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It’s been a year since the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville and alt-right groups are still trying to mainstream white supremacy. While the aftermath of the rally would ensure public outrage at the organizers, the delusional unification of these groups would soon erupt, splintering an allegedly cohesive group into various factions.
One group in particular, which predates Trump’s nomination, hit full stride during the rally in Charlottesville and was present in Richmond only a short while ago.
What were they doing? Collecting our trash.
This was no selfless gesture, however, but part of their nationwide ‘Weekend of Service’ – their latest project to mainstream a modern version of white supremacy. The group’s name is Identity Evropa (IE), and they are the cure to our “anarcho-tyrannical” society (in other words, if you’re a straight up white dude).
Instead of taking an offensive strategy through public rallies, IE took note of what they believe didn’t work during Unite the Right. Priding themselves on operational security, they only unveil logistics to members and sympathizers who pass two prior screenings and several Skype interviews before being allowed to enjoy IE’s private server. This includes information on upcoming events, fellow members in the area, and discussion boards to examine white persecution and biodiversity – this is not your grandfather’s KKK.
Their main project, dubbed “Project Siege,” has the group trekking across college campuses and public spaces. So far they have tagged over 60 metropolitan areas with white empowerment propaganda full of trite revelations about the need to restore the ‘supermajority’ in America.
Out on the front lines of the white supremacist movement, IE operates its influence operation through a campaign of guerilla “optics” in public spaces – primarily through the use of provocative banner drops and flyering – but also heavy social networking.
Identified as a white supremacist organization by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the group that claims to have more than 1,000 members nationwide. They are seen as a legitimate threat, and for good reason.
IE targets professors and “professional anti-racists,” who promote and teach courses that clash with white nationalist ideology or do not align with the group’s victim narrative.
They are also heavily reliant on the immigration debate to further their ideology, denouncing “sanctuary cities” and using examples like the murder of Kate Steinle as proof of the danger that black and brown people pose.
Professor Gregory Smithers, a Native American history and Cherokee studies professor at VCU, focuses on the history of racism and provides some clarity on how IE are mainstreaming their ideology. “The leaders of these groups aspire to be taken seriously,” Smithers said. “This attempted normalization is a way to try to achieve it while also providing cover for the young hot-heads who crave violent confrontations.”
IE claims they aren’t “white supremacists” because they don’t believe that white people should govern over non-white people.
“We still identify IE as a white supremacist group,” said Marilyn Mayo, senior research fellow at ADL Center for Extremism who spoke with RVA Mag about emerging white supremacist groups. “Nathan Damigo [the leader of IE], adopted white supremacy when he created the group.”
And this is true.
Before the group’s inception in 2016, former-Marine Nathan Damigo went to prison for assaulting an Iraqi cab driver. This is where he discovered pro-white literature and where the pathway to white supremacism came about.
Within a growing ecosystem of hate groups and white supremacists, Damigo found new purpose upon being released, but would prove too aggressive to spread IE’s message. Damigo eventually resigned, along with several like-minded followers following the events at Unite the Right, allowing for new CEO Patrick Casey to take over.
Under Casey’s leadership, IE started operating under the streamlined moniker of an “American Identitarian” organization. This involved mainly private conferences and civil service projects organized under tight control to improve the organization’s public image without running the risk of public criticisms, effectively distancing IE from the worst excesses of the alt-right and white supremacy.
Casey differs from Damigo in that he models the “intellectual racist” after the likes of Jared Taylor and others from American Renaissance and ex-Klan lawyer Sam Dickson. As described in an expose by The Outline, the writer highlights conference events where frat boys gather to deliver speeches on “Race Realism.” From this position, they can double down on nonsensical beliefs like ‘biological purity.’
According to Mayo, Casey and his followers have represented IE at Breitbart socials, Conservative Political Action Committees, and Gateway conferences; each time bringing themselves into the political discussion as a legitimate group with legitimate opinions.
True to IE’s collegiate image of the “racist intellectual,” attendees at their closed weekend conferences wear suits and ties – part of mainstreaming process – as a way to sway potential recruits. Upon attaining membership, each recruit is instructed to keep their outfits tidy, stay off drugs, and keep their hair well groomed and parted.
If that isn’t enough, IE also has a marketing strategy with t-shirts, bags, phone cases, banners, and posters, along with other paraphernalia adorned with interesting designs to draw in uninspired youth.
As their namesake implies, IE believes identity matters. According to SPLC reports, IE filters out anyone they believe does not conform to their version of European identity, including those with tattoos, people with dark skin, convicts, Jews–identity questions asked during the interview process as this isn’t the European heritage they wish to promote.
Unsurprisingly, their warcry bears a striking familiarity to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan: Action, Leadership, Identity–America First, End Immigration -making claims like replacing the native population in a country with foreigners is treasonous. While the group is openly anti-Semitic, (stating any “white” resister to their cause mustbe Jewish), their posters feature an image of Michelangelo’s David–ironically a Jewish king.
“The glory of white civilization is something they think is being lost, and regardless of whether it is historically accurate,” Mayo said. “They want to promote that.”
Few women join the group, and for good reason. When women are referenced in IE’s ideology or associated with past European tradition, they are painted as objective treasures, the fruit of their pridelands, and always at the risk of capture by any non-whites (or Jews).
IE implies women are given the privilege to full citizenship, even though they are weaker, as a product of male generosity. A photo of a recent event showed some of their members in attendance, all but one were men.
With a basic understanding of irony, one could laugh at their attempt to mainstream; nonetheless, the problem is their strategy is working. This group, as well as other white supremacist groups like Patriot Front and Operation Homeland, have continued to grow for the fourth straight year – especially in Virginia – according to a report by the SPLC.
Hiding under the guise of “ethno-pluralists,” IE and other groups like theirs, believe in the creation and return to a country that is white only. According to Smithers, this rebranding is hardly new.
“I would say that the idea of an ethno-state is it isn’t a new concept,” Smithers said. “It is an idea that was central to the states that passed Jim Crow laws during the late 19th and early 20th century.” He added that the idea of an entho-state inspired the system of apartheid in South Africa, along with “settler societies” like those in Australia as a way to “breed out the color.”
One of the many problems with this ideology is that there is no distinct example of what European descent actually is.
“You have people, young white males in particular, that want to belong to a greater cause, but feel alienated in some of today’s issues like white guilt and not having their own groups on campus,” Mayo said. “But at the end of the day, we do not really know what their true end goal is.”
Hate crimes in the US are still on the rise and studies are linking this increase to white nationalism. In A Psychological Profile of the Alt-Right, researchers Patrick S. Forscher and Nour S.Kteily, studied the likelihood of violent acts toward people of different races. According to their analyses, alt-right “adherents” expressed significant “Dark Triad Traits”: social dominance orientation, authoritarianism, and aggression. Participants also exhibited extreme levels of “overt intergroup bias,” including, “blatant dehumanization of racial minorities.” Therefore, the idea was never to embrace the tradition of European ancestors, but to provide a smokescreen for their racism and anti-Semitism.
America was forged by the hands of refugees, outcasts, and multiple cultures–a haven for those who didn’t belong. But the US has also abused that idea since its inception; this country was built on the backs of those who were enslaved and disenfranchised. This is the America they are fighting to return to.
IE and groups like theirs ultimately hide their ideology in plain sight. Their talk of nationalism vs. globalism is a pseudo-scientific facade masquerading as mainstream politics, which is equal parts comedy and terrifying.
“The horseshoe theory is a favorite of the alt-right,” Smithers said in closing. “In short, it’s a way for fascist and extreme right-wing groups to conflate their hateful worldview with those of mainstream political theories.”
Even with their abrasive personalities, marketing innovations or creative community service projects, bigots are still bigots. And no service project or clean suit will make them anything more than douches with a trash bag–remember, even the Klan did highway clean-up.