Columbia University, in New York City, is investigating a report of a "fake book" found in a campus library that appears to be associated with the neoreactionary or "Dark Enlightenment" movement.
A student worker at the university's Butler Library claimed to find the fake book in one of the shelves that appeared to contain symbols and forms associated with the Dark Enlightenment movement, which rejects democracy and egalitarianism and "focuses on the fundamentally flawed tenets of modern western culture," according to a subreddit dedicated to the movement.
The discovery of the book was first published on Monday night by BWOG, Columbia's student-run campus news site.
The current white nationalist alt right movement — which grew in prominence largely due to Donald Trump's campaign and his victory — draws from some of the ideas espoused by proponents of the Dark Enlightenment movement, including the English philosopher Nick Land and the the American computer programmer Curtis Yarvin (aka “Mencius Moldbug”), BuzzFeed News has previously reported.
The Dark Enlightenment movement is "less a single ideology than a loose constellation of far-right thought, clustered around three pillars: religious traditionalism, white nationalism, and techno-commercialism," according to a 2015 Awl article.
Following the BWOG report, several student groups, including Columbia Against Trump, wrote an oped in the Columbia Spectator calling for the administration to "take every possible step to address the source of this racist material and to further investigate whether a white supremacist group has a presence on our campus, and if so, take bold and immediate action to eradicate it."
"The so-called 'Dark Enlightenment' — a movement propagating ideas of fascism, white supremacy, and ethnic cleansing—is only one of many small but vocal forces supporting Trump’s hateful agenda across the country that must be stopped," the student groups wrote in the oped.
The student told BuzzFeed News, "I don't know if this is ultimately a hoax."
The university said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News: "We are aware of the student blog report about a hollowed-out book discovered in Butler Library containing disturbing materials,"adding, "We are investigating the matter, but at this point cannot confirm the published account."
The student who claimed to have discovered the book told BuzzFeed News that he was stacking shelves at Butler Library on Friday when he "noticed this book that didn't quite look like a book."
The student, who works at the library, did not wish to be identified because he felt "it was potentially dangerous" for people associated with the book and the movement to know his name. He also said he didn't want to invite "death threats" from Reddit and 4Chan, where the Dark Enlightenment movement appears to have a presence.
The book's title claimed it was the novel, Tess of The D'Urbervilles, and the student said it was in the section with books such as The Dark Side of Nation States and The World Revolution of Westernization.
The student said that when he opened the hollowed-out book, he found about five manila envelopes containing forms with an eagle design on the front that resembled Germany's coat of arms, or the "Federal Eagle."
While the eagle appears to be the modern version of the German coat of arms, variations of the design were adopted as symbols during the Nazi era.