The far-right movement stokes fears of a great replacement and has branches around the world. After the New Zealand massacre, its under growing scrutiny
The nature of the connection between the alleged killer and Sellner is still being investigated, following a police raid of Sellners home in Vienna on Monday. But what is the Identitarian Movement, and who are the people associated with it?
Like the accused killer, on its umbrella site the Identitarian movement stokes fears of a great replacement. The Generation Identity website says this will turn us into minorities in our own countries in a few decades.
Organisations that affiliate themselves with Identitarianism include Gnration Identitaire in France and Generazione Identitaria in Italy. The American Identity Movement in the United States (recently renamed from Identity Evropa and banned from Facebook on Thursday) participated in the Charlottesville rally, and recently leaked chat logs showed that their ranks include serving members of the US military. Identity Australia appears little more than a grouplet for now, and the Dominion Movement in New Zealand claimed on its website to have disbanded in the wake of the mass murder at Christchurch.
The people who serve as Identitarianisms public faces tend to be over-groomed millennials like Sellner, and the movement explicitly aims to recruit young people. Identitarians often attack multiculturalism and immigration within a framework of intergenerational struggle; in 2012 Gnration Identitaire released an infamous video which made a declaration of war on the 68ers the generation who had been involved in the student revolts of 1968.
The movements thought derives largely from the so-called European New Right or Nouvelle Droite (ND), a largely French movement beginning in the 1960s, which attempted to repackage racist thought in a way which would not alarm Europeans with fresh memories of interwar fascism.
ND thinkers cribbed concepts from the left to present a obfuscated version of blood and soil ethno-nationalism, wherein Europeans would have exclusive possession of their homelands. They also promoted the concept of metapolitics, hoping to effect political change by seeding ideas and achieving cultural dominance. They were also anticapitalist. They share signIficant common ground with coat-and-tie white nationalists in the us and elsewhere. Political scientists such as Walter Laqueur described the ND as fascist.
Indentitarianism in its modern incarnation began in the early 2000s, when Gnration Identitaire formed as the youth wing of Bloc Identitaire in France. Over the next decade they developed the formula which identitarian groups everywhere still use. Islamophobic provocations such as mosque occupations or pork saUSAge and booze parties in Muslim neighbourhoods were mixed with slick promotional efforts which exploited the emerging, laissez-faire communications environment of social Media.
Sellner has been associated with a dissemination of Identitarianism across Europe and the world, and an escalation in its tactics and PR efforts.
As a teenager, Sellner was involved with Austrian neo-Nazi groups, but has since claimed to have renounced Nazism. In 2012, he founded IB, which opposed itself to liberalism, multiculturalism and Islam, instead adopting the blood-and-soil lite ND concept of ethnopluralism, which held that each race should be confined to its ethnic homeland.
Like all Identitarians, Sellner claims to be nonviolent, but his tactics have embraced confrontation, provocation and menace. In 2016 IB members stormed a stage in an Austrian university where a play was being performed by refugee actors, waving a banner doused with fake blood.
In 2017 Sellner raised us$100,000 to sail a ship into the Mediterranean so that migrants from Africa to Europe could be intercepted and returned. This mission, carried out in the company of Sellners fiancee, Brittany Pettibone, and white nationalist YouTube star Lauren Southern, ended in ignominious failure. A year ago, the three of them went to the English town of Luton and insulted Muslims with provocative slogans for that effort they were banned from the country.
In the last year, Sellner has spent time in the us, Pettibones home country, and recorded podcasts on Identitarianism with James Allsup, the Charlottesville marcher who was elected as a party official in the Republican party in Washington state.
The racist fear of a great replacement is front and centre in the alleged shooters manIfesto, but is also expressed across the Identitarian movement. Christchurch may well lead to a greater scrutiny of Identitarianism around the world.