A Talk with Daniel Friberg, Co-founder of Arktos and Right On
Interview with RightOn Editor, Daniel Friberg, in the Flemish weekly conservative newspaper ‘t pallieterke: “The big tell-tale sign of the decline of the Left, is that they actively, both in discourse and action, undermine their own belief system.”
The ‘New Right’ is back and bigger than ever. While originating in Europe, specifically in France with scholar Alain de Benoist, it spread around the globe and has come to the foreground of American presidential politics with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, dedicating an entire speech to the ‘Alt Right’ in August. In that speech she called the Alt Right a “radical fringe” but confirmed its influence on mainstream politics by acknowledging it so thoroughly.
The new Right incorporates both ideas from the Left and the Right, promoting ideas such as ‘ethnopluralism’ (every nation has a right to sovereignty) and the rejection of globalism, consumerism and economic materialism as a whole. It places a lot of value in ‘metapolitics’. This is politics trough culture and is based on the ideas of Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist who was jailed in Fascist Italy. It argues that in order to change a system you must first change its ‘cultural hegemony’. This sets out the cultural boundaries in which public debate is being held.
In Europe the New Right has changed both in size and in nature through the decades. A rather academic pursuit in the late sixties and early seventies lead by Alain de Benoist, it transformed into the ideological building blocks for up-and-coming nationalist parties in the eighties surfing on the New Right like Vlaams Blok (A party in Flanders now called Vlaams Belang). In the nineties the New Right came to lead a life more on the fringe of politics and philosophy, surviving mostly through the merit of various intellectuals. But in the new millennium we have seen a rebirth. Various young organisations like Génération Identitaire, Phalanx Europa, Right On, Arktos… have awoken something that does not seem like sleeping any time soon. ‘t Pallieterke spoke with the Swedish co-founder of Arktos and Right On and the writer of the book The Real Right Returns. Daniel Friberg is 38 years old and recently made a trip through Flanders (14–16 October) which is when we did this interview.
Mr. Friberg, you have an extensive academic and professional background. Can you elaborate on that?
Daniel: That is correct. I graduated as a master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Gothenburg Business School. Later I did social research at the university of Gothenburg. My research team did some ground-breaking stuff on the relationship between social capital and geography. In the right circumstances it can produce an economic cluster. For example, Västra Götaland (Western Sweden) is one big cluster of maritime industry. Donsö, a small island in that region has 11 large shipping companies and only 1,500 inhabitants. This is due to the high concentration of the right people (who have a continuity of knowhow) and its good access to the sea.
After my academic pursuits I started my commercial career. I had several management positions before I became active in the mining industry. At Wiking Mineral, I was chairman of the board, later CEO. During that time I also became CEO at Nordic Resources which specializes in zinc, lead, silver and copper. Wiking Mineral also mines gold and is substantially bigger, having several different mine deposits. I resigned both these positions however in March to focus on my (meta)political projects: Motpol (Counter Pole) – a New Right think-tank; Arktos – a New Right publishing company; and, Right On – a blog magazine for alternative writers ‘on the right’.
Why did you switch to (meta)politics while you clearly could have earned much more elsewhere?
Daniel: It felt like a pressing responsibly to me. Why would I focus my time and energy into making money while our civilization is in big trouble? Why would I make money for myself when my children will not even be able to live in the country I and my generation will leave behind? I see it as a duty toward the European civilization, that needs strong people in difficult times.
Your book is titled the The Real Right Returns. What do you mean with that?
Daniel: What I mean with the Real Right are those people, organisations and ideologies who do not accept the framework that the Left has set on the public debate. Some so called right parties believe and reproduce the same things that the (radical) left wants: open borders, globalism, post colonialism, equality, an LGBT-agenda and so forth. They are what I call the ‘False Right’, only differing minimally with the Left on taxes and the size of the welfare state.
The Real Right has a fundamentally different outlook. It is, however, constituted not only out of ideas such as mine (i.e. New Right), but all Right ideas who reject the cultural framework that the Left has set out in Western society. I consider paleo-conservatives, certain Catholic inspired ideologies, various nationalist ideas and so on also a part of the Real Right.
You mention in your book not only the British Conservatives of David Cameron and Theresa May as part of the ‘false right’, but also the American Republican Party. Donald Trump is now the Republican Presidential nominee. Do you still think that example of the False Right is a valid one?
Daniel (smiles): Well, no, I don’t believe anymore that they qualify as False Right. Donald Trump has effectively taken over the party and has entirely different beliefs than previous party leaders. Of course he’s still in a hostile environment, several remaining elements of the party establishment don’t like him and use every excuse to block or sabotage Trump.
“The Republican party used to be the ‘Peace Party’, believing in certain values but not imposing it on other countries, but it was hijacked by neoconservatives who were former Trotskyites and Democrats. But this is no longer the case. The Real Right is back in control!”
But Donald Trump does not accept the dominant paradigm that has been shared for decades by Democrats and Republicans alike, a globalist model for society and the world, marked by open borders, neoliberalism and military intervention. The Republican party used to be the ‘Peace Party’, believing in certain values but not imposing it on other countries, but it was hijacked by neoconservatives who were former Trotskyites and Democrats. But this is no longer the case. The Real Right is back in control of the Grand Old Party!
Do you believe Donald Trump will win?
Daniel: I believe that Trump is not the idiot the mainstream media displays him to be. I believe he is very smart and understands how mass democracy, in which everybody has an equal vote, works. For example, there has been a study that analysed the vocabulary of the presidential candidates during the primaries. Donald Trump uses language that kids under the age of 11 can understand. This is not because he has the intelligence of an 11 year old, he graduated at the prestigious Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania after all. He used way more sophisticated language in interviews before he was politically active. No, Trump uses simple language because he wants to reach out to everybody, including the working class. That’s why I also think he will win, because he’s able to reach people who are left behind by the system and otherwise don’t vote.
In your book, you talk about Sweden as the epicentre of metapolitics and the New Right. Meanwhile we can read at the Gatestone Institute that Sweden is the “rape capital of the West”. What has changed for the better in Sweden?
Daniel: That’s correct, when it comes to rape Sweden is only second to Lesotho in Southern Africa and frankly, that’s not really a fair comparison since Lesotho is practically a war zone. Sweden is a wealthy, Western country. It faces the same political troubles as other nations in the West, but only more so. Our political ‘elites’ that run the country are so bent on their multicultural beliefs that they’re willing to run our nation in ruins in unprecedented speed compared to others. So Sweden is in pretty bad shape, yes.
“When it comes to rape Sweden is only second to Lesotho in Southern Africa and frankly, that’s not really a fair comparison since Lesotho is practically a war zone.”
But what I meant with that statement is that Sweden was and is on the forefront of New Right politics. Motpol, for example, was founded in 2006 and from that platform and network we later founded Arktos in 2009, both of which have been essential to the rebirth of the New Right. Today there are several outlets, groups and so on that challenge the establishment and some New Right movements in France and Hungary are larger now than we are in Sweden, but we played a crucial role at a crucial time, and still do. That is remarkable, since Swedes are such a small nation.
What do you think about the ‘Alt Right’? The movement, mainly focused on American politics, is very active on digital message boards like 4Chan and Reddit. They influence discourse on Facebook, Twitter…
Daniel (enthusiastic): Yes! The success of the Alt Right illustrates the effectiveness of metapolitical methods. Via cultural means they have changed discourse and the boundaries of the public debate; they have changed the restraints of how we are allowed to think and eroded the shared dogmas of the Left and Old Right.
One of their means for example is the usage of memes. Take for example ‘Pepe the Frog’ who has come to the forefront of media attention and is being (re)tweeted by people such as Trump and Trump Jr. I think that’s great because in the era of mass democracy and attention skimming, he who brings his message in a short, attention grabbing medium, wins. And that’s exactly what these Alt Right memes do. By controlling the cultural framework online, they influence the political outcome in society. That’s what makes the Alt Right powerful, not their numbers – although their online community has representation from around the world.
I also think ‘Alt Right’ is a very good brand name, maybe even better than ‘New Right’, because its very essence – the shortening of the word alternative and the meaning of alternative – is in touch with modern pop and internet culture. So let’s stick with that name. Maybe I’ll even revise my book in the future and address it more explicitly (smiles).
You talk about the imminent failure of the Left. How exactly are they failing? Their grip on both politics and media is still pretty firm, is it not?
Daniel: That’s true, even though the internet is more and more filling in the holes that the Left has left behind, resonating a different message, often a Real Right one.
But the big tell-tale sign is that the Left actively, both in discourse and action, undermines its own belief system. The Left of today breaks down their principles of the Enlightenment such as freedom of expression, separation of Church and State… Even tolerance for other sexualities and women’s rights are under their own pressure, all because of the fact that they want to uphold an untenable position: multicultural society. In order to preserve so called diversity, they are willing to sacrifice their own beliefs. I call that phenomenon the ‘Regressive Left’ and see in their disbelief in themselves the beginning of their end.
You categorically resent recipes from the past, saying they’re useless for our time frame and can’t be brought back. I quote: “Napoleon and Caesar aren’t coming back”. Do you not believe in the cyclical nature of history?
Daniel: Well, yes, I do agree with viewing history as such, just as Oswald Spengler, the great historian does, rather than a linear conception of history. That does not however mean that one should duplicate solutions from the past.
If a soda manufacturer fails to sell a soda pop because it sucks, the company does not go back to its factory and say: “ok, let’s change the product but keep the same name”, let alone use the exact same product and name. No, a good company will come up with something else entirely. Being aware of the past does not mean you need to reproduce the past, rather it means that you look at the future with a lens that is shaped by the past so we can learn from mistakes. Some ideas from the thirties for example may have been suited for their era, but it would be a terrible idea to reproduce them today, not to mention the enormous backlash of using the same logos – as one can imagine (laughs).
“Some ideas from the 30’s for example may have been suited for their era, but it would be a terrible idea to reproduce them today, not to mention the enormous backlash of using the same logos (laughs).”
Mr. Friberg, thank you very much for you time. Do you have a final message for our readers and for Flanders?
Well, as you’ve heard I’m a big proponent of cultural influence and as such, of alternative media-outlets. So I would like to encourage readers and supporters of ‘t Pallieterke to keep contributing to our cause by keep reading and buying media such as ‘t Pallieterke and thus contributing to the preservation of our civilization.
To the people of Flanders: I hope you will soon achieve your independence from French speaking Wallonia, as I believe all peoples should be free and so should yours.
Interview by Jonas Naeyaert