A sense of belonging mixed with a certain degree of surrealism was present as we walked through an autumnal Stockholm toward the premises of the occasion. I am quite sure I was not alone in these peculiar feelings. We were on our way to something that challenged much of modern political thought as well as the central ideals of the current cultural establishment.
This was the seventh Identitarian Ideas conference, and the first time I had visited one of these events. For me personally, the elevating sensation of meeting people with whom I can discuss freely is always fantastic, but also rather strange. To find yourself in a situation where you can express your thoughts on the world without the anticipation of intolerant responses or personal attacks is rare nowadays. This situation isn’t getting any better, as I am told daily through the media and by politicians that I live in a liberal society that is defending the principles of ‘free speech’. An ever-increasing narrowness of intellectual thought has been eating its way through our society, and this thought control is protected by thugs shouting that ‘the streets belong to them’. Those of us who silently walked side by side that afternoon have therefore learned to regard these opportunities to meet and discuss as sparks of freedom in a reality undergirded by monotonous mantras and moralistic demands. Here, in the presence of like-minded and brave intellectual dissidents, all that seemed to exist in a shadowy parallel reality.
After arriving at the venue, we had the opportunity to mingle and discuss, and the air was filled with both seriousness and joy. It is totally natural considering the circumstances. Through initiatives as these, we get to leave our screens and chat windows behind and step out and meet. Perhaps the awareness was even more present now as this was the most popular Identitarian Idea to date, gathering as many as 137 persons.
The first speaker of the evening was Daniel Friberg, the CEO of the publishing house Arktos and the founder of Right On. Daniel delivered the central message of his newly-published book, The Real Right Returns, which is currently the bestselling title in the history of Arktos. The book is more or less a handbook for all Rightists in dealing with the ever more absurd reality of thought control and the illogical demands of today’s society. Friberg’s presentation also contained video snippets of actual events in which the growing desperation of the cultural elite is more than evident. Many laughs and moans were heard in the auditorium during the short videos, showing representatives of the establishment going bananas over completely pointless issues and finding themselves going astray in horribly unscientific theories.
In general, the message was that we are today witnessing the last stand between a failing liberal establishment that is out of ideas and a rising new conservative consciousness. The speech was visionary and optimistic, and brought an injection of healthy energy to the evening.
The second speaker was the well-known French author and commentator Guillaume Faye, previously of the metapolitical society GRECE. In an emotional speech, he declared that the time of a Third World War is upon us and that its origins will lie in conflicting interests of ethnicity rather than geography. As described in his book Archeofuturism, Faye argued that the new war will be one between the North and the South; the White world and the coloured, and he described possible alliances between the countries of the Northern hemisphere. Faye also commented on the ideological attacks on Europe from Islam in a historical perspective, and also touched upon the importance of birth-rates for Europeans in the light of the Third World invasion we are experiencing today.
The Swedish artist Markus Andersson followed. Andersson studied under the Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum, and he passionately lives a rural life just north of Uppsala. Besides being very interested in political thought and philosophy, in his art he depicts nature in realistic ways through mediums such as oils and watercolours. I find his most interesting works are those that comment upon our current situation and the ideals of modern society, and he has certainly caught the attention of the cultural establishment when doing so. The theme of his speech was the destructive impact of the cult of modernity on art and craftsmanship. Beginning with photographs of the art of the controversial Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch, he showed images of people swimming in the intestines of dead animals and crucified individuals drowned in blood. Andersson’s perspective was that of the honestly striving artist: ‘Why do we say this is art?’
He further described the decline of substantive content and symbolism in art. Andersson argued that the classic artistic struggle to present eternal values is gone. In its place we find a greedy hunt for provocation and shock value, and a hungry market that flourishes as a result of these vulgar demands. Markus’ thoughts engaged the audience and provoked many interesting questions and appeared to be highly appreciated, as his perspective was one that fused an artistic vision with political thought and cultural consciousness.
Next up was Björn Herstad, a noted figure in conservative and nationalist circles in Sweden, and along with Patrik Forsén he has recently founded the Dacke Institute, which could perhaps be described as a Christian conservative educational centre and publishing house. Björn spoke in a solemn voice about the necessary virtues and responsibilities that a true soldier of traditional values should uphold. Such a man must be the core of the family, and must be prepared to defend the pillars that Western civilisation lies upon; in Herstad’s eyes, Christianity was presented as the ideal. Man and woman should be respected for what they are rather than for being mere objects for gender experimentation, as is the case in Sweden today, and sex should be regarded as something that creates life rather than merely brings pleasure. Also, he argued for throwing one’s television out the window, not in a pointless rock’n’roll fashion, but as an act of self-respect, since that medium nowadays mainly acts as a distraction, spreading false viewpoints. Herstad explained that the Dacke Institute forges its visions out of the contra-revolutionary movements and Catholic traditions of Europe, and that it is meant to act as a kind of elite school for men of conservative thought.
One person in the Arktos stable of authors who I appreciate is Lars Holger Holm, who followed. Holm presented his new book Kärringstaten (The Bitch State), an ironic text concerning the total moral and political confusion occurring in Sweden. The book describes a country where decades of modern ideas have turned the ruling elites into a frenzied bunch of radical feminists and apologists for murderous Islamism. Unfortunately for Sweden, but more fortunate for the art of lustful satire, his description is realistic, although painted in the burlesque and unforgiving language of the author. Holm, a highly entertaining speaker, described the nightmare of the fruitless attempts being made to try and make a newly-imported masculine warrior religion, Islam, cuddle with gender science and sexual tolerance.
Next, there was a young, promising politician from Latvia who took the stage; Raivis Zeltīts. His professionalism showed immediately as he began his speech with a plea for dialogue. He explained that his goal was for a constructive debate, as he knew that his analysis would differ from that of some of the other speakers. Zeltīts, steering away from the style of the typical emotional demagogue, offered a clear and rational perspective rooted in his experiences in a former Soviet country. He described his scepticism toward Russia’s intentions, and instead advocated for the overlooked power base emerging in the other states of the former Eastern bloc in Europe. He discussed how nationalism and culture have developed in these countries since the end of the Soviet Union; as examples he discussed how Hungary and Poland have helped Europe as a whole to reboot itself.
John Morgan, the Editor-in-Chief of Arktos, came next. He told the story of how endeavour got underway, from its start in 2009 with its headquarters in India and up to the present day as a respected publishing house with its base of operations in Budapest, Hungary. Morgan’s storytelling mirrored his sharp intellect as well as his sense of humour. Some highlights from the speech were his discussion of the conspiracy theories that circulate about Arktos on the Internet, where he has learned that the company is supported by the CIA, as well as by the Soviet KGB. Others were convinced it was controlled by the Zionists. Some people said it was an instrument of the Vatican. It is obvious that the uniqueness of a publishing house like Arktos breeds these kinds of theories. Morgan then discussed what he sees as Arktos’ mission, as well as some of the authors that Arktos has published over the past six years. The profiles of these thinkers emphasised even more the fact that this publisher is one-of-a-kind in the world. The oversimplifying, and in some cases crazy, labels that people apply to Arktos are usually wrong, Morgan stated. Arktos is not something that is Left or Right, or which advocates for a particular ideology; it is more of an alternative to the dominance of modernity within intellectual discourse.
At the end of the evening, a surprise speaker took the podium. It was the founder of the foreign aid organisation, Right Hand Aid, and the International Director of the Hatune Foundation, Hans Erling Jensen. This talented and powerful speaker told the story of the decision of him and his wife to turn their political awareness into something practical in the form of an aid organisation. It was a dramatic and inspiring tale from the real world that we heard, beginning at the couple’s dinner table and moving out into the world, to Nepal, the Middle East, and beyond. Jensen’s social pathos touched the audience, as did his broad knowledge of the fatal social consequences brought about by Islam.
Afterwards, the evening continued with informal discussions as the attendees browsed the book tables. Also, some of Markus Andersson’s beautiful paintings were being exhibited. The audience was a real, and creative, mixture; there were politicians, culture activists, authors, artists, intellectuals, and simply some nice people. What struck me was this: that there were no ‘extremists’ present. Rather, extremism in the form of the suffocation of free speech and intellectual thought hovered just outside the walls of this event. We who were present on that particular evening had grown tired of it. In its place, we had discovered a hidden universe. In doing so, we were all a part of a new intellectual avant-garde.