[Marxism] In this game, you go to Guantánamo, not jail

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 19 09:52:31 MST 2006

Posted on Sun, Mar. 19, 2006
In this game, you go to Guantánamo, not jail
Patriot Act: The Home Version is a sendup of Monopoly 
that pokes fun at the controversial law. In it, players 
lose their civil liberties instead of cash.
Associated Press

HAMILTON, N.J. - In this sendup of ''Monopoly,'' players don't pass
''Go'' and they don't go directly to jail -- they go to the detention
center for suspected terrorists at the Guantánamo Bay Naval base in

Instead of losing cash for landing on certain squares, they lose
civil liberties. And the ''Mr. Monopoly'' character at the center of
the board is replaced by a scowling former Attorney General John

Patriot Act: The Home Version pokes fun at ''the historic abuse of
governmental powers'' by the recently renewed antiterrorism law.

But while it may be fun, creator Michael Kabbash, a graphic artist
and civil rights advocate, is serious about how he feels the law has
curtailed Americans' freedom.

The object of the game is not to amass the most money or real estate,
but to be the last player to retain civil liberties.

'I've had people complain to me that when they play, nobody wins.
They say `We're all in Guantánamo and nobody has any civil liberties
left,' '' he said. 'I'm like `Yeah, that's the point.' ''

The real Patriot Act, passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist
attacks and renewed earlier this month, gave law enforcement new
investigative and prosecutorial powers. Critics say it unacceptably
impinges on civil liberties, but the government defends the law as a
vital tool that has helped prevent another terrorist attack.


Kabbash decided to keep Ashcroft as the visual focus of the game,
even though he stepped down in January 2005, because ``he really is
the icon that people associate with the Patriot Act.''

In a nod to President Bush's prewar comments, the ''Go'' space in is
renamed ''Bring It On!'' Players roll the dice to determine how many
civil liberties they start out with, accumulating them from a variety
of categories: U.S. citizens get five; noncitizens get one. Whites
and Asians get five; Arabs one. Ultra right-wingers get six;
Democrats get three to four.

Instead of landing on, say Oriental Avenue, players land on a
color-coded space corresponding to the national terrorist alert. A
player who lands on a red space loses one civil liberty, as does
anyone else within five spaces. A player who lands on an orange space
gets to designate another player to lose one civil liberty.

''Chance'' cards are now ''Homeland Security Cards,'' with orders
such as, ''FBI wants you for questioning: Lose one turn'' and ``You
provide the local authorities with speculative information on your
next door neighbor: Collect one civil liberty from each player.''


Kabbash, of Green Brook, created a few full board sets but is also
distributing the game free over the Internet, with the game board and
playing cards all printable.

More than 2,000 copies have been downloaded since it debuted in 2004.

''I wanted it to be not only a parody but a teaching tool,'' said
Kabbash, 38, who teaches graphics at the College of New Jersey.

``This is my way of putting my political ideas forward, hoping people
will wake up. There's a lot of apathy, and we have to realize that
we're in a democracy, that we're all allowed to say something.''

Ashcroft had no comment on the game when asked about it Saturday
during a crime conference in Miami, but he laughed when told ''jail''
had been replaced with Guantánamo Bay.

U.S. Justice Department public affairs did not immediately return a
call Saturday seeking comment.

Kabbash says his next project will probably have something to do with
the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program.

He is reasonably certain ``there's a file on me somewhere.''

Asked if the FBI keeps a file on Kabbash, a bureau spokesman refused
to comment.

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