In November British broadcaster ITV aired a documentary called “Undercover: Inside Britain’s New Far Right” focussing on emerging far right groups and activists in the UK. The programme was notable in tracing the links between trends in the far right. The programme followed the bid of the self-proclaimed “counter jihad” activist Anne Marie Waters to become UKIP leader, got inside a National Front meeting in Rotherham, and featured the new “stars of the right”, the recently founded UK branch of Generation Identity. Reporters infiltrated planning meetings, catching leaders and other UK activists in unguarded conversations and filming preparations for the Generation Identity launch event, an Islamophobic banner drop off Westminster Bridge.
Generation Identity started as the youth wing of French identitarian group “Bloc Identitiaire” before breaking away to form branches in Austria, Germany, Belgium and Italy. Identitarianism is school of thought looking to reframe far right politics away from white supremacy and towards the construction of a white identity ‘oppressed’ by the migration of non white people into Europe. Martin Sellner, leader of Generation Identity, is a proponent of this idea, terming it ‘The Great Replacement.’ In 2017 he led a project to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean. Although the project was ultimately unsuccessful, it managed to raise over £200,000 in funding and attracted the interest of far right celebrities such as noted ket head Katie Hopkins.
Ecology of the Right
It it important to place Generation Identity in context, to situate them in an ecology of far right groups where connections and support are often obscured from public view. Key Generation Identity activists have links to overt neo nazism, yet part of their appeal is they just don’t have the visible fascist baggage that have dogged groups like National Action or even the British National Party and the National Front.
This hasn’t stopped Generation Identity reaching out to prominent far right figures. There has been a deliberate strategy to bridge a gap in the right between the soft nationalism of UKIP and more hard right figures. Last year after speaking at a meeting of the far right Traditional Britain Group Sellner met with former BNP leader Nick Griffin to discuss funding for the group. He has also met with notorious racist and former EDL leader Tommy Robinson. UK activist Jordan Diamond supported counter jihad activist Anne Marie Waters in her bid to become UKIP leader and subsequently attended the launch of her new far right party, For Britain.
Research is still needed on Generation Identity. They have quickly developed a slickly presented social media presence, a professional website and well produced videos. Information on their backers would be informative in painting a better picture of the group.
Since their launch, Generation Identity have mainly stuck to social media, stickering and photo ops. However this is changing. Just last week Sellner had his talk at the Young independence conference cancelled and in response has announced a speech at Speaker’s Corner to take place this Sunday (March 11th,
2018). In addition Generation Identity are holding a UK conference in early April. Anti-fascists are opposing both events, and are holding a conference themselves this Saturday, where Generation Identity are likely to be discussed.
We encourage all anti-fascists to take necessary precautions and get down on Sunday.