All across Europe, political groups on the far-right are attempting to mainstream and normalize their ideologies to recast themselves for the modern era. In Germany, for example, there has been a serious move to rebrand as ‘the new right,’ an attempt to distance themselves from the Neo-Nazis and skinheads of the past while still normalizing aspects of their hateful ideology to include a strong anti-immigrant message. This message is occasionally couched in softer terms like ‘re-migration,’ which advocates ‘sending people back’ to countries from where their ancestors hailed.
The Identitarian Movement and similar groups are part of this move to normalize xenophobic and nativist ideology. The Identitarian Movement is transnational in nature, with linkages across Europe and, increasingly, North American and Australia. The American branch is known as the American Identity Movement (recently rebranded from Identity Evropa) and allegedly claims members currently serving in the U.S. military.
The movement bases its propaganda around anti-immigration and Islamophobia and presents a ‘clash-of-civilizations’ narrative that implicitly encourages political violence. Elements of the group’s Fascist ideology oppose NATO, rail against American imperialism, and advocate a range of anti-capitalist sentiment. Chapters of the organization in both France and Austria reportedly received money from Brenton Tarrant, the terrorist responsible for the Christchurch, New Zealand massacre. This movement has expressed admiration for politicians including Viktor Orban of Hungary; Matteo Salvini of Italy; and the U.S. President Donald Trump