Socialist Worker

Austrian anti-fascists need funds to stop Freedom Party silencing them

by Linkswende
Issue No. 2437

A recent issue of Linkswende

Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache and his team of lawyers are trying to silence the anti-fascist movement by pressing charges against the socialist paper Linkswende in several law suits.

The charges are against our placards at demonstrations against a 2012 corporate student ball hosted by the Freedom Party in Vienna. These compared Strache to Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik, with the slogan “Different faces—same hatred”.

Linkswende is best known in Austria’s anti-fascist movement for confronting the Freedom Party, saying it is a truly fascist party. It is important to expose this which is too often overlooked.

Strache has demonstrated alongside the Wiking Jugend, one of the hardest neo-Nazi terrorist organisations, which was involved in the killing of 13 people and wounding of 211 at the Munich Oktoberfest in 1980.

The media has published pictures of Strache posing with weapons in a neo-Nazi camp together with convicted neo-Nazis, but he was never even questioned about these cases. Breivik hailed the Freedom Party in his manifesto. Public statements by Strache so often resemble Breivik’s that it is hard to say who copied who.

We can have no confidence that the Austrian courts will uphold free expression for anti-fascists. We were sentenced in the first trial after just 20 minutes as the judge refused to hear evidence proving these close links between Strache and Breivik.

And there are now no less than five lawsuits pending. Past experience shows that these kinds of lawsuits are unlikely to be defeated in Austrian courts, and that is why we are planning to go to the European Court. The cost of doing this is high—our lawyer estimates a minimum of 26,000 euros (£19,900), but most likely it will be more. Yet not to fight back in this way would allow the Freedom Party to silence us by forcing us into bankruptcy.

That is why we are urgently appealing for financial support

We call on all organisations of the labour and anti-racist movements as well as democratic public opinion to declare their solidarity with Linkswende and against what the Freedom Party is trying to do. You can also support us by helping to raise the money necessary. Please ask trade unions, NGOs, and activists of the labour and anti-racist movements to support us financially.

Our collection started ten weeks ago and has got off to a good start, but there is a long way to go.

Send your messages of support to linkswende@linkswende.org

Please send donations to:

Linkswende
IBAN: AT08 1400 0047 1066 0102
BIC: BAWAATWW
Verwendungszweck (purpose): Spende gegen Strache
Bank: BAWAG P.S.K., 1018 Wien


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Article information

International
Tue 20 Jan 2015, 17:29 GMT
Issue No. 2437
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