The turbulence and uncertainty surrounding the national political climate hasn’t left central Minnesotans entirely in the dark these past few years. When Donald Trump was elected in 2016 and inaugurated later that winter, the US saw mass protest actions take place in major cities as the halls of power were filled by one of the most blatant and openly white supremacist administrations this country has ever seen.
While the figureheads in office quickly began pushing for policies that fit their hateful world view, a more ground based social movement was attempting to organize the potential for activating the portions of Trump’s base that could carry out street actions and fulfill a more morbid vision of Making America Great Again. For over two years now, activists associated with the alt-right have been organizing marches, putting up posters and attacking minority groups in the street as part of their larger mission to achieve legitimacy in the eyes of a government they believed would have their back.
Identity Evropa was one of those groups. The group, which describes itself as “white identitarian” was formed in 2016 by Nathan Domigo. Nathan, a former Marine who served twice overseas, had just been released from prison for robbing a cab driver in San Diego at gunpoint because he looked Iraqi. He was briefly the face of the National Youth Front, the youth arm of the of the American Freedom Party. As the American Freedom Party fell apart, like so many far right groups do, he moved on to form Identity Evropa along with former AFP members known for their Neo-Nazi views and activity.
For the next two years the group became known for their college campus level activism, in addition to acting as Richard Spencer’s security detail. They are now being sued for their role in organizing the deadly Unite The Right march that took place in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017. The event resulted in the death of counter protestor Heather Hyer and injured at least 38 other people.
Returning back to St. Cloud, we remember a year ago in January 2018 as the White Student Union began it’s push into the public spotlight which included street level posters, banner drops over Highway 23 and most infamously, an actual rendition of the border wall behind a glass display case in Atwood Hall at SCSU. While the display was removed due to an outpouring of public pressure led by students and community members, the division is still there as a similar group was attempting to form during this most recent school year using much of the same imagery and talking points as the white student union.
Now, thanks to the journalistic efforts of non-profit media outlet Unicorn Riot, the links between Identity Evropa and the White Student Union are clear for anyone to see. Unicorn Riot just released the leak of the massive Discord chat logs used by IE, giving everyone a glimpse inside one of the most active street level fascist groups in the United States. Anyone can view the archived chat logs which includes a convenient search function, a necessary tool for combing through thousands of messages from dozens of cities. To make the job easier, a website called “Identify Evropa” was started, which makes it easier to identify certain individuals and map out specific locales where the group is operating.
To sum it all up: the same people who were putting up “It’s Okay To Be White” posters in St. Cloud and being active in the white student union here, were also doing activist work in Minneapolis. A memorial for Justine Damond, the white lady shot and killed by a Somali police officer in Minneapolis in 2017, was installed by IE at the hands of people who were active in St. Cloud. And some of the people who were active in St. Cloud have also hung out with people who were at Unite The Right in Charlottesville, VA. To anyone who feels uneasy about their resistance to the St. Cloud White Student union or their recent rebranding as the “Free Speech Club”, let this be proof that your actions place you on the right side of history in a very dark period of American politics.
The larger servers that these messages were posted on are filled with racist remarks and imagery, despite the mod’s attempt to keep things in control. According to IGD:
“If we look at all 889 members of Nice Respectable People Group and look at all of their post across servers that had previously been leaked, 48 members used the words ‘k*ke’ and ‘n*gger’ a total of 1357 times (note that this is a simple aggregation and ignores context or direct quotes). Likewise, a similar scan of messages shows the phrases ‘JQ’ and ‘Jewish Question’ are used 384 times by 103 users.
There is significant cross-pollination of members of Identity Evropa with explicitly neo-Nazi groups. Members of Nice Respectable People Group who were found in other Discord Servers appeared in Nationalist Review, Vibrant Diversity, and Anticom among others.
Looking at the display names chosen by members of Nice Respectable People Group, there are many references to neo-Nazism in varying forms. Each of the users listed below had over 200 messages in Nice Respectable People Group:
- Wotan Klan-GA, a reference both to Wotanism, a religious outlook common among neo-Nazis, and a reference the Ku Klux Klan
- The Soy Goy, in reference to the habit of anti-Semites referring to themselves as “goys” (short for goyim, the term for non-Jewish people)
- Volkmom, a reference to the German populist Völkisch movement
- Asatru Artist – MD, another reference to Wotanism
- DeusVolk, a reference to the phrase “Deus vult” (“God wills it”) which is associated with the Crusades and became a rallying cry for the far right, and “volk” another reference to the Völkisch movement
- YesPasaran, a reference to the victory of the Spanish fascist Francisco Franco in defiance of his opponents who used the phrase “¡No Pasarán!” (“You shall not pass”) while defending Madrid (note that this user changed their display name to “Roland”)
- Goldendawn, the name of the Greek neo-fascist and ultra-nationalist political party Golden Dawn
In Nice Respectable People Group, the practice of surrounding Jewish names and groups with triple parentheses (known as ‘echoes‘) appeared in 390 messages from 122 users. There are only 889 users active in the group, which means that from this data point alone, at an absolute minimum 14% are explicit anti-Semites. Identity Evropa eventually banned usage of using the triple parentheses, presumably in an attempt to clean up their image.”
The group often explicitly talks of creating a white America through two means. First, they suggest the balkanization of the land within present day US borders by dividing the land among racial boundaries. Second, they propose “reclaiming” the land within the US borders by expelling minorities either through use of rule of law or by encouraging what they call “repatriation” to return diaspora to their ancestral homelands.
Members’ views on race are equally repugnant, and often in line with modern neo-Nazi ideology and rhetoric.
Some members are proponents of accelerationism, the idea that in order to achieve their goals, things must first get bad enough to galvanize moderate whites onto their side. The end goal of these accelerationist beliefs range from getting white nationalists elected to enact pro-white policy to clearing the US of non-whites and create an ethnostate.
It is crucial to fight fascism and the extreme right’s hate by preventing their views from spreading. This can be as simple as learning to spot their stickers and flyers so they can be quickly torn down, or it can be more complicated like preventing their views from creeping into mainstream discussion.
Failing to deplatform Identity Evropa helps the neo-Nazis spread their ideas, and puts members of our community at risk for violence. After their leader was interviewed by the Today Show, he went on to brag about how it helped their cause.
Further, we must not forget that the fight against white supremacy and fascism is not limited to extremist and paramilitary groups. Just today, The Nation reported on how the US government tracks protests against inhumane immigration. Just days after Identity Evropa did a banner drop in Fort Tryon Park in New York the summer of 2018, congressman Adriano Espaillat organized a rally titled “Uptown Standing Together Against Racism and Xenophobia.” This rally, while quite liberal, was being tracked by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). There is a smooth transition from what is believed to be “the extreme right” and the US government. To fight against white supremacy, one must also fight against the State.
Perhaps as a result of being so thoroughly exposed, their movement will no longer be able to maintain their respectable guise and they will fold only to become something new. Perhaps some of the members will be driven from the movement. The rest may try to reform under new banners and new names, and the struggle against white supremacy and racial hatred will continue.