Generation Identity: A Millennial Fascism for the Future?
Part V of Louie Dean Valencia-García’s series The Rise of the European Far-Right in the Internet Age.
While many elements of the extreme far-right were suppressed after the Second World War, neo-fascists, white nationalists, far-right traditionalists, and other similar groups have re-emerged in the last decade, as this series has demonstrated. One prominent group is Génération Identitaire (Generation Identity)—a trans-European, networked group of primarily young people who advocate for a “Europe of Nations.”  Birthed out of a contingent of the New European Right inspired “Identitarian Bloc,” since their introduction in France in 2012, Generation Identity has quickly acquired their own autonomy separate from the Bloc and have expanded their reach precipitously, with new chapters appearing at an alarming rate. The success of this movement has occurred in large part because of the ease for like-minded individuals to connect to each other vis-à-vis the internet, forming digital “imagined communities.”
However, there is no Generation Identity umbrella organization. Each locality creates its own variation, operating in a way that is similar to movements such as the 15-M movement in Spain (spring 2011), Occupy Wall Street (autumn 2011), and Black Lives Matter (summer 2013) in the United States—holding a common banner, but operating with local autonomy. Not only has Generation Identity borrowed organizing strategies from the left, but they have also appropriated and used consumerist and capitalistic ideologies to promote their white supremacist beliefs—even selling Identitarian food, clothing, beer, and books.  Targeting primarily young people, they hold camps, organize lectures, host militant training exercises in which participants all dress alike, and even teach classes on marketing and graphic design for the purposes of outreach and to promote a Europe free of Islam.
The British strain of Generation Identity, which curiously includes Ireland, has even made references to the Spanish Reconquista, which culminated with the Catholic Kings, Isabel and Ferdinand, expelling Muslims and Jews from the Iberian Peninsula beginning in 1492, instituting strict religious rules that excised native-born Jewish and Muslim Iberians from the new Spanish state. Both Islam and Judaism had histories going back more than seven centuries. The group argues on their website:
The term Reconquista (“reconquest”) is based on the historical event of the gradual recapture of the Iberian Peninsula, which had been held by Muslim conquerors, by the successors of the Visigothic kingdoms. It’s true that today we are not facing an immediate military confrontation but the threat instead is one of self-destruction through a multicultural zeitgeist. Our fight is therefore a war of words, ideas and politics.
We, the Generation Identity, want to reconquer social spaces of discourse, which have been dominated by a left-wing hegemony. We are a loud patriotic voice that shows its face, one that is creating new pathways for the values of tradition and national pride. Love for our own and an awareness of our ethno-cultural identity are matters we take for granted and of which we should not feel ashamed. We want patriotism to become an important value for society.
We also value true freedom of expression so that these important issues will have a place in the public discourse. These are our demands and for this cause we go on the streets every day to form a phalanx for the Reconquista.
The use of the terms “Reconquista” and “phalanx” are not insignificant, as they explicitly recall both the Spanish expulsion of Muslims and Jews during the early modern period and the fascist régime of Francisco Franco, whose “Falange,” a fascist party founded in 1933 by José Antonio Primo de Rivera, ruled Spain during the authoritarian dictatorship that lasted from 1939 until 1975. Moreover, such rhetoric also reiterates the foundational myth propagated by the Francoist régime that the Kingdom of Spain depended upon a cleansing of Spain from more than 700 years of Muslim and Jewish heritage. By recalling the Reconquista and the Falange, the group demonstrates a fear of pluralism, advocating for homogeneity of ideas, cultural practices, and ethnicity—squarely a fascist tendency.
Curiously, Generation Identity members often reject the label of “nationalist,” but still show a marked form of xenophobia toward immigrants and antipathy toward the European Union. One speculates that because the term “nationalist” has become so loaded because of the legacy of Nazism in Europe this legacy might serve as a rationale for young people to reject the term. Nevertheless, actions do often speak louder than words. In the spring of 2017, one arm of the Generation Identity movement started a campaign called “Defend Europe” to fundraise so that to buy a ship to sail the Mediterranean, near Libya, with the purpose of picking up refugees escaping from Libya and returning them to that country—hoping to find Libyans before governmental and non-governmental organizations patrolling those waters would have the chance to rescue the seafarers who gamble their lives on the open sea. Effectively, Defend Europe sought to circumvent the arrival of these refugees to European shores. In an attempt to block the Defend Europe campaign, the internet payment service company, PayPal, recently froze the organizations’ ability to accept funds—a tactic which has proven effective at slowing down the movement but has not entirely halted it. As of late summer, 2017, some 3,095 people had contributed $228,656 to the group’s crowdsourced fundraiser.    To be sure, while the label of “nationalist” might be rejected, these anti-immigrant actions certainly reflect a form of xenophobia and nationalism.
Arktos Media has served as one of the primary publishers and translators for Generation Identity. Although Génération Identitaire already has a considerable following online, nearly 20,000 at the end of the summer of 2017, Arktos has played an important role for the movement, funding the publication of short, accessible, aesthetically pleasing volumes that have helped to make Identitarian ideologies more appealing and understandable to white European audiences looking for a scapegoat—whether the older generations (the so called “May ’68ers”) or immigrants.
Generation Identity heavily relies on aesthetics and branding to appeal to its audience—a fascistic tradition, indeed. Although they are composed of loosely organized regional chapters/cells, they typically identify themselves as part of the movement through the use of a Greek-inspired, encircled “lambda” symbol, often set in black, with a bright yellow background for contrast. On their website, the Identitarians employ sleek black and white videos featuring young, trendy white people who have been aggrieved by immigrants and people of color—afraid to walk the streets, denied jobs. The demand for the Generation Identity literature has been popular enough for Arktos to publish three volumes dedicated to the movement. The first volume, We are… Generation Identity, was published in 2013 by an anonymous author. The next two volumes, Generation Identity: A Declaration of War Against the ’68ers and A Europe of Nations, were written by Markus Willinger (b. 1992). Willinger writes on behalf of all young people in a tone of indignation to his parents’ generation, “We go to class with 80% or more foreign-born students. Knife-mad Turks, drug-dealing Africans, and fanatical Muslims.” Indeed, the alterophobia is blatant and pronounced. In A Europe of Nations, Willinger argues:
A person’s cultural identity is nearly unchangeable. Every person is moulded in early childhood, and this process can only occur again in absolutely exceptional cases…Under such circumstances, how should millions of people from the Global East suddenly become Europeans? They can’t… Our continent and our culture can’t survive if millions of non-Europeans live here. We can’t preserve our identity under these conditions… Europe and the Muslim world have always been diametrically opposed.
Arktos has also published a short volume by Alexander Dugin, Eurasian Mission: An Introduction to Neo-Eurasianism, aesthetically designed to appeal to readers of the Generation Identity books, mimicking black and yellow color schema and short form of the Generation Identity books. Arktos has used other ploys to gain new readership. They have implemented tactics that have incentivized the selling of their books in bulk, offering a 35% discount to anyone who were to buy five or more Arktos titles to sell to friends, family, and coworkers. Additional incentives in the form of discounts were also offered for recruiting new customers.
As is well established in the popular press, because of the internet, individuals and fringe radical right-wing groups that otherwise would have likely found themselves marginalized have been able construct a virulent social network to connect their fascistic ideologies. “Greetings, you proud sons of Rome,” often starts “The Golden One” in his immensely popular right-wing YouTube channel. The Golden One is the pseudonym of Marcus Follin, a Swedish far-right nationalist, twenty-something who produces a continual flow of videos that are posted to YouTube. In his videos, the long, flaxen-haired bodybuilder is often seen flexing his muscles, often shirtless, decrying immigrants, cultural Marxism, globalists, multiculturalism, and most infamously, “beta-leftists.” With a reach that seemingly dwarfs that of Arktos, The Golden One, as of late summer 2017, had 7,780,923 views on YouTube, 60,539 YouTube subscribers, and 20,486 fans on Facebook.  In effect, he acts as a translator of these texts for a broader audience. A self-proclaimed “alpha,” Follin considers himself an Identitarian. His aesthetic resembles a nineteenth century romanticized idea of the past that conflates Nordic lore, ancient Rome, and an ad hoc mixture of “barbarism,” and renaissance festival reenactment. He frequently stops to admire his musculature, flexes his pectoral muscles spasmodically, and poses awkwardly at the camera. The Swede even appeared in a podcast hosted by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke in the autumn of 2016. An avid fan of Arktos, Follin sometimes contributes to various Motpol related websites, and often reviews and discusses Arktos books for his fans in his videos.
In Follin’s review of Generation Identity: A Declaration of War against the ‘68ers he claims:
This is a perfect book to understand the political landscape of Europe right now. Now, there are differences in the different European nations, but in the whole Western world, a lot of things are very similar. So, Markus Willinger writes like a manifesto, a declaration of war against the 68ers. And the 68ers are basically what I call “beta leftists.” People who revere everything that’s unnatural, sick, unhealthy, unglorious, untraditional [sic].”
In what enters into the realm of a stream-of-consciousness rant, the Golden One decries proponents of the “multicultural-hell project,” intellectuals and academics of the 1960s, the media, and Jews as people who have wanted to “destroy Europe”—except for “regular Jews” who are in danger because of Muslim immigrants coming to Europe.  This hesitance, to delineate Jews who want to destroy Europe, and “regular Jews,” potentially marks a hesitancy, or at least a recognition of what most would read as anti-Semitism.
Like many Identitarian projects, Follin has also set up a website in which he sells clothing apparel with double-headed eagles, pseudo medieval crests, and shirts emblazoned with “Aux Armes” with a kitschy fleur-de-lis design. The Golden One currently has a Patreon account set-up, of which he has 161 patrons regularly donating some amount of money. On that page, he writes:
Your support enables my continued metapolitical work via YouTube (videos) and my other social media. Any and all financial aid is extremely appreciated. Moreover, I can no longer rely on YouTube ad-revenue which makes your contributions here even more appreciated! I would like to aim a massive and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has aided me financially, you are contributing greatly to my metaphysical work!
While seemingly harmless, Follin is perhaps an example of the real impact of Arktos—the ability to appeal to followers, who in turn create new followers, spreading fascistic ideologies. Moreover, he is not alone as YouTube is littered with other such personalities who imbibe Alt-Right fascistic tendencies, many preparing for cultural war against liberalism, democracy, and pluralism.
On a shoestring budget, using little more than semi-decent graphic design skills, some zombified proto/neo-fascist ideologies, occultism, and the internet, Arktos has seemingly carved out a place for themselves in both the digital and physical world. While seemingly vulnerable to in-fighting on occasion, Arktos has also demonstrated that they can be creative when they encounter a roadblock—constructing their own far-right publishing house when they did not have one, producing their own propaganda websites when they could not get the press attention they wanted, and building networks of people that not only hold sway, but who are not afraid to join in this so-called war against equality, democracy, and pluralism.
After former Editor-in-Chief Jason Reza Jorjani left, Arktos welcomed new collaborators to the fold, including chief translator and editor Roger Adwan and assistant art director Patrik Ehn, who joined Daniel Friberg, Tor Westman, and Charles Lyons as directors. Lyons also was listed as the chief administrative officer. Gregory Lauder-Frost was listed as Head of Arktos UK. Martin Locker, who had been working with Arktos since 2015, assumed the position of assistant Editor-in-Chief. Editor John Bruce Leonard and Hungarian-American YouTuber Melissa Mészáros joined the regular staff; Shortly thereafter, the Italy-based Leonard was promoted to Editor-in-Chief in February 2018. Of himself, Leonard has said, “Here, then, Reader, is John Bruce Leonard as he would like to be: a man of letters, a man of the Muse—whenever she will have me—; a sometime poet, sometime draughtsman; a free spirit on occasion and on occasion a scholar; a dilettante in music and an aesthete by turns; an anti-modernist and enemy of most of what today is toted [sic] as “progress”; a lover of the noble past, a striver after a nobler future—may all this serve to mark me!”  Like Nazi-Fascists before him, Leonard makes no equivocation as to his desire to push back against modernity and the pluralist world that has emerged out of the enlightenment.
In early 2018, William Clark, who had been the registrar and North Atlantic regional coordinator for “Identity Evropa,”—the United States’ branch of Generation Identity which uses a stylized ‘v’ in its name as a visual cue to evoke a sort of pseudo-Latinate/European tradition—was named Head of Arktos US, representing the publisher in the US. In a newsletter email inducing Clark to Arktos’ readers, he was described as having previously helped “with conference sales in the US.” In the new position, Arktos announced Clark’s responsibilities include “giving speeches on our behalf, as well as organising conference book stalls, marketing initiatives and other activities aimed at improving our market presence in the US.” Prior to this appointment, in September 2017, Clark was spotted hanging posters for both Arktos and Identity Evropa on the campus of Millersville University of Pennsylvania. As seen in a tweet posted by Identity Evropa, some posters found on that campus featured an Islamophobic image of Guillaume Faye’s xenophobic book, Understanding Islam, which features a skeleton dressed in a burka on the cover. The phrase “So radical your professors will blush” hung above the cover image—the Arktos logo below.   Clark lists himself as a board member and administrative planner for “Operation Homeland,” a new white supremacist group announced by Richard Spencer in December 2017. 
For the writers and editors of Arktos, the world we live in is about to break into a new Golden Age that will harken in a traditionalist society that reverses the damage they believe was caused because of the Enlightenment and modernity—ideas of equality, democracy, and pluralism. It would be facile to call this Identitarian movement strictly the fascists of old, for they are not. They are, as they claim, to the right of fascism, they are building a new movement, they know how to use aesthetics and ingenuity to both create a platform and to win converts, and they know how to use technology to their advantage. For them, the stakes are high: what they believe to be the genocide of white culture and European identity—which they believe to be inextricable. For them, there is no place for diversity—only homogeneity. They do not want to win this homogeneity by force, though they are preparing for race wars; they want to win minds and new believers—to change paradigms by creating new fascist potentialities and futures through an inbreeding of fascistic ideologies. With their alliance with Richard Spencer in the United States, Arktos seemingly will continue to hold sway and continue to win new followers.
Today’s New European Right and Alt-Right are a variety of fascism that sees nationalism as a means, not an end-goal. Mixed with libertarianism, they posit a sort of “peaceful ethnic cleansing” that works like an “invisible hand” that will sort people out through ethno-nationalism. For them, their nationalism—Swedish, Austrian, French, American, etc.—works to empower them as individuals, a subcategory of white, western, European culture. Unlike fascism of old, they hardily embrace individualism. Their end-goal is racial purity through the re-assertion of nationalism—a white nationalism. They do not wholly trust nationalism; they see it as malleable, something that can be changed by outsiders. Aryan whiteness and an imagined idea of “Europeanness” is the teleological objective for this latest mutation of fascism. For them, to be European is to be white. They believe that only race, unlike nationalism of old, can remain biologically fixed, and to remain so, and to make their nations great again, they must “defend Europe” through the promotion of white nationalism.
Louie Dean Valencia-García is an Assistant Professor of Digital History at Texas State University. He has taught in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, and serves on the Research Editorial Committee for EuropeNow. His forthcoming book, Antiauthoritarian Youth Culture in Francoist Spain: Clashing with Fascism, will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in May 2018. He has held fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the United States Library of Congress, the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, and Santander Universities, amongst others. This essay is part of a collection in-progress, Alt-Histories: Far-Right Revisionism and the End of History.
Photo: Refuse Fascism | Shutterstock
 Markus Willinger, “Markus Willinger: United States of Europe or a Europe of Nations? | RightOn.net,” Right On, September 7, 2015, archived September 16, 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20160910044134/righton.net/2015/09/07/united-states-of-europe-or-a-europe-of-nations.
 Bouron, Samuel. “Les « Identitaires » Se Mobilisent Pour Moderniser La Lutte Des Races En Savoir plus Sur” http://www.lemonde.fr/Idees/Article/2014/11/26/Les-Identitaires-Se-Mobilisent-Pour-Moderniser-La-Lutte-Des-races_4529388_3232.Html#cYyLflvpxL2bYyhZ.99.” Le Monde, 26 Nov. 2014, www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2014/11/26/les-identitaires-se-mobilisent-pour-moderniser-la-lutte-des-races_4529388_3232.html.
 For more on the topic of commercialism in far-right youth culture in Germany, see: Cynthia Miller-Idriss, The Extreme Gone Mainstream: Commercialization and Far Right Youth Culture in Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018.
 “The Strategy of the French Identitaires,” in Trouble on the Far Right: Contemporary Right-wing Strategies and Practices in Europe, ed. Maik Fielitz and Laura Lotte Laloire, by Samuel Bouron (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2016), 111-115.
 “Generation Identity: Frequently Asked Questions,” accessed December 26, 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20171221222911/https://identitarian-movement.org/generation-identity-faqs/.
 Which translates in English as phalanx.
 Markus Willinger, “Markus Willinger: United States of Europe or a Europe of Nations? | RightOn.net,” Right On, September 7, 2015, accessed September 16, 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20160910044134/righton.net/2015/09/07/united-states-of-europe-or-a-europe-of-nations.
 Michael Bonvalot, “Weitere Bank Kündigt Spendenkonto Der Identitären,” Zeit Online, June 22, 2017, archived August 17, 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170818011113/http://blog.zeit.de/stoerungsmelder/2017/06/22/weitere-bank-kuendigt-spendenkonto-der-identitaeren_24006.
 Generation Identity Ship, YouTube.com, July 9, 2017, accessed August 17, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIemg5ga3x8.
 May Bulman Social Affairs Correspondent, “Far-right Group Sends Ship to Confront Boats Rescuing Refugees in Mediterranean ‘and Take Them Back to Africa’,” The Independent, July 13, 2017, accessed July 13, 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170713153302/http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/anti-immigrant-ship-mediterranean-ngo-ships-refugee-crisis-migrant-boats-people-smugglers-defend-a7838731.html.
 “DEFEND EUROPE – Identitarian SAR Mission on the Libyan Coast.” WeSearchr. Accessed August 17, 2017. https://www.wesearchr.com/bounties/defend-europe-Identitarian-sar-mission-on-the-libyan-coast.
 The French Generation Identity had a considerable following online, nearly 20,000 at the end of the summer of 2017. Their account, https://twitter.com/g_identitaire, is currently suspended by Twitter.
 “QUI SOMMES-NOUS?” Generation-identitaire.com, archived August 14, 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170814095515/https://www.generation-identitaire.com/generation-identitaire-2/.
 Markus Willinger, Generation Identity (London: Arktos Media, 2013), 37.
 Markus Willinger, A Europe of Nations (London: Arktos Media, 2014), 38-39.
 “ARKTOS,” Sell Arktos Books from Home – About,” archived June 26, 2011, https://web.archive.org/web/20110626055456/http://www.arktos.com:80/about/private-retailer.html.
 “ARKTOS,” Recruit a Friend – Earn Discounts,” archived January 21, 2013, https://web.archive.org/web/20130121091556/http://www.arktos.com/about/recruit-a-friend.html.
 Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies: The Online Culture Wars from Tumblr and 4chan to the Alt-Right and Trump (Winchester, UK: Zero Books, 2017) acts a primer to some of this material. Despite her noticeable lack of citations, Nagle gives some important insights into the ways the Alt-Right has used the internet to its advantage.
 TheLatsbrah, “The Golden One,” YouTube, accessed August 12, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/user/TheLatsbrah/about.
 “The Golden One,” Facebook.com, accessed August 12, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/TheGloriousLion/.
 David Duke, “The David Duke Show: The Golden One and Angelo John Gage on Personal and National Revolution,” Daily Stormer, October 21, 2015, accessed October 24, 2015, https://web.archive.org/web/20170814135309/https://www.dailystormer.com/the-david-duke-show-the-golden-one-and-angelo-john-gage-on-personal-and-national-revolution/.
 Generation Identity Ship, perf. The Golden One, YouTube.com, April 5, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rrZnHrx8x0.
 Marcus Follin, “The Golden One Is Creating YouTube Videos,” Patreon, accessed August 12, 2017, https://www.patreon.com/thegoldenone.
 Arktos, “Yockey biography, audiobook, new Editor-in-Chief and more…,” Newsletter email sent February 15, 2018.
 John Bruce Leonard, “On the Author and the Journal,” archived February 18, 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20180218132901/http://johnbruceleonard.com/index.php/about-the-author/.
 “John Bruce Leonard,” archived February 18, 2018,
 “Staff,” archived February 18, 2018,
 Arktos, “Yockey biography, audiobook, new Editor-in-Chief and more…”
 Identity Evropa, Twitter, 16 September 2017, Accessed February 18, 2018, https://twitter.com/IdentityEvropa/status/909163907108892672. Screenshots available upon request.
 “The White Supremacists Who Attacked Charlottesville are Coming Back with a Vengeance,” CNN, September 11, 2017, archived February 17, 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20180217154054/http://www.newsweek.com/white-supremacists-charlottesville-campus-fliers-662659.
 Jared Hameloth, “Names released for Identity Evropa’s vandalizers,” The Snapper, published November 14, 2017, archived February 18, 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20180218143939/http://thesnapper.millersville.edu/index.php/2017/11/14/names-released-for-identity-evropas-vandalizers/.
 “William Clark,” archived February 18, 2018,
Published on February 22, 2018.