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Meet Daniel Friberg, the Swedish mining tycoon bankrolling the alt-right’s global media empire
Daniel Friberg has sponsored websites, think tanks and publishing houses to spread white nationalist ideology.
As hipsters partied in Stockholm’s liberal Sodermalm district on Saturday (25 February) night, a secret venue was hosting a meeting for some of the leading figures of the alt-right white nationalist movement.
Billed as the largest alt-right event in the world, the mood was triumphant, with 374 guests gathered to hear speakers celebrating the election of US president Donald Trump, and mark what they claim is an historic opportunity to spread their ideas and consolidate their influence.
”I believe we have some momentum right now we should not waste, so need to step up our game and be more active,” event organiser Daniel Friberg tells IBTimes UK over the telephone, and boasts about holding the event under the nose of leftists who he said had forced him to cancel four previous venues.
”I believe it is a time to come together and bring these different qualities together under one single umbrella,” he says. In his book The Real Right Returns he declares: ”After more than a century of retreat, marginalisation and constant concessions to an ever more aggressive and demanding left, the true European right is returning with a vengeance.”
Friberg is virtually unknown in his native Sweden, but is regarded by experts at Searchlight anti-racism group as one of the most influential figures in the global far right.
Friberg sees his project as one removed from the day-to-day drudgery of party politics and activism. He wants to effect a revolution at a deeper level – ideas, values, and culture – to overcome liberal taboos and reassert nationalist values.
”There are a lot of parties doing a good job, and politicians, it has never really been appealing to me to get into party politics – it is a little too dirty – I prefer the world of ideas, it is more pure,” he says.
In contrast with the clichéd image of the angry young man from a deprived background drawn to neo-Nazi subculture, Friberg is well-educated and comes from a middle-class, left-wing family, writes US musicologist Benjamin Teitelbaum in his book Lions of the North. Friberg claimed he was drawn to the far right after witnessing immigrant children targeting whites at a multicultural school where he was educated.
His CV is that of a successful young European executive. He earned an MBA from Gothenburg University in 2006, working in finance and management consultancy before becoming CEO of Wiking Mineral, a precious metals mining company.
Since his early 20s Friberg has distanced himself from the thuggish image of neo-Nazi subculture, replacing boots and crew cut with expensive suits. He has devoted his efforts to detoxifying and revitilising far-right ideology, and spreading it among a young, educated and elite audience.
He has adopted the Marxist concept of ”metapolitics”, which he defines as a ”a war of social transformation, fought on the level of worldview, thought, and culture”. He wants to oust the so-called ”cultural Marxists” who he claims have infiltrated culture with left-wing ideology.
”He wants to create a generation of educated, well-dressed, upstanding nationalists and leaders,” says Teitelbaum, who knows Friberg personally. ”It is about the view that you can’t change politics at the polling booth, you have to change the culture, you have to have people who can write, speak and produce art and media to go out and change culture before you have a political movement. That is what he wanted to do.”
Friberg has created a close-knit network, with publishing house Arktos disseminating ideas, think tank Motpol providing a forum where they are discussed, and a media network popularising them in slickly produced viral videos.
In early 2016, Friberg reportedly quit as Wiking Mineral CEO, a seeming declaration of his intent to devote himself to his political mission.
He has in recent months published his book, created the alt-right.com website with notorious alt-right ideologue Richard Spencer, published key alt-right figures at his publishing house Arktos Media and organised conferences where European and US right-wing radicals appear side by side.
Teitelbaum tells me that though the young Friberg is already a veteran of the white nationalist scene, having played a key role in its transformation, and is well-placed to supervise its renewed bid for power.
”He’s one of the few people in Sweden who grew up in the decade of the skinhead movement and made a career out of it, stayed afloat. I mean it destroyed the lives of so many people, that subculture. His is a noteworthy figure, he really is,” he explains.
Intervjun kan läsas i sin helhet här: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/meet-swedish-mining-tycoon-bankrolling-alt-rights-global-media-empire-1608221