demonstrated his racial superiority by physically assaulting Katie in front of the whole crow.
The kkkops charged both Katie and Wintrich, although Katie literally had her backed turned to Wintrich and was walking away from him when he attacked her. They dropped the charges against the racist dipshit but are continuing with charges against Katie.
Katie’s cowardly employer responded not by standing with her in solidarity but by putting her on paid suspension and threatening her job. So now she has to fight both the state and her own employer, when she’s not busy fighting bigotry and hatred.
We were happy to send Katie some money to help tide her over and pay her lawyer’s bills and we highly recommend you do the same. Solidarity only means something when we’re willing to stand up for each other when we really need to.
Never underestimate the power of a pyramid! Antifascists in Hannover harnessed the ancient power of this enigmatic geometry on December 2nd when they blocked the route to the racist AfD convention by hauling a giant metal pyramid into the middle of the access road and then chained themselves to it for good measure.
This is actually a fairly typical tactic in Germany and the police are well-used to dealing with it. Normally, this involves an assessment of whether or not the activists can be safely detached from the structure they’ve secured themselves to, then bringing the necessary equipment, etc. All of which ordinarily forces whatever was coming down the road to re-route.
Maybe it was because Hannover antifa were challenging Germany’s most bigoted political party or maybe it was because the police felt emboldened and free to act out their own xenophobic political beliefs, but instead of following the normal procedure, the cops elected to beat the living hell out of the locked-down antifa, who were unable to offer any sort of defence or resistance to the punishment the cops doled out.
As a result, one antifa had their tibia fractured and protruding from their leg in two places – something that would require a considerable amount of force to achieve. Others suffered a litany of hematomas, abrasions, contusions, and other injuries. To literally add insult to injury, the police tried everything they could think of to delay the arrival of an ambulance to deal with the serious and life-threatening injuries they had caused, then charged the antifa they brutalized with assault, coercion, and resisting arrest.
All of this means that our friends in Hannover are facing a triple threat of repression – having to pay for medical bills, having to take time off work to recover from injuries, and having to mount a legal defence against the charges the cops have fabricated against them. They’ve issued a public call to help them accomplish all three things and The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund heard and responded to that call today. We’re strongly encouraging others to follow our example and send a donation to our friends in Hannover; we’re also strongly encouraging everyone to make sure the Defence Fund is always there and ready to help out antifa by contributing to it today.
Sometimes the consequences of standing up to hate aren’t so cut-and-dry. Sometimes new complications and circumstances pop up right when you think you’ve taken care of everything.
This was the case recently in the Twin Cities with the couple we helped out last month. Turns out that, while our help was well-appreciated by them, they had underestimated what they’d need to set things right again after being targeted by fascists. So they came back to us to request some additional help. After some discussion, we figured out how we could help them and we’ve done so today.
We received word that after a fascist bonehead in Montréal had to suddenly deal with urgent health care issues, two anti-fascists in Montréal found themselves in a bit of trouble. Fuck that fash dude, but in the meantime our two friends had some serious consequences befall them that made it hard for them to make rent, pay their bills, and defend themselves from those consequences.
If it seems that we are being deliberately vague here it’s because we are; there is still potential for further trouble for our two friends so we don’t want to say too much lest we make things worse for them. Suffice to say that, after confirming details we aren’t able to publish at this juncture, we had a discussion and came to consensus that The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund should lend a helping hand, which we did last week. We wish our two antifa friends all the best and hope that their troubles will soon be behind them!
How was your fall? Ours was really busy. Here’s what The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund got up to over the past three months:
Naturally, none of this came cheap. The Defence Fund is now spending an average of $2200USD per month to support anti-fascists and anti-racists the world over, right when showing solidarity with them really means something. This of course means that we need to raise $2200USD every single month just to sustain the level of support we’re currently providing, and that’s assuming that things don’t get any worse than they are now.
Take a look at that list of what we accomplished over the last three months. We kept badly-injured antifascists fed and housed. We helped a YPG fighter get out of a war zone. We took care of an antifa’s family while he’s locked up. And we helped pay for the legal defence of over 200 antifascists in DC and Richmond. If these sound like the kinds of things you wish you could do too, we have good news for you: you can by donating whatever you can afford to The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund. Whether it’s a one-time contribution or you want to pick up some of our antifa merch or pledging a buck or two a month to defend your fellow antifa would not be a problem for you, your support = what helps us continue to support them.
Hold a fundraiser. Hit up your friends. Pass the hat at a show. Download our flyer and pass it out. If everyone contributes a little bit, we can keep doing what we’ve been doing for the last 2.5 years.
Laura Southern’s antifa welcoming committee, Twin Cities, October 25, 2017.
It’s becoming increasingly common for The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund to deal with multiple requests for support at the same time. Such was the case earlier this month, when the 500+ antifa who discuss requests and call the shots at the Defence Fund contended with two different requests that resulted in two differing decisions.
First, we received a request to help an antifa couple in the Twin Cities who joined over 200 other antifascists to confront a talk by racist troll Laura Southern on October 25th. Fascists tried to pick off the couple in a physical attack and badly injured a woman’s knee. This single incident created compounding problems, include the loss of her job due to her injury.
As one member of the Defence Fund’s Decisions Crew put it, “this kind of ‘low level’ disruption of the lives of antifascists must be countered through this kind of mutual aid and material support. We can and must make sure comrades are supported when taking part in the struggle takes a toll.” So we were happy to help her get back on her feet and back in the fight.
The other request we were asked to consider was to help with the legal defence of a member of Redneck Revolt who was charged by police with some bullshit after having the nerve to attend a protest of a police shooting of a Latino man. This request generated a lot of back-and-forth discussion among the Decisions Crew and we were unable to reach consensus about what to do. After taking a vote, we decided to not provide support for this request.
There were a few reasons why we opted out of contributing to this. Some people argued that the action involved didn’t quite meet the definition of anti-fascist/anti-racist work, which is what the Defence Fund’s mandate is limited to. Others pointed out that Redneck Revolt have their own defence fund (which they call their “war chest”) and felt that would be the appropriate resource to access for support.
But most of the opposition to this request had to do with one of Redneck Revolt’s co-founders, Dave Strano. Strano has been outed as a serial abuser of women; something that Redneck Revolt does not appear to have done much of anything about to-date. The Torch Antifa Network issued a statement condemning Strano and disassociating itself from Redneck Revolt until that organization takes meaningful action to address Strano’s abuse. Many other antifa crews have done likewise. As such, many in the Decisions Crew were not at all comfortable with supporting a request from Redneck Revolt until they take the necessary steps to deal with their own house.
Donald Trump’s inauguration (or, as he’d like you to remember it, the “National Day of Patriotic Devotion”) certainly set the tone for what was to come. A police riot the likes of which hasn’t been seen since maybe the 1968 DNC in Chicago was unleashed in DC from 11am on January 20th – a day which ended with the mass arrests of over 200 people. Journalists, volunteer medics, legal observers, protestors, and bystanders – all were rounded up using police kettling tactics; all now face multiple felony and misdemeanor charges which could put them behind bars for decades.
Defend J20 Resistance has been posting the most up-to-date information an resources regarding the case. They’ve also put together a legal defence fund to help with the costs the 200 defendees are facing, which The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was honored to contribute to.
If you want to support the J20 defendants, you can do that right here.
If you want to help us continue to defend people putting their freedom on the line to oppose fascism, you can do that right here.
Our man in Rojava.
Hopefully, most of you will have heard about the courageous anti-fascists from around the world that have travelled far from home to volunteer as fighters against the fascist scum of Daesh (aka ISIS aka ISIL aka the Islamic State). All of them have recognized the importance of defending the Rojava revolution and the people struggling to replace Daesh’s brand of fascist theocractic fundamentalism with a truly egalitarian, feminist form of anarchism called “democratic confederalism.”
International antifascist fighting units like Tabûra Enteransyonal, the International Freedom Battalion, and the countless number of antifa who have joined the YPG and YPJ are literally putting their lives on the line to defend the people of Rojava and to liberate tens of thousands of others suffering under the fascist rule of Daesh.
So it was with our man Dev (nom de guerre), who exhausted his life savings to travel from his home country and join the YPG. Dev has spent nearly two years fighting with the YPG. Now Dev is trying to get back to his home country but the closing of regional airports and the fact that he’s in a war zone has complicated matters.
Dev needed $2000USD to get his ass out of there and get back home. But after months and months of fighting as a volunteer, our guy didn’t have two cents to rub together.
Happily, through the magic of crowdfunding, Dev managed to raise up $1600 on his own in about a week. The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was proud to be able to put him over his goal and help bring him home.
Dev: if you’re reading this, first drink’s on us when you get back home. Thank you for your service.
Biji Berxwedana Rojava!