July 25th is the International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners. Around the world, antifascist activists are languishing in prisons. It’s a minor inconvenience to take a very few minutes out of your day to write to a prisoner. But when they receive such a note, it is a powerful reminder to the prisoner that they are neither alone nor forgotten, and that their sacrifices are not in vain.
The origin of this annual event is in a 2014 day of solidarity for an Australian man, Jock Palfreeman, who was imprisoned in Bulgaria after a fight in which he defended two men from a racist attack by fascist football hooligans. Although he has since been released, Palfreeman’s case had drawn comparatively little attention outside the two countries, and the day was designed to help raise awareness and solidarity about his case.
The International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners started in 2015, as the previous year’s organizers sought to extend solidarity to include the many different antifascists in prison, as quite a few had received little support or attention. This was especially true of those in Eastern Europe—and particularly Russia—where antifascists face frequent arrests, are sometimes tortured, have biased trials, and then must suffer terrible prison conditions. Over the years, solidarity actions have happened across the globe. This year the call for solidarity is available in eighteen languages, including Vietnamese, Indonesian, Yiddish, and Arabic.
In the past, there were consulate demonstrations, benefit punk shows, letter-writing nights, banner drops, and support videos—although this year coronavirus will obviously be a bit of a damper. However, this is all the more reason to take this day to put up flyers, buy a benefit t-shirt, or—most importantly—write a letter to a prisoner. All of this information, including prisoners’ names and information about how to write them, is available at: https://supportantifaprisoners.wordpress.com. And if you post online about this, please use the #J25antifa hashtag.
For 2020, the event is being coordinated by Antifa International and the International Antifascist Defense Fund, but just like the antifascist movement itself, the Day of Solidarity itself is a decentralized event. Local organizers have always been encouraged to make the day their own, such as by adding other prisoners they support to their local call. Especially this year, please consider also supporting those imprisoned in the George Floyd protests and other Black Live Matter demonstrations and related antiracist struggles.
Just as the antifascist movement is only one piece in a larger puzzle of movements against oppression, prisoner solidarity should also be thought of in a broad, intersectional context as well.
In Oregon, antifascist prisoner Gage Halupowski is serving a prison sentence of nearly six years due to charges from a counter demonstration against a far-right rally in Portland on June 29, 2019. You can write to Gage, who is also a radical climate activist and anarchist, at:
Gage Halupowski #21894460
Snake River Correctional Institution
777 Stanton Boulevard
Ontario, OR 97914-83305