Street-level politics, more specifically an ongoing conflict between white supremacist demonstrators and antifa, or anti-fascist counterprotesters, has become a big news story following the rise of Donald Trump. Now a gun company is using anger over antifa to sell dangerous assault rifles to only one side.
Spike’s Tactical, a gun company, previewed an ad on its Facebook page that depicts four heavily armed white men standing on the opposite side of a barrier and facing down a group of masked, unarmed antifa protesters. The ad mentions the sites of several political clashes that took place last year, including Berkeley, California; Portland, Oregon; Boston; and Charlottesville, Virginia. In the latter city, neo-Nazis and white supremacists arrived at a rally heavily armed last August, and a driver struck a peaceful counterprotester with his car, killing her.
“Not today Antifa,” a tagline to the violence-teasing ad declares. Antifa, it should be noted, is a style of protest used by leftists and not a formal organization with a hierarchy.
The ad, which anti-fascists worry is fueling a desire to kill leftists, was run in conjunction with a clothing company called Pipe Hitters Union, which also posted the same version of the ad on its Facebook page. Newsweek reached out to both companies for a comment about the ad but did not immediately receive a response.
Of course, owning a gun is not connected with any specific political ideology, and as a result, some gun owners were unhappy with the post.
“Thanks for showing everyone you stand with the fascists,” a commenter wrote under the post to Spike’s Tactical. “Good to know.”
“Something tells me your WWII Grandparents need to have a talk with you,” another commenter wrote to the company, referring to the Americans who fought against Nazi Germany.
“I’ll make sure to never ever buy gear from y’all. Thanks for the heads up, assholes,” another person wrote.