The Birth Of Arktos And Its Role In The Alt-Right
How did this occur? Charles Lyons had a brief discussion with Daniel Friberg, Tor Westman and Jason Reza Jorjani about how this happened.
This interview was conducted with the managerial staff of Arktos, Daniel Friberg, Tor Westman and Jason Reza Jorjani, in May 2017.
To start with, please tell us a bit about how Arktos came to be.
Daniel: It all started with four people from my Scandinavian, New Right think-tank ”Motpol”, getting together in Aarhus, Denmark, in November 2009, for a meeting about starting up a new publishing company. I had previously been running a successful Swedish publishing house called ”Nordic Publishing” for seven years, but me, as well as the three other participants, felt it was time to do something bigger, with a wider scope than just catering to Swedish readers. Hence this meeting, between me, Jacob, Patrick and Tord — one Swede, two Danes and one Norwegian, all writers at Motpol, and all eager to create something bigger. Jacob and Patrick had previously started the fairly small traditionalist publishing company Integral Tradition Publishing Ltd and were already running a small office out of a Hare Krishna base in Mumbai, India, for that purpose, where John B. Morgan was working.
During that weekend, Arktos was born. We came up with the name, the logotype, and the general direction we were about to take. We also managed to bring an important Swedish investor on board in the coming weeks, also from the Motpol think-tank. After that, we got started on our aggressive investment strategy where we acquired the rights to the most important books by Guillaume Faye and Alain de Benoist right from the start, effectively monopolizing the most important New Right works shortly after founding the company.
Is it true that you started the company in India? How so?
Daniel: Not at all. We founded the company in Denmark in 2009, and I was working from Sweden, parallel with my regular job as a management consultant, during our entire first year. I constructed our first online store from my apartment in Sweden during my spare evenings after work in the first four months of 2010.
The main reason our first main office was located in India is that we a couple of months after founding Arktos purchased and absorbed the company Integral Tradition Publishing Ltd, which was already based in India, with two full-time employees, one of which left the company on amicable terms shortly thereafter. But nevertheless, we already had some sort of base there, including John B. Morgan who was the editor-in-chief of ITP, and therefore I saw it pertinent to relocate there together with a Swedish colleague to try to forge the former ITP office into a professional operation for Arktos. I, therefore, together with a Swedish friend, moved to Mumbai in January 2011, where I met John B. Morgan for the first time, who was at that time the editor-in-chief of Arktos and remained so until Summer 2016 when he was replaced with Jason Reza Jorjani.
It was quite an adventure operating out of a Third World country, but we managed very well in spite of this and although working for meagre wages (around 1.5 USD per hour) managed to turn a very small company into a serious publishing operation in the time-span of three years. After that, I personally had enough of the Third World and decided to move our main operations back to our own civilisation, Europe, in early 2014.
What was your initial business strategy that set you apart from other publishing houses started at the same time?
Daniel: Aggressive investments, funded by our own money, a keen sense of what ideas are needed in the Anglo-Saxon World and the West in general, and a general knowledge of which authors are most important. Combined with a strictly business-oriented model of our company, never relying on (or even asking for) any donations, but instead making sure to create a steady cash flow as quickly as possible.
When did your most important breakthrough occur? Please tell me and the readers about that.
Daniel: I would say that was in 2014 when I hired Tor Westman and taught him to take over many of my previous tasks. Up until then, I had done the layout of all of our books myself (which amounted to around 70 at the time), managed our website, taking care of most of our marketing, and so forth. Now I had finally found someone who could replace me in those functions — and in some cases even do it better. *Laughs* This freed up a lot of time for me so that I could spend more time on translating, editing and writing. This resulted in not only my Swedish translation of Michael O’Meara’s New Culture, New Right, but also in several new important book projects co-written or edited by me, as well as my own first political work, The Real Right Returns. All of this would have been impossible without getting Tor on board. Besides, Tor is a fast learner and extremely productive. Getting him to join our core team was definitely the key factor in taking Arktos to the next level.
And how did it happen that you, Tor, started working for Arktos? Have you ever regretted it?
Tor: Absolutely not. Working full-time for our cause has been my main ambition since my early teens.
I got to know Daniel around 2007, after following several of his projects – which I would say were the most impressive in Sweden at the time – and started helping out on a project basis. There was something about Motpol and Nordiska förlaget (“Nordic Publishing”) and its surrounding projects that gave me the sense that the people behind it were heading in the right direction, which turned out to be true.
In the spring of 2014, I was offered through one of the shareholders to start working full-time for Arktos. The decision was easy.
What do you identify as your primary success factors?
Daniel: Hard work, idealism, and a keen business sense.
Jason: Also, our time has come.
How many books have you published so far, and how are your financial development and sales?
Tor: We have published 137 books so far, in 14 different languages. And our productivity has increased immensely in the past year, making it likely we will reach 180 unique titles before the end of 2017.
How many people are currently working for Arktos?
Daniel: We have three full-time employees — me, our Marketing Chief Tor Westman and our Editor-in-Chief Jason Reza Jorjani. Apart from us, we have roughly 26 translators, editors, proofreaders and graphic designers and artists working for us on a project basis, many of them full-time. So we would say nearly 30 people in total, all over the World.
What do you foresee for the future, and which are currently your most important projects?
Daniel: When it comes to our most important projects, we are currently translating and publishing Alain de Benoist’s magnum opus, ”View from the Right”, in three volumes, with the first volume coming out very soon. Apart from that, we continue to publish books by Guillaume Faye in a more rapid pace than ever before, with two new titles by him coming out in 2017. And then we, of course, have Alexander Dugin, one of our most popular authors, of whom we have five exciting new projects in the pipeline, where at least three should be possible to publish this year. We are also currently working on two new books by Julius Evola and a whole arsenal of quality manuscripts from both new and old talents. Not to mention the continuous translation of our key English titles into other European languages, like Polish, Serbian, Croatian, Hungarian, German and French.
Jason: In addition to consolidating our standing as the leading publisher of the AltRight, a movement that is only expected to grow throughout the West, we foresee an expansion eastwards into the broader Indo-European world. Within the next couple of years, we plan to begin issuing translations of texts by leading intellectuals in the Iranian Renaissance movement. This is an Indo-European Identitarian metapolitical movement that aims at bringing about a cultural revolution in Greater Iran on the basis of the Pre-Islamic Aryan heritage of the Persians and other Iranian peoples. Ultimately, I foresee Arktos becoming something akin to the 18th century Republic of Letters, but on a global scale. The intellectuals whose writings we publish today will be looked back on as the vanguard of a paradigm shift not only in politics but also in the sciences and the arts. Arktos is more than a publishing house. It is the nerve centre for a worldwide network of anti-establishment thought.
What are your editorial policies? How do you go about getting anything published with Arktos?
Jason: We are of course looking for the highest quality texts, in terms of their depth of reflection, their elegance and sophistication, as well as their relevance to the Identitarian metapolitical struggle. These need not only be explicitly political or sociological texts. We are as interested in revolutionary scientific writings that challenge the reductive materialism of the modern world as we are in fiction that envisions or inspires a future re-rooted in our living Indo-European tradition.
What are your primary marketing strategies? Obviously, you sell more books than any other publisher in our circles, so please tell us your secrets!
Tor: Our primary marketing channels are 1) reviews in friendly inclined newspapers and magazines, 2) our own quite popular newsletter, 3) our own websites, and finally 4) speeches and interviews in various podcasts from our many authors. Only a very small portion of our marketing budget is spent on advertising, due to empirical reasons.
Any closing words?
Daniel: We have experienced a steady growth since the start, which is only increasing percentage-wise with every year, especially in the past twelve months. I, therefore, see a very bright future for us.
Jason: I believe Arktos is destined to play a key role in the redemption and revitalization of the Indo-European Tradition.
Tor: If you haven’t done so already, please make sure to visit our website at www.arktos.com, to read more about us, our company, our authors and our books. You are bound to find something that interests you.