Logo

Les Identitaires is a far-right anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant French group created in 2003 as Bloc Identitaire to defend the French identity from what it considered harmful foreign influences. The group changed its name in 2016, promising to be a “centre of agitation and training.”* Les Identitaires members consider themselves to be patriots and nationalists rather than anti-Muslim or racist. Nonetheless, the group opposes globalization and believes that Muslim immigrants to Europe are invaders who threaten European identity.* Les Identitaires' youth wing, Generation Identity, has spread to five other European regions outside of France.*

Les Identitaires has staged numerous demonstrations in and around France's majority Muslim areas in order to protest what it considers attacks on French values. In 2006, Bloc Identitaires launched a campaign to distribute soup to homeless people in predominately Muslim neighborhoods, although the soup was intentionally made with pork to exclude Muslims and Jews.* French authorities shut down the soup kitchens in February 2006, declaring that they intentionally discriminated against Muslims and Jews.*

In June 2010, Bloc Identitaire held a pork sausage party in Paris at the Arc de Triomphe. The event, which was originally planned to take place outside of a mosque, was moved after police banned the group from rallying outside of the mosque on grounds of maintaining public order. An estimated 7,000 people registered to attend through Facebook.* In 2011, the group staged a “march of pigs” protest in French neighborhoods with large Muslim populations. The Identitarians feasted on wine and pork, both of which are prohibited under Islamic dietary laws, claiming that such things would soon be illegal in France because of Muslim immigration.*

In 2007, Bloc Identitaire co-founder Philippe Vardon was fined and imprisoned for incitement to discrimination after the Identitarian Youth wing—which he led at the time—distributed pamphlets casting Muslim immigrants as rapists.*

Though Bloc Identitaire became a political party in 2009, it considered the far-right National Front party a political ally and distanced itself from political races where it might challenge the National Front. In 2016, the group changed its name to Les Identitaires, alleging that it would act as a “centre of agitation and training” and a “launch pad of the main identity offensives.”* The group continues to publish propaganda and organize events.*

European Ethno-Nationalist and White Supremacy Groups

Fabrice Robert and Philippe Vardon founded Bloc Identitaire in 2003.* Robert and Jean-David Cattin took over the leadership of Les Identitaires in 2016.* Vardon reportedly led Les Identitaires as of April 2017.*

Nice, France*

Facebook (discontinued), Twitter, Twitter (Philippe Vardon), YouTube

Les Identitaires has estimated its membership at around 4,000, but authorities doubt the veracity of the group's numbers.* Though French far-right political party National Front has denied ties to Les Identitaires, it has reportedly looked to the group as an "idea box."* Les Identitaires leader Philippe Vardon is also a regional councilor for the National Front, and worked on the social media team of National Front leader Marine Le Pen's presidential campaign in 2017.*

As of June 29, 2020, the group’s YouTube page had  356 subscribers and five videos that had collectively been viewed 15,704 times, compared with 198 subscribers and five videos that had collectively received over 12,478 views as of July 3, 2018.* The group had 13,800 followers on Twitter as of June 29, 2020, representing a small increase of only 600 since July 3, 2018.* The group's Facebook page had more than 58,000 followers as of March 15, 2018, but was shut down as of July 3, 2018.*

Les Identitaires requests donations through its website to fund its propaganda materials, meetings, training, and travel.* The group also shares a “Boutique” webstore with its youth wing, Generation Identity. The online store sells shirts, flags, and stickers with slogans such as “On est chez nous” (“We are home”) and “Defend Europe.”* The site also sells Identitaires magazine, a glossy magazine that reports on the activities of Les Identitaires and Generation Identity.*

Les Identitaires officially rejects violence, but its protests have at times devolved into violent confrontations with counter-protesters.

Fabrice Robert
Philippe Vardon

Introduction

Les Identitaires is a far-right anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant French group created in 2003 as Bloc Identitaire to defend the French identity from what it considered harmful foreign influences. The group changed its name in 2016, promising to be a “centre of agitation and training.”* Les Identitaires members consider themselves to be patriots and nationalists rather than anti-Muslim or racist. Nonetheless, the group opposes globalization and believes that Muslim immigrants to Europe are invaders who threaten European identity.* Les Identitaires' youth wing, Generation Identity, has spread to five other European regions outside of France.*

Les Identitaires has staged numerous demonstrations in and around France's majority Muslim areas in order to protest what it considers attacks on French values. In 2006, Bloc Identitaires launched a campaign to distribute soup to homeless people in predominately Muslim neighborhoods, although the soup was intentionally made with pork to exclude Muslims and Jews.* French authorities shut down the soup kitchens in February 2006, declaring that they intentionally discriminated against Muslims and Jews.*

In June 2010, Bloc Identitaire held a pork sausage party in Paris at the Arc de Triomphe. The event, which was originally planned to take place outside of a mosque, was moved after police banned the group from rallying outside of the mosque on grounds of maintaining public order. An estimated 7,000 people registered to attend through Facebook.* In 2011, the group staged a “march of pigs” protest in French neighborhoods with large Muslim populations. The Identitarians feasted on wine and pork, both of which are prohibited under Islamic dietary laws, claiming that such things would soon be illegal in France because of Muslim immigration.*

In 2007, Bloc Identitaire co-founder Philippe Vardon was fined and imprisoned for incitement to discrimination after the Identitarian Youth wing—which he led at the time—distributed pamphlets casting Muslim immigrants as rapists.*

Though Bloc Identitaire became a political party in 2009, it considered the far-right National Front party a political ally and distanced itself from political races where it might challenge the National Front. In 2016, the group changed its name to Les Identitaires, alleging that it would act as a “centre of agitation and training” and a “launch pad of the main identity offensives.”* The group continues to publish propaganda and organize events.*

Leadership

Fabrice Robert and Philippe Vardon founded Bloc Identitaire in 2003.* Robert and Jean-David Cattin took over the leadership of Les Identitaires in 2016.* Vardon reportedly led Les Identitaires as of April 2017.*

  • Fabrice Robert

  • Philippe Vardon

Base of Operations

Nice, France*

Membership Size and Relevance

Les Identitaires has estimated its membership at around 4,000, but authorities doubt the veracity of the group's numbers.* Though French far-right political party National Front has denied ties to Les Identitaires, it has reportedly looked to the group as an "idea box."* Les Identitaires leader Philippe Vardon is also a regional councilor for the National Front, and worked on the social media team of National Front leader Marine Le Pen's presidential campaign in 2017.*

Recruitment and Propaganda

As of June 29, 2020, the group’s YouTube page had  356 subscribers and five videos that had collectively been viewed 15,704 times, compared with 198 subscribers and five videos that had collectively received over 12,478 views as of July 3, 2018.* The group had 13,800 followers on Twitter as of June 29, 2020, representing a small increase of only 600 since July 3, 2018.* The group's Facebook page had more than 58,000 followers as of March 15, 2018, but was shut down as of July 3, 2018.*

Les Identitaires requests donations through its website to fund its propaganda materials, meetings, training, and travel.* The group also shares a “Boutique” webstore with its youth wing, Generation Identity. The online store sells shirts, flags, and stickers with slogans such as “On est chez nous” (“We are home”) and “Defend Europe.”* The site also sells Identitaires magazine, a glossy magazine that reports on the activities of Les Identitaires and Generation Identity.*

Violent Activities

Les Identitaires officially rejects violence, but its protests have at times devolved into violent confrontations with counter-protesters.

Rhetoric