Read how the white supremacy movement is rebranding:
Recent news reports of several current members of the U.S. military as well as a police officer in Virginia being outed as active, recruiting members of the white nationalist organization Identity Evropa (now rebranded as the American Identity Movement) gives food for thought as to how these organizations are identified and their impact on our society.
Identity Evropa, which was started in 2016 by an ex-Marine, gained notoriety when it became known that it helped organize the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August 2017.
The Daily Beast reported the group’s members formed a prominent contingent of the rally’s participants. The rally was marked by horrifying images of Neo-Nazis marching with torches through the streets the night before the march.
For the moment, white supremacist movements such as Identity Evropa are not deemed terrorist organizations and are thus not illegal. However, various corporations and government institutions require their employees maintain a distance from these movements. For example, the U.S. army prohibits “personnel from actively advocating supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes.”
The reality that police and military personnel belong to such a movement is particularly disturbing. How can these people impartially serve and protect the public if they are ideologically committed to one segment of the population at the expense of another?
Moreover, we must also consider their strategic placement. The Virginia policeman, who was involved with recruiting new members to Identity Evropa, was assigned to a high school.
Ideologues are always engaged in a larger battle: to win over the hearts and minds of our young people, who are particularly vulnerable as they search for an identity or solutions to life’s frustrations. Moreover, a young person may subconsciously have a higher level of trust for an older authority figure based on the figure’s status and position.
As for Identity Evropa, we can only surmise that other members of this group have insinuated themselves into positions of authority where they are able not only to potentially influence policy but leverage their power to influence and recruit others.
It is obvious that Identity Evropa’s leaders are consciously involved in strategic planning. When the organization was being run by its founder, Nathan Damigo, the group engaged in various activities and protests with other white nationalist organizations.
After Charlottesville, when Patrick Casey took over as the leader of the group, they began separating themselves from these other organizations and rebranded as the American Identity Movement.
The good news is that as of March 2018, it was reported that Identity Evropa experienced a steep decline in membership. It was also reported that, as has been the case of other white supremacists movements since the Charlottesville rally when these groups were outed, the backlash against them has contributed to what has been called their internal “collapse.”
However, the bad news is this ideology is still alive, and it is something that can be learned – through factors such as the environment and personal relationships and vulnerabilities.
It is our job to educate and protect the next generation against this influence. Children are not born with hate or discrimination. We must do everything in our power to make sure they do not develop these life-negating characteristics.