American Identity Movement
|Also known as||AmIM, AIM, IE (formerly)|
|Motives||To seize control of the US government and establish a white ethnostate; To spread support for white nationalism|
|Size||roughly 800 as of July 2018|
Identity Evropa (//), rebranded as American Identity Movement in March 2019, is an American neo-Nazi and white supremacist organization established in March 2016. The group is identified as a white supremacist organization by the Anti-Defamation League and is designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
Leaders and members of Identity Evropa, such as former leader Eli Mosley, have praised Nazi Germany and have openly pushed for what they described as the "Nazification of America". The white supremacist slogan "You will not replace us" originated from the group. In an attempt to boost its numbers, Identity Evropa has allied itself with the broader white nationalist alt-right and identitarian movements and the group particularly targets college campuses by distributing slogans on fliers, posters, and stickers. It is one of several groups which have contributed to the rapid growth of white nationalism in the U.S. since 2015.
In March 2018, it was reported that the group was seeing steep declines in membership. The collapse has been seen in other alt-right groups, and has been attributed to widespread public backlash against neo-Nazism and white supremacy since the 2017 Charlottesville rally. In March 2019, following a leak of the group's more than 770,000 Discord messages published by the non-profit left-wing media collective Unicorn Riot, Patrick Casey, the group's leader, rebranded the group with the new name "American Identity Movement" with an Americana aesthetic.
The organization's founder, Nathan Damigo (//), is a self-described member of the identitarian movement. Damigo grew up in San Jose, California, and was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps from 2004 to 2007. In November 2007, Damigo robbed a La Mesa, California, taxicab driver at gunpoint, believing that the man was Iraqi. Damigo was convicted of armed robbery and was incarcerated for a year in county jail and four years in state prison. He said of the event that "it's something that I'm certainly not proud of," attributing his behavior to "major issues" after returning from Iraq.
In prison, Damigo began to read works by far-right figures, including former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke. He was also influenced by J. Philippe Rushton and Nicholas Wade. After being released from prison in 2014, Damigo led the National Youth Front, the youth wing of the American Freedom Party. The group was classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Anti-Defamation League, with the SPLC reporting that it was founded by "racist Southern California skinheads that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule." The National Youth Front later disbanded. Damigo founded Identity Evropa in March 2016. His activities with "racist organizations" has been disavowed by his father.
In the aftermath of the Unite the Right rally, the leadership position passed onto Elliot Kline, aka Eli Mosley. The group participated in the planning for the October 19, 2017 speech by Richard B. Spencer, a white supremacist, at the University of Florida, where Mosley also spoke. In addition to Spencer and Mosley, the speakers included Mike Enoch, a white nationalist blogger. The event drew about 2,500 protestors, vastly outnumbering Spencer's supporters.
Re-branding as "American Identity Movement"
In March 2019, the non-profit left-wing media collective Unicorn Riot released more than 770,000 messages leaked from Discord channels related to the group. The leaks had been published on the "Discord Leaks platform" established by Unicorn Riot. Within the leaked chat logs, members of the groups are discovered to have laid out plans to "infiltrate" local Republican parties and win public offices, plans to influence local media to garner positive coverage, as well as plans for rebranding the group's racism and antisemitism with the "identitarian" label and innocuous-sounding slogans such as "Make America Beautiful Again". The Southern Poverty Law Center commented that the group's rebrands "offers further cover to smuggle white nationalist views into mainstream politics", and that its attempts to influence media for spreading propaganda and recruiting were "often successful". Shortly after the leak, Patrick Casey said that the group "has been retired" and announced the formation a new group, "American Identity Movement". The SPLC commented that the new group will continue Identity Evropa's efforts at "quietly working to normalize their ideas within the Republican Party." After the leak, Discord removed Identity Evropa' chat channels from the platform. The group switched to Slack, but was again removed shortly. Zelle stated that they would investigate and remove associated accounts, after journalists informed the platform that Identity Evropa was using it to raise funds. Legal documents filed to the Arizona Corporation Commission under the AIM front group "Foundation for American Society" was found to have used Identity Evropa's email address.
The leak of Identity Evropa's Discord messages led to journalists and antifascist activists exposing the identities of many of its members. Following the leak, an investigation by HuffPost revealed that seven Identity Evropa members were also currently serving in the U.S. armed forces and were actively disseminating Identity Evropa materials in their communities. According to military spokespersons, several of them were being investigated by their military branches. A Chesterfield County Police officer who was working as a school resource officer at a local high school was also identified as a pledge coordinator for Identity Evropa. The officer was suspended from his position, and the Chesterfield police chief began the process for him to be fired per Virginia law. In April 2019, a teacher at Valley Christian School near San Jose, California was placed on paid leave while the school investigated allegations he was a member of the group, based on leaked chat logs. In the same month, a master sergeant of the U.S. Air Force's 50th Space Wing was being investigated by the military as a possible member, again based on leaked chat logs. The sargent had allegedly posted photographs of himself applying group stickers, holding banners, and painting Identity Evropa's logo on an underpass in Colorado Springs. Also in April, a 19-year-old National Guard recruit from Chaska, Minnesota and a member of the group, was recalled from basic training and investigated by the Minnesota National Guard.
In late April 2019, Unicorn Riot published several audio recordings of the group's weekly meetings. These audio recordings reveal that, despite Casey's claim that American Identity Movement is not a rebrand of Identity Evropa, the two are in fact the same group. Matthew Warner, the group's second-in-command, admitted in the recordings that Identity Evropa's membership list and dues payments directly carry over to the AIM, and reiterated that the group would only accept non-Jewish White Americans. After the Discord leak, the groups has used stricter vetting processes in an attempt to prevent future leaks, where members are required to make two Skype calls and one in-person meeting before being given "sensitive information" such as the location of the group's new headquarter in Washington D.C.. After the rebrand, Identity Evropa continued its attempts to coordinate its members to edit the group's Wikipedia page into more favorable terms. Leaders of the group expressed fear that the existing page for IE would simply be renamed into AIM, which would foil the groups's rebranding attempts. In the recordings, Casey urged members to rebrand their social media accounts as well, saying that the groups's new Americana aesthetic would help its members avoid being held accountable for their membership. Discussing the group's strategy, Casey said in the recordings that the group would appeal to the "boomer patriot crowd", and would ideally exploit political crises to seize control of the United States government, and replacing it with a white-only "identitarian" regime.
Identity Evropa is a neo-Nazi and white supremacist group; the organization espouses white supremacist and white separatist views. The group endorses racial segregation. It "bills itself as a 'generation of awakened Europeans' who 'oppose those who would defame our history and rich cultural heritage'". Damigo describes it as "an identitarian organization" and says that the group's aim is to "act as a fifth column, over time shifting the edifice of our political establishment" in favor of what he describes as "pro-white" interests. Identity Evropa's spokesman and director of administration, Reinhard Wolff, states that Identity Evropa is engaged in a "culture war" in an effort to create a "90 percent white" America.
The white supremacist slogan "You will not replace us" originated from the group, according to the Anti-Defamation League, after Damigo and other members of Identity Evropa appeared on camera chanting the words during LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner's HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US project at New York's Museum of the Moving Image in February 2017.
Identity Evropa excludes Jews from membership because Damigo regards Jews as non-white. Only those "of European, non-Semitic heritage" may join the group. Damigo claims that "Jewish power, Jewish influence" has "been extraordinarily negative for people of European heritage". He has refused to say whether he acknowledges the Holocaust.
The Anti-Defamation League has labeled Identity Evropa a white supremacist group, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks extremist groups in the United States, has designated it as a hate group. Their campus-centric advertising posters depict photos of classical Greek sculptures of men overlaid with various short slogans which urge whites to embrace cultural elitism. Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the SPLC, states, "Identity Evropa is merely the latest iteration of the white-supremacist movement. Although you might think, based on their propaganda, that they're all about Plato and Aristotle and Socrates, in fact they're merely a gussied-up version of the Klan." Anna North, writing in the New York Times, states that the group promotes racism under the guise of white racial pride and cultural identity for those who are of European ancestry.
In December 2016, the group had roughly 200 members. In a February 2017 interview, Damigo claimed a membership of 300. The group has distributed fliers on dozens of college campuses including the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Lynchburg College, Liberty University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, UCLA, University of California, San Diego, Penn State, Ohio State, and the University of Washington. According to an ADL count, Identity Evropa was by far the most active white supremacist group on college campuses in 2017, responsible for 158 of the 346 incidents nationwide of the posting of white supremacist propaganda fliers. These fliers typically show photos of classical and neoclassical sculpture. According to art critic Ben Davis, the random use of dissimilar photos demonstrates a poor understanding of European culture and art history.
At Ohio State, the group has considered seeking recognized student organization status. The group's "#ProjectSiege" aims to "siege" college campuses with literature in order to combat what Damigo describes as a "false anti-white narrative" by professors, whom Damigo calls "charlatans."
In late 2016, Damigo and Identity Evropa members traveled to Washington, D.C., for a post-election conference hosted by the white supremacist National Policy Institute, at which keynote speaker Richard B. Spencer and several other attendees rendered a Nazi salute.
During the 2017 Berkeley protests, Damigo punched a young woman, captured on video that subsequently went viral. Footage showed Damigo punching the woman in the face, then running away into the crowd. The attack prompted calls for Damigo's arrest or expulsion from Cal State Stanislaus, where he is a student; the university subsequently said that it was investigating Damigo.
Damigo has been identified as a leader in the August 2017 Unite the Right rally. A news source that has interviewed him states that "Damigo has made these rallies a key driver for recruiting new members of the group". Additionally, Peter Cvjetanovic, one of the members of Identity Evropa, was dubbed as the "angry torch guy" in the Unite the Right rally.
On July 28, 2018, around 45 members of Identity Evropa, some dressed as construction workers, demonstrated outside the Mexican consulate in Manhattan, New York City, holding large letters that spelled out "Build the Wall". The government of Mexico said it had written a diplomatic note to the U.S. State Department protesting the incident. Later that day, a group of several dozen Identity Evropa members hung a banner in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan. The banner, which said "Stop the invasion, end immigration", overlooked the Henry Hudson Parkway. The response of the Washington Heights and Inwood communities was to hold a "vigil against hate" at the same site on July 31.
On February 9, 2019, eleven Identity Evropa members went to the University of Utah’s Block U carrying colored smoke flares and a banner that read, "End immigration!" Patrick Casey stated that the action was in response to the University's condemning of the organization earlier in the year, after it had posted stickers around the campus. Police were called, but the members left before they arrived.
On April 27, 2019, hours after the Poway synagogue shooting, around ten members of Identity Evropa disrupted a book discussion event at the Politics and Prose bookstore at Washington D.C. The book discussed at the event was Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland, by Jonathan Metzl, which discusses how working class white Americans who were attracted by the Trump administration's promises end up having a greater risk of illness and a shorter life expectancy as a result of its policies. Members of the group interrupted Metzl's speech using a bullhorn, said "You would have the white working class trade their homeland for handouts. But we, as nationalists and identitarians, can offer the workers of this country a homeland, their birthright, in addition to health care, good jobs and so forth.", and chanted "This land is our land" while waking through the bookstore, before exiting ten minutes later. Washington D.C. mayor, Muriel Bowser, condemned the Poway shooting and the bookstore disruption in a tweet, denouncing the former as "horrific act of hate and antisemitism" and the latter as "ignorance and hate".
- Pearce, Matt (August 14, 2017). "A guide to some of the far-right symbols seen in Charlottesville". LA Times. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- Schiano, Chris; Martinez, Freddy (2019-03-06). "Neo-Nazi Hipsters Identity Evropa Exposed In Discord Chat Leak". UNICORN RIOT. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
- Staff (September 26, 2017). "Identity Evropa and Arktos Media — Likely Bedfellows". Hatewatch. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
- Staff (December 5, 2017). "Patrick Casey, Identity Evropa's new leader, wants to ditch the "alt-right" for "identitarianism"— another euphemism for white nationalism". Hatewatch. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
- "White nationalist leader is plotting to 'take over the GOP'". NBC News US. 2018-10-17. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
- Harry Shukman (February 15, 2017). "Meet the neo-Nazi coming to put up white pride posters on your campus". The Tab US.
- Cheney-Rice, Zak (20 March 2019). "Racism Is Good at Hiding. Just Ask This White Nationalist Police Officer". Intelligencer. New York Magazine. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
...an organizer for Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group also known as the American Identity Movement.
- Hegyi, Nate (March 19, 2019). "White Nationalist Groups Increase Recruiting And Propaganda Across The West". NPR.org. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
...and another white nationalist group, Identity Evropa — recently rebranded as the American Identity Movement.
- Negovan, Tom; Davis, Kelly (March 19, 2019). "Police investigating after white nationalist stickers found along South Side Irish Parade route". WGN-TV. Tribune Broadcasting. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
The stickers had the name of the American Identity Movement, which is a rebranding of Identity Europa, a well-known white nationalist and neo-Nazi group.
- "White Nationalist Group Identity Evropa Rebrands Following Private Chat Leaks, Launches 'American Identity Movement'". Southern Poverty Law Center. March 12, 2019. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
- "Meet the neo-Nazi coming to put up white pride posters on your campus". The Tab US. 2017-02-15. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
- Kelley, Brendan (27 November 2017). "Identity Evropa's Controversial New Ringleader". Southern Poverty Law Center.
But not that long ago, in spring of this year, Mosley a/k/a Kline wasn't shy about the bigotry in his polemics whatsoever. In a report for Andrew Anglin's Daily Stormer about a pro-Trump demonstration in March, Mosley wrote, "In Philadelphia, the city of faggotry love, played out an alliance between the Nazi led marchers and local police departments against their oven-dodging enemies… Spoiler, the Nazis won bigly." He continues, "This is a sign that we have moved into a new era in the Nazification of America. Normie Trump supporters are becoming racially aware and Jew Wise."
- Gardner, Elena (2018-02-24). "White supremacist decals found at Gonzaga University". KXLY. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
- Branson-Potts, Hailey (2016-12-07). "In diverse California, a young white supremacist seeks to convert fellow college students". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
- Jones, Abigail (September 11, 2017). "Charlottesville are Coming back with a Vengeance". Newsweek. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
- Dugan Arnett (March 31, 2017). "For white nationalists, college campuses are a new recruiting ground". Boston Globe.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- "The Right Can't Ignore The Rise Of White Supremacy On Campus". The Federalist. 2018-02-07. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
- Susan Svrluga, 'Unprecedented effort' by 'white supremacists' to recruit and target college students, group claims, Washington Post (March 6, 2017).
- "Identity Evropa". Anti-Defamation League. New York, N.Y. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
- Abigail Hauslohner (February 15, 2017). "Southern Poverty Law Center says American hate groups are on the rise". Washington Post.
- Sara Ganim, Chris Welch & Nathaniel Meyersohnl (February 15, 2017). "'A resurgence of white nationalism': Hate groups spiked in 2016". CNN.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- "White Supremacists Adopt New Slogan: "You Will Not Replace Us"". ADL Blog. Anti-Defamation League. June 9, 2017.
- Sara Ganim, Chris Welch & Nathaniel Meyersohnl (February 15, 2017). "'A resurgence of white nationalism': Hate groups spiked in 2016". CNN.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Alexis Terrazas & Atticus Morris. "Alternate Reality: Growing acceptance of white nationalism in Trump's America". El Tecolote. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
- Walters, Joanna (March 14, 2018). "Prominent US neo-Nazi arrested on domestic violence charge". The Guardian. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
And the SPLC reported that its team monitoring far-right hate groups had seen recent signs on extremist chat boards that members of the racist US group Identity Evropa have been leaving in significant numbers.
- Sepulveda, John; Johnson, Bert (August 14, 2017). "Berkeley was training ground for some in Charlottesville protests — Berkeleyside". Berkeleyside.com. Berkeleyside. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
During a psychological evaluation conducted for the court as part of the criminal case, Damigo said he attacked the cab driver, Changiz Ezzatyar, because he mistook him for an Iraqi.
- Alex MacLean, White nationalist leader not from Sonora, Union Democrat (December 14, 2016).
- Gaffey, Conor (August 16, 2017) "Unite the Right Organizer Disavowed by Family After Charlottesville Violence" Newsweek
- "WATCH: Richard Spencer gets drowned out by boos at UF speech". 19 October 2017.
- "'Go home, racist!' Richard Spencer shouted down at University of Florida speech", USA Today
- "Richard Spencer Shouted Down in Florida, Cuts his Speech Short", Newsweek
- "Behind-scenes logistics at protest let officers control chaos", The Gainesville Sun
- Schiano, Chris (2019-04-11). "Identity Evropa Struggles To Gain Footing After Rebranding as Patriot Group". UNICORN RIOT. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
- Schiano, Chris (2019-04-27). "'Americans of European Heritage Exclusively': Identity Evropa Front Group Meetings Leaked". Unicorn Riot. Archived from the original on 2019-04-28. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
- Mathias, Christopher (March 17, 2019). "Exclusive: 7 U.S. Military Members Identified As Part Of White Nationalist Group". HuffPost. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
- Pritha, Paul (March 18, 2019). "US Armed Forces Members Linked To White Nationalist Group Identity Evropa: Report". International Business Times. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
- Bowes, Mark (March 18, 2019). "Chesterfield police chief recommends officer be fired after alleged link to white supremacist group". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
- Weill, Kelly (March 18, 2019). "Cop Working at High School Revealed as White Nationalist Organizer". Daily Beast. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
- "Virginia police department investigating officer's alleged white nationalist ties". WHSV. Harrisonburg, Virginia. ABC News. March 18, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
- Deruy, Emily (April 25, 2019). "San Jose teacher placed on leave over alleged ties to white supremacist group". The Mercury News. Bay Area News Group. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
- Fehely, Devin (April 25, 2019). "Teacher at San Jose Private School Investigated for Alleged White Nationalist Ties". KPIX. CBS. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
- Losey, Stephen (April 26, 2019). "Air Force investigating airman's alleged ties to white nationalist group". Air Force Times. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
- Frazin, Rachel (April 17, 2019). "Air Force sergeant accused of placing white nationalist stickers in Colorado towns". TheHill. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
- DeLong, Matt (April 28, 2019). "Minnesota National Guard probing Chaska recruit's ties to hate group". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
- Cecilia Saixue Watt, Redneck Revolt: the armed leftwing group that wants to stamp out fascism, The Guardian (July 11, 2017).
- Branson-Potts, Hailey (2017-04-17). "Cal State Stanislaus to investigate white supremacist student who punched woman in Berkeley melee". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
- Mike Anderson, Pro-white group puts up posters at Mines and BHSU, Rapid City Journal (March 5, 2017).
- Nestel, M. L. (October 10, 2016). "Veteran Posts Signs at Colleges Telling Whites to Be 'Great Again'". The Daily Beast.
- Gabriel Thompson, Golden State of Hate: Extremism's Long History in California, Newsweek (February 28, 2017).
- "White 'Identitarian' Group Identity Evropa Considers Seeking Student Org Recognition". Onward State. April 13, 2017.
- "White supremacist posters appear at 2 South Dakota colleges". Associated Press. March 5, 2017.
- "White Nationalist". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
- North, Anna (February 16, 2017). "'Let's Become Great Again,' the Flyers Said". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
- Moody, Josh (September 13, 2017). "White supremacist stickers attempt to recruit local college students in Lynchburg". The Roanoke Times.
- Rachel Frazin (February 21, 2018). "Identity Evropa Elicits Concern on Campus". U.S. News & World Report.
- Davis, Ben (7 March 2017). "White Nationalism's New Love of Art History, Decoded". artnet News. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
But when you look into the sources, the images themselves suggest an awareness of this culture that doesn't go much deeper than visual cliché. Instead, what you find is a hodgepodge; an identity pieced together in internet forums, from tourist pictures and Google image searches; militant ignorance masquerading as tradition.
- Christin Ayers, Viral Video Shows Student White Supremacist Sucker-Punch Berkeley Anti-Trump Protester, CBS San Francisco (KPIX-TV/KCBS) (April 16, 2017).
- Johnson, Bert. "Californian Who Helped Lead Charlottesville Protests Used Berkeley as a Test Run". KQED News. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
- Khan, Shehab (August 14, 2017). "Charlottesville photo: Man shouting angrily at white supremacist rally insists he is not an 'angry racist'". The Independent. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- Reuters. "Mexico Condemns Anti-Immigrant Chants Outside New York Consulate". The New York Times. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
- Del Signore, John (July 31, 2018) "White Supremacists Unfurl Anti-Immigration Banner In Fort Tryon Park" Archived 2018-08-01 at the Wayback Machine Gothamist
- Ramey, Corinne (July 31, 2018). "White Nationalists Rally in Liberal New York". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
- Tanner, Courtney (February 11, 2019). "White nationalist group rallies at the University of Utah with an anti-immigrant banner". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
- Boddiger, David (April 28, 2019). "White Supremacists Disrupt DC Bookstore Discussion on Race, Politics". Splinter. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
- "Nationalists disrupt D.C. bookstore chanting "this land is our land"". www.cbsnews.com. April 27, 2019. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
- Cott, Emma (February 5, 2018). "How Our Reporter Uncovered a Lie That Propelled an Alt-Right Extremist's Rise". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018. Retrieved 2019-04-28.