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.

Bring Tha Noize!

When this van’s a-rockin’ cops better not come a-knockin’!

Adopting the adage “go big or go home” to “go loud or go home,” anti-fascists in Copenhagen, Denmark turned out for May Day festivities this year with a specially-done up NO ONE IS ILLEGAL sound truck, blasting tunes! They + the van + the tunes managed to occupy the Queen Louis bridge for a spell, which the police did not appreciate!

The lazy cops decided that the easiest person to charge was the driver/owner of the van, which is exactly what they did. The case slowly wound its way through the Danish courts and, in the end, the driver/owner was left with 36,000kr in court costs to pay off. Well, now that bill is paid in full, thanks partially to The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund which stepped in to pay off the remainder of those court costs.

Paul & Scottie Updates!

It’s unlikely that Paul and Scottie know each other or have even heard of each other. Paul is an anti-racist skinhead in Brisbane, Australia; Scottie is a hip-hop MC and Black Lives Matter activist in Los Angeles, USA. But what brings them together here in this update is that they both physically stood up to violent fascists in their communities; got arrested by the police for doing so; and are free today thanks in part to the intervention of The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund.

Paul, fronting his oi! band Permanent Revolution

We didn’t report on Paul’s situation previously (for reasons explained below). Paul is a SHARP skinhead in Brisbane, Australia and the front man for Permanent Revolution. A while back, ​a few of the local SHARPs were having a quiet beer at a local venue ​when a concerned staff member told them that a pack of Proud Boys (yes, they’ve spread down there, too!) were outside. ​The venue had banned Proud Boys and other hate groups and staff had been assaulted by members of the far right in the past. Paul ​and his mates went​out to have a, um, honest and frank discussion with the Piss Boys, which ​ended in Paul being done up on assault charges.

Around that point, the Defence Fund stepped in to make sure Paul could afford a decent lawyer to represent him in court (we didn’t post about at the time because we didn’t want our support to interfere negatively in the outcome of his case). Unfortunately, Paul was forced to plead guilty to some of the assault charges but in his sentencing earlier this month, Paul got off with a community service sentence instead of jail time (and tbh, Paul probably would’ve volunteered to do community service anyways!).

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles:

Scottie Tripin

Scottie Tripn is a well-known and well-respected Black Lives Matter supporter and antifascist activist. On January 6 of this year, MAGA chuds in LA decided to attack people downtown while their friends went to DC to try to overthrow the democratically-elected US government. Scottie was there to help protect the people the chuds were trying to target and in the fracas, one chud fucked around by spraying him with bear mace and found out. Scottie came out of that on top only to have LAPD clowns hit him up with bullshit charges after the fray.

Scottie needed thousands to hire decent defense lawyers and the Defence Fund were among the first to step up and do what we could to make sure that happened. This week, that support & solidarity paid off!

Scottie walks! All charges dropped!

Paul and Scottie are anti-fascists #9 & #10 who’ve avoided a prison sentence this year thanks in part to receiving funds from us to hire good legal counsel. We haven’t kept track but off-hand we could probably point to a dozen others over the years that could say the same thing! What’s the lesson here? Our project of international anti-fascist solidarity keeps anti-fascists in their communities – where they belong – instead of rotting in prison! That’s as good a reason as any for you to make a contribution to the Defence Fund today!

Awesome Alex Update!

Our man Alex in action against hammer-and-knife-wielding, gun-toting nazis.

The black school bus with mesh screens over the windows looked right out of Mad Max: Fury Road as it drove up to counter-protestors who had just successfully confronted fascists at a Unite The Right-style rally in Portland, OR. In it were members of “American Guard” – a nazi bonehead splinter group – and they came well-armed. The first one off the bus pulled a knife and tried to stab the first anti-fascist he saw, but luckily tripped, dropping his knife. A second nazi came right behind him, with a pistol on his belt and a claw hammer in his hand, aiming a blow to the skull of the antifa the first nazi had failed to stab.

That’s when Alex stepped in. Thinking quickly, Alex grabbed the hammer and tore it from the nazi’s hands, then managed to throw it before the nazis panicked and slammed the bus door shut to make their getaway. Alex’s actions likely prevented an antifascist from being bludgeoned to death that day.

But Alex’s fiercest opponents weren’t the armed, violent nazis who had driven into Portland that day to try to murder anti-fascists; they were the police & prosecutors who, while declining to charge any of the nazis, slapped Alex with multiple felony charges, claiming they were justified because Alex “assaulted someone with a hammer” (maybe Andy Ngo was running the prosecution office that day?) For saving someone’s life by intervening to disarm an attacker, Alex was now facing a minimum of five years behind bars and needed a skilled lawyer to defend him. A crowdfunder was soon launched and The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund, along with many others, pitched in to make sure he could hire the best lawyer possible.

Fast forward two years later and Alex is in a courtroom packed with supporters for his trial, watching as his lawyers COMPLETELY DEMOLISH the District Attorney’s case.
Had the DA’s office contacted any of the nazis that were on the bus? No they had not.
Was the DA able to establish that Alex injured anyone? No. In fact, one of their own witnesses stated that he was “uninjured and unafraid” of Alex after a brief interaction.
Can the prosecutor explain why they are demanding a prison sentence and a $10,000 fine? No.
Will the prosecutor describe the facts of their case to the Judge? No, they defer to Alex’s attorney to do that!
In the end, with the prosecution’s case in shambles, the judge wisely ruled Alex to be guilty of only the mildest of his many charges and decided that no jail and a $1k fine or community services -“whichever (Alex) prefers” to be the appropriate sentence. That might not sound like a complete vindication but it could well be enough for the DA to defer from appealing the case.

Have no doubt that things could have gone very differently and turned out much, much worse for Alex had he not had the funds to hire a competent lawyer. The list of antifascist prisoners is full of people who weren’t as lucky as Alex was in terms of having quality legal representation. We are happy things turned out as well as they did for Alex and that we were able to play a role in them turning out as they did. Just like Yvette Felarca, or two antifa moms in SC, our three friends in Austin, TX, our friends in Corvallis, OR., an antifascist in Lünenberg, Germany, and – just last month- seven antifascists in Lyon, France we were able to help pay for legal defence that kept anti-fascists free and in their communities so they can continue the fight against hate!

As Alex wrote to us after we sent him some help, “I am aware of what a huge gift this is from you. Thank you so much for believing in me. I know there are others out there like me who need help, too. Thank you, truly, for what you’ve done.


UPDATE: Victoire à Lyon!

Some of the 2000+ antifascistes in the streets of Lyon in October 2021

We are happy to report some good news from Lyon, France! You’ll recall that last month we sent some emergency support to help provide for the legal defence of seven antifascists there after a confrontation with les fachos this past summer. The situation was grim, with three of our friends in pretrial detention for weeks and all of them facing the possibility of years behind bars.

On 4 November the family & supporters of the seven defendants packed a Lyon courtroom to witness a brilliant legal display as our friend’s defence lawyers – lawyers who the defendants were able to hire thanks in no small part to our contribution – tore the prosecution’s case to shreds!   

This story goes into full detail about the day’s proceedings.  Suffice to say, not having a working copy of the surveillance video that was to be the centrepiece of the prosecution’s case was encouraging.  Then the defence lawyers brought up the illegal searches of the accused’s homes; the lack of “victims” willing to come forward to testify or provide evidence; and the attempt to criminalise anti-fascism and even anarchism by using anti-fascist/anarchist stickers & books as “evidence” in the case.  At times, the ludicrious nature of the prosecution’s case merited outbursts of laughter from the gallery. 

In the end, the defence’s arguments – that the police knowingly concealed video evidence, refused to produce witness, and tried to frame anti-fascism as a crime – won out!  Three of the seven defendants are acquitted completely; four are found guilty on the most minor of charges and fined €300; two of the four received one-month suspended sentences for refusing to provide the police with the password for their cell phones or DNA samples.

This was a huge victory for anti-fascism in a city rocked by fascist attacks in recent months and it was made possible in no small part by the contribution we were able to send to pay for good lawyers to defend our friends!  If you’ve ever made a contribution to The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fundyou were a key part of this victory!  Please take time today to raise a glass to yourselves! If you haven’t yet made a contribution to the Defence Fund, there is no time like the present to do so!

Freiheit für Jo und Dy!

Some of the 600 antifascists at the solidarity rally to support Jo & Dy outside of the Stuttgart courthouse.

No place is immune to the creep of fascism, but you’d think Germany — of all places — would be especially averse to right-wing nationalists and demagogues and supportive of anti-fascist causes.

Sadly, it seems the opposite is true, as in the recent case of Jo and Dy – two anti-fascists who are now serving harsh prison sentences for the “crime” of defending the German city of Stuttgart from fascists. 

The two activists were arrested after a physical confrontation with members of the fascist group “Zentrum Automobil” on May 16, 2020 during the right-wing Querdenken anti-lockdown, COVID-19 conspiracy protest march in Stuttgart. The state used the confrontation as a convenient excuse to further crack down on anti-fascist activity in Stuttgart and surrounding cities. It quickly became apparent that the specially-created investigation group “Wasen” aimed above all at weakening and intimidating the anti-fascist movement. 

The trial itself was politically motivated and it seemed Jo and Dy’s conviction was a foregone conclusion, despite shaky and questionable evidence, blatant falsehoods and conspiracy theories from the prosecuting attorneys and the inability of supposed eyewitnesses to positively identify Jo and Dy.

At the end of the trial, Jo and Dy received the outrageously severe sentences of 4.5 years and 5.5 years in prison, respectively. The conviction and the harsh sentences are part of a recent and growing trend by German authorities to suppress the far-left and to deter anti-fascists in particular.

Throughout the trial, a solidarity rally was held in front of the courthouse, which responded to the verdict with a loud protest that drew some 600 people. On October 23, 2021, the solidarity campaign “Antifascism is Necessary” called for ongoing demonstrations with the motto “Freedom for all Antifas!”

“With its judgment, the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court has once again made it clear that the persecution of anti-fascists is not about a legal assessment of the evidence, but about deterrence by all means,” said Anja Sommerfeld from the Federal Board of Rote Hilfe. “Such high prison sentences, which are purely politically motivated, are intended to intimidate the anti-fascist movement and to deter activists from their engagement against Nazis. We see similar methods in Saxony, among others, where the investigative authorities are even pursuing the anti-fascist structures as a ‘criminal organization’ and dragging three anti-fascists (including Lina) to court. “In conclusion,” Sommerfeld declared, “We show solidarity with Jo and Dy and stand by their side.”

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has made a contribution to Jo and Dy’s commissary account and to help them pay for legal expenses. We will continue to support Jo and Dy and all other anti-fascists who are imprisoned by the state. We pledge to do whatever is necessary to support them and see them walk free. Solidarity!

Lyon, Lyon – Toujours Antifasciste!

October 2021: Over 2000 antifascists in Lyon take to the street to protest fascist attacks.

Lyon, France has been enduring a rash of violent mob attacks by organized fascists over the last several months. Supporters of The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund will recall back in April we helped to rebuild a left-wing bookstore earlier this year after a mob of Generation Identitaire fascists mobbed it and destroyed it. There is currently a real battle for the streets – one which Lyon antifascistes have no intention of losing!

It was in this context that a confrontation between antifascists and the far-right religious extremists of Civitas took place in August at a demonstration against France’s proof of COVID vaccination laws. A skirmish occurred and while no one has pressed charges against anyone else, the French state has taken matters into its own hands and are prosecuting seven antifascists.

Our friends now must defend themselves in a court of law against numerous charges related to the incident in August, after antifascists in Lyon have endured months of state harassment and targeting. None of the fascists involved in the incident have faced charges and fascist groups all over the city still enjoy access to venues to organize from without fear of state intervention, while officials threaten to cut funding to any venue that dares to host an antifascist event. Lyon antifascists are now in a three-way fight – countering fascist violence and zealous state represssion; the charges against our seven friends is another battleground in that fight.

In the words of antifascists in Lyon: “We will not allow our comrades to be locked away by the same authorities that protect the worst fascist filth by doing nothing.” The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has made a contribution to the legal defence of the seven who currently stand accused and we pledge to do whatever is necessary to support them and see them walk free.