An Alt-Right Group Is Trying to Recruit College Kids Like It's a Frat
Identity Evropa, which coined the "You Will Not Replace Us" chant, is leading a guerilla recruitment campaign on college campuses across the country, according to a new report.
Neo Nazis, Alt-Right, and White Supremacists at the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, VA. Photo by Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images
In early August, members of a white nationalist group called Identity Evropa took the stage at a pro-immigration forum at a Miami community college and unfurled a banner that proclaimed "Secure Our Border." The political action was reportedly part of the group's "Project Siege" campaign—a guerilla recruitment effort for new members of the alt-right taking place on college campuses across the country.
Now, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Identity Evropa's recruitment campaign has intensified since the events in Charlottesville. The ADL found that there were 65 instances of Identity Evropa distributing propaganda on college campuses in 2016. The hate-group tracker projects a growing trend, as it's identified at least a dozen universities in three states that have been targeted by the group only two weeks into the fall semester.
Primarily, members of Identity Evropa plaster stickers and flyers on campuses featuring classical European sculpture and slogans like "Protect Your Heritage" and "History Is Ours." They've hit big party schools like Ohio State, religious institutions like Texas Christian University, and the notoriously liberal Evergreen State College in Washington. When they're not operating in secret, they tend to target zones on campus that are designed to promote free speech, like when they stenciled the Freedom of Expression Tunnel at North Carolina State University in June. However, they also approach people on campuses and are beginning to engage in direct action, like what took place in Miami last month.
Identity Evropa was founded in March 2016 by an Iraqi War veteran and convicted felon named Nathan Damigo, and is probably best known for the group's chant of "You Will Not Replace Us." The man who replaced Damigo as the leader of Identity Evropa in August—Eli Mosley—was a key organizer for the Unite the Right rally, where the phrase was chanted to reference the conspiracy theory of "white genocide," or the belief that diversity is a concept that Jewish people advocate for in order to eradicate whiteness.
In a blog post from October 2016, former leader Damigo describes Project Siege as the "beginning of a long term cultural war of attrition against academia's Cultural Marxist narrative that is maintained and propagated into society through the indoctrination of the future managerial class." The post also offers tips for striking up conversation with both left-leaning and right-leaning students about the benefits of a white ethnostate.
Marilyn Mayo, a senior research fellow at the ADL, told me that not only is Identity Evropa ramping up its recruiting efforts for the new school year, but the group is trying to justify its white supremacist views with academic tracts through the far-right Arktos Media publishing company. She adds that they haven't exactly become another branch of the College Republicans, though the members of Identity Evropa could be working toward official campus chapters like any other club.
"They might run into a lot of trouble, but I wouldn't put it past them to try," Mayo said. "There's definitely a push right now to make an appearance on college campuses, like how Richard Spencer is doing a college tour." Mayo also noted that Spencer has ties to Arktos Media, though is not affiliated with Identity Evropa.
Identity Evropa is far from the only far-right group ramping up recruitment at college campuses. According to the ADL, there have been at least 188 incidents of white supremacist groups—including the Daily Stormer and Vanguard America—spreading propaganda at 129 college campuses across 36 states since September 2016.
A recent Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI about Identity Evropa received what is known as a Glomar Response—or a refusal to either confirm or deny that the group is under active investigation.
Follow Allie Conti on Twitter.