Let's talk about the activities of Role Play Benefit, the Modenese play laboratory project that raises funds for the processes of progressive activists.
As you well know, we Seekers are always interested in combine role play with social and political activism, as well as using the RPG to talk about important issues. Over time, we've talked about several such projects, from the three Genderplay (which we've talked about Thu, Thu, Thu e Thu) to the use of role play as educational tool in schools.
Today, however, we will talk about a Modenese project that combines progressive political activism and role play. It is about Role Play Benefits, an all-online playful workshop organized, starting this November, by members of various anti-fascist organizations in Modena, such as Guernica Collective, Provincial Coordination of Modena of the Cobas Intercategory Syndicate, the information portal Without Neighborhood and People's Council of the Italpizza strike.
On his Facebook page ., Role Play Benefit organizes online role play sessions where it is possible (but not mandatory!) To make donations for pay the legal fees of the Modena activists who, on 11 May 2016, opposed the eviction of Sant'Eufemia. Currently, Role Play Benefit has garnered over €300 thanks to several RPG evenings. The proposed titles range from D&D and Warhammer FRP, to unpublished such as Passion of the Passions e Thirsty Sword Lesbians.
Since Role Play Benefit is a project that interests us a lot, we decided to interview the people who created it for you!
Hello everyone and thanks for your availability. Let's start from the beginning. How, when and why was the Role Play Benefit project born?
To answer this we have to anticipate question number 4. It is precisely because of the pandemic and the consequent risks in meeting more people that the idea of the Role Play Benefit was born as a social activity that could also be carried out at a distance.
Over the past few years and up until a few months ago, we hadn't had the idea of this business as something that could go towards legal fees. In our experiences for this form of solidarity recreational initiatives were used in public places, social spaces, sometimes even trade union offices; in practice, dinners, concerts, book presentations were an occasion for financial support for legal expenses. It was in these months that, finding other forms of socializing at a distance, the idea came.
What are the progressive causes you support and pursue with Role Play Benefit?
They are many.
In recent years we have ranged from environmental causes that have affected our city (overbuilding and land consumption), to struggles in the workplace, in the productive districts of the province, for a fair and worthy salary, against hiring and spurious cooperatives: phenomena that unfortunately are present and widespread even in the north. We have carried on fights for the house, for the right to housing. In the past, collectives of students and university students were also active. We argued battles for social spaces and for the right to the city, manifested together with Non Una Di Meno. We took sides alongside asylum seekers when they took to the streets and in general we tried to stay inside and support all the instances that we found right within the only three stakes we set: anti-racism, antissexism e anti-fascism.
In what contexts was it necessary to raise funds for the related expenses of militants of progressive causes?
For now we have started limiting ourselves to the city of Modena, in which we live, and therefore to the issues that we have seen as the most important in recent years in this area, in which we have more or less actively participated. To start from the practical example we are now collecting the costs of the trial that sees imputat * numeros * militants who they opposed the eviction of two housing occupations in the center of Modena two years ago. It is clear that, as elsewhere, the problem of complaints and trials of militant * activists * and people active in social claims is much wider.
Always perimeter of the speech to our province, in the last two years alone there have been hundreds of complaints to as many people for strikes in the world of logistics and the meat district. In fact, the Modena one is one of the largest in Europe. It struck us how in 2019, compared to the national territory, in our province there were the highest numbers of "political" complaints. They were comparable only in quantity to those against the NoTav movement in Val di Susa. A comparison that, with attentive eyes to the theme, can make an impression.
Also in our territory there are numerous trials of those who practiced anti-fascism, those who took part in occupations and re-appropriation of buildings trying to counter building speculations. The examples could be so many. Indeed perhaps this question stimulates us to deepen this discourse even better in the future
How has the current covid-19 crisis changed your business? How did you deal with these changes?
In truth, the Covid-19 crisis came at a time when our activities were already changing. Obviously his arrival has made the situation worse, it has aggravated it enormously. The lockdown somehow deprived us of a location and we had to reinvent ourselves, readjust ourselves. Something worked, something else didn't.
Has role play always played an important role (HA!) In your socially engaged activities? Or is it a new activity that you have approached during this pandemic?
It is not the first time that the world of the game and the world of progressive causes meet: there are, in fact, numerous presentations or game nights in social spaces. Here in Modena, at the Scossa, for example, there was the presentation of Riot - The board game.
There are not a few militants who are part of the game community and the lockdown has intensified the sessions, as there is not much else to do but find yourself rolling on Discord. In the first lockdown it was an important element of sociality, so it seemed like a good idea to put individual parties in contact to create common evenings.
Do you also use role play as a tool for reflection and awareness of social issues?
Some_ of us do, are experts in this!
There are projects in schools that use both RPG and GRV to explore complex themes.
As for the more "mature" game tables, yes, we believe that the RPG allows us to analyze real problems with the lens of dystopia (think for example of Dura-Lande) or that of simulation (a great classic is the theme of racism through D&D). RPG is common ground, a mask, someone else's interpretation.
In this way, even those who are very far from areas of social struggle, through identification can understand that basically these battles are aimed at what every hero is looking for: a little justice!
What titles do you propose for your online Role Play Benefit sessions? How do you choose them?
The titles are proposed by those who have given their willingness to play the role of master (and they are so much that we will never stop thanking them). Every week we offer different titles and different game systems, from traditional to the most independent. Every week we bring out the calendar of tables, which anyone who wants to can book.
What was the reaction of the RPG community to Role Play Benefit?
For now it seems to have been very good.
We would like to clarify that the "Benefit" part is not mandatory. In fact, this project wants first of all to create sociality at a time when it is not easy to be able to spend time with people and make known what are the problematic nodes that cause social injustice.
At the moment, do you think that Role Play Benefit is working and that you are achieving the objectives you set out to do?
From the point of view of create communities, Yup. There is still a bit of shyness about participation at the tables: not everyone_ is used to playing online (let's face it, it's not as nice as being in front of 100 beers) and not everyone_ still feels safe to be playing with perfect strangers .
To all those who would like to play but are ashamed, we want to say that Role Play Benefit is one safe space, in which judgment is definitely left out. Furthermore, being a place where 2 different worlds meet, the presence of "noob_" is quite high, so ban on insecurity and let's have fun together!
What are your plans for the future? How will Role Play Benefit evolve and what causes will it support?
The dream would be to create a "resistance case"(Technical term, sorry) that can go to support various national struggles after having solved those 2 or 3 local problems that we find ourselves (just think that only for the Italpizza strike there are more than 480 complaints). As a Modenese node we are in close contact with other Italian movements and therefore it will not be complicated to divert funds where they are needed (NoTav, NoTap, trade union disputes…).
Two concluding words and information on how to support Role Play Benefit
We thank the activists and activists of Role Play Benefit for this interview. We hope they can raise enough funds to advance their cause.
If you would like to support this project, we report the details for making a donation:
Account in the name of: Emanuele Fancinelli
Email: [email protected]