On Saturday afternoon, members of Identity Evropa (IE) — an organization categorized by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a hate group — were spotted holding a banner that said “Stop the invasion! End immigration!” above the Block U, overlooking the University of Utah campus.
The group’s leader, Patrick Casey, tweeted pictures of the group with the banner and smoke flares “to let the university — and the world — know that we will not be stopped.” Casey and the group did not hang the banner above the Block U but instead descended with it down the mountain after posing for pictures.
In September 2018, the University of Utah issued a statement condemning Identity Evropa over a few flyers.
Today, IE activists hiked the Block U with a massive banner that read "END IMMIGRATION" to let the university – and the world – know that we will NOT be stopped! pic.twitter.com/Jzkkm4z5n1
— Patrick Casey 🇺🇸 (@PatrickCaseyIE) February 10, 2019
The pictures drew swift criticism from members of the U’s community on Twitter.
U student Sydney Joy quoted Casey’s tweet, saying, “You are disgusting and disgraceful. You should be ashamed of yourself. This isn’t activism, this is a hateful spread of violent rhetoric. Please get it off my campus.”
“Hate speech is not free speech and it has no place on campus or anywhere in a modern society,” tweeted the University of Utah chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA). “We condemn white nationalism and attempts to divide the working class, and we call on [the University of Utah] to take immediate disciplinary action against the individuals involved.”
In response to the disapproval, Casey replied in a tweet, “I suppose that means we’ll have to ramp things up in Utah!”
The U of U YDSA group went on to criticize the university, saying, “The university has historically been lethargic in its decisive actions against hate speech and this lack of enforcement is what is enabling these disgusting displays to occur time and time again.”
U spokesperson Christopher Nelson said the university is watching IE’s actions “very closely.”
“President Watkins has directed our facilities team and the police to be vigilant in watching for improper postings on campus,” Nelson said. “To my knowledge, there is no evidence of any connection between current U of U students and the group.”
Casey at one point, however, quoted a dissenting tweet saying, “IE members at U of U disagree!”
This event came two weeks after the university issued a statement condemning stickers with IE’s logo found posted on campus. On the same day that the stickers were discovered, an anti-immigration banner was hung from the Legacy Bridge above North Campus Drive by Patriot Front, a group that is also designated a hate group by the ADL and SPLC. Casey told The Daily Utah Chronicle that the two groups are not affiliated and that the timing of the events was coincidental.
The statement issued on Jan. 26 called the group’s members “cowardly” and “faceless,” saying that their “non-university sanctioned tactics” were an effort “to disrupt and frighten individuals and communities, and to garner attention for an insidious ideology that has no place on our campus or in our community.”
Casey told the Chronicle that he flew to Salt Lake City from Virginia for the undertaking. He said that although it was not specifically Watkins’ statement that spurred it, the group “might not have done the Block U action had the university not condemned what we did.” Casey later walked back this statement, saying that the action would still have occurred, but perhaps not at the Block U.
As the executive director of IE, Casey said the group is “an identitarian organization.” What this means, he said, is that members of IE are “primarily concerned with the role identity plays in society.” He added that the goals of the group are to have a “homogeneous country where people are like us, look like us, think like us, talk like us and act like us.”
Who is “us?” To Casey, that means white people of European descent.
The SPLC is an organization founded by civil rights lawyers in 1971 that purports to fight “hate and bigotry” and seek “justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.” The organization describes IE as a white nationalist extremist group. Reporting on IE’s activities, the SPLC stated that members of the group “insist they’re not racist, but ‘identitarians’ who are interested in preserving Western culture.”
The concept of Identitarianism was born in France in 2003 but has since seen factions of its far-right anti-immigration ideology seed in other countries.
Founding Identity Evropa
IE, a manifestation of Identitarian ideology in the U.S., was founded by Iraq War veteran Nathan Damigo.
During an interview with Counter-Currents, a white nationalist media group, Damigo discussed his arriving at “racial awareness” after reading “My Awakening” — a book written by former Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. This occurred — according to Damigo’s interview — during the four years he spent in jail for robbing a taxi driver at gunpoint after he said he mistook him for an Iraqi.
Upon his release in 2014, newly armed with white nationalist ideologies, Damigo helped to found the National Youth Front (NYF). The group was aimed at recruiting teens to host pro-white actions on college campuses but was forced to dissolve after threats of legal action were made by another group with the same name. Inspired by France’s latest Identitarian factions of far-right anti-Muslim youth movements, Damigo established IE in 2016.
The group started off small but gained a larger following during President Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral campaign. After the election results were in, Damigo live-streamed his reaction during which he yelled, “You have to go back!” to people in his area who he presumed were immigrants.
Although Casey told the Chronicle that the 2016 election was significant for the group, he admitted that he has “lost faith in Trump” mainly because he said the president “caved” to the left when reopening the government without funding for a southern U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The Summer of Hate
As the political climate of 2017 heated up, Andrew Anglin, the proprietor of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, wrote that the summer of 2017 would be “The Summer of Hate.” He called for white anger to be weaponized into action, a move which would later get his site booted off of GoDaddy for violating the web domain company’s terms of service.
Identity Evropa members became known for their role in a series of right-wing extremist demonstrations that followed the post. During demonstrations in Berkeley, California, Damigo was caught on video punching a woman.
Members of Identity Evropa, including Damigo, participated in the Unite the Right rallies in August 2017 in Charlottesville, North Carolina. The rally turned violent and left Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, dead. Many were wounded after a car was driven into counter-protesters. A video of the events later showed Damigo clashing with and charging at riot police.
Shortly after the events in Charlottesville, Damigo left IE and his position was filled by Eli Mosley, formerly Elliot Kline. According to a Vice News report, Mosley also became aggressive at protests in Charlottesville, saying he would send for “200 people with guns” during a phone call made to police.
After three months as the leader of IE, Mosley resigned due to irreconcilable differences in November 2017, which is when Casey took his position in the group.
Casey believes that the people who share his views are victim to a negative stereotype perpetuated by the media. He said that the public often sees people with these views as being “incredibly uneducated, crude and obtuse.” While Casey admitted that there are people like that “out there,” he said the media “loves to trot them out.”
Casey said he is not racist and that IE is concerned that white people will become a minority by 2045 or 2050. He said this is alarming because “diversity as a model for society is not good.” Casey believes that the only argument in favor of diversity is “better restaurants,” which he said is not “a good civilizational model.”
Casey cited studies that he said point to an increase in conflict in society when immigration increases. He said that “in order for the world to have a more harmonious sort of arrangement,” he believes “there needs to be some degree of separation.” A separation that he says does not need to result in an entirely “ethnically pure country,” but he said that he “want[s] there to be more people like [him] in the world” and that he has “no problem saying that.”
U anthropology professor Shawn Carlyle told the Chronicle that he does not “deny that immigration can cause social and cultural disruption,” but that it is “a matter of perspective.” For example, Carlyle said, “Native Americans, who first occupied the New World, were largely displaced by immigration from Europe.”
He added that the “overriding problem” he sees with philosophies that claim diversity is bad for society is that “there are humans of all types of personalities, skin colors, nationalities, ethnicities, etc. in nearly every country.” Carlyle said this is not going to go away, so “we can either learn how to live together, or we can continue to allow racism and racist philosophies to reduce our productivity and focus.”
“Race is not a Social Construct”
Casey said he obtained a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from San Diego State University, but when asked for verification of the degree, he said that he did not “feel the need” to provide it. Despite university attendance and graduation generally being public record, an online verification request for the degree did not yield results.
The IE leader said he believes there exists, within the human species, a white race and a black race. When asked whether this view was in conflict with widely held anthropological concepts of race and biodiversity, he responded that those views were motivated by ideology and not science.
Casey said that “race — or human biodiversity — exists on a spectrum” that he said is “clinal, not cladistic.”
“The very odd and — I would say — dishonest debate that left-wing anthropologists who are driven by ideology try to engage in is saying that you cannot impose discrete categories on spectrums,” he said.
While Carlyle feels that discrete categories can be used in terms of biodiversity, he said, “It is always subjective.” An example Carlyle cited is human height. He said, “Who should we consider tall — everyone over 6 feet, or everyone over 6.1 feet?”
This same type of reasoning applies to skin color, according to Carlyle, who said, “Anthropologists do not deny that individuals of different skin color exist, we simply don’t find that defining individuals by their skin is useful for characterizing human biological diversity.” While he agrees that we “could create ‘races’ with any phenotypic trait,” such as “hair color.” This model “would still not be useful for the characterization of human biological variability.”
Casey believes that there is a correlation between genetics and race, saying that evidence of this is in the fact that you can “look at someone’s genome and tell that they are African, European or Asian.”
However, Carlyle said that these types of “modern genomic-based tests” are based on “a probability of geographic origin of certain genetic markers.” Those markers, he said, do not include “race or ethnicity” and they “don’t report skin color.”
“Not a Racist”
Although Casey said he is not a racist, he advocates for a “white supermajority” in the U.S.
“America has historically had a white supermajority,” he said. “Many people alive today remember what it was like for there to be mostly white people everywhere you go.”
When asked about his views on the diversity that already exists within the U.S., Casey said he’d propose voluntary repatriation. He said that he does not believe that “most black people feel terribly connected to this country,” and that a solution would be to “give them a plane ticket and $20,000 to go live somewhere else.”
In addition to these views, which he said are not based in hate, Casey also said he believes that “mixed race people have identity issues” and that he thinks that “white people should marry and have children among their own,” adding that he does not see anything wrong with saying that.
Casey said the group targets universities because it is where you find “naive and idealistic people of European heritage.” He equated universities to “left-wing echo chambers” that teach people that “western civilization is bad, the patriarchy is bad” and that “race is just a social construct.”