People Change: Shift of Paradigm and Transformation of Behaviour

People do change.  Change is a transformation of behaviour and a shift in paradigm.

It is a fact that people do change. I am an example of this point. In addition to myself as an example, there are many other examples of change at Life-after-Hate (LAH) and through the Against-Violent-Extremism (AVE) network. Individuals such as:

Angela King

Elise Hategan

TJ Leyden

Arno Michaelis

George Burdi

Frank Meeinke

All of these names, and many others, who have left a life of right wing extremism (and other lifestyles of hate). Some of who have written books about this process of change. My current research as a graduate candidate examines the disengagement process. Change does happen and it is observable, measurable and reportable. These women and men that I mention are people who live a life of transformation and change. These are people who do not spread messages of hate. This is what change looks like, a life-after-hate.

Often people claim to have changed and moved away from a life of right-wing-extremism and claim to have abandoned their extremist ideologies and behavior. I have come scross several people like this, including the people spotlighted in my blog articles:

https://scholarsfromtheunderground.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/section-13-part-5-of-5-black-metal-threats/

https://scholarsfromtheunderground.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/a-black-metal-response-or-a-response-to-black-metal/

https://scholarsfromtheunderground.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/a-former-extremists-perspective-on-social-change-part-ii-2/

However, I have found that when an extremist individual is publicly out-ed they tend to become defensive and attempt to build a case that they are being victimized by the person(s) making information public.

When one claims that she/he is not racist, because they have multi-racial friends is not a sufficient defense, that would negate and serve a rational defense to their other behaviors. For instance an individual in Prince George, BC, who wears Nazi shirts and posts these pictures in the public domain, has been seen (by several people) and is reported to be engaged with other racist behaviours; still claims and is defended by others as not being racist. Just because  a person has ‘friends’ from ‘visible minority’ groups does not negate these pother behaviours.

In fact, many white supremacists do have ‘non-white’ affiliations and social networks. Throughout my blog this point is explored and built upon in the upcoming 9 part blog series this month. Thus, for someone to claim that, as their primary defence, that they are not racist because they have ‘colored’ friends will be exemplified as to why and how these claims are ridiculous. The claim that someone is not racist or extremist because they have friends who are not ‘white does not hold much water in my eyes.

I am a former extremist, recruiter and was known to have committed many violent offenses. I was respected amongst my peers in the extremist community. I was respected due to my willingness to prove my dedication to the movement. I had a well established career. So case in point is that my perspective on these matters comes from personal experience and knowledge. Moreover, my process of change and education atests to some degree of insights that others may not have.

Now, people who have been out-ed in my blog article spotlights, claim to have changed their allegedly ‘old behaviors’; all while engaging in a series of slanderous attacks online against me claiming these things are untrue in spite of reliable and valid data. This is to be expected as a denial based defense by those who have something to hide. After all, most racists and extremists know their perspectives are not acceptable. Especially within Canada, a multi-cultural nation, which values human rights and compassion. It is not compassionate to promote hate in any form. This is counter-cultural.

These individuals remind me of the way that I used to be in some ways. This motivates me to follow and record this online discourse. Often revealing many social patterns that are observable, measurable and reportable scientific findings. This data is being collected for my own records for future un-official work and may be used for future data as well (in official and un-official research; dependant upon several considerations).

Many will attempt to disseminate ideas that the ‘research design’ of this blog is flawed. When in fact a lot of research is done on right wing extremist online discourse; which is often rhetorically de-bunked by many extremists and their supporters/sympathizers. Moreover, I have never claimed that my blog has a research design. Rather it is merely a collection of public discourse that has been synthesized with ideas that I have that are based from my personal experience in the white supremacist and black metal cultures.

This is a blog. Not a research article. It is not being written for any purpose other than creating a public forum of dialogue about messages of hate. Controversy draws attention. Attention must be brought to social environments who do, in fact, accept, promote and protect people who harbor right wing extremist beliefs, violent behavior and unacceptable extremist violent messages.

I do not plan on ceasing this blog. I, and many others, see the importance of this information. Countering an online presence of the promotion of racial hatred and extremist behaviors is essential to create a balance of this virtual world. I will be, and do, engage with international human rights groups, anti-racist collectives, law enforcement, media, concerned citizens and youth. I will continue to do so in order to pass along knowledge and experience that I have as a former extremist and activist.

Those who engage with defensive patterns of dissemination and discourse are often people who claim to oppose messages of hate, yet are engaging with a form of violent behaviors themselves (i.e. bullying, slanderous comments, denial); all while defending people engaged with the promotion of racial hatred. When a person chooses to publicly defend those who are engaged with some degree of racial hatred, they open themselves up to public scrutiny as well.

As a former extremist and activist I do not post on this blog unless I have sufficient evidence to demonstrate and solidify my claims (not all of this data is released due to an overwhelmingly amount of pictures and text data I have). I do add some basic evidence that I have. But I also have plenty of other data that includes letters, documents, pictures, eye witnesses and social media sources that solidify my point through correlation, parallel facts, cause and affect relationships with data, intersections of data obtained through real life and virtual social networks.

I have been maintaining a database for several years; this includes areas of Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Prince George. So for those who claim that I am engaged with misappropriation of data, that I am slanderous and/or that I am to be sued; I invite those lawsuits to come forth. I have collectively prepared for these types of retaliations. along with the threats of physical safety through direct and indirect means.

If these people did not harbour these ideals/behaviours they would surely not be spotlighted on my blog. Change is an option. There are ways to ensure one has changed and measures anyone can employ to solidify and document their personal process of transformation. I am always willing to help, assist and support someone on a transformative journey.

People do change.  Change is a transformation of behavior and a shift in paradigm. Change speaks for itself when it is visible.

About Daniel Gallant

Daniel is a social worker (MSW,RSW) and is a current student of law, who is also an emerging writer and has been published internationally in literary journals. Poetry is his primary creative processing tool, and also has published creative non-fiction (auto-biographic). He has a B.A. in First Nations Studies. I am a consultant for media, scholars, and government bodies about violent right wing extremism in Canada and a trained counsellor; Daniel offers services to individuals seeking to leave violent extremist lifestyles, and facilitates public speaking on matters of resiliency. Daniel presents Scholars from the Underground Blog in order to promote transformation and to contribute to create safe spaces in society for true cultural transformation. Canada has to move from a racist nation to an inclusionary society. We are blessed to live in a space and time where we can now talk openly about these social issues. Daniel welcomes you to is Blogosphere. http://scholarsfromtheunderground.com

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