In late September, a few members of the Mallard team were fortunate to get the opportunity to sit down with representatives of the JFvD, the youth wing of the Dutch ‘Forum for Democracy’ (FvD) party. We discussed the incredible success of their political and cultural youth movement; the founding and future of their party; and their views on what the future of the Netherlands and Europe should be.
The Mallard (TM): We want to get a sense of what the FvD is; what it stands for; and what the JFvD does within that.
Massimo Etalle (ME): So the FvD was founded in 2015 as a think tank. Our party leader (Thierry Baudet) was a journalist, and he had a critique on the world around him but did not believe that these problems could be solved through politics. So, he founded this think tank to influence the ideas in our society. Politics is downstream from culture, so to influence politics you have to influence culture. We had a unique opportunity at the time due to the referendum with Ukraine [the 2016 Dutch advisory referendum on the proposed Ukraine – European Union Association Agreement]. The FvD has always been a very Eurosceptic organisation, so when the association agreement was proposed in a referendum, we campaigned against it. When the referendum was held, it was overwhelmingly opposed by 62% of the Dutch people. In response, the government ignored it and signed the agreement anyway. At this moment we realised we needed to do more than just influence ideas. You have to get closer to power to influence society. So we started a political party and we won 2 seats out of 150 in parliament. The energy was unmatched and, as soon as we started, we flew through the polls. The youth movement (JFvD) was founded in March 2017. Due to the lateness of its founding, we had to have 100 members before midnight to secure subsidies and funding. Before midnight we had over 1000 members and by the next day we had 2000 members. We were the fastest growing youth movement ever in the history of the Netherlands.
Iem Al Biyati (IAB): So we (The JFvD) know we are a youth political movement but we don’t see politics as the number one way to change stuff. It’s a part of it but not the most important thing. We believe in transforming peoples mentality and influencing culture from bottom-to-top instead of top-to-bottom. We want to bind them to history and culture; identity and family instead of the modern view of the Dutch people which is to hate themselves and their culture – we want to oppose that. We think a lot of young people are aimless with no sense of identity anymore, and we are trying to make them see this and give them an opportunity to evolve this feeling and better themselves. We have a culture of losers who are afraid of risks and not being part of ‘the group’. We embrace these things, and we are proud of it. We stand totally against the modern degenerate culture.
ME: Exactly. I wouldn’t describe us as a counter-movement. The modern world is the counter-movement. Ugly buildings are the counter-movement. They are anti-European. We embrace who we are, and all we see around us is opposition to who we are. This starts at the first day of school when we are taught things like participation being more important than winning. This is a total inversion of truth. There is no point in human history when this was true. It breeds a country of losers who don’t want to excel, instead they want to be equal. We want to return to this truth and to who we are. We want to go back to what we have always been and to what is our ‘eternal fate’. That is what we do. We want to mentally and physically challenge our members to become who they truly are.
TM: Do you think that young people in the Netherlands are becoming more radical?
IAB: I think that the youth are becoming more radical, but it goes two ways. I see that there are less centrist people and they go towards the ends. We have more communists and left-wingers and more radical right-wingers. Maybe this is a good thing or not, I’m not sure. But it’s because everyone feels that there is something not right. We no longer live in harmony, and I feel that that is the similarity between the radical left and radical right. We both feel something is off but the left have a different solution and cause. They think that lack of equality is a problem and want to form the world to eliminate stress and struggle. We believe in embracing struggle and accepting that life is this way instead of complaining and whining.
TM: Would you say that you prioritise changing the way people think over advocating for certain political policies?
IAB: Yeah. Policy changes aren’t even possible in our party’s current position. Maybe we never will be. We see it more as a metaphysical and philosophical struggle.
ME: Whilst you cannot change a policy, you can change your resilience to a bad policy. You can become more immune to things that the government does to hurt you.
TM: It’s interesting you say that because, in the UK, a lot of right-wing movements focus entirely on policy. Maybe it’s due to the homogenous nature of our politics. We don’t really have a movement that tries to affect culture instead of specific policies.
ME: The failure of Brexit proved the irrelevance of policy. Whilst you left the European Union, your politicians are now proud to say that your immigrants don’t come from Poland any more, instead they come from Pakistan. The problem you had wasn’t just the European Union, it was that your mentality was wrong. If you could change that mentality even a slight amount, the influence would be bigger in every new policy. Whilst if you change one policy, everything that will be built around it will still be rooted in perverse thought.
IAB: The most important thing to do is to implant those ideas in people to make them feel as though they are good and true because they are. That is what the JFvD and FvD is trying to do. We still participate in politics of course and try our best but the ideas are what is important. We had the state opening of parliament a few days ago when all the politicians came and met up. This is quite rare in the Netherlands. Two days of debate and all they talk about are the same boring stories: rising energy prices and cost of living. They are too afraid to tell a different story. We got our opportunity to speak for about 15 minutes, but after about 10 minutes our party leader made a criticism of one of the other members of parliament, and our speaker of the house turned his microphone off after members of the government signalled her to do so. The entire government stood up and walked out to avoid listening to him. After this stunt the Prime Minister came back to act upset about it and, when Thierry came back to speak he was only allowed to do so if he apologised. He refused to apologise and his right to speak was taken away. He had to leave.
TM: Yes that happens in this country as well. A lot of politicians have cottoned on to the fact that, if you get kicked out, it makes headlines. So, people will say things that they want in the newspapers and then they will accuse someone of lying which will result in them being kicked out. This gets them in the papers and videos of it go online.
IAB: That’s actually pretty funny but of course it goes to show that it’s a theatre. It’s all a show.
ME: Just to be clear, our youth movement doesn’t focus on policy, but the main party does. We have ideas on how to solve the energy crisis, for example. We have the largest gas reserve in Europe and we give it away to the Belgians. We do propose and fight for policies but, especially as a youth movement, we have a very cultural and ideological task. Everyone is in the process of becoming an adult.
TM: So what do you do to promote cultural things?
ME: So we have a few things that we do. We have a summer camp and some other events which Iem will talk about and then we also have a magazine ‘The Dissident’ which I will talk about.
IAB: So we have so many young members, and it’s very uncommon to be a member of a political party as a young person in the Netherlands. So, the first step was to attract the members and then we had to do something with them. We can’t just take 5 Euros from them a year and then not do anything with them. We want to select and train people how to be potential members of the future party as a nurturing role. We have a summer camp which takes about 80 people. It’s a shame because hundreds apply but we don’t have the space to take any more than 80. But we also want to connect with people on an individual level which is hard to do as a massive group. We engage in sport and physical activity and also lectures. We try to attract a different range of people.
ME: We don’t want to do just lectures. We believe in the unity of mind and body. It’s not just who is the smartest or the strongest. It’s the person who is expressing his desire to fight on all fronts.
IAB: Someone who can write stuff should also be able to express things physically in their lifestyle and not just academically. We look for these people and try to give them ideas in the lectures about politics, philosophy, health etc. We even do singing lessons and things. We try to challenge individuals and the group to create the ‘aristocrat’. We scout talents and we invite them to more exclusive academic training weekends. We obviously have other events but those are smaller and more specific. That’s how we try to make our ideas true.
TM: And the magazine?
ME: So, people can have a certain feeling about ideas but struggle to express them. They know the FvD is what they want, but the ideas are a struggle. Everything is so fast and changes all the time and your brain can get completely overloaded with information. To do something about that we started our magazine. It talks about all aspects of who we are. Our ideals, our actions, our history. You name it, we do it. It’s a very open platform which we allow people to pitch to. It’s our testament of who we are as a permanent record. Hopefully it will inspire people for a long time. It declines the chaos of every moment; we have no articles about quick news. Everything we talk about is timeless and we strive to keep it eternal.
IAB: We didn’t have this before and we don’t want to lose the ideas that we have. We believe in action. We should try to make these ideas physical and then do things about these ideas. Putting the ideas into a physical record helps this. What I see a lot on the internet are people who have ideas that are similar to ours. They really believe in the traditional idea but they are a bit stuffy and get upset about more modern things. They make things like magazines, but their covers are old school. They are trying to hold on to ash.
TM: Like LARPing?
IAB: Yeah, just like LARPing. It’s not real. It needs to be more real. They like to pretend it’s the 1950’s.
ME: We went to Trafalgar square earlier and it felt a lot like being in a very very big museum. We were surrounded by all this beautiful art, but it felt like being in-between a museum and Pompeii. The volcano is erupting but the guard is still standing on duty. The monuments in Trafalgar square are still being cleaned but they are monuments to an idea, a people, and an empire that aren’t there anymore. That feels a lot like a museum. It was the main impression we got from Trafalgar Square.
TM: To focus more on the Netherlands in particular. How do you feel about the farmers’ strikes? What do you think is going to happen with that?
IAB: They have obviously been angry for a long time now and with the visits to ministers houses it’s getting more radical. I’m not really sure what will come out of it.
ME: I think the government has a trick up its sleeve, honestly. Obviously, I fully understand and support the farmers. The big problem that caused this is the nitrogen storage and emissions laws. It’s a rule that they only apply when they want to hurt someone. The land the farmers have is valuable and it’s worth only a tenth as much as a farm when compared to housing. There is a very strong economic impulse to build on it and move the farmers elsewhere. Our land is too valuable. The farmers obviously don’t want to leave but the government is trying to use these economic sanctions to get them to leave. I don’t know what tricks they have up their sleeves. This will escalate and the rules will become more stringent. So, they have our full support and I hope they manage to resist this.
TM: I’ve been reading the FvD’s views on the Netherlands’ future in Europe. What do you think the future will be like for Dutch people and the Dutch nation in Europe at the moment if nothing changes, and what would you like the future to be?
ME: I think at the moment we are on the way to becoming a big metropole. There is a plan called the ‘Three State City’ which seeks to unite most of the big cities in the Netherlands with some cities in the Ruhr in Germany and the port of Antwerp in north Belgium. It would be a massive 50 million population city. That’s why they want to hurt the farmers to take their land.
IAB: I hope that our party will have a leading role in Europe to try and stop this. We have seen what has happened in Sweden and the trends in Italy and France. Maybe soon there will be a topple. Hopefully this will happen in the Netherlands, but our government has always been the leader of liberalism. I think this is the opposite of the Dutch soul. I hope that we can change this and become a leader in Europe in a more traditionalist way.
TM: So earlier you said that you think Brexit has been a failure. Does that imply that you want the Netherlands to stay in the European Union?
ME: I totally oppose the so-called ‘European Union’. It is very anti-European. It is built to castrate Europe and to keep it small and weak. It blocks everything Europe is good at. They promote the idea that participation is worth more than winning. This keeps everyone down and from excelling. Our ideal is a country where the people on every scale from individual to collective can express their fate and the European Union crushed it.
TM: It feels as though your opinion is that the wrong people carried out Brexit. Would you agree with that?
ME: Yes, definitely. After Brexit they built a structure around it that was done by the wrong people.
IAB: This is why changing policy doesn’t change anything. Our countries are run by managers, they are not leaders. They are people who were bullied at school and now that they have the taste of power, they use it to bully successful people. They have no idea how to run a country and should be managing a Tesco instead.
ME: The civil servants are the ones who actually tell politicians what to do. The politicians come up with general policy ideas and then the civil servants are the ones who tell them what to do.
TM: There are generally two different schools of thought in the UK about influencing power. Either you infiltrate existing structures, or you set up parallel structures. Obviously, your party isn’t in power but you do sit parallel to it. Do you think there is any use in infiltration into institutions?
IAB: If there is a war, you don’t just use one tactic. You use land, air, and sea. You also use spies and infiltration. It’s a combined offensive. That is how I view politics. This is a sort of war and you have to fight it on all fronts. You have to infiltrate and also set up parallel societies and organisations. We are in the process of setting up schools and apps and other things. Our planned app for example allows people to do commerce and provides alternatives for maps and things. You can also use it to see what businesses are run by FvD supporters. They get discounts at these shops and things. You don’t have to go to a leftist’s or a communist’s pub or shop by accident anymore. You can support people who agree with you and who are like you and stop helping people who hate you.
TM: Yeah, that would probably be illegal in the UK. We have a few acts of parliament that would make that not even an option.
ME: Wouldn’t you say that that actually makes you sort of stateless? I mean, you can say you are fighting for a state which defends your ideals and who you are. Your current state doesn’t just not have a place for you, it actively opposes who you are. It stops you from expressing yourself. I would think that you are stateless and that you should orient your actions as a stateless person.
TM: In the UK we talk a lot about how a fair amount of our problems are caused by older people. They were the recipients of low house prices and a well-funded welfare state. Now that they are in a position of money and power, they have pulled the ladder up and made it harder for young people. We call it the ‘gerontocracy’. Do you agree with that? Do you have something similar?
IAB: That group was very mediocre throughout their lives too.
ME: Are they really that united against you though? It feels sort of like a false dichotomy. Think of a company like Blackrock which buys up huge amounts of land and property to turn it into rental property in Amsterdam and here too. The influence of one such company is vastly superior to one group of Baby Boomers who, to some extent, have taken actions to hold on to their wealth. I don’t think it’s necessarily the Boomers fault, they are a product of the world around them. They were posed different challenges than us. That’s life, I think.
IAB: Being a Boomer is of course an age thing but I think it can be a part of someone’s soul. People can have a Boomer mentality even if they are young. They believed that we are able to become anything we want. My parents said to me that I can just go to school and get a diploma and just do whatever I wanted. They gave us this box with all these things we could achieve and when we opened it, it was actually full of nothing. We had to work with that. Old people will complain about young people but that’s because they just don’t know what the reality is. I agree with Massimo though that a lot of these problems are actually caused by big companies like Blackrock.
ME: The greatest crime of the Boomer is raising a generation of spoiled kids. It’s the reason why people don’t understand that things are hard and that you have to struggle to get things. They didn’t have to fight in wars or do anything. Our greatest challenge is undoing this mindset and bringing struggle back to people’s lives.
TM: Yeah I think a lot of these older people, the Boomers, were raised in a more harsh or ‘Victorian’ way. They reacted to that by raising their children in a very hands-off and spoiled kind of way.
ME: They get their kids spoiled and then they scream when they grow up and find out that life is not as easy as they thought.
IAB: The weakest people are praised for it all the time. They are drained in the face, and they are rewarded for it. The few people who are actually struggling to carry everything and fight for things are seen as dangerous.
ME: Life in the end turns out to be hard and it implodes a lot of people. This is a renunciation of real life and it never had to be like this.
TM: Especially in the short-term things are seemingly getting worse with the war and the strikes and the prices of things rocketing. As things get harder, do you think maybe people will embrace struggle?
ME: It can go one of two ways. People are either going to rely much more on the state for handouts and welfare to make their lives easier. If there is no support offered and people start having to struggle, that may awaken something in people that shifts them.IAB: The whole ‘Build Back Better’ thing implies that something has to be destroyed. Things like social credit may be actually destroyed by this. We may end up going down the communist path of trying to make the world malleable and changeable. Or you can accept life as it is and build back something that’s true. You can’t avoid struggle and I don’t think our current artificial way of life is sustainable. There will be a time maybe in 10, 100, or 200 years where it does collapse and we might not even realise until after it’s happened. We think we probably aren’t going to be the generation that goes through that and turns it all around, but we will be the first people to lay foundations and make way for it so that future generations can continue this project and we can return to who we are.