Identity Evropa: Image is everything
“No tattoos, no drugs, well-dressed, high-class” is how Patrick Casey, Identity Evropa’s executive director, described his ideal recruit.
In early July in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, 10 members of Identity Evropa joined Casey for an afternoon of community service, which the group also calls activism.
Before pulling on protective gloves to pick up trash, Casey halted the group of young men to flatten one recruit’s shirt collar. Image is everything, and this park cleanup is an exercise in public relations, a way to push Identity Evropa’s ideas into the mainstream by being seen as valued members of society.
“Identity Evropa. We’re kind of like a fraternity,” is the response members gave to passersby who wanted to know who they were.
“Just doing our bit for the community,” they said to a young woman with two children at her side.
When two members begin chatting about how mainstream news media are colluding in their coverage of black-on-white crimes, Identity Evropa’s chief of staff commanded them to stop talking, his eyes traveling to a journalist’s recording device.
If Identity Evropa is a fraternity, it’s like no other. Dues may not inhibit membership – “$10 a month, the same price as a Netflix subscription” – but the prerequisites might. Members must be white, specifically non-Hispanic, non-Semitic and of European heritage, Casey said.
Genetics are important to Identity Evropa, but ideology is more so.
Casey, 29, and his band of identity brothers say they are working to preserve white identity in America. Identity Evropa has gained national attention for the youth of its members, and their presence at last August’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where they led the chant “Jews will not replace us!” while marching with burning torches.
After Charlottesville, Identity Evropa lost members and momentum and Casey took over as executive director to rebuild and rebrand the organization as cleancut and unsullied. The group now claims membership of roughly 1,000 and a presence at most college campuses around the U.S.
Casey, who also works for the far-right media production house Red Ice TV, told News21 he was raised in a “mildly conservative” home in Virginia, but after researching multiculturalism, immigration and diversity online, he adopted identitarian beliefs and joined Identity Evropa.
“Our national agenda is to place members in elected and powerful positions in order to legislatively advance an end to all illegal immigration into America and to ultimately limit legal immigration to people from northwestern European countries,” Casey said.
The organization regularly places banners on highway overpasses, with such slogans as “Danger you are now entering a sanctuary city,” “End immigration” and “European roots | American greatness.” Members stage public protests, recently dressing in construction gear and holding signs reading “Build the Wall” outside the Mexican Consulate in New York City.
But Identity Evropa focuses most of its recruitment on college campuses, which it sees as the last battlegrounds, places where young white people are taught to feel racial guilt and believe that multiculturalism is a positive thing.
“You could be studying for a degree in physics, and they’ll make you take a diversity class,” Casey said, “but diversity just means less white people, and that is really sick.”
The organization distributes recruitment fliers, stickers and posters on campuses, frequently drawing the attention of local and national news media, a recruitment strategy Identity Evropa calls “Project Siege.”
“The idea is that people see the flier and then they look us up online and apply to join,” Casey said.
After the application, they are contacted by a member of Identity Evropa’s interview board and a Skype interview is conducted. Candidates are asked about their heritage, their political ideology and their views on Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
The Anti-Defamation League’s latest report on white supremacist propaganda on college campuses describes Identity Evropa’s tactics as using “propaganda that avoids recognizable white supremacist imagery and language.”
The ADL recorded 478 incidents of white-supremacist propaganda on campuses since September 2016, including fliers, stickers, banners and posters. It attributed roughly half these incidents to Identity Europa.
Brian Campbell said he was recruited by such a flier showing an image of a white man with the words “Our generation, our future, our last chance.” The 2017 graduate of New York University was in Fairmount Park for Identity Evropa’s community service project.
Other fliers have depicted marble statues of European figures with the phrase “Protect Your Heritage.”
“My campus had these posters up,” Campbell said, “and of course the media went crazy. I looked into the group, saw their Twitter, saw they had really good optics.”
Campbell said he was frustrated with what he saw as a lot of talk and not much action from his college Republicans, but Identity Evropa was “actually doing something.”
It didn’t bother Campbell when he learned Identity Evropa members were labeled Nazis online, as he believes the term has lost its meaning.
“I’ve been labeled a Nazi for my conservative views on immigration, so Nazi doesn’t scare me anymore. Also, I have a predominantly Slavic background, so I can’t really be a Nazi,” he said.
Once Campbell’s interview finished, Identity Evropa’s chief of staff told members that any other interviews were to go through him first. Members and the group’s board of directors speak in the language of Marketing 101 about who they are and what they do, and everyone must be on message.
“This isn’t about optics” said chief of staff Mike, who asked that his last name not be used but was happy to talk while his recruits picked up litter. “We are actually making our members into better people.”
Identity Evropa offers public-speaking classes, promotes regular exercise and is trying to expand a professional network of influential people sympathetic to the group’s views.
Hours of interviews with members of Identity Evropa suggest confluent causes for their white-nationalist views. They see racial and ethnic differences as the root of domestic and global conflicts, and they find validation when a U.S. president speaks in what they view as their language about immigration.
But most refused to be photographed, fearing retribution from employers and family if publicly linked to white identity politics.
Although Identity Evropa’s public social media channels show members spending weekends cleaning parks to tending the gravestones of veterans, Discord, an online chat room where members communicate in private, tells a different story.
To access the group’s server, members are vetted and interviewed, said Sam Argyle, who studied Identity Evropa for a master’s thesis at NYU. All those posting on the server are members of Identity Evropa, although they mostly use aliases as usernames.
Private chats shared with News21 by Argyle show overt racism, anti-Semitism and misogyny within the group.
One user posted: “you know what grinds my gears? black people who complain about having to work on president’s day. I want to hold a mirror up to them and say, that’s the reason why.”
Islamophobia is present, too. One user wrote: “It’s ‘Islam awareness week’ at my school. What does that even mean?” Another replied “Is that before “ship them all back week?”
While Identity Evropa’s official position on a white supermajority is non-violent, the language members use in private discussions is different. One user posted: “We’re the descendants of all the greatest empires in the world not to mention the most militarily gifted. As things get worse, we will become more mobilized and open about stopping the madness. It is only a matter of When, not if.”
Discord also has a channel called White Pills where users post “good news” stories. One user posted a link to a “Black Enterprise” article, the headline reading “More educated black women going childless,” causing other users to applaud the news.
News21 spoke to another former Identity Evropa member who arrived on foot to an Oregon coffee shop to talk to a reporter. Tall, pale and 21, he scouted the nearly empty coffee shop for cameras and anyone who might be watching.
He said his former membership in Identity Evropa put him on a hit list for antifa, a collection of far-left groups that “doxes” members of the far-right by publishing personal information online with malicious intent. He declined to be identified for this story for fear of further retribution.
A former recruiter for the organization, he claimed to have increased his regional chapter from three members to 30 in less than a year.
“I just went to Trump rallies and talked to people,” he said.
He left Identity Evropa after Charlottesville, fearing he would get caught up in violence of the far-right. But his beliefs have not changed. For three hours in the coffee shop, he spoke about white people in America, their persecution, how “Trump is making Europe his bitch.” He spoke about an America that will be unrecognizable, where white people will become an underclass. He, for a time, returned to his role as an Identity Evropa recruiter.
“We cared about traditionalism, about the nation,” he said. “It wasn’t some dumbass (Ku Klux Klan) cringe bullshit. No, Identity Evropa were cool guys, not lame-ass dudes wearing Bed Bath and Beyond discount sheets.”