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White Nationalist Group Looking To Expand Arizona Presence

Classics and White Supremacy
Ambar Favela/KJZZ
illustration | staff

Previously, The Show talked about how white nationalist groups have been attaching themselves to classic writings and teachings from Greece and ancient Rome. Now it appears one of those groups — called Identity Evropa — is looking to expand its presence in Arizona.

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, investigative reporter for the Arizona Mirror, has looked into it

STEVE GOLDSTEIN Last week on The Show, we talked about how a white nationalist groups have been attaching themselves to classic writings and teachings of Greece and ancient Rome. Now it appears one of those groups calling itself Identity Evropa is looking to expand its presence in Arizona. Jerod MacDonald-Evoy investigative reporter for the Arizona Mirror has looked into it and is with me. Jerod, what should we know about this group and how long has it been around?

JEROD MACDONALD-EVOY Evropa, they've been around for a little bit, not super long. They've kind of come around at the rise of the alt-right the past few years. One of the key things to know about them is that they kind of came onto the scene as a group that was trying to rebrand in a way this idea of white nationalism and white supremacy in a way that that we've seen before with some of these groups where they use classical literature or history to try to prove a point. And that's kind of where the name has kind of come from with Identity Evropa. They have this idea of reclaiming the White identity of Europe and reclaiming you know what it means to be a European in some respects, that's kind of one of their how they kind of got started in a way.

GOLDSTEIN The rebranding is partially to reassess white nationalism or reaffirm that without it necessarily being fact based, but that's how they're trying to apply it in some sense?

MACDONALD-EVOY Correct, because one of the key things that Identity Evropa is big on doing is recruiting you know college age white men. Their idea is to kind of, I've heard some people refer to them as they are trying to be the thinking man's white supremacists, like they're trying to bring these sort of ideas to a general population that has kind of been somewhat against this kind of thinking, which is you know, your average college age you know individual who tends to not harbor these types of ideas and these types of opinions. And so in 2016, this was kind of started as a way to try to move the conversations on college campuses in their kind of direction.

GOLDSTEIN And Jerod, what is the connection between this group and Arizona? Have they just recently decided to settle here?

MACDONALD-EVOY So yeah, the group has always had a presence in Arizona. Starting in 2016 when this group kind of started becoming big — they had a project where they were posting flyers at college campuses for their group. All the major universities here in Arizona had tons of flyers posted, including ASU, NAU, a lot of the community colleges, UofA. We've seen them do demonstrations on freeway overpasses where they held banners promoting their group. So they've been active in Arizona. But recently, last month, another nonprofit news group called: "unicorn riot" they had gotten their hands on some leaked discord chat server logs that this group had used nationally where all their different groups used to communicate with each other. And within that, there was a lot of information about, you know, where they wanted to go, things they want to try to do, and some more. And it showed more of their racist beliefs than they have publicly put out before, it kind of dropped the curtain on what they actually believed when these chats got released. And so there's been a push by the group to kind of rebranded, to become something else. So one of the main figures behind the group, Patrick Casey, has gone on to try to start a new group called the American identity movement. One of the articles of incorporation for the group is out here in Arizona, it appears that they are using the Arizona Corporation Commission to create their different entities that they're going to use and "unicorn riot" found that through their own research that Patrick Casey had gone to the Arizona Corporation Commission to create the LLC and all of that for this new movement. I looked a little further into and it appears that also Identity Evropa itself has a few different L.L.C's out here as well under Patrick Casey's name. As we saw yesterday out at the Gilbert's patriotism over socialism rally, there were some of these groups present like you know the proud boys who have been kind of associated with some of this identity and politics, that groups like Identity Evropa subscribe to.

GOLDSTEIN Let's talk a little bit more about Patrick Casey if we can. What else do you know about his background; in terms of there was even something about him wanting to take over the GOP?

MACDONALD-EVOY Patrick Casey has been a big player in the Evropa group and he kind of has gained some notoriety for some of the things he said specifically that he wants to you know kind of stealthily take over the GOP and that's something that we've seen in a lot of these far right white nationalist group have said similar things. He even was known for showing up at things like CPAC where he would be trying to get lots of meetings with different you know high ranking Republicans just kind of maybe try to swing them towards his cause. He's very much about trying to shift how people perceive groups like this to make them seem a lot less radical than they may truly be.

GOLDSTEIN That said Jerod Macdonald-Evoy, he's an investigative reporter for The Arizona mirror and Jerod always good to talk with you. Thanks.

MACDONALD-EVOY Thank you for having me on.

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Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.