In 2012, the French far-right party Bloc Identitaire – later renamed Les Identitaires – established a youth wing under the title of Génération Identitaire (GI) or “Generation Identity”. Though serving as the Bloc’s recruitment arm, its main purpose was to channel the energies of teenage activists into street protests and acts of civil disobedience while winnowing out less committed members. However the popularity of the junior organisation among a growing body of reactionary or countercultural Millennials in France surpassed the most optimistic expectations of its founders, transforming the appendage into a movement in its own right. This led to the establishment of several affiliated groups across Western Europe, notably the Identitäre Bewegung in Germany and the Identitäre Bewegung Österreich in Austria, both of which have strong Neo-Nazi ties, and the Generazione Identitaria in Italy. Following the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum of 2016 and the perceived rise in xenophobic and racist sentiment among the British general public, GI’s ambitions quickly expanded to include the UK.
While initially unsuccessful among the country’s longstanding and decidedly thuggish fascist networks, by the summer of 2017 the group was beginning to attract its own recruits on various social media platforms, particularly Facebook. This bore fruition in October of that year with the official launch of Generation Identity United Kingdom And Ireland, under the leadership of the British activists Jordan Diamond (aka. James Windsor) and Sebastian Seccombe (aka. Seb James), and the rather mysterious Irish participant, Damhnait McKenna (real name Deirdre McTucker).
However the grouping almost immediately ran into bad publicity when ITV, the popular UK television channel, featured a documentary exposing the organisation’s racist underpinnings and paramilitary leanings with the title “Undercover: Inside Britain’s New Far Right”. This forced Diamond and Seccombe to downplay their involvement, generating considerable in-party criticism, while the Belfast-born McKenna moved to the fore, one of a growing number of articulate young women given star status among the ultra-conservative and related alt-right movements in the Western world.
Since the start of 2018, the previously rather publicity-shy McKenna has become the driving force behind GIUK’s tech-savvy growth, appearing at a number of events and liaising with other identitarian bodies and individuals in Europe, and increasingly in North America. Her own history is the subject of much speculation, with claims that she was formerly resident in the United States before her settlement in Dublin. Likewise, her apparent acceptance into a decidedly British nationalist milieu, however well-educated and middle-class, has struck many as decidedly odd. Even with the precedent set by the Irish emigrant and convert to UK exceptionalism, Anne Marie Waters, the boss of the fascist party, For Britain.
Generation Identity United Kingdom And Ireland, and the symbolism of a Greater UK
This incongruity can be seen in the name and promotional materials issued by the London-based headquarters of Generation Identity United Kingdom And Ireland, where the latter country is listed alongside England, Wales and Scotland as a kind of associate member of the political and territorial unit known as the UK. It also appears in the group’s iconography, where both islands are subsumed into one homogeneous whole, an extension of the historical phenomenon of Greater England. For a modern, relatively young Irish person to adopt and promote the revanchist and expansionist language of British nationalism, while certainly not unknown from Ireland’s own revisionist and apologist tendency, is more than a little peculiar.
Some of the tensions a unionist-style philosophy might stoke among local activists can be found in the recent reports of disagreements and splits in the already minuscule Irish branch of the UK group. This subsidiary of less than a dozen individuals has taken to calling itself by various titles, including Generation Identity United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, and the more partition-conscious, Generation Identity Éire/Ireland and Northern Ireland. Whatever the situation, a new claim by Damhnait McKenna that formerly opposed Irish republicans and British loyalists from the UK-occupied Six Counties are now working together to fulfil the movement’s objectives can be dismissed as empty rhetoric. While ongoing anti-immigrant violence in parts of unionist Belfast and Antrim has been linked to several pro-British terror gangs they seem to have little direct connection to the GIUK&I, beyond moving in the same far-right circles.
In many ways Generation Identity United Kingdom And Ireland seems to be following the well-trodden path beaten by the various manifestations of the amorphous alt-right movement in the United States and latterly Europe. The focus is on the young, relatively affluent and technologically adept, seeking those white supremacist members of Generation Y that Libcom has pleasingly dismissed as “Nazi-Hipsters”. This is reflected in the emphasis on professional-style PR messaging and branding, the use of the internet as a propaganda and recruitment tool, and the production of high quality websites and social media tools.
While the claims and beliefs of the Generation Identity network may appear to outside observers to be a mix of old fashioned racism, paranoia and nostalgia, to the disaffected and disgruntled youth of Western Europe the ideology of 21st century fascism offers a political and cultural explanation for all their perceived ills. And a simplistically appealing doctrine to solve them. Indeed, in many ways the solutions offered by the GI movement can be compared to the promises of the isolationist right in Britain, UKIP and xenophobic elements of the Conservative Party, which persuaded enough British voters in the Brexit plebiscite of 2016 to believe that the route to future prosperity lay in a return to a past Golden Age of neo-imperial ascendancy. And a nation cleansed and renewed through the excision of inferior outside influences.
Disagree. On my last stroll through (redacted) Northern Ireland there were literally hundreds of Romany gypsies. Many are fed up of coming second in their own country and no amount of green white and gold will fix that.
These are not the alt-right, these are purely and simply the far-right and fascists. The left have to engage in a dialog with their moderates and the moderates on the right and come up with better solutions, so people do not “come up second in their own country.” Everything else just seems to feed this insanity.
I disagree. Being a bit xenophobic in an age of mass-immigration isn’t what fascism is. Fear of unfettered foreign entry during uncertain economic times is perfectly natural; it’s really only leftwingers in the West who firmly believe that borders ought to be thrown open to let in to whoever wants to come; that is decidedly not a phenomenon you typically see elsewhere. Certainly, Islamic countries are unapologetic on this issue; Saudi Arabia seldom gives citizenship to foreigners, and almost never to non-Muslim foreigners. Is the Islamic world “fascist’? Oriental countries like Japan are *extremely* strict on immigration, and don’t give birthright citizenship to the children of foreign workers born in Japan. Is Japan fascist as well? China, too, is very stingy in giving citizenship to foreigners; the non-citizen foreign residents can be deported almost on a moment’s notice, for minor or trumped-up offenses. Is Communist China “fascist”? Or, perhaps, is responsible border control not a symptom of fascism, but a standard feature of most national governments?
Border controls and controls on immigration are perfectly sensible positions. Personally I have no problem with either within certain limits. However, I don’t think the GI network is approaching the issue from that angle. It is very much taking a race-based position on the question of immigration and multiculturalism. Personally, I have grown more sceptical of the latter theory, advocating a greater degree of acculturationism or assimilationism in the face of social balkanistion. But such matters usually have at their base economic factors. A liberal and secular society or nation-state cannot exist in isolation from the world around it nor should it. And immigration is generally a plus not a negative.
The GI groupings cleave close to fascism because it offers easier “solutions” than looking long and hard at society and the world more generally. Again, particularly at the economic and political factors which drive emigrants and fail immigrants.
Back in 85, I spent four months working in the US: spent most that time lodging with some relatives in New York – or more accurately a satellite town about 30 miles outside ny on Long Island: Lawn Goylan as the natives pronuonced it. folks there were blue collar types: police, firemen,truckers, builders, small businessmen, with harsh Cagneyesque working class Noo Yoik accents – mainly Irish, Italian or Jewish: aware of there own poor immigrant origins, aware of the fact that their ancestors werent exaxtly welcomed with open arms when they first got off the boat, aware also of the fairly thuggish criminal elements which undoubtedly existed within their own communites: weve all seen Goodfellas – almost invariably hteir family roots were in inner city NYC – Bronx , Brooklyn etc. a lot of the older folks were born in Harlem- werent one bit shy about telling you the reasons they had bailed out of those areas.All had guns in the house, legally or otherwise. Their attitudes towards the blacks: well, contempt barely begins to describe it: resignation woulda been a more acc description. The black underclass was a permanent ineradicable, unalterable fact of US life, and there wasnt nuthin whitey could do cept move away from it.
Many of them still commuted into Manhatt to work. In order to do so you had to go through the inner boroughs – much of the conversation round the dinner table was of the safest, or at any rate least unsafe, way of doing so. This was of particual concern to the womenfolk: the idea that an unaccompanied white female could walk cycle or take a bus through Harlem or the S. Bronx at any time of the day or night was considered utterly unthinkable: a mere violent mugging woulda been considered the absolute best case sceanario, if you get my drift.
In the first week I was there, a fireman of their acquaint who was coming off duty in the Bronx and went for a drink was shot dead by a bunch of blacks who were robbing the place, an off duty policeman from the next street shot and killed a black kid who was trying to mug him (this became something of a cause celebre as the kid was at Princeto on some sort of minority set aside scholarship at the time,) a legal secretary from the town on her way back from work in NYC was gang raped by a bunch of blacks after being dragged off the subway, and a couple of black college students (both entirelye respectable kids by all accs – ended up in hospital when they made the near fatal error of walking into on of the areas many Irish bars. This situation was regarded as entirely normal by the locals – they laughed my appalled response to stories of murder and mayhem which permeated the local paper. Prior to the Guiliani-Bratton crackdown- something for which the law abiding blacks were desperately, pathetically grateful for incidentally – the situation was simply anarchic. If you’ve never read The Bonfire of the Vanities you ought to: captures the time and place perfectly.
One day I had a day off and got onto the train into NY with a camera round my neck. The train came in. I got on -was surprised to see tha everyone else stayed on the platform – was even more surprised that the only other people on the carriage were four large, surly, flak jacketed and heavily armed Irish-American policemen, all of whom seemed equally puzzled to see me.
One of em asked me what my ultimate destination was. I failed to see what it had to with him but said Penn Central Mannhatten. He replied “You stoopid fuck, dis is da stoppin’ train”
Well, i responded, that’s fine, I m on a day off I’ll take a few pictures on the way in.
Patrolman Murphy, obviousy realising that he was dealing with a retard, then said to me very patiently and slowly: “Look, kid, dis is da stopping train: da reason that they call it da stoppin’ train is it makes all da stops. in Harlem and do Bronx. Da Niggers are gonna take that camera ooffya and stick it up ya dumb white limey ass – now get offa da fuckin’ train and wait for da fuckin’ express da same as all da udder fuckin’ people.
I accepted this piece of fatherly advice in the spirit which it was no doubt intended and alighted. Everyone had a good laugh at the dumb tourist.
Related the anecdote the next weekend a bbq on Lawn Goylan to general amusement. One of the other guests, a retired Jewish NYPD man who had himself been born and raised in Harlem during prohibition – you’ve seen “Once Upon A Time In America” siad to me: “Dat officer shows a total ignorance of da communities he’e supposed ta be policin’ You’d abeen poifectly safe on dat train. Poifectly safe.”
A few of the other guests eyed him suspiciously, obviously not having previously suspected him of that level of racial liberalism.
“Yeah, he continued, utterly deadpan: “Youda been fine. Da lazy fucks woulda still been in bed at that time a da mornin’ Now, if youda gone through dere bout noon……”
And everyone had a good laugh at the dumb tourist.
“…a bunch of blacks”
Seriously? I give up…
Well, it wasnt a bunch of eskimos…..
Most, if not all of the GI branches have their roots in Neo-Fascism (all you have to do is google some of the names). They are using the “bit” of xenophobia and the fear of “uncertain economic times” as a tool to recruit. Very few countries world-wide give citizenship rights to people born there with parents of a foreign nationality. Most countries are very restrictive on immigration. No, that does not necessarily make them fascist. Not everyone that is against unbridled immigration and the erasure of their cultural and national identity is a fascist either. None of that changes the origin of GI, however, and the folks that organise and run it. They are fascists.