The identitarian movement is a European and North American far-right and white nationalist movement that originated in France. The identitarians began as a youth movement, with their name derived from the French Nouvelle Droite (New Right) Génération Identitaire, and the anti-Zionist and National Bolshevik Unité Radicale. Although initially the youth wing of the anti-immigration and nativist Bloc Identitaire, it has taken on its own identity and is largely classified as a separate entity altogether.
The movement is a part of the counter-jihad movement, with many adherents espousing the white genocide conspiracy theory. They also support the concept of a "Europe of 100 Flags" popularized by Yann Fouéré. The movement has also been described as part of the global alt-right.
In Sweden, identitarianism has been promoted by a now inactive organisation Nordiska förbundet, which founded the online encyclopedia Metapedia. It then mobilised a number of "independent activist groups" similar to their French counterparts, among them Reaktion Östergötland and Identitet Väst, who performed a number of political actions marked by a certain degree of civil disobedience. A 24-page first manifesto, aimed at defining the identitarian movement in Northern Europe, was published as Identitet och Metapolitik.
The main identitarian youth movement is Génération Identitaire in France, a youth wing of the Bloc Identitaire party.
The origin of the Italian chapter Generazione Identitaria dates back to 2012.
Markus Willinger, who grew up in Schärding, Austria, and is now a student of history and political science at the University of Stuttgart, published a 2013 manifesto entitled "Generation Identity: A Declaration of War Against the '68ers", (68ers being people whose political identities are seen as stemming from the social changes of the 1960s, what would be called baby boomer liberals in the US, or those sympathetic to them) and translated into English from German by Aetius. The book is considered the manifesto of the Identitäre Bewegung Österreichs, which was founded in 2012.
The movement also appeared in Germany and converged with preexisting circles, centered on the magazine Blaue Narzisse and its founder Felix Menzel, a martial artist and former German Karate Team Champion, who according to Gudrun Hentges – who worked for the official Federal Agency for Civic Education – belongs to the "elite of the movement". It has been a "registered association" since 2014. Drawing upon thinkers of the Nouvelle Droite and the Conservative Revolutionary movement such as Oswald Spengler, Carl Schmitt or the contemporary Russian Aleksandr Dugin, it played a role in the rise of the PEGIDA marches in 2014/15.
The identitarian movement has a close linkage to members of the German New Right, e.g., to its prominent member Götz Kubitschek and his journal Sezession, for which the identitarian speaker Martin Sellner writes.
As their symbol, the European Identitarian movement and Generation Identity, uses a yellow lambda sign, a symbol that was painted on the shields of the Spartan army – popularized by the film 300 – supposedly to commemorate the Battle of Thermopylae.
Members of the identitarian movement erected a new summit cross in a "provocative" act (as the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported) on the Schafreuter, after the original one had to be removed because of damage by an unknown person.
In June 2017 the PayPal donations account of the identitarian "Defend Europe" was locked, and the identitarian account of the bank "Steiermärkische Sparkasse" was closed. Defend Europe crowdfunded more than $178,000 to charter a ship in the Mediterranean. Its intention was ferry any rescued migrants back to Africa, observe any incursions by other NGO ships into Libyan waters, and report them to the Libyan coastguard. In the event, the ship chartered by GI suffered an engine failure, and had to be rescued by a ship from one of the NGOs rescuing migrants.
In October 2017, key figures of the identitarian movement met in London in efforts to target the United Kingdom, and discussed the founding of a British chapter as a "bridge" to link with radical movements in the US.
The United Kingdom and Ireland branch was launched in late October 2017 after a banner was unfurled on Westminster Bridge reading "Defend London, Stop Islamisation".
On 9 March 2018, Sellner and his girlfriend Brittany Pettibone were barred from entering the UK. The reason stated was that their presence was "not conducive to the public good."
Prior the ban, Sellner intended to deliver a speech to the Young Independence party, though they cancelled the event citing supposed threats of violence from the far-left. He intended to deliver his speech at Speakers' Corner in Hyde park prior to being detained and deported. In June 2018, Tore Rasmussen, a Norwegian activist who had previously been denied entry to the United Kingdom, was working in the Republic of Ireland to establish a local branch of Generation Identity.
In North America
The Traditionalist Youth Network/Traditionalist Worker Party is modeled after the European identitarian movement, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. The Identity Evropa movement labels itself identitarian, and is part of the alt-right. Richard Spencer's National Policy Institute is also a white nationalist movement, which advocates a version of identitarianism.
On 20 May 2017, two non-commissioned officers with the US Marines were arrested for trespassing after displaying a banner from a building in Graham, North Carolina, during a Confederate Memorial Day event. The banner included the identitarian logo, and the phrase "he who controls the past controls the future", a reference to George Orwell's novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, along with the acronym YWNRU, or "you will not replace us". The Marine Corps denounced the behavior and investigated the incident. A marine spokesperson commented to local news “Of course we condemn this type of behavior ... we condemn any type of behavior that is not congruent with our values or that is illegal.” Both men plead guilty to trespassing. One received military administrative punishment. The other was discharged from the corps.
Connection to the alt-right
The movement has been described as being part of the global alt-right, or as the European counterpart of the American alt-right. Hope Not Hate (HNH) has described identitarianism and the alt-right as "ostensibly separate" in origin, but with "huge areas of ideological crossover". Many white nationalists and alt-right leaders have described themselves as identitarians, and according to HNH, American alt-right influence is evident in European identitarian groups and events, forming an amalgamated "International Alternative Right". Figures within the Identitarian movements and alt-right often cite Nouvelle Droite founder Alain de Benoist as an influence. De Benoist rejects any alt-right affiliation, although he has worked with Richard B. Spencer, and once spoke at Spencer's National Policy Institute. As Benoist stated, "Maybe people consider me their spiritual father, but I don’t consider them my spiritual sons".
According to Christoph Gurk of Bayerischer Rundfunk, one of the goals of identitarianism is to make racism modern and fashionable. Austrian identitarians invited radical right-wing groups from across Europe, including several neo-Nazis groups, to participate in an anti-immigration march, according to Anna Thalhammer of Die Presse. There has also been Identitarian collaboration with the white nationalist activist Tomislav Sunić. The investigation by political scientist Gudrun Hentges came to the conclusion that the identitarian movement is ideologically situated between the French National Front, the Nouvelle Droite, and neo-Nazism.
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Identitarianism is a pan-European ethno-nationalist movement
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Identitarianism: A white nationalist movement with roots in Europe, popularized in the United States in the last couple years through groups like Identity Evropa fliering college campuses.
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Members of the ethno-nationalist Identitarian movement met in London over the weekend with the aim of starting a new British branch.
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- Media related to Identitarism at Wikimedia Commons