Tagged: state repression

Successful night of solidarity and fundraising for anti-fascist prisoners

Bristol ABC & Bristol Antifascists show solidarity with anti-fascists imprisoned around the world

Big thanks to Bristol Anarhcist Black Cross and everybody who came down to the night of solidarity with anti-fascist prisoners at Kebele on Sunday night. The night was a big success, with letter writing to comrades inside, ‘bash the fash’ piñata, a raffle and meal. Around £150 was raised for anti-fascists in need of support. Below is a summary of the other solidarity events held around the world…

From NYC Antifa

The July 25 International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners was a resounding success! In addition to comrades in Britain, the United States, Finland, Australia, Germany, Sweden, and Bulgaria taking part, the call to action was translated into five different languages and shared thousands of times on social media. The Day of Solidarity brought awareness to antifas that have been imprisoned in the struggle against fascism, and we have shown them that they have support all over the world!

division161

In Britain, there was benefit with raffle, cakes, cider and a “bash the fash” piñata hosted by Anarchist Black Cross Bristol and Bristol Antifascists. In Pontypridd, Valleys Antifascists/Antiffa’r Cymoedd passed out flyers and stickers. In London, Dywizjon 161organized a photo op in front of the Battle of Cable Street mural, and Brighton Antifascistsand Berkshire Antifascists did similar events. In Corby, supporters of the Corby Anti Fascist Group held a benefit gig. And in Manchester, members of a variety of groups (including “Autonomous anti-fascists from the North West, Liverpool, 161 Crew MCR, ACA MCR and Irish republicans”) called for all antifascist prisoners to be freed, and conducted a moving tribute to our fallen comrades.

Many cities took part in the United States, as well. In New York City, the NYC Anarchist Black Cross hosted a night of videos of the fash getting what they deserve, while supporters ate vegan empanadas and listened to presentations on the prisoners, as well as a speaker from One People’s Project. Portland, Oregon’s Rose City Antifa called for a week of sending postcards to prisoners, asking that they be posted online with the hashtag#PostcardsToPrisoners. In La Puente, California, the Bunny Alliance and Bridgetown DIY hosted a night of music and talks about contemporary fascism, militant anti-fascist resistance, the social revolution in Rojava, and “dealing with fascists and white nationalists within animal liberation and earth liberation movements.” Philly Antifa,Southside Chicago ARA, and Columbus, Ohio’s Sporeprint Infoshop held letter-writings, while the Denver Anarchist Black Cross screened the film 161>88. And RASH USA issued a statement demanding the release of all antifa prisoners without reprisal.unk festival in Finland.

finland-punk

In Finland, the Varis antifascist network distributed literature at the Puntala punk festival in Lempäälä. In Helsinki, they held a small demonstration in support of Russian antifascist prisoners Alexey Sutuga and Aleksandr Kolchenko and painted solidarity graffiti; and in Tampere they also passed out flyers in support of the prisoners.

helsinki-2

In Sweden, the Föreningen Fånggruppen, in conjunction with seven antifa prisoners,issued a statement about the importance of prison solidarity.

syndney-2

In Australia, AFA Sydney hung banners for Jock Palfreeman, an Australian man imprisoned in Sofia, Bulgaria for defending two Romani men who were attacked by fascist football hooligans. (The July 25 Day of Solidarity originated in 2014 as a Day of Solidarity with Jock Palfreeman.) And in Bulgaria, antifascists also held an event for Jock.

brighton-2

Last, in Berlin, Germany, Minor Treat held a joint benefit dinner for refugees in Germany, and also wrote letters to the antifascist prisoners.

We are excited by the support this event attracted, and hope it expands to even more countries next year—because until fascism is buried in its grave, our comrades will be imprisoned for helping to bury it. NYC Antifa will keep updating the list of anti-fascist prisoners, in order to facilitate solidarity with antifa prisoners year round. We thank everyone who participated in the July 25th Day of Solidarity, and urge all people to not only write these prisoners, but to also continue their work.

No Pasaran!
Until all are free!

July 25th: International Day of Solidarity with Anti-Fascist Prisoners

The Anti-Fascist Network is supporting New York City Antifa‘s call for an international day of solidarity with anti-fascist prisoners.

https://antifascistnetwork.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/free-all-antifa-prisoners1.jpg

They write:

Antifascists fight against those who—in the government or in the streets—dream of imposing their fascist and other Far Right nationalist nightmares on the rest of us. Throughout the world, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and racist bigotries are on the rise. Antifas are on the frontline in confronting these reactionary politics, and we will not forget our comrades imprisoned in the course of this struggle.

The July 25 International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners originated in 2014 as a Day of Solidarity with Jock Palfreeman, an Australian who is imprisoned in Bulgaria for defending two Romani men from an attack by fascist football hooligans. Groups around the world took action: holding demonstrations, benefits supporting the Bulgarian Prisoners Association, writing to Jock, and talking about the plight of the Romani and Sinti people in general.

In 2015 we would like to expand this day of solidarity to all antifascist prisoners around the world. We encourage groups to take the day to plan an event of their choice—whether it is a letter writing, demonstration, benefit, or other action—and to focus on the prisoners and related issues that are of most importance to them locally.

Below is a list of global antifascist prisoners; if there is an antifa prisoner who is missing, please e-mail us with his or her details and the language(s) they can read.

No Pasaran!
Until All Are Free!

Send prisoner updates, announcements for local events, and additional group endorsements to nycantifascistaction@gmail.com

EVENTS:
Many cities will be holding events and actions, which include New York City, Philadelphia, La Puente, California, Chicago, and Denver (US); Sydney (Australia); Helsinki and Tampere (Finland); as well as events in the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, and lots of other places!

TRANSLATIONS OF THE CALL:
Finnish and Russian

LIST OF ANTIFA PRISONERS:

EUROPE

Belarus
Roman Bogdan

[Update 7/12]Roman Bogdan was arrested on April 15, 2015, as part of the long-going state repression of anti-fascists in Brest, stemming from a fight between anti-fascists and fascists on May 8, 2013. Roman is facing up to ten years in prison on charges of aggravated bodily harm.

He can read Russian and simple English phrases.

Address:
Roman Bogdan
224030
Brest
ul. K. Marksa, 86,
SIZO-7
BELARUS

Dzmitry Stsyashenka

Dzmitry Stsyashenka was arrested on October 4, 2013, for his alleged involvement in a fight between antifascists and neo-Nazis in Brest on May 8, 2013, that sent one Nazi to the hospital. He is also accused of another fight with neo-Nazis during the summer of 2013. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but in 2014 his term was reduced by one year due to an amnesty.

He can read Russian and simple English phrases.

Address:
Dzmitry Stsyashenka
224030
Brest,
ul. K. Marksa, 86,
SIZO-7
BELARUS

http://abc-belarus.org/?cat=3&lang=en

Dzmitry Zvan’ko

Dzmitry Zvan’ko was arrested for his alleged involvement in a fight between anti-fascists and neo-Nazis in Brest on May 8, 2013, that sent one Nazi to the hospital. He was arrested the next day, along with four other people, in a police raid on the homes of known anti-fascists. Dzmitry filed a complaint to the prosecutor about psychological and physical abuse while in custody. He was accused of malicious group hooliganism and serious bodily assault and faced up to ten years of prison. Dzmitry was found guilty and sentenced to five years of prison, but after paying off about 4,000 euro in damages he was granted amnesty, which has reduced his term by one year.

He can read Russian and simple English phrases.

Address:
Dzmitry Zvan’ko
225295
Brestskaya oblast Ivatsevichi
p/b 20 IK-22
Volchi Nory
BELARUS

http://abc-belarus.org/?cat=3&lang=en

Bulgaria
Jock Palfreeman

Jock Palfreeman is an Australian anti-fascist political prisoner serving a twenty-year prison sentence in Bulgaria for the rather mysterious death of a neo-Nazi football hooligan who was part of a group attacking two Romani men in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2007. Jock came to the aid of the Romani, and quickly found himself the focus of the attack. Bulgarian authorities did everything they could to ensure that Jock did not receive a fair trial, and after his sentencing have refused–in contravention of their own treaties–to transfer him to Australia to serve the rest of his time closer to his family. Jock wants donations for him sent to the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association, which he is part of.

He can read English and Bulgarian.

Address:
Jock Palfreeman
Sofia Central Prison
21 General Stoletov Boulevard
Sofia 1309, BULGARIA

www.freejock.com
http://www.brightonabc.org.uk/jock.html

Russia
Aleksandr Kolchenko

Aleksandr Kolchenko was arrested in Crimea on May 17, 2014, along with several others, and accused by Russian authorities of participation in a “terrorist group” which planned explosions near the Eternal Fire memorial and the Lenin monument in Simferopol, as well as having sabotaged railway tracks and electricity lines. Aleksandr is also alleged to have carried out two arson attacks in April: against the headquarters of the Russian Unity-Party, and the Russian Community of Crimea. He was transferred to Moscow and is being kept in draconian conditions. His lawyers are under a gag order, and have been refused elementary rights to defend him. He faces fifteen-to-twenty years in a labor camp.

Russian authorities claim that Aleksandr is a member of Right Sektor, a Ukrainian ultra-right nationalist organization, but he has no connection to the group—a fact confirmed by relatives and friends. Moreover, Aleksandr is an antifascist and anarchist who consistently opposed nationalistic movements in Crimea and faced constant fascist attacks for his activism. For example, after a film screening about murdered anti-fascist journalist Anastasiya Baburova, he was attacked by thirty Nazis with knives.

Since this case is highly political, Aleksandr’s legal costs are high, around 850 euro per month. The investigation has created a heavy financial strain on local ABC groups, and there is a call for financial support and information distribution. You can make donations via PayPal to abc-msk@riseup.net or using a bank account (write to the same e-mail address for details).

Address:
Please note that Aleksandr is currently being moved to a different prison in Rostov. We are waiting to confirm his new address.

http://avtonom.org/en/news/repressions-against-crimean-activists-political-context
http://wiki.avtonom.org/en/index.php/Aleksandr_Kolchenko

Alexey Sutuga

Alexey Sutuga is a longtime anarchist and anti-fascist who was arrested in April 5, 2014, for a fight with members of the ultra right in Moscow. He was sentenced on September 30, 2014, to three years and one month in prison for his alleged involvement in the fight.

However, this sentence comes in the context of an earlier case from April 2012, when he was arrested for allegedly taking part in a fight at a punk/hardcore concert in Moscow on December 17, 2011. The conflict began after club security, consisting of members of the far right, provoked guests. The concert was stopped prematurely because of the fight, but the security then attempted to take some of the audience hostage and threatened to call their nationalist football hooligan friends in reprisal. The audience members resisted and the club security opened fire with rubber coated metal bullets. However, the club security was neutralized and sent to the hospital. The case against Alexey and several others was eventually dropped in January 2014 on the eve of the Sochi Winter Olympics as part of the amnesty bill, approved as a PR stunt on initiative of Vladimir Putin.

Address:
Sutuga Alexey Vladimirovich 1986 g.r
Ispravitelnaya Koloniya № 2
Pervy Promyshlenniy massiv
kvartal 47
d. 6 g. Angarsk 665809
Irkutskaya oblast
RUSSIA

Please note: Moscow ABC advises that letters in English are seldom accepted in Russian prisons, so please write only in Russian (try using a translation program), or just send photos and postcards.

http://wiki.avtonom.org/en/index.php/Alexey_Sutuga

Sweden
Joel Almgren

Joel Almgren was sentenced to five years and six months for defending a local community-organized anti-racist demonstration in Stockholm against a brutal Nazi attack on December 15, 2013. The peaceful protest—against fascist assaults on local anti-racists and the dissemination of Nazi propaganda in area schools—was attacked with knives, sticks, and glass bottles by the most militant Nazi group in Sweden. Anti-fascists at the scene defended the demonstration from the attack and many were injured themselves.

Joel has over 4080 USD in fines, and his supporters are asking for help raising the money. The group can be contacted at the web site below.

He can read Swedish and English.

Address:
Joel Almgren
KVA Tidaholm
Skogsholmvägen
522 85 Tidaholm
SWEDEN

http://www.fanggruppen.com

https://www.facebook.com/freejoel

Linus Soinjoki

Linus Soinjoki was charged and convicted for actions related to his involvement in the anti-fascist movement in Sweden. He was given fourteen months in prison and began serving his sentence in mid-May 2015.

Linus can read Swedish and English.

Address:
[Update 7/12]We have received news that Linus would rather people contact a Swedish Antifa support page, Föreningen fånggruppen, for his address if people are interested in writing to him.

http://heyevent.com/event/keiajdw7gqvtga/free-linus-break-down-the-walls

NORTH AMERICA

United States
Luke O’Donovan

On New Year’s Eve of 2013, Luke O’Donovan attended a house party in Reynoldstown, a neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia. Luke was seen dancing with and kissing other men at the party. Later in the night he was insulted with homophobic slurs, and attacked by several people at once. Luke unsuccessfully attempted to escape, at which point several witnesses reported watching between five and twelve men ganging-up on Luke and stomping on his head and body, evidently with the intent to kill him. He was called a faggot before and during the attack, throughout the course of which he and five others were stabbed. Luke was subsequently imprisoned and charged with five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon as well as one count of attempted murder.

Luke’s trial concluded on August 12, 2014, when he accepted a negotiated plea deal. He agreed to a two year sentence beginning that day, and then eight years of harsh probation. The judge also banished Luke from the state of Georgia for the term of his probation.

He can read English.

Address:
Luke Patrick O’Donovan
#1001372271
Washington State Prison
P.O. Box 206
Davisboro, GA 31018
USA

https://letlukego.wordpress.com/

Jason Hammond

Jason Hammond accepted a non-cooperating guilty plea and was sentenced to forty-one months on January 2015 for his part in an organized direct action taken against a group of white supremacists.

In 2012, a group of racists and white supremacists organized a White Nationalist Economic Summit in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park. Groups of anti-fascists and anti-racists from the Midwest confronted the meeting and successfully shut down the event through a righteous melee. In the aftermath, five antifascists were arrested, and dubbed the Tinley Park 5. The five were sentenced to upwards of three years and all have since been released. Jason was arrested later, and is the last person still in jail for this action.

He can read English.

Address:
Jason Hammond, M50190
P.O. Box 500
Vandalia, IL 62471
USA

http://freejasonhammond.blogspot.com/
https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/0w0Ma/ab/94SfS3

General Deception

Below is a text recently written by some Bristol anti-fascists in light of the upcoming general & local elections

The General Election show is here and the politicians are doing their best to “perform”, to convince us that their particular brand really is something new and improved. But as the wheels of democracy put their spin on, look closely and you’ll see that all the supposedly different colours merge into one. Because when it comes to it, they all stand for just one thing: Capitalism.

Elections only serve to strengthen the system by presenting a carefully constructed illusion of influence, choice and change. In reality, voting changes nothing. Politicians always disappoint us with election promises quickly broken, serving not the people that elected them, but themselves alongside the rich and powerful interests they truly represent. Whoever you vote for, the rule of private property and profit remains unchanged. Whoever is at the controls, the state carries on it’s job, as always, as the instrument of class domination. A change of government will not change the attacks on us all: “austerity”, low pay and poverty, evictions and homelessness, police brutality and repression, surveillance, prisons, borders and nationalism, wars and racism… the list goes on and on. It’s not the players at the head of the state that we need to change, but the game itself. Shuffling the cards is futile when the deck remains the same.

Voting is an expression not of power, but of powerlessness. The clue, perhaps, is on the ballot paper itself. In school, a cross means “wrong” or “not the right answer”. We should apply the same thinking to all of the prospective candidates, their parties and the system they stand for. A cross in the box every four years means giving up our power to government and rulers who wield and abuse it while we have to patiently wait for the next elections for that all elusive chance for change. You will hear many people complaining how politicians have failed the working class. In truth, they can’t really be said to have failed if they never intended to help us out in the first place. Surely we’ve seen enough of the mismatch between what the greedy, lying, corrupt politicians say and what they do over the years to realise that real change is down to us rejecting their “proper channels” and false hopes for a better world. It’s time to abandon the sinking ship of parliamentary politics and instead vote with our feet and organise for ourselves.

What has all this got to do with antifascism?

Well, everything! Election time is one big celebration of their democracy. It’s not important who you vote for, just that you go along with it all and vote. But it’s no accident that the march of democracy worldwide has coincided with huge increases in inequalities of resources and power. In the so called pillar of democracies right here in U.K. Inc., we are seeing the greatest transfer from “the public purse” to private profit ever seen under the reign of Tories. This daylight robbery is being carried out without much fuss. “Democracy” uses unions, the very organisations supposedly fighting for workers, to disempower and pacify us perhaps even more effectively than the more forceful methods usually associated with dictatorships. But “democratic” states exert control and attack the working class with equal ferocity and ruthlessness as dictatorial regimes. They are simply better at disguising their tendency to totalitarianism, dressing it up with things like “tightening our belts” and making “tough choices”. Meanwhile the resulting conditions are just right for an upsurge in right wing politics, nationalism, immigrant blaming, racism and a divided working class. This is what we face today with the emergence of far right street groups like the EDL and Britain First.

We understand that fascism is inseparable from capitalism and the state. Beating fascism must mean destroying that which creates it: capitalism. We cannot fight one without coming up against the other and we see this most clearly in the police riot shields and batons protecting fascist demonstrations. Fascism, like the police, is a weapon of the rich to wage class war. Our antifascism must be part of a revolutionary class struggle movement and we have no interest in protecting their democracy as a “lesser evil” against fascism. While the routine and futile placing of hopes in boxes is enough for some, our hopes remain with our class and fighting together for a world free from police and politicians as well as fascists and all they stand for.

previous article written after last year’s local elections here

Operation GRhone and the Badger hunt

from Bristol Anarchist Black Cross

Picture of three people in badger masksWhen Bristol anarchist Huw ‘Badger’ Norfolk legged it somewhere in late-August 2011, word spread fast across Bristol’s anarchist & radical communities. His decision to absent himself from all and any police investigations was immediately apparent to the many friends he’d had no time to say good-bye to. No doubt many suspected this escape to somewhere would be short-lived. Instead nothing, just the one shout-out from online anonymity(1) two months later, in which he stated his non-compliance bluntly.

Fast-forwards to December 2014 and Badger’s face is staring at us from every national and many local media outlets. Crimestoppers and Avon & Somerset Police’s Operation Rhone announce a £10k reward for information, whilst forcing his parents in north-west Bristol into the media spotlight too(2). Badger is wanted for two specific actions, although no evidence is cited for either. It’s made clear the Badger hunt, and the two actions, are just a part of their investigation into over 100 actions by ‘persons unknown’(3) over the last four years.

So why the sudden flurry of police & media attention? In reality the police have been active all the time, supported by their slavish media-hounds at the Bristol Post. We, at Bristol Defendant Solidarity(4), have a timeline of their activity since August 2011, when victims of an unproductive police raid on a Bristol squat contacted us for support and advice. Since then police activity has ebbed & flowed, nothing for months, then intense activity, such as the last 6 months of 2014 – triggered it seems by forces from outside the area(5), which resulted in Operation Rhone being formally set up. As well as finding and arresting suspects, the aims of this operation include gathering intelligence on “the threat from domestic extremism” and to “maintain public confidence”. (6)

It is clear the police know nothing. No leads beyond Badger’s identity and statements posted online by ‘persons unknown’. So like a man blind-drunk in a dark alley, they’ve lashed out at anyone they think could be intimidated, or entrapped. There’ve been numerous arrests leading to extended police bail, and even taggings, with at least 6 since June 2014, but no convictions; searches of homes & vehicles; visits to homes & workplaces for a ‘chat’; phonecalls to private mobile numbers; harassment of individuals current & former partners; stops at airports; endless requests that people snitch; and no doubt countless incidences of covert surveillance. All to no avail, and at huge cost. There has now been one arrest and guilty plea relating to an incident on New Years Eve, but this appears to be a stand alone case and was not the result of Op Rhone work – even if they got involved afterwards. Operation Rhone is said to involve at least 10 CID officers – in any other line of work somebody would’ve been sacked by now!

One harassed individual’s statement sums it up: “One morning a few months ago, I woke up and found my house full of police. When I say full I mean literally – it was hard to move around! They had already arrested the person they’d come for. He was released a bit later with no charges and has now had the case against him dropped completely. If they didn’t even have enough evidence to charge him, I don’t see how they can justify raiding my house in the first place – I don’t think they had anything on him at all. Anyway, as well as taking electronic stuff (like a hard drive and laptop), they seemed to be bagging anything that looked political…”

Four mugshots of police

So why the wall of silence, and why the lack of police success? On the one hand they are harassing people – anarchists & radicals involved in public activity, musicians, and mere acquaintances – who clearly know nothing at all. On the other hand, the reality is that large numbers of people have a complete distrust of, and hatred for, the police. Whatever personal views people have on the validity of actions by ‘persons unknown’, they wont be co-operating with the police – they are the enemy, the heavy-handed arm of the state, and they have a long list of previous. Hence the many who supported a public ‘Statement against police harassment’(7). In addition to the timeline, Bristol Defendant Solidarity has published advice for people facing police harassment, and helped those who contacted us to get together and plan a response. Among other things, this group organised a protest at the headquarters of Bristol CID, which upset the police so much that they responded with armed officers and a dog unit. (8)

It is generally accepted the police exist to maintain the status quo – the rule of the few over the many. Their history of fit-ups, and denial of what limited rights we have, is endless. Their support for the bosses against workers struggles is continual. Their sexism & racism institutional. Their violence well documented as they kill with impunity(9). Their surveillance powers out of control. Their weaponry & equipment ever more militarised. Their undercover officers act as agent provocateurs and coerce individuals into relationships(10). Their corruption breathtaking. Complaints against them and investigations by the IPCC are rising, even the Chief Constable is suspended and the subject of an IPCC investigation(11). Why on earth would anyone, never mind the anarchists & radicals, have anything to do with them?

By Bristol Defendant Solidarity
(BDS is an independent, self funded group run by local volunteers, formed after the Stokes Croft riots in April 2011. We aim to provide effective, lasting unconditional support and solidarity to anyone arrested or imprisoned as a result of demos, riots, direct action and escalating class war. We take a clear stand against state repression and police brutality).