Generation Identity (GI) is a pan-European, far-right youth movement, originating in France in 2012 with the launch of Génération Identitaire. The movement uses a thinly-veiled…
Generation Identity (GI) is a pan-European, far-right youth movement, originating in France in 2012 with the launch of Génération Identitaire. The movement uses a thinly-veiled racist terminology, is strongly anti-Muslim and seeks to prevent what it calls the ‘Islamification’ of Europe by migrants and refugees as part of a ‘Great Replacement’ of ‘indigenous’ Europeans.
GI is motivated by the political ideology of ‘identitarianism’, a set of ideas derived from the work of a collection of postwar European far-right thinkers known as the Nouvelle Droite (New Right). As an article on AltRight.com explains, identitarianism is a ‘framework within which [activists] work to influence political and socio-economic activity in an effort to protect and preserve racial, ethnic, and cultural identity’.
GI’s attempts to influence such activity is described as ‘metapolitics’: the shifting of accepted topics, terms, and positions of public discussion with a view to creating a social and political environment more open and potentially accepting of an ideology. This approach comes from a belief that this is required before electoral and policy support for their views is possible.
From its origins as a controversial French philosophical movement, organised identitarian activism found its earliest incarnation in 2003 with the creation of the Bloc Identitaire (Identity Bloc) party. This party (now an association, ‘Les Identitaires’) in turn gave rise to the now independent youth-wing, Generation Identitaire, launched in 2012. GI has since spread from France and has official branches across 13 European countries, all of which share an established transnational brand, set of beliefs and political tactics.
Alongside France, the most prominent GI branches are based in Germany, Italy and Austria. The movement has made its first forays into having a transatlantic presence with the emergence of a Canadian branch and there are indications of attempts to establish a US branch.
The movement garnered international attention in the summer of 2017 when GI activists from across Europe came together to launch ‘Defend Europe’, a mission, which in April 2018 resurfaced as a mission to block migrants crossing the Alps.
Génération Identitaire (France)
Identitäre Bewegung (Germany)
Identitäre Bewegung Österreich (Austria)
Generazione Identitaria (Italy)
Generation Identity United Kingdom and Ireland
Generatie Identiteit (Flanders/Belgium)
Identitas Generacio Magyarország (Hungary)
Generacija Identitete Slovenija (Slovenia)
Generation Identity Switzerland (Switzerland)
Generace Identity (Czechia)
Ruch Tożsamościowy (Poland)
Generacija Identiteta (Serbia)
Generation Identity Canada
Marginal/inactive Generation Identity branches (North America, Balkan bloc)
Leader: Arnaud Delrieux
Génération Identitaire began in 2012 as the youth wing of the far-right Bloc Identitaire party (now rebranded as ‘Les Identitaires’, an association rather than a party).
Their launch included the release of a video entitled ‘A Declaration of War from The Youth of France’, which stated “We are the generation of ethnic fracture, total failure of coexistence, and forced mixing of races”. More recently, in April 2017, they released a video entitled ‘Why we must dissolve the Union of Islamic Organizations of France’
The group first gained wider attention in November 2012 after activists occupied a mosque in Poitiers, the site where Charles Martel defeated an invading Muslim Moorish force in 732. More recent actions include a protest in Paris against Islamisation in May 2016, leafleting at Part-Dieu station in Lyon (of which the accompanying YouTube video’s description stated “Stop the reign of the scum”) in February 2017 and a demonstration called ‘In the Face of Islamists: Defend Europe!’ in Paris in November 2017.
Clement Gallant of Génération Identitaire took part in Generation Identity’s summer 2017 Defend Europe campaign to disrupt NGOs working to save refugees in the Mediterranean.
Génération Identitaire have numerous active branches, some of which use historical regional names. There are branches in Paris, Angers, Rennes, Lyon, Lorraine, Picardie, Savoie, Nice, Alsace, Toulouse, Auvergne, Nantes, Avignon, Poitou, Limousin, Bretagne, Touraine, Provence, Manche, Montpellier, Valence, Le Havre, Cannes, Franche-Comte, Gap, Champagne, Ardeche-Vivarais.
Founder: Nils Altmieks
Leader: Daniel Fiß
Identitare Bewegung (IB) began in 2012 and is registered as a voluntary association based in Paderborn. Their leader, Daniel Fiß, was previously a member of the nazi National Democratic Party of Germany’s (NPD) youth wing. Fiß maintains connections with the right-wing populist party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), and has stated that the party could become the Identitarians’ “extended arm”.
A number of its activists have history in far-right organisations including Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend, the Junge National Demokraten and Sturmvogel. IB also participated at Zwischentag – a far right festival – in Erlangen in 2015 with its own stand.
Like other branches of GI, IB engages in public stunts attacking multiculturalism and Islam. For example, in 2016 they occupied the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin as a protest against German immigration policy and in November 2017 unfurled a banner from the building of the Social Democratic Party of Germany to protest against “the victims of multiculturalism, mass immigration and Islamization”.
In August 2016 they came under the observation of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution due to their xenophobic actions especially directed against Muslims.
Robert Timm, regional director of IB Berlin took part in Generation Identity’s Defend Europe campaign in summer 2017 to disrupt NGOs working to save refugees in the Mediterranean.
The group has active branches in Saxony, Berlin-Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Thuringia, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Dresden, Franconia, Bayern, Bremen, Hessen, Hamburg, Baden, Rheinland-Pfalz, Dinslaken, Harz, Swabia, Schleswig-Holstein, Hochrhein, Altmuhlfranken, Magdeburg, Saale, Offenbach and Cleves.
Co-leaders: Patrick Lenart and Martin Sellner
Identitäre Bewegung Österreich (IBO) was founded in 2012 as a registered association (‘Association for the Conservation and Promotion of Cultural Identity’) in Vienna.
Since 2014 Sellner and Lenart have run the Identitarian merchandise site ‘Phalanx Europa’. Through their online shop they also resell books of the New Right Antaios publishing house, as well as music by right wing Neofolk bands such as Werkraum and The Days Of The Trumpet Call. IBO are also behind the ‘Patriot Peer’ app, which is being developed so that identitarians can network with one another.
In 2016 the group’s actions included storming the stage of a play performed by refugees in Vienna in April to spray fake blood and throw leaflets which declared “multiculturalism kills”, and the unfurling of a banner in Graz on the roof of the Green Alternative party building that read “Islamisation kills” in the same month (they had originally intended to protest at a mosque instead).
More recently in August 2017 IBO in Vienna put up a banner reading “Stop Islamisation – Close Islam Schools!” on an Islamic school in Vienna-Liesing.
Along with Sellner and Lenart, other Austrian GI activists who took part in Generation Identity’s Defend Europe campaign in summer 2017 (which aimed to disrupt NGOs working to save refugees in the Mediterranean) included Viennese GI activist Alexander Schleyer. Schleyer was a parliamentary assistant to the far-right Austrian Freedom Party, until images emerged of him posing in front of an imperial German war flag popular with the far right earlier this year.
The group has active branches in Vienna, Styria, Lower Austria, Salzburg and Upper Austria.
Leader: Lorenzo Fiato
Generazione Identitaria (GI) was founded on 21 November 2012.
In December 2016 GI put a burqa on a statue in Bergamo, as a “symbolic act to show what will happen to our daughters and wives and to our culture if we continue to persevere in not seeing how Islam works”.
In January 2017 in Borgosesia, during a conference being held by the Italian Islamic Confederation, activists held a banner reading “Remigration Against Islamisation”. Covering the event, the GI site stated that “Islam is not welcome […] in Europe, as it has proved to be a fertilised humus for terrorism”.
Generation Identity’s Defend Europe campaign in summer 2017 to disrupt NGOs working to save refugees in the Mediterranean began, and was predominantly carried out, in Catania in Sicily. As such, the campaign featured Generazione Identitaria leader Lorenzo Fiato and was used to recruit new activists across Italy during the campaign.
GI has active branches in Milan, Rome, Turin, Bergamo, Friuli, Modena and Sardinia. It also has branches in formation in Venice, Liguria, Tuscany and Sicily.
Co-leaders: Tom Dupre and Benjamin Jones
GI Ireland (GI group Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland together): Deidre McTucker (AKA Damnhait McKenna)
Generation Identity (GI) have overall struggled to successfully establish a UK and Ireland presence.
In 2013 Markus Willinger, who wrote Generation Identity: A Declaration of War Against the ‘68ers (seen as a founding text of Generation Identity), came to London to address a meeting of the far-right Traditional Britain Group (TBG). However, besides a video called ‘Generation Identity UK: A Declaration of War From The Students of Britain’, nothing emerged.
In July 2017, at the height of GI’s Defend Europe campaign to disrupt the work of NGOs working in the Mediterranean to save the lives of refugees, a Facebook page for GI UK and Ireland was launched, billing itself as the “newest branch of the pan-European Identitarian movement”.
The official launch of the UK and Ireland branch in October 2017, however, proved to be something of a disaster; it’s banner drop at Westminster Bridge received only cursory media coverage, and shortly after came the revelation that the small group had been infiltrated by an ITV documentary crew, with the help of HOPE not hate, meaning we had known all their plans from the off.
The exposé, which showed Sellner using a racist epithet, subsequently saw the then-UK co-leaders Jordan Diamond and Sebastian Seccombe panic and distance themselves from GI, an act that has seen them sidelined ever since. Two cancelled speaking engagements with UKIP’s youth wing, the government’s decision to refuse Sellner entry into the UK on two occasions since, HOPE not hate’s exposé that a GI UK activist had been a member of the banned neo-Nazi terrorist organisation National Action, and a shambolic first GI UK and Ireland conference in Sevenoaks, Kent, are all further evidence that the British Isles is proving a hard place for GI to do business. To learn more about the UK and Ireland branch, read HOPE not hate’s recent report.
Leader: Aurelien Verhassel
GI Flanders/Belgium was officially launched on 30 January 2017, though they had been active online since 26 September 2016. It was not until 29 June 2017 that they held a meeting to choose their leadership, however.
The group has yet to carry out any demonstrations, though they stated on their Facebook on 13 November 2017 that they were preparing demonstrations.
Co-leaders: Bódi Ábel and Edina Hauszknecht
Identitas Generacio Magyarország (IGM) was founded on 21 October 2014 in Budapest and their website has been active since October 2016. They began demonstrations as early as August 2014, however.
Recent actions include IGM activists lying under sheets stained with fake blood at the St Stephen Basilica and at the Deak Ferenc Square in Budapest to “commemorate the massacre of European youth at Manchester” in May 2017. According to their site, these terrorist attacks represent “the true face of Islam and multiculturalism”. In October 2017 IGM activists also unfurled a banner reading “Islamisation kills” on Buda castle, Budapest.
In March 2017 IGM attempted to distance themselves from another Hungarian Identitarian organisation, Identitesz. The group’s website stated “In Hungary, the SINGLE identity organization is Identity Generation (recognized as the only recognized international identity circle)”. However, they added that “In both the ideology and rhetoric of the two organizations, they do not differ in their ambitions”.
Generacija Identitete Slovenija (GIS) is the Slovenian branch of Generation Identity and has been active since 2014.
GIS has associated alongside other Eastern European Identitarians, including recently Serbian, Czech, Hungarian and Polish Identitarians at a September 2017 demonstration in Budapest, Hungary.
Recent actions include a banner drop in November 2017 which read “Solidarity with Ahmad, with national minority?” following the Slovenian authorities decision to not deport Syrian asylum-seeker, Ahmad Shamieh.
Given Switzerland’s mixed-official languages there exists multiple iterations of Generation Identity in Switzerland, the most prominent being Génération Identitaire Genève (Generation Identity Geneva) (GIG) and Identitare Bewegung Schweiz (Identity Movement Switzerland) (IBS).
GIG was formed in 2013 by members of two earlier Genevan Identitarian groups, Jeunes Identitaires Genevois (JIG) and Mouvement Identitaires Genevois (MIG). JIG were founded in 2005 in Geneva as an offshoot of the Generation Identity predecessor, Bloc Identitaire. Since 2016 GIG’s social media and offline activity has become more sparse and in 2017 has consisted of sharing other Generation Identity branch content.
IBS has also been active since 2013 and has remained active both online and offline in 2017, including holding an anti-Muslim demonstration in September 2017. An IBS meeting in Olten in January 2016 was attended by former PEGIDA Switzerland spokesman and far right Swiss politician Ignaz Bearth.
The website of the Swiss Generation Identity site is currently being redesigned.
Co-leaders: Michal Urban, Adam Bercik, Ladislav Havlíček
Generace Identity (GI) was founded in 2013 by former activists of groups including the neo-fascist Czech Autonomous Nationalists.
GI have engaged in various actions including sticker campaigns, banner drops and building occupations. The group’s recent anti-Muslim actions have included putting burqas on statues in March 2017.
Active since January 2017, GI Poland held meetings in January, March and July 2017 where they discussed how to develop the movement in Poland. Representatives from GI Hungary went to speak in July alongside representatives from Pro-Vlast (a Czech patriot youth organisation active since 2012). GI Poland representatives also attended the Polish Independence Day march on 11 November 2017 which saw 60,000 nationalists gather in Warsaw.
Active online since March 2017 and launched with an anti-migrant conference in May of the same year, the Serbian branch have since held actions in October 2017 and a second conference on 1 November 2017 alongisde the organisation, ‘Eurasian Way’. On 9 January 2018 they carried out an action outside St. Sava church in Belgrade alongside the group ‘Serbian Action’ and took part in an anti-NATO demonstration 0n 25 March 2018.
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GI Denmark, who refer to themselves as ‘Identitær’ (identity). have been active online since June 2017 and on the streets since September 2017 after they began their first actions. Following the path set out by other branches of GI, they have quickly moved from stickerings to banner drops in November 2017 and more elaborate street theatre actions including a ‘Ghetto Lottery’ in February 2018 in which members of the public were invited to spin a wheel to see what the results of mass migration into Denmark would be, including ‘increased crime’ and ‘Islamism’.
Prominent members include Aurelija Aniulyte, Christoffer Gerlach Skibild, Kaj H Oldenburg & Anders Bruun Nørring (the latter of whom attended Britain First marches in 2017). Aniulyte also assisted in the launch of the UK and Ireland branch in October 2017 and members of the Danish branch have also met with GI activists in Germany and France.
Generation Identity Canada (GIC) styles itself as ‘Identity Canada’, though does appear to be an affiliated branch of GI. It claims to have been created in December 2014 though its Facebook page was founded in September 2012.
Official chapters exist in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Subury whilst affiliate chapters exist in Vancouver, Alberta, Manitoba, London and Prince Edward Island.
On 9 January 2018 Toronto members carried out a banner drop declaring “Defend Your Freedoms, Defend Your Identity”.
Marginal branches of GI include Generación Identitaria in Spain and there is some evidence of GI activism in Norway. Identitarian groups unaffiliated with GI also exist, such as Identitesz in Hungary and Identity Evropa in the US and there has been, more broadly, a greater adoption of identitarian terminology, imagery and tactics by groups and individuals across the far right than ever before. In Russia, a nation which has a less straightforward relationship with GI’s European outlook, there is evidence of a growing branch too.
Now inactive, a North American branch of GI registered its website on 3 March 2018. Saygun Boris, based in North Carolina, was its purported leader and Kenny Strawn, who is based in California, their Events Director. According to a post published on Strawn’s personal blog on 20 February 2018 the North American GI chapter, ‘only became officialized 10 days ago as of this writing’ and though ‘there isn’t an official section of the Generation Identity website stating that it exists […] it does’.
Two days prior Strawn tweeted that he was ‘in contact now with Saygun Boris, the founder of the IDNA chapter that was made official last week’. The acronym ‘IDNA’ stands for ‘Identitarian North America’, following the pattern of the Canadian branch of GI, which rebranded itself as ‘ID Canada’ in January 2018.
A significant inactive branch is the proposed ‘Balkan’ GI bloc that appears to have failed to get off the ground. Its website was registered in September 2017 and the bloc appeared to consist only online (though identitarian activism had existed in some of its constituent states prior to this).
it intended to launch its social media and website in full by the end of 2017 and was accepting applications from Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Albania, Bosnia, Slovenia and Montenegro.
However, this updated web presence failed to materialise and at the start of 2018, the GI Balkan site appeared to have been hacked. There is no indication that GI intends to launch the Balkan bloc still.
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