In summer of 2017 a few activists discussed the idea of creating an International Anarchist Defense Fund.
Why is it needed?
Basically, it is a Fund that is supposed to financially help anarchist who got in trouble for their activism (either repression or medical problems). It’s true, there are a bunch of ABC chapters or other support groups all over the world, but in many places there are still not enough money or activists to maintain a solidarity campaign on their own. Thus, this fund is seen as a way to complement the work existing solidarity groups and to provide support to individuals with no or little support.
How will it look like?
The idea is to copypaste the tactics of International Antifa Defence Fund (intlantifadefence.wordpress.com) since they used the scheme for a few years and it seems to be successful. Here is a short description about that Fund from their page.
In June 2015, the Antifa International collective launched The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund. We saw a need for a standing fund that could be used to provide immediate support to anti-fascists and anti-racists anywhere in the world, whenever they found themselves in a difficult situation as a result of their stand against hate.
Modelled on the defence fund run by the Anti-Racist Action Network in the late 1990s/early 2000s, The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund accepts proposals for support from anyone (by contacting Antifa International, usually via email, facebook, or tumblr).
Decisions about proposals for support are made by a crew of individuals and groups who have made donations in excess of $20U.S./€20/£15. Those decisions are arrived at by consensus whenever possible and by a simple majority vote in situations where consensus is not forthcoming.
Process in details
Basically, whoever gives a donation or buys a piece of distro for 20+ eur is automatically added (with a possibility to unsubscribe) to a list of decision-makers. The admin is sending the requests for support to the list and then 1 week is given for discussion. If there are no objections, the fund sends 10% (or less if 10% is more than is asked for) of the current sum to the request. If there are objections, the next week is dedicated to a simple majority vote. This process is very simple and fast, without long discussions or one person blocking the whole thing.
The fact that only 10% is given means that there is always money in the fund, and there is always 10% of it. This makes the fund sustainable. Here you can see the report of the Antifa Fund about the last two years of operation intlantifadefence.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/the-international-anti-fascist-defence-fund-2016-2017-annual-report/
The support is not limited to financing legal support, but also medical bills, property destruction damages, fines, etc.
So there is a proposal to create a similar fund for anarchists, that would help gather more donations from individuals rather then all the time applying to ABC groups. Plus, more people who don’t have local ABC groups will get a possibility to apply for support.
During the discussion there were different opinions of that, including how to make it less vulnerable for bad people to ruin the decision-making, etc.
We decided that we will need to find some more interested people who could take some tasks, and not necessarily from ABCs and even better if it’s going to be people who have less projects already involved in. For the sake of explaining the structure we figured out exact roles and responsibilities that need to be executed. Feel free to ask for clarification as well as for joining the process.
Role: Admin of the list we potentially have 1 volunteer
- subscribe people who paid 20+
- receiving requests and checking if they are legitimate
- forward requests to the list
- receiving comments and sending them back to the list
- keeping the deadlines of decision-making
- announcing the results on the requests
Role: Taking care of money we have 2 volunteers
- establishing a bank account
- sending money to requests that pass
- calculating donations, accounting
Role: Updating blog and social networks
Role: Creating a website and supporting it 1 potential volunteer
Role: Taking care of distro
- creating designs or finding people to do it 1 potential volunteer
- producing the distro
- managing orders (packing, shipping)
- distribution to other groups who want to sell it
- MAYBE selling distros at events
we thought that instead of producing the distro ourselves, it
might be good to have distro centers in Europe, Russia, UK and US to minimise the shipping costs. There is an idea to contact existing distro producers or shops and suggest them to sell and ship out stuff.
- spreading info about the fund, encouraging people to donate
- reaching out to groups
With this text we are asking your to forward it to people who could potentially be interested in helping. If we find enough people for the collective, we will proceed with the idea. Would be also good to involve people who themselves can benefit from that Fund, like activists who have health problems and can’t really work in groups physically, but have enough time to spend online. Another important thing that we need for the start is the donations (see below).
If you got this text and feel like you want to join, please write us a message before 24 September with the following information:
– your name and region
– which group you are part of
– who can vouch for you (established groups are better to refer to, cause we can check with them). Mind that if you don’t have a voucher, we will not be able to add you to the collective, because trust is important for us.
– which role you can take over. The future collective involves some work and responsibilities, it’s important for us that people know what they want to do from the very beginning. We would like to avoid having people in the collective who don’t have any clear tasks. Also, we decided that at least for the time being, the role involving money will be taken by us, since we know each other personally and trust each other. We imagine that a lot of trustworthy comrades will apply, but since the money work involved someone’s personal bank account, we would like to have it secure for the person.
– do you speak English? Mind that we are already an international crew and English will be the language to communicate in the collective. We invite people who already speak the language only because at the moment none of us has the capacity and time to organise translation in the future collective.
– are you an anarchist? We feel that the collective should consist of anarchists so we can share some basic principles of cooperation and communication.
If you or your group like the idea of the fund and you are able to donate and become the member of the decision-making body, write us about that. In order for the fund to start functioning we will need money to already be able to help some people who will be the first to apply.
Advice and publicity
If you have any thoughts or advice on the future fund, please, send your opinions to us. If you have some channels to pass the information about the fund or interest other people, do it!
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org