Sat 5 December 2020

Louise Raw on the history, allegiance and ideology of this small but influential movement.

The new report of conservative think tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) warns that UK authorities are failing to tackle a vastly increased threat from Far Right extremism.

Referrals to the government’s counter-terrorism community safeguarding arm, Prevent, have vastly increased for the Far Right. Those for Islamism have dropped, but RUSI found most attention still focused on the latter.

RUSI also criticised the UK’s failure to properly investigate and impede the complex international pathways of Far Right funding – this, it says, has allowed ‘prolific extremists and groups’ to build large and interconnected platforms in the UK, US and Europe.

Last year, Mark Rowley, outgoing UK head of Counter Terrorist policing, foreshadowed this warning; anti-fascists groups have raised similar concerns for several years.  

The Problem of Generation Identity

The US security firm SITE Intelligence Group has expressed particular unease at the freedom given to one group in particular- Generation Identity (GI), a small, but well-organised group of far-right activists in the UK and Ireland, with branches across Europe.

Unite against Fascism estimate there are less than 200 members in the UK, but they punch significantly above their weight, in part through tactical use of new media. Their slick and savvy publicity stunts appeal to a new generation; and their propaganda is being parroted by established Far Right figures like Tommy Robinson.

The man responsible for the March 2019 Christchurch massacre, not only made a sizeable donation to GI but communicated personally with its overall leader.

The typical GI member – at least in front of the camera- is well-groomed, young and male. They call themselves ‘rebels’ and ‘ punks’ but look anything but, in chinos and button down shirts.

But behind the scenes, however, things are less benign. Brenton Tarrant, the man responsible for the March 2019 Christchurch massacre, not only made a sizeable donation to GI but communicated personally with its overall leader, Austrian–based Martin Sellner.  

Racist Elements

Generation Identity grew out of Block Identitaire, founded in France in 2003. Block Identitaire has been accused of intentionally distributing to the homeless what it calls ‘Identity Soups’ containing pork, to exclude religious Jews or Muslims.

Despite claims to be ‘peaceful’, in 2016 GI rushed the stage during a play performed by refugee actors at the University of Vienna, throwing fake blood over the performers.

In 2017 they crowdfunded £150,000 to charter a boat in the Mediterranean to target NGO ships rescuing migrants in peril, threatening to arrest illegal migrants and sink their boats. They were backed by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Ironically GI’s boat got into difficulties off the coast of Libya, and Sellner and co had to be rescued by one of the very NGO ships they were targeting.

A few months later, GI paid £50,000 for a helicopter landing in the French Alps, where they laid out a massive anti-migration banner.  

In December, an Al Jazeera documentary showed undercover footage of GI members in Lille racially abusing and assaulting young migrants, and advocating violence against Muslims. It also exposed their funding from clubs and gyms across France.  

Martin Sellner has twice tried to enter the UK but been turned back; Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (‘Tommy Robinson’) has taken on his speaking engagements on these occasions, and the two men have met in France and Austria.

Replacement Theory – the Big Racist Idea

Robinson has begun to talk about ‘Replacement Theory’, which holds that European governments are complicit in the importation of Muslim immigrants to “replace” white workers; this GI’s Big Idea.

It’s no coincidence that Brendan Tarrant called his ‘manifesto’ for Christchurch ‘The Great Replacement’.  

Martin Sellner has now conceded he exchanged a number of friendly emails with Tarrant, and invited him to ‘have a beer’ if he was ever in Austria. Tarrant booked accommodation and a rental car in Austria the next day; Sellner denies they met

It’s no coincidence that Brendan Tarrant called his ‘manifesto’ for Christchurch ‘The Great Replacement’.

The Stand Up To Racism student group at UCU in London, which has seen GI activity on its campus, say we should be clear about the group’s ideology:  

‘They want to see the living conditions and democratic rights for Europe’s non-white communities degraded to the extent that people will “voluntarily” leave…or (face) forced “repatriation”.’

NeoNazi Links

Despite attempts to differentiate themselves publicly from more blatantly fascist groups, GI were last year found to have recruited a member of the banned Nazi terror group National Action. They have followers in Britain First and across the far Right.  ’

They continue to be active on campuses across the UK, pouring red dye in a fountain in Bristol whilst speakers blared out Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech; they have personally targeted female anti-fascist academics.

Nor have we heard the last of Sellner- last week he claimed on social media that John Cleese was ‘an Identitarian’,  after the latter tweeted about the supposedly declining ‘Englishness’ of London.

Generation Identity were on the streets of London itself this weekend, very publicly handing out meals (which, on previous occasions, have been found to be pork-based)  to what they described on twitter as ‘homeless Englishmen’.

In the world of Generation Identity neither English women, nor foreigners of either sex, deserve any consideration.  

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