The Michigan Solidarity Bail Fund originated in the aftermath of March 5th, 2018, when an antifascist coalition shut down a planned white nationalist speaking event on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing. Fascists had billed March 5th as their next step forward after the previous summer’s bloodshed in Charlottesville. Instead it marked the decisive end to a wave of public organizing for the alt-right. This community victory over racist street organizing was secured through the hard work and coordination of countless people from around the state, the region, and the country, but it came at the cost of multiple arrests. Following a predictable pattern, police targeted those who had come out to defend themselves and their neighbors, charging several with felonies and detaining them in unsafe conditions for more than 24 hours.
Comrades scrambled to raise the necessary bail funds and to navigate the process of getting the antifascist arrestees out of jail. Generous support, monetary and otherwise, flowed in from many directions and persisted for months until all the legal cases were resolved.
We showed up for each other, and we got through it. As members of the coalition who organized to defend Lansing against a resurgent far right, we continue to draw inspiration from this show of solidarity and collective power. And we want to carry the same spirit forward in resisting structural violence that harms members of our communities every day. We recognize deep connections between the fight against emergent fascism and the struggle to abolish an existing carceral order where pre-trial detention serves to criminalize poverty, to punish vulnerability, and to extend the traumas of white supremacy. The hustling required in the wake of March 5th to raise the necessary funds and to learn how to interface with the unforgiving state bureaucracy also highlights a need for bail infrastructure within our movements and our communities.
Whether arrests take place at public demonstrations or in everyday spaces subject to state surveillance and violence, the same oppressive systems are at work. On March 5th we won an amazing victory against those forces together. Now, by taking small but concrete steps to empty Michigan’s cages, we’ll keep building toward the world we want to see.
The Michigan Solidarity Bail Fund is a small collective with members from around the state who are engaged in anti-prison, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist organizing and who are committed to utilizing this fund to bail out those most in need and most at risk. We encourage anyone who knows someone currently being held in pretrial detention to reach out to us. We also encourage people who fear that there may be arrests at an upcoming demonstration or protest to reach out to the Michigan Solidarity Bail Fund prior to the time of action if they wish to request funds for bail.