An “anti-fascist” board game that encourages Leftist activists to throw excrement at their foes has been pulled from the shelves of one of France’s biggest retail chains.
Antifa, the Game had been on sale at Fnac retail stores for the past month after all 4,000 of an earlier version sold out online.
A far cry from Monopoly, makers insist it's a fun way of training future activists on how to “counter far-Right acts of violence” by putting up “an equally strong or stronger resistance”.
“Racism, sexism, nationalism, that’s enough! Against the far-Right, it’s your turn to play,” reads the board cover.
Cards include “fascists trigger a fight in a bar”, “gay couple attacked in city centre”, and “a migrant aid group needs help”.
To respond, players have 17 options, ranging from “meeting/debate” to “demonstration”, “distributing pamphlets” or “offensive action”.
Makers say violence is not the main thrust but can be used. The worst “weapon” is the “cacatof”, namely a bottle full of “merde” that can be thrown at enemies.
“It's a game to raise awareness about all dimensions of activism. We have no problem with offensive action but at no time does the game glorify attacking people. It can condone attacking assets but not people,” said the game's author, who goes by the name of Hervé de la Horde.
“We're not Leftists with a knife between our teeth”, he told Le Monde.
However, SCPN, the national police chief union, took umbrage. “Does Fnac have any comment on promoting ‘antifas’ who smash, burn and attack during demonstrations?,” it asked.
David Le Bars, a union rep, said: “We didn’t say the game incites violence but it condones groups that are (violent). Today, these very same movements style themselves as anti-capitalist, anti-forces of repression, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, etc.”
“Antifas are more and more present in demonstrations and more often than not they are the ones behind vandalism,” he told Le Monde.
On Sunday night, Fnac responded by saying it would withdraw sales of the game.
“We understand that commercialising this 'game' may have offended certain sections of our public. We will make sure that it is no longer available in the coming hours,” they said. On Monday, the board game was no longer on Fnac’s website.
The controversy has struck a chord at a time when the hard-Left and hard-Right have made major gains in parliament and their MPs are engaged in frequent slanging matches.
Indeed, first to complain about the game was Marine Le Pen’s hard-Right National Rally (RN) party.
“Square 1: ‘I block a university’, Square 2, ‘I beat up a Right-wing militant’, Square 3: ‘I attack a National Rally meeting’, Square 4: ‘I throw a petrol bomb at the police’, Fnac aren't you ashamed?” wrote RN MP Grégoire de Fournas.
The nationalist politician recently sparked outrage in parliament for shouting: “Send him back to Africa” to a black Leftist MP during a speech calling for France to welcome migrants stuck on a boat off Italy.
“To give pride of place to antifascists, hateful groups who only know violence to attack our democracy and what we hold dearest in our country…Absolutely scandalous,” wrote his colleague Victor Catteau.
Upon news of the withdrawal, RN called it “this weekend’s good news”.
SCPN, which stipulated it was an “apolitical” union, simply said: “Merci”.
But Nicolas Norrito, co-founder of Libertalia, the game’s publisher, said he was “wounded” by Fnac’s decision.
“We are appalled that Fnac has stooped so low today when it was co-founded by two anti-fascists, including one - Max Théret - who went to fight Franco’s troops in Spain in 1936,” he told Le Monde.
He also accused Fnac of double standards for banning the game while allowing books by far-Right Swiss conspiracy theorist Alain Soral, convicted several times for racism and homophobia, and the late revisionist historian Robert Faurisson to remain on its shelves or website.