You may have seen their flyers attached to bulletin boards somewhere on campus. Identity Evropa has made their public announcement on UNC’s campus and their platform is very clear: priding themselves on white identity, anti-multiculturalism, anti-multiracialism, and accelerating the overall causes promoted by the overarching Alt-Right and Neo-Nazi movements.
According to a report released earlier this year by the Anti-Defamation League, the U.S. experienced a 258 percent increase in the number of white supremacist propaganda circulated and published around college campuses.
For the last several months, Identity Evropa, an American neo-Nazi organization – defined by the ADL as a white supremacist hate group – has been a topic of concern and debate since making their presence known at UNC. Although depictions of these flyers range from innocuous to radical, their message remains consistent: in their eyes, America is a white nation and diversity is a fabricated lie.
“We want to combat the diversity cult that has propagated itself not only on college campuses but throughout much of America,” said Nathan Damigo, founder of Identity Evropa, at his former college California State University, Stanislaus. However, the group associates themselves with “cultural marxism.”
The Center on Extremism has tracked over 346 instances since September 2017 in which “leaflets, stickers, posters, and banners have appeared on more than 200 campuses across the country.” Covering the period between Sept. 1 and Dec. 18, data published by the ADL also reveals 146 documented incidents of this propaganda in schools – this number is more than triple the rate for the same period studied the previous year, which stands at 41.
These numbers indicate not just the increasing rate of these hate groups’ activities, but also Identity Evropa’s growing reach in college communities: out of the 346 incidents reported earlier, the group is responsible for nearly half of them. The Southern Poverty Law Center has also tracked 329 “flyering” incidents on 241 different college campuses, finding the group had displayed 154 of them.
Groups like Identity Evropa didn’t start procuring widespread attention until the violent and tumultuous riots in Charlottesville last year. It was here where Damigo could be seen leading his group, next to the instance where he punched an anti-fascist counter-demonstrator in the face during another protest shortly after.
“Prior to 1965, America was a white country, a country for European people,” Damigo said to those at his alma mater. “What’s actually happening right now is that we’re being replaced in our own country.”
The organization itself was founded in early 2016. Before Identity, Damigo joined the Marine Corps upon graduating high school, later serving in the Iraq war. After chasing down and robbing a cab driver at gunpoint for “looking Iraqi” back in 2007, he was dishonorably discharged and spent the next five years behind bars.
“America was founded by white people. It was founded for white people. America was not founded to be a multiracial, multicultural society,” said Damigo in a June 2017 rally in Washington D.C.
The group also doesn’t hide their racist views–they take pride in it and wear it as a banner. Racial hierarchy, anti-Semitism and white national-identity all comprise the mission of this far-right organization, propagating a white American culture at the same time and recognizing itself as the antithesis to groups standing for multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance. They view these latter notions as globalist propaganda, Jewish conspiracies and anti-white ideas.
“It wasn’t clear enough that communism and anarchism are just two sides of the same Jewish shakel,” Damigo tweeted on August 2017.
Like most organizations similar to Identity Evropa, this group routinely utilizes numerous propaganda methodologies, all with calculated purposes. These include, but not limited to, speeches, rallies, sharing videos, publishing on social media and taking part in demonstrations and protests, such as those in Charlottesville. As what UNC has experienced recently, this propaganda campaign includes posting flyers around selected locations by recruited members around the campus community. According to recent reports and statistics, this is becoming an increasingly more common occurrence.
The intent behind placing these flyers around college campuses is multi-faceted. The first has already been stated: making their presence known. Another purpose of displaying these flyers is generating fierce responses, opening avenues for sweeping publicity, and potentially luring more followers. In a few words, the group thrives off attention and notoriety, growing more powerful from the effects of either result. Almost any outcome is hailed a success – even, for example, negative news coverage.
In early February, Deborah Lewis, a senior administrative specialist, shared an email on the behalf of Laura Connolly, UNC’s dean for the college of humanities and social sciences.
“Many groups purposely provoke an emotional response to their message and record and use that
response for their own promotion, recruitment and fundraising purposes, including lawsuits,” the email said. “Additionally, we encourage our community to be aware that groups such as Identity Evropa post messages and host events with the intent of garnering a reaction that brings additional attention to their cause.”
One of the most burning questions arising from this discussion is the notion of free speech and hate speech: what constitutes hate speech and where does it stand within the realms of free speech? According to UNC’s Guide to First Amendment Rights on Campus and Laura Connolly, hate speech only becomes problematic if the rhetoric incites violence or makes threats, therefore, some forms of hate speech are protected under the Constitution’s first amendment rights, even if it is racist or discriminatory.
“Although hate speech itself is free speech, what’s not protected is direct threats or when someone incites violence: that’s the biggest problem,” Connolly said.
Furthermore, UNC’s Guide to First Amendment Rights on Campus also states that the university doesn’t intervene “unless the speech incites riots or an immediate breach of the peace, disrupts lawful assembly, presents a threat to health and/or safety of individuals or damage/destruction to property, impedes faculty or staff in the lawful performance of their duties (including compliance with university policies), impedes students in the lawful pursuit of educational activities (including disruption of classes), is of a commercial nature, or is obscene (in some cases.”
The guide also makes clear that “postings of pamphlets, handbills, posters or flyers are allowed only on bulletin boards in campus buildings.”
It is also critical that the reader understands how this group operates. They specifically target recruits from younger generations – it’s the wheels turning this discriminatory machine. A fascist is one problem – when a one comes disguised in a clean-cut suit, well-groomed hair, and a smiling face, speaking fancy words, individuals tend to perceive them as more reputable. This is the leading cause in Identity Everopa’s accelerating momentum. It’s to forge a new identity, appearance, and character of the far-right movement, while staying true to its core principles.
Richard Spencer, an alt-right activist and former Identity Evropa member described it himself as “a young person’s movement.”
“Young people matter, and college campuses here have been where political battles have been fought since the ‘60s and before it,” said former CEO of Identity Evropa Eli Mosely. “This is where political change happens. Fundamentally, it’s where the most anti-white institution is.”
Identity Evropa is simply fascism in a twenty-first century framework: racism backed essentially with pseudo-intellectual magniloquence. The main difference between them and other groups is that they refuse identifying themselves with the word “white supremacists.”
“We are not supremacists because we do not believe that White people should rule over non-White people. We are ethno-pluralists: We believe that all ethnic and racial groups should have somewhere in the world to call home,” CEO Patrick Casey said in an email to U.S. News.
After Damigo stepped down as CEO in late August 2017, Eli Mosely no sooner replaced him than when Casey took over. Casey makes clear the unchanging nature of his group, mentioning in a recent interview how “we are still going to be about white identity and representing the interests of people of European heritage here in America. Nothing has really changed in that regard.”
“The Mirror” has attempted reaching out to Identity Evropa, but they have yet to respond for comment.
Editor’s Note: On Monday, April 30, after this article was published, The Mirror received the following email from Identity Evropa Press Spokesman Sam Harrington:
“No spokesman or current representative has endorsed or supported the claims made about IE in the piece. In addition, Richard Spencer has never been a member or representative of Identity Evropa.
Perhaps we could have made further responses to Josh’s questions, but given that the About Us page answers many of them but Josh chose to simply not quote the numerous statements there and from current leadership, I’m not sure what use it would have been.
The Mirror reporter that wrote this article made repeated attempts to contact a representative of the Identity Evropa organization, and also utilized the organization’s “About Us” page. No representative or spokesman for the organization has responded to our staff or this article until now.