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.

No y Si

RASH Bogotá crew on the streets.

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.

Colston Four Acquitted!

Statement from The Colston Four after their acquittal today

A few hours ago, the Colston Four were acquitted of all charges by a Bristol jury!  Back in June we sent money to defend these four Bristolians who were charged after 10,000+ people spontaneously tore down the statue of genocidal slave merchant Edward Colston and threw it off a pier. Their stellar legal team put forth a compelling moral argument that convinced the jury to find the four not guilty – a legal team paid for in no small part by the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund.

This result is a nice hat trick after both Scottie Tripn and Paul from Permanent Revolution both avoided prison sentences just last month. It’s also testament to the results of international anti-fascist solidarity. If you’ve contributed to the Defence Fund in the past, these victories are because of you. If you haven’t contributed, it’s not too late!

Fascists vs. The Fourth Estate

Alissa Azar (photo credit: Alex Wittwer)

When you’re an independent journalist trying to cover the myriad of fascist violence in Oregon, and when you’re also a decent human being, that means you’re going to be putting out a lot of things that make fascists look like the violent goons they are. That also means they’re going to make you a target for some of that violence. Especially if you’re a woman; even more so if you’re a Syrian woman.

Alissa Azar can tell you all about that. She’s provided coverage and footage of much of the violence perpetuated by the Piss Boys* and other violent fascist gangs in Oregon. Over last year, that led to physical attacks by fascists against her, most notably in September when armed Piss Boys carrying riot shields chased her down a street before pinning her against a wall, bear-macing her, then beating her to the ground. The assault would have continued if not for the patrons of a nearby bar pulling Alissa to safety.

But it was from an earlier confrontation in June, where the Piss Boys again bear-maced, tackled, and knocked her unconscious that the police decided, months later, to press charges – against Alissa!

Now, on top of the injuries Alissa received that day (including a possible traumatic brain injury), she has to come up with the resources to defend herself against a bullshit case put together by the Piss Boys’ personal bodyguards – the police. To make matters worse, fascist troll Andy Ngo has targeted Alissa, and his minions have been trying to knock out every avenue she has to raise funds to hire a lawyer to defend her in court.

The good news is that Andy Ngo hasn’t knocked the Defence Fund out yet and we were happy to send Alissa a chunk of change that will hopefully be a great help to getting a lawyer lined up.

(*we prefer the more-apt descriptor “Piss Boys” to their original name, “Proud Boys”)

Seven Years War

Few of us are likely to remember what we were doing in January of 2014, but Roddi certainly does. He took part in a massive anti-fascist action in Wien, where thousands of anti-fascists from several different countries massed to try to shut down a high-level fascist networking event in Wien sponsored by Austria’s notoriously extremist FPÖ party. There are two reasons Roddi will always remember that action: one is the 5cm scar the police left on his face after viciously assaulting him and other anti-fascists gathered at the action.

The other reason is that for seven years the Austrian authorities pursued legal action against Roddi! From 2014-2021 authorities in both Austria and Germany threatened to railroad Roddi, finally cobbling together a laughable cobweb of lies and distortions that they used to charge him in 2021 for the events of 2014!

As you might imagine, trying any case after seven years creates a prosecutorial burden, time-and-memory-wise and as luck would have it, Roddi’s prosecutors were not up to the challenge, failing to convict him on any serious charges. In the end, Roddi left court with a probationary/conditional sentence of just seven months, so as long as he keeps his nose clean into 2022, he will not see the inside of a jail cell.

Why, you might be wondering, would the state insist on pursuing charges they must have known they could not prove in court against an anti-fascist for events that took place seven years ago? We believe that they wanted to make an example out of Roddi and knew that, even if they were unsuccessful in court, they would still have seriously disrupted his life for seven years.

Not to mention saddle him with seven years’ worth of lawyer’s bills! As you can imagine, that adds up to an extraordinary sum, so when Rote Hilfe München put out a call to help pay those bills, the Defence Fund happily responded. If you’d like to help Roddi with those bills directly, you can send a bank transfer here:

Rote Hilfe eV OG München
IBAN: DE61 4306 0967 4007 2383 06
GLS Bank
Keyword: WKR 2014

If you’d like to ensure that the Defence Fund is around and able to help people like Roddi in the furture, you can make a contribution to it here.