Benjamin Jones is the leader of the British branch of Generation Identity, an Identitarian European movement. For the 2nd time, Ben has sat down with Defend Europa for a chat, this time about his recent experience at GI’s Summer University.
“This was your first experience at GI’s summer University, correct? How would you describe your experience?”
This was my first experience of the Summer University, yes. It was also the first time a genuine delegation from the British Isles has participated. I’d describe it as both challenging and rewarding. Challenging because the physical element is taken just as seriously as the academic; all attendees are expected to demonstrate a willingness to give the week their all. It was rewarding, however, because it demonstrated to myself and the British and Irish attendees just how vast and truly established the Identitarian Movement is. It’s easy to forget that we’ve got thousands of activists throughout Europe, the best and brightest of a generation, dedicated to this cause.
“What were you mostly doing there in detail?
There were three key elements. The first was physical and was based on both self-defense and general fitness (for Identitarians, the gym and library are equally important places.) In terms of self-defense, everything is meant to be practical and based on contemporary challenges. There’s no bravado, the instructors were honest and realistic in terms of how to diffuse a situation. In addition to exercise, we also received several daily lectures and seminars. This year, the theme was largely centered around the classics; the works and lives of Homer, Leonidas, Lycurgus, and Aristotle in particular. We were immensely privileged to receive instruction from some of France’s finest intellectuals and activists. For the English-speakers, Martin Sellner also led a number of theoretical topics centred around Identitarian, non-violent political actions. Finally, there was the social element. Every evening we’d all gather around a fire and share stories and sing traditional songs.
“What was your best moment there?
For me the best moment was our first assembly, lined up in our respective teams before the Summer University’s organisers. I remember looking all around, taking in the fact that hundreds of young European men and women had voluntarily assembled to take part in what is the heart of the Identitarian Movement and Generation Identity. Forget memes, discussions on esoteric forums, this was real, tangible and serious. There’s simply nothing like it anywhere else in Europe. Here I was at home.
“What was the most interesting experience you learned there?”
It’s difficult to pin down what was the most interesting; all of it was genuinely thought-provoking. I think it was probably the fact that all the attendees, male or female, big or small, really did go above and beyond to live up to GI’s ideals. I recall a boxing bout between two guys, one of whom was significantly smaller and lighter than the other. This activist was completely outmatched, but he just kept on going. He gave absolutely everything he had in that boxing match and demonstrated how the Summer University, and Generation Identity in general, really encourages young Europeans to be the best they can be. That small activist’s performance really personified the whole experience. It wasn’t about being a ‘Spartan’, a pro-fighter or master theoretician, it’s about dignity, self-respect and doing all that you possibly can for Europe.
“How was it to meet activists from all over Europe?”
When I joined Generation Identity back in January of this year, I was vaguely aware of the reach of the movement throughout Europe. At first, my participation meant spending each weekend with a handful of activists in Manchester. Slowly the UK branch grew, and I found myself traveling all around the UK. Finally, we started interacting with other branches from Denmark and Germany. But even then, I still hadn’t grasped the sheer scale of the Identitarian Movement. Having gone to the SU, I spoke to activists from France, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy and many more. Speaking to them reminded me of how similar the threats our respective nations face are and, ultimately, how we share more together as Europeans than what divides us. This truly is a civilizational struggle.
“What was your funniest experience there?”
I managed to take an egg to the face. Naturally, it wasn’t the funniest thing at the time. As a part of the Summer University, we practiced mock demonstrations and marches. This involved some of the organisers playing the role of counter-protestors, throwing missiles at us; these consisted of footballs, sticks, and eggs. I must have momentarily lost my concentration (I’m usually quite alert). The price was egg yolk across my prized GI UK t-shirt and face. Lesson learnt.
“The media always tend to describe GI’s summer University like some kind of military training op, what are your thoughts about this?”
It’s moral panic and hysteria and the ‘far-right’ is a perfect way to get them in print. Modern, liberal society simply can’t conceive of young people believing in anything let alone doing something about it. Naturally, the status-quo also deems anything remotely physical and proud as being inherently aggressive or fascistic. The fact of the matter is the entire SU was voluntary and predicated on non-violent political activism. Everything physical was purely self-defense or de-escalation oriented. Ask yourself, do these ‘journalists’ really believe that a paramilitary training camp could exist in the heart of France for sixteen years without state interference? The allegations are ludicrous and, having participated myself now, can safely say that the mainstream media is an active source of disinformation for profit.
“Why should one travel there and participate? Why did you personally?”
Anyone who’s affiliated with a Generation Identity branch or is seriously trying to launch one should consider attending. You’ll meet hundreds of like-minded people, some of the central figures of the Movement and receive all kinds of practical and character-building knowledge. It’s easy to fall into a state of despair given the current political climate. What the Summer University does is demonstrate that, despite it all, there’s life in Europe yet and that it’s only just started to make its voice heard. I attended because I believe in Identitarianism and Generation Identity. The former is the future ideological vision of Europe, the latter is the ‘nursery’ (if you will) of the Continent’s future leaders. Join and be counted.