Groups like “Generation Identity” claim to represent a different kind of far-right politicsby Kieron Monks / April 26, 2018 / Leave a comment
“The west has become pussified,” complained a young man with a neat moustache and a waistcoat that looked like velvet. “We’re letting Islamic State come over here and giving them benefits!”
Tensions were running high at Speaker’s Corner after an attempted rally for Generation Identity (GI) suffered a series of setbacks. First, a conference hall cancelled a planned speech by GI’s Austrian figurehead Martin Sellner. Then Sellner and his girlfriend were arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred. As a final indignity, the hastily-rearranged event in Hyde Park was swarmed by antifascists so that the scheduled programme of talks devolved into a slanging match from either side of a police barrier.
This is standard for far-right demonstrations, part of the ritual that ends with slinking off to a pub muttering threats and vows to own the streets next time. But GI consider themselves distinct from groups such as Britain First and they practise a different culture.
“We want to present ourselves as an attractive and open youth movement,” the group advised in a note to members ahead of the rally, which called for a “well-groomed appearance” and no violence. These wishes were largely respected. The Hyde Park crowd featured more clean-cut graduates and steampunk hipsters than old-school bruisers, although a few of the latter made their presence felt once the opposition arrived.
But if the aesthetics were distant from white power traditions, the political message was not. GI describes its central mission as a battle against the “Great Replacement” of authentic Europeans by immigrants. The group’s call to “Stop Islamisation” is shared across the far-right from the EDL to Pegida. Their demands go beyond ending immigration to “remigration” of settled migrant communities.
The identity doctrine
GI’s politics have much in common with white supremacist traditions, and members have ties to proscribed neo-Nazi groups, but the group claims to represent a different ideology.
Instead they call themselves “Identitarians,” arguing that every people—defined by a combination of ethnicity, nationality and culture—should have its own homeland and not have to share. As Sellner puts it: “We want to preserve our national identity in a way that is not chauvinistic or considering others inferior… we make a dividing line between preserving our identity and a supremacist ideology to dominate the…