(article from May 2017)
A small clique of Identitarians, or aggrieved nationalists from Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, and elsewhere, all motivated by their disdain for their home countries’ commitment to liberal values, have found an ideological match in Hungary, where two extreme far-right parties, the governing Fidesz and Jobbik, the largest opposition party, make up most of the National Assembly. Jobbik is the first European political party to champion a border wall. Its members frequently express open anti-Semitic and anti-Roma sentiments, and prioritize the preservation of “Hungary for the Hungarians.”
This transformation has allowed a system of far-right culture leaders to flourish in Budapest. Coming from all over Europe and the United States, they have created a structured propaganda circuit, in the hopes of spreading their ideas far and wide.
In 2014, Jobbik’s popularity surged, thanks to a platform that pledged to preserve Hungarian ethnic purity. That year, Orbán was also re-elected to a second term, and Jobbik won 20 percent of the national vote and 47 seats in the parliament, while Fidesz grabbed a super-majority. The Identitarians “are happy that they feel that in Hungary there is a leader that represents their values. These are people with an almost medieval view on the world and they find a safe haven in Hungary.”
Multiculturalism is the supreme enemy. Both believe in draconian immigration laws based on ethnic and racial preservation. The *pro-government newspaperMagyar Hirlap (which translates to Hungarian Newspaper) has published articles sympathetic to members of Friberg’s circle. Gabor Vona, Jobbik’s leader, wrote an introduction to Arktos’s translation of 20th-century intellectual fascist Julius Evola’s A Handbook For Right-Wing Youth, a collection of Evola’s essays targeted at young people interested in the radical right. Evola, who White House chief strategist Steve Bannon quoted in a 2014 speech at the Vatican, is considered by academics as “possibly the most important intellectual figure for the Radical Right in contemporary Europe.” Numerous Facebook posts show Friberg shaking hands with Vona and dining with Marton Gyöngyösi, another key politician in Jobbik credited with calling for all Jews in Hungary to be registered on a list.
When I spoke with Gyöngyösi, he voiced his admiration for Evola. Jobbik’s resistance to immigration, he said, is limited to people from “Africa or the Middle East,” because they do not share the same “cultural values” as Hungarians.
Prior to Arktos, Friberg also had long-standing and prolific ties to far-right extremists in Sweden. As a teenager, he was heavily involved with neo-Nazi groups and, at the age of 28, helped construct and manage the online forum Nordisk.nu, a 22,000-member-strong gathering place for Scandinavian national socialists, including Anders Breivik.
More recently, Friberg has sought to obscure his violent transgressions under a cover of intellectual legitimacy. He has spent his far-right career repackaging eugenicist ideology by rebranding the same or similar material with words such as “identitarian,” “traditionalist,” or “archeofuturist.” His partner, U.S. white nationalist Richard Spencer, has been criticized for doing the same thing by hate-watch groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center.
In Budapest, Arktos is surrounded by alt-righters who have made the trek to the increasingly illiberal Hungary. Michael Polignano, co-founder of Counter-Currents, moved to Budapest in 2016, and joined the nationalist scene. After moving to Hungary in January 2017, men’s rights activist Matt Forney wrote: “Imagine there’s no leftists. It’s easy if you try. No protests in the streets, and in front of us, only cute white girls. That world exists, and it’s called Hungary.” Ferenc Almassy, a French nationalist, has worked as a translator for Jobbik. He helps other French nationalists new to Hungary acclimate to their haven. Popular American far-right YouTube and Twitter personality RamZPaul, who has lived in the Hungarian capital off and on since 2013, tweeted in February to nearly 35,000 followers: “Budapest is like Paris of the 1920s. #Hungary.”
In addition to Friberg’s clique, other nationalists have also moved to Hungary. Although former British Nationalist Party leader Nick Griffin has claimed he is not affiliated with the “alt-right” ex-pat community, he has been deeply involved with a radical Christian organization called “The Knights Templar International,” which has offices in the U.K. and Hungary.
Even Washington-based Breitbart is now rumored to be opening a Hungarian office in the near future, after acquiring the domain name Breitbart.hu. From their vantage, the possibilities of cross-border exchange look promising. In flocking to Budapest, these nationalist internationals are creating a sanctuary from which to broadcast anti-globalism across the globe.