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Generation Identity, Stand Up To Racism, HopenotHate, University of Manchester

Generation Identity's anti-immigration message aimed at youth of Europe

  • Leader of UK GI movement denies responsibility for stickers on campus
  • 'We will take action against offenders'

The European-wide organisation known as Generation Identity is viewed as a leading beacon for the Génération Identitaire movement. Their influence has spread throughout Europe since being set up in 2012 by Vienna activist Martin Sellner.

UK Leader Ben Jones said “We're Identitarians. We want to demonstrate discipline, self-respect and to fundamentally set an example for others to follow. The left & right dichotomy in the English-speaking world was fundamentally misguided. I discovered a tendency called the 'European New Right' in my mid-teens. Largely French in origin, it seemed to seek to get to the heart of a host of issues; without any interest in labels or bourgeois sentiments. Generation Identity was born out of this current”.

GI has made its presence known through its use of social media, the spreading of its literature and displaying its slogans on public buildings and bridges in major cities. The group’s connections and associations stretch across Europe and have even gathered support in America.

GI aims to ‘energise’ the youth of Europe into taking notice of the current political landscape. Members are offered adventure holidays, public demonstrations, trips abroad and martial arts training.

The movement’s most prominent chapters are located in France, Germany, Italy and Austria.

More recently, they have built a strong foundation in London with Mr Jones as the leader. It has held demonstrations in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Dublin, Bradford-on-Avon, Sutton, Telford and Oxford.

One of the group’s most notorious operations took place in 2017, under the name of ‘Operation Defend Europe’ which took place in the Mediterranean and aimed to protest migrant ships docking in Europe.

The movement’s beliefs are centred on the preservation of European identity. GI believes Europe's identity is under threat from the effects of mass immigration from developing countries but denies it promotes racism or demonises other cultures. The group accuses the ‘establishment’, particularly the EU, of denying the identity of the people of Europe due to its policy of mass immigration. One of its demands is for the repatriation of what it claims are illegal migrants and reversing the flow of EU migration.

Last week a series of stickers and leaflets were distributed outside faith rooms and safe places on the University of Salford and the University of Manchester campuses, which led to a demonstrated being organised by student representatives of Stand up To Racism, outside the University of Manchester’s student union building.

The demonstration was organised less than forty-eight hours after the literature was discovered. International Student’s Officer, Riddi Visu responded to the distribution of the leaflets by reaffirming the University of Manchester’s stance against intolerance.

She said: “I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that the SU believes in equality, diversity and inclusion. We are a safe space and do not and will not tolerate any kind of behaviour which threatens the safe and tolerant environment that we work hard to create at the SU.”

Generation Identity denies wanting to promote any racist or hostile views. “We've no interest in chauvinism or talk of 'supremacy. It makes no sense to us”.

GI vowed to discipline any members found to be posting stickers and leaflets in order to cause offence.

Ben Jones said: “We operate fully within the law and apply precisely the amount of pressure we believe is required to advance our ideas, which are already present in the minds of millions of normal people, whether it's opposition to mass-immigration or complete alienation from the political classes.

"If we're 'extreme' it's only because we refuse to consent to a status quo that feels its grip slipping. I have no reason to believe this was a member of Generation Identity. We affirm our beliefs, we don't seek to predicate them on negation. It's possible that someone did this either to sully our brand or as a basic lapse of judgement. Were it a member, they'd be disciplined or removed”.

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