Mr.Martin Sellner is one of the founders of the Austrian branch of the European Movement of Generation of Identity, its leader and one of the most prominent activists of the identity movement at the international level. We talked to him about the beginnings of the Generation of Identity in Austria, the great confusion and difficulties facing the whole of Europe, as well as the recent accusations of terrorism, state repression, identification missions in the Mediterranean Sea and the French Alps, and many more things.
1.Can you tell us when did you first became active in the patriotic movement and which were the main reasons for the formation of the Generation identity in Austria? What were those first days of the Identitarian movement like in your country and which are the main differences that you notice between those beginnings and the present day identitarian movement?
I became politically active quite early in life, although I never had any interest in joining a political party. For me, activism and the metapolitical space were the means of choice to improve the situation in my home country. But back when I started my activist journey, the situation was quite different: It was like a political vacuum. There was noone around that could guide young, enthusiastic people towards something productive or effective. There was only the „old right“ with their fetishisation of failed political experiments of the 20th century. I myself learned many a hard lesson in this „scene“, never accomplishing anything, until I decided that enough is enough, and that I had to do something about it. That‘s when I got together with a group of likeminded young people and co-founded Generation Identity Austria in 2012. We wanted to facilitate an environment of positive patriotism, a healthy relationship with our history, without any chauvinism or jingoism, but also without the spiral of guilt and the ethnomasochism prevalent in western Europe. Compared to the early days of the movement, the scope of the actions has certainly changed. From mainly smaller scale actions aimed at influencing national policy, to larger international campaigns, requiring coordination between the different national organisations. The repression has also increased massively. It is very helpful that Generation Identity is structurally architected to be resistant to arbitrary state repression.
- What are the main ideas and goals behind Generation Identity, and which would you say are some of the writters, thinkers and philosophers that influenced the Identitarian idea the most? Also tell us which would be some of the authors that you would recommend to the people who want to get a better understanding of the Identitarian movement and the idea behind it ?
The one central issue of Generation Identity is an ongoing process that we call the Great Replacement, a phenomenon consisting of low birthrates throughout the western world on one hand, and mass immigration on the other. This mass immigration is driven by push factors in the origin countries (war, poverty, etc.) and pull factors in our countries (welfare, so called “worker shortage”, etc.). We open the debate on these issues in order that they be solved in a way that benefits the European people.
We are in the intellectual tradition of the French Nouvelle Droite, some of the more important thinkers that influenced us are of course Renaud Camus, Alain de Benois, Dominique Venner, Guillaume Faye. Of course we also draw inspiration from Germans as well, like Ernst Jünger.
- Which are some of the main activities of the Generation Identity in Austria? Please tell us a bit about the different events you organise, from demonstrations and street activism to round tables and debates? Could you also mention some of the events that were the most successful?
Our activities consist of regular discussion meetings where our supporters can get in touch with us, public “Info Zones” for open debate, political actions on current topics, and constant media work. The discussion meetings are quite important, since we are nothing without our loyal supporter base, as we are 100% privately funded, and they are the ones who mainly transport our ideas into the wider public. At our Info Zones, people that may have heard of Generation Identity can engage with us in an informal setting and get familiar with our organisation. It is at these occasions that enable people to affirm their support, sign up for our newsletter, and other information channels, and often even become activists themselves.
Once we see an opportunity for activism, we move as fast as possible to gather available activists and plan and prepare the action with them.
Our two most successful campaigns were Defend Europe in 2017, where we helped move the focus of debate towards migration via the Mediterranean Sea, and the campaign against the Global Compact for Migration in 2018.
- Were you ever active in other organisations or political parties, besides Generation Identity? Do you cooperate with other organisations and political parties from Austria, and which of them would you say have the best relationships with Generation Identity? Also tell us with which other movements and people from other countries do you have the best relations?
I have never been part of any political party, but I’ve always been very transparent about my past and therefore, as I mentioned before, my activities in radical right wing groups, but none of these activities were part of a larger organization.
Recently, in order to appease their coalition partner, the Austrian Peoples Party, the Austrian Freedom Party, which is ideologically closest to us, has chosen to disavow us.
Generally we are an independent movement, we do not actively seek cooperation with specific political parties, also there is no other comparable activist organisation we could cooperate with. Internationally we cooperate with the other national chapters, at this point in time we don’t really have the capacity for more than that. This kind of ground work is as important as it is time and manpower intensive.
- One of the biggest activities of the identitarian movement on an international level were the Defend Europe Missions against illegal immigration and human trafficking on the Mediterannean sea in 2017, and in the French Alps in 2018. Could you tell us more about those missions? Did you face any problems, were there any dangerous situations and would ou consider the missions a success?
With Defend Europe, we mainly wanted to bring the massive amount of ilegal immigration into focus that was happening across the meditteranean sea, the rampant human trafficking, and the NGOs that were enabling this process in the first place. We wanted to shine a massive floodlight on this open secret. Everyone knew what these NGOs were doing, but nobody seemed to really care, not a single media outlet that honestly reported on these illegal machinations from up close. It was about time to change that. With a crew of idealistic patriots from all over Europe we put out to sea, into the unknown, and despite an overwhelming barrage of attempts to sabotage us – our fuel was cut with water, our activists detained on Cyprus, our ship was denied entry into every harbour – we could carry out our mission. Now the focus was on us, and with us on all the NGOs active in the area, and only a few months after Defend Europe, there was a tangible political response, severely limiting the mediterranean route for people smugglers. Many NGOs had to cease their operations completely. A similar success was achieved in the Alps. Everyone knew what was going on at the Col d‘Échelle, how it had become an inner-European transit point for illegal migrants, to cross the Alps into France en masse. It was us that forced politicians to act with the media attention that we generated.
- Generation Identity has faced almost total censorship on social networks. Facebook has, for instance, completely banned the Lambda symbol and anything connected with the Identitarian movement. On the other hand there are many rightist groups still functioning on facebook, even if their rhetoric is more radical and extreme, which Generation Identity never was. What are in your opinion the main reasons for this censorship concentrated mainly on Generation Identity?
The main reason why the censorship hits us so hard, is because our style of activism and media work is directly aimed at breaking out of the algorithmic filter bubbles set up by the social media giants. If you take a look at many of the groups that retain their accounts and Facebook groups, they are usually talking amongst themselves, marinating in their own rhetoric, with no chance of ever reaching a wider audience. There are a few content creators that do have a similar appeal and focus as Generation Identity, and they are often targeted with the same zeal with the banhammer of big tech. In order to persist in such a hostile environment, we employ a multitude of tactics, various disruptive techniques, across several platforms. By now our brand is so strong, that if someone wants to find us, you can. And the number of those people is still rising.
- Can you please tell us about the big trial that Generation Identity in Austria was facing in 2018? What were the main charges brought up against your movement? Would you say that there were any real foundations for the case against Generation Identity, or was it in fact just a result of political pressure from the people that would like to ban your movement, because it is a threat to them?
The main charges were „forming a criminal organisation“ and „inciting hatred“. The whole indictment was so thinly constructed, that the state prosecutor in Graz, the man responsible for initiating the whole affair, had to set up a special commission just for us, that was solely tasked with collecting all the reports of all of the stickers of ours that were put up in all of Austria. The reason for this frankly ridiculous undertaking was in order to use it as evidence of alleged property damage in the trial.
The trial itself was nothing but a farce. Maybe the goal wasn‘t even to reach a conviction, but to destroy us finacially, socially, and make those of us who still had regular employment, lose that as well. It did cost us a lot of money, there were jobs lost, and we constantly were subject to extremely hostile reporting.
It is beyond my judgement if we are a legitimate threat to the ruling order yet, but we certainly are a nuisance that won‘t go away easily.
We provide a different point of view, a different narrative, and creative and most of all peaceful forms of resistance against a development, that a majority of Austrians simply doesn‘t want, and this is why the Austrian deep state tries to shut us down so desperately.
- Since it has become public that you have received a donation in 2018 from Branton Tarrant, who has committed a terrorist attack in Christcurch last month, you have been under constant attack from the media, which even accusses you and the whole Identitarian movement of being somehow connected to terrorism. It seems that the fact that Tarrant was not a terrorist at the time he made a donation makes no difference to them. What is you response to this accusations and how did this affected both you personally and the movement as a whole?
The accusations that try to link me and the whole movement to this terrorist are of course completely baseless. The media is trying to draw links between the title of Tarrants so called manifesto “The Great Replacement” and some of the statements he made in it to us an our ideology, while completely disregarding the fact, that he also states, that he also despises peaceful political movements like ours.
The media is playing in his favour, as they execute his plan to accelerate radicalization throughout the western world, by provoking repression and overreaction by the state. He made clear, that he want’s others to follow his example and this is how he wanted to enforce it and the media took the bait.
- How would you assess the work of the current Austrian goverment under Sebastian Kurz since he came to power in December 2017, and what is your response to his recent public condemnation of Generation Identity, and the raid of your house, regarding the above mentioned Tarrant donations? Do you believe that there is a real posibillity that his government could ban the Identitarian movement, as he has implied ?
For us, as a metapolitical and activism oriented movement, it is not important to be recognized by the politicians in charge or to be respected by them. What is important for us is, that our ideas have a way to become real policies. The current government is the first real chance for our ideas to become a reality and our “best man” for this is Interior Minister Herbert Kickl. He is doing a very good job in restricting the influx of migrants and refugees into Austria and enforcing deportations.
They can condemn Generation Identity, but they cannot condemn Austria. We have very similar goals and GI played a big part in preparing Austrian society for a patriotic government.
As it stands now, it seems to be legally impossible to ban our movement. Just recently we have been fully acquitted from the accusation of forming a criminal organization and the whole movement has therefore been x-rayed for any signs of criminal activities and they found nothing.
- You have faced numerous threats and attacks from the militant left wingers Antifa. Tell us something about this attacks? What was the nature of those threats and did they ever phisically attacked you on the streets or damaged your property? What do you believe is themotivation for their violent behaviour?
In general, all activists that have the courage to show their faces, that put their names and reputations on the line for the cause, have to constantly be on the watch for attacks of all kind. For this reason we say: We are non-violent, but not defenseless. We provide activists with the opportunity to train in self defense, to prepare in case that they are attacked.
I myself was assaulted by multiple masked assailants in 2017 at a subway stations. Outnumbered by them, I defended myself with pepper spray. The absurdity of the situation was, that I was atually banned from owning weapons because I had defended myself. Luckily this ban was lifted recently.
I don‘t get police protection, I can‘t hire security service, and the state that made me the target of islamists, is seeking to limit my ability to defnd myself.
Even my car, as well as the car of my parents, who have nothing to do with this at all, were set on fire.
One reason for this violence is the dehumanisation of the political opponent, that is prevalent in leftist circles. In their eyes, we and our ideas are nothing that warrants honest examination, but something that has to be destroyed by any means necessary. Public discourse has shifted so far to the left, that things that were common sense just a few years ago, are now completely unspeakable. But we hold strong against this limitation of political expression, so they respond with violence, because they have nothing else left.
- What is the current situation regarding non-european immigration and the demographic replacement in Austria? Which immigrants cause the most trouble and how do you believe should we, as Europeans, fight against excessive immigration ?
Since the inauguration of the new government (that has already been ousted again, by political schemes), most of all through interior minister Kickl, there was some serious work accomplished to reverse the factors that are responsible for the great replacement. One can see that a lot is possible, with the right amount of political intent. But this government quickly came into conflict with the Austrian deep state. All the progress that has been made is now endangered. In part because of general scheming, in part through a massive power grab by chancellor Kurz.
The biggest problems however, not only in Austria, but in all of Europe, are because of migrants, usually from islamic countries. They are culturally most incompatible, and the capacity to intgrate them is stretched beyond any sane, or even insane limits by now.
One important step would be to remove the incentives for immigration into Europe, the pull factors, or at least minimise them. That means for instance, that it must become impossible for immigrants to tap into European benefit and social security systems.
Additionally, the push factors in their countries of origin have to be adressed properly. We have to see to it, that the incentives fo them to return to their home countires are maximised.
One important policy would be to increase restricitons on islamic centers of worship, that are often sponsored and financed by Saudi or Turkish geopolical ambitions, and consequently shut down certain mosques that are known to be a hotbed for islamists.
At the same time we have to build up a network of alternative media throughout Europe, that are able to transport our message around the established mainstream, into the hands, eyes, and ears of our audience, the patriotic Europeans.
With all of that, we cannot forget that there is a reason why people are breaking camp, leaving their homelands, and come here into Europe. While we certainly have no moral obligation to take all of them in, it is in our own interest to help arrange a betterment of living conditions, and a realistic future outlook in their countires of origin. We need to establish effective and sustainable projects, that help these people locally, in the places they call home.
- What is the overall reaction of the people to the Generation Identity in Austria? Would you say that you are gainning support, or is the majority still under the influence of the mainstream media and the »fake news«?
Generation Identity enjoys healthy growth, despite the trial, despite the constant outrage directed at us. Because of the informal nature of our movement, it is very hard to exactly quantify. We don‘t record the numbers of our activists and supporters.
What we can say: The reaction of the average Austrian is much more positive that you would think, considering the state of Austrian media and politics. There is a small number of especially loud leftist extremists, that accompanies us at every public event, that in trying to smear us, helps us contrast against them. In the end, any onlooker can see that we are normal people, young patriots, that want nothing else but a safe and prosperous future four our home country, and for all of Europe.
We cannot force the media to tell the truth, but we can force them to become ever so absurd in their lies. And the Austrian people aren‘t stupid. They know when they‘re being manipulated.
- How do you see the future for Austria and for Europe, and what do you believe the future holds for the Identitarian movement?
Austria and Europe are currently at a crossroads: Do we want to be exceptional in our very own diversity, or do we want to dissolve into global monotony?
What we see currently: The Europeans are in motion. Protest movements and parties are growing stronger, and the next European parliament could be the most patriotic, that we ever had.
This is very encouraging. Europe is not yet lost, and I am confident that at some point in the future, our movement will no longer be needed. Until then, we will stay true to our ideals, and continue to carry out peaceful activism for our noble cause.
The trials may keep coming, bank accounts will get closed down, people will lose their jobs through harassment, but what we started can no longer be stopped.
- Thank you for the interview. Do you have any message for the readers of »Democracy« and for the Slovenian nation?
Be proud of your country, your people, your history, and the place in Europe that you carved out for yourselves!
We‘re all in this together, but the nations of eastern and southern Europe have still a fighting chance of stopping the negative developements, that we are already trying to reverse, before they manifest.