In the past six months or so, Identity Evropa, which has been widely described as a fascist group aligned with the white-supremacist movement, has ratcheted up its presence in Colorado via propaganda displays up and down the Front Range and a so-called flash demonstration against immigration at Civic Center Park. "Merry Christmas from Identity Evropa" signs even popped up in Cherry Creek over the days prior to the holiday.
Sam Harrington, a spokesman for the organization based on the East Coast, confirms that a recruitment effort is ongoing, though he says the Colorado events are simply an example of a national campaign, as opposed to an indication that the state has been made a special target by organizers.
Likewise, Harrington rejects possible links between Identity Evropa and Ingress, a popular location-based video game that was a precursor to Pokémon Go, and decries the ways in which he feels IE has been unfairly depicted by critics — though the heavily coded language he uses in its defense is unlikely to win over the heart and mind of anyone other than a person with a predisposition toward race-based prejudice.
For Harrington, "the issue is that European Americans — Americans of European heritage — are being demographically displaced as a result of mass immigration and globalization. The idea that we should pretend this isn't happening or that we should find it desirable is unacceptable."
Identity Evropa, meanwhile, "is a growing membership and activist organization for those who truly want to restore America and renew it from within," he continues. "We participate in peaceful activism and community building nationwide. And I should add that the advocacy of violence or illegal activity is not permitted in our movement."
Among Identity Evropa's main approaches to spreading its philosophy is the posting of stickers, signs and messages in identifiable public places, including Larimer Square and the Denver Christkindl Market, a holiday event being held at 1515 Arapahoe Street, across from the iconic clock tower on the 16th Street Mall, through December 23. These images are then blasted out via Identity Evropa's Twitter account as a way of symbolizing its spreading reach.
Can Harrington guarantee that every flier put up in such locations conforms with local laws? "Look, this is constitutionally protected speech," he stresses. "I'm not aware of every single town ordinance, but we are confident that we're on the right side of the law."
His defense of the Identity Evropa presence at the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, at which activist Heather Heyer died after a car driven by just-convicted radical James Fields Jr. struck her, relies on a similar variation on deniability.
"It's no secret that Identity Evropa was present at Charlottesville," Harrington acknowledges. "But the event does not represent our membership. The most extravagant behavior at that event was not engaged in or participated in by Identity Evropa members. There are bad apples, so to speak, at any event like that. But it was a public event and something not in our control, not in our say in any such manner. We were there to defend the presentation of statues [specifically a likeness of Confederate general Robert E. Lee at Emancipation Park], and that's it. Our members went unarmed. They were instructed to go unarmed and to abide by the law, and that's what they did, by and large. I'm not aware of every single activity undertaken by every single individual. But that event was over a year in the past and doesn't represent the organization today."
Still, he refers derisively to the phrase "diversity is our strength" and suggests that this opinion is contradicted by United States history — or at least the highly controversial manner he interprets it.
"To the extent that America was a melting pot, it was a melting pot for European immigrants," he allows. "If we're being honest with ourselves, that only occurred in the early nineteenth century. Before that, there were even demographically stricter founding documents that specifically reserved U.S. citizenship for those of European descent of good character. And with some exceptions, that effectively remained the rule until the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act. That was advocated for as something that would not change the demography of our country, and it drastically has, leading to an economic, political and societal transformation, and not for the better. Not for the better at all."
Leftists "celebrate the demographic displacement of traditional Americans and the upcoming minority status of people of European heritage in the United States," he charges. "Is it racist for me to simply point that out? And it's on you to explain to me why it's beneficial for us to become minorities and to become economically and politically dispossessed in the United States. But unfortunately, the left and much of the mainstream press characterizes the U.S. and all of the Western world as the birthplace of white supremacy and slavery and white privilege and all these things that are designed to effectively shame people of European heritage."
He adds that Identity Evropa "doesn't permit the advocacy of white supremacy, and anyone who does will quickly find themselves out of the organization. These statements are supported by neither statement nor action by a current representative of the organization. You can maybe find a story from a year or two ago with someone saying something like that, but it doesn't represent us today or where we're taking things in the future."
When asked for an estimate of Identity Evropa's membership, Harrington declines to offer one under the theory that by the time such a guess sees print, the number will already be out of date — "but we are a nationwide organization with members from Maine to Rhode Island all the way down to San Diego, and from Anchorage to Key West. And we are looking to gain more members as our organization continues to grow despite the issues of censorship and de-platforming" — a reference, presumably, to the group being booted off Facebook. "Our number-one concern is to grow a peaceful activist movement that is standing up in a defensible and proud manner against the flat-out derision that our country is facing."
For some readers, this rhetoric will call to mind President Donald Trump, from whom Harrington attempts to create at least a modicum of distance. According to him, "I think Trump has yet to deliver on his biggest promises, and unfortunately, certain windows for success might be limited." Elaborating, he confirms that "what we would like to see in terms of policy is a border wall, the humane deportation of illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. and a serious conversation about the state of birthright citizenship and a repudiation of chain migration as a legal concept. But our organization was never founded to exist just for the Trump campaign, and we expect to exist long after Trump."
He concedes that "we are not welcomed with open arms in the conservative establishment. But our ideas resonate and speak to the issues that everyday Americans face, and they're picked up and articulated by prominent pro-Trump nationalists and pro-conservative politicians and figures. So we feel that we've had an impact. We have absolutely moved the needle for the better. There's no Trump voter who is of European heritage under the age of forty who isn't talking and thinking about immigration, demographics and how it's going to be inconceivably possible for future Republican political victories if a state like Texas flips blue in the next election cycle. We already have a road map for that in California. We know how that goes. And that's another issue with mass immigration. It's effectively stacking the electoral deck."
A secret network of activists in Colorado is working to undermine Identity Evropa, with one person involved in this effort recently telling Westword that a number of IE postings have corresponded with game points for Ingress. Because the Ingress logo bears a strong resemblance to the inverted triangle Identity Evropa uses as a brand, some of the advocates think there may be a connection that goes beyond mere graphic design — but Harrington says that's nonsense.
"It's completely coincidental," he stresses. "I do remember some time ago that an Identity Evropa member found out about the game and showed [the logo] to us, and all of us having a good laugh about it. But that's the extent of our knowledge about that game. There's no crossover. Our logo is a dragon's eye, an ancient German symbol that is representative of a person's choice between right and wrong."
Of course, Harrington is certain Identity Evropa is the right choice, in at least two senses of the word. "All of our members understand that America has an identity, and at its founding, it was intended to be representative of those in Europe. It was not intended to be an egalitarian place for all."