Nathan Damigo doesn’t need an M-16 anymore.
For the Marine vet who served two tours in Iraq, the copy machine is now his weapon.
Instead of bullets, it fires out slick poster-size images of Apollo, Hercules, and Caesar all stamped with loud white letters that read “LET’S BECOME GREAT AGAIN,” “OUR DESTINY IS OURS,” “PROTECT YOUR HERITAGE,” “SERVE YOUR PEOPLE,” and “OUR FUTURE BELONGS TO US.”
The targets are college campuses. Damigo’s war is for whites’ survival.
“This is about finding a way for us to have a future for our own people,” he told The Daily Beast.
Damigo, an undergraduate student at California State University, Stanislaus, founded the exclusive “fraternity” called Identity Evropa, which says it stands for “awakened Europeans” who “resist our dispossession” of their white identity. To become a member, you must be 18, “of good moral character,” not overweight, and have no facial or neck tattoos or piercings.
“People have been conditioned their whole life,” he said. “They’ve been enculturated to believe that anyone with our views is some uneducated redneck living in the bayou somewhere.”
Damigo doesn’t look like your stereotypical white nationalist: He’s handsome, clean shaven with combed hair, and sports collared shirts.
Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, isn’t charmed.
“Identity Evropa is merely the latest iteration of the white-supremacist movement,” he told The Daily Beast. “Although you might think, based on their propaganda, that they’re all about Plato and Aristotle and Socrates, in fact they’re merely a gussied-up version of the Klan.
“The group is dangerous, though, in that it’s making a concerted effort to reach out to university students under the guise of a thoughtful political movement.”
In September, Damigo announced #ProjectSiege, which involved encouraging his fellow alt-right comrades to show teachers (whom he calls “charlatans”) what they’re omitting from their lectures and textbooks “that is creating this false anti-white narrative.”
Damigo described Identity Evropa’s role as serving as a magnet to “attract high-quality individuals from doctors to lawyers to economists to our fraternity” and said its lofty aims are “to create an alternative social network that will act as a fifth column, over time shifting the edifice of our political establishment to encompass our interests.”
“Once our network is large enough, the threat of being ‘outed’ or ‘coming out of the pro-white closet’” will be minimized, Damigo assures.
“Anti-white intimidation will become near impossible. From there, the future will be ours.”
And that could mean one day “expanding to other countries” once the group obtains a foothold in the U.S. and graduates from the soft sell of fliers and posters to “confront the faculty head-on through civil disobedience.”
He has aimed his ire at universities because they have taken the place churches once occupied as “society’s moral authority.”
Nineteen-year-old Gabriel Wilson, a National Guardsman, is a former member of Identity Evropa. Wilson last month chalked support for Donald Trump on a sidewalk at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, writing, “Trump 2016” and “#MAGA,” short for Trump’s slogan, “Make America great again!”
But he says another “unnamed individual” chalked messages like “Make Lindsborg White Again” and purportedly drew the profile of a dead body with “Rest in peace my friend” beside it and a heart drawing.
“I don’t condone it. It was dumb,” he said. “It was taking internet trolling into the real world is what the guy was doing; he was just trying to rustle some people’s jimmies.”
But then Wilson’s affiliation as a “state coordinator” with the Kansas chapter of Identity Evropa became public. Wilson said he lasted three months.
“The aesthetics were good, the messaging was good,” Wilson said of what initially drew him to the movement. But Identity Evropa is a secular movement, and that didn’t work for the deeply religious teen. “I’m an advocate of what I would consider to be traditionalism and come from a pro-Christendom perspective. I thought perhaps that outlet would be Identity Evropa, but it turns out it wasn’t.”
Damigo is facing a backlash on his own college campus.
Last week, a group known as Northern California Anti Racist Action (NoCARA) used the pamphleteer’s weapons against him. After Damigo’s group plastered Cal State University, Stanislaus, they put his mug all over campus.
“I did wake up this morning to see someone flyered my school with my face on it calling me the R-word and this and that,” Damigo said, referring to the word “racist.”
The fliers read like a “Wanted” poster.
“A Warning to the Public: Known White Supremacist and Violent Offender in a Convicted Hate Crime Nathan Benjamin Damigo is Currently Enrolled at CSU Stanislaus.”
The 30-year-old’s mug, his birthdate, and the address where he receives Identity Evropa snail mail are on the flier. It also charges him with sporting a sun cross symbol on a T-shirt popularized by the KKK. (The logo features capital letters “EB” from clothing label European Brotherhood that is meant to look like the cross favored by neo-Nazis and the like.)
Also mentioned is that Damigo was “dishonorably discharged” by the military after he had “chased down and robbed a cab driver at gunpoint for ‘looking Iraqi.’”
The incident occurred back in 2007, during a dark period for Damigo while he was on leave and psychologically checked out when he was “wandering the streets of San Diego.”
“It was a couple days after the anniversary of one of my friends who died over there—the anniversary of his death in Iraq,” he said.
Damigo says he was having a flashback when he raised a loaded pistol at the Arab cabbie, thinking he was stopping him at an Iraqi checkpoint.
His mother said her son had been experiencing a traumatic episode.
“It wasn’t until he was on the ground in handcuffs that he realized this wasn’t a nightmare; that this had been real,” she said while appearing on the HBO post-traumatic stress disorder documentary Wartorn.
“I freaked out on a dude that night,” he said, barely recalling his explosive behavior during a night of binge drinking. “I didn’t hit him or anything like that. But I flipped out.
“I didn’t realize where I was.”
In the doc, Damigo was recorded returning home by a local Bay Area TV news crew.
His segment fast-forwards to the last hours before he’s in a criminal court getting sentenced to six years in state prison.
As a convict, Damigo was moved around to various prisons due to California’s overcrowding conditions and managed to dodge a bloody race riot in an Oklahoma lockup.
“I watched other people sitting there doing heroin and playing cards while I sat there and read all day and educated myself,” he said.
“It was a blessing in disguise, that’s how I look at it,” Damigo acknowledged. “I was given something that I didn’t realize at the time that was actually a gift; it allowed me for the first time in my life to slow down and stop and contemplate the world. And my place in it.”
He credits David Duke’s book My Awakening with opening his eyes to a “full-scale culture war against European people” and says Identity Evropa was inspired by the European far right.
Founded 10 years ago, a group calling itself Generation Identitaire (GI) seems to be thriving in France, and Damigo cottoned on to its stylized philosophy.
“I was very much inspired by the Identitarian movement that’s occurring in Europe right now,” he said.
One of GI’s pledges is to lead its youth on a march to “reconquest” and “go to war against anyone who wants to take away our roots and make us forget who we are.”
Damigo’s Identity Evropa boasts its own call to arms: “We oppose those who would defame our history and rich cultural heritage.”
Before founding his own movement, the Marine admitted he needed a place to ply his trade.
He got his dry run by teaming up with a fellow Marine named Angelo John Gage to lead the now-defunct National Youth Front (NFP).
In its heyday, the NFP was a youth wing of the American Freedom Party, a radical group championing white nationalism. Its chairman, William Johnson, tapped the NFP as a feeder apparatus for his own organization.
“The end goal of recruitment is to make them [NYF members] nationalists and racially conscious,” Johnson said.
Damigo moved on by establishing Identity Evropa, which is flourishing.
“We’re growing fast,” he said. “We have a lot of members, but I don’t like divulging the numbers.” In August, though, Damigo said he was inundated with 100 applications in 30 days, proudly quipping that the “market is ripe.”
But he’s battling haters. On activist website It’s Going Down, NoCARA, which plastered Cal State Stanislaus with the fliers last week, also dumped online a dossier titled “Nathan Damigo Exposed: Identity Evropa Leader Operating Out of CSU Stanislaus.” The piece detailed where Damigo likes to park and which building he attends classes in, and implored readers to tear down Identity Evropa posters because they “make great kindling.”
NoCARA member Jared Taylor called Damigo a “white supremacist” who is just another “suit and tie” neo-Nazi and who like the rest of the alt-right is relying on “half-baked science and genetics, not just fascist politics.”
Taylor believes Damigo deserves to be lumped with the rest who demean black people as being predisposed to crime and follow a flimsy construct “that down to the genes, people of different races have different levels of intelligence, are either propelled towards or unable to build civilizations.”
Damigo’s Identity Evropa is just clever, homebaked fascism, Taylor says.
“These people want to create a totally authoritarian society that is organized along the lines of a police state,” he said. “This is why they harken back to empires such as Greece and Rome with their posters.”
It’s no surprise, then, that Damigo prefers a strongman in the presidential election.
“If [Donald] Trump becomes president and keeps to his word, we may have a chance to save the country (albeit a very small one) if we can continue to move the goalposts in our direction,” Damigo wrote.
“None of the students have flipped out on us,” he told The Daily Beast. “And I’m sure it will happen in good time.”