Autobiographies of Former Neo-Nazis (Part II of V)
Following text is paraphrased from my thesis:
A “Former” Perspective:
An Exploration of the Disengagement Process from Violent Right Wing Extremism
Daniel Clayton Gallant
B.A. (First Nations Studies), UNBC, 2011
M.S.W., UNBC, 2014
This text is copyright of Daniel C. Gallant © and cannot be distributed, nor copied, without expressed written permission from author.
*To receive permission or access to whole thesis document please contact Daniel C. Gallant.
Qualifying Research Subjects
In my graduate studies I found that this list of commonalities exist within stories of four separate North American males who are former white supremacists. The criteria for my selected research group were that these individuals had all established a historic reputation during their time within white supremacist movements as being both dedicated to the cause and violent. Moreover, they had to be disengaged from violent extremism for long periods and maintain credibility as ‘formers’.
Credibility of ‘Formers’
To be credible and measurable in their social and personal transformation these individuals must be acknowledged as being active in community work; not just any community work. They had to be publicly recognized as being leaders or activists by community, or communities, of people who have experienced systemic oppression and or genocide. These qualifying factors along with having a published autobiographic story resulted in a solid target group for the study. I established these criteria through discursive discourse (media articles and printed and or accessible public knowledge).
I selected males due to the fact that, that in my experience as a former neo-Nazi, males tend to engage with more violent behavior than women; it’s notable that this is not only true for white supremacists but all perpetrators of violence in North America. Men commit more violence than women in North America. In addition to the fact that males tend to be more violent than women, selecting males for the study aligned their gender and political roles with my own as this study was an autoethnography.
Maintaining the cultural context of North America was also important to the theoretical framework and conceptual framework of my study. I had several world leading scholars suggest that keeping a North American context would be a good idea as there are many cultural differences within the white supremacist movement between Europe (and abroad) and North America. Some could argue that this is true between Canada and the USA as well. However, I resolve this argument through actuary (well established research) sources within my theoretical framework e.g. South Africa apartheid was modeled after Canadian Indian policies; Nazi Germany modeled concentration camps after USA reserve system.
This is a brief summary list of the thematic findings of my study. These are the general themes that I identify that contributed to white supremacists who had defected, disengaged and or deradicalized from white supremacy movements in North America:
- Unlikely Networks/Individuals
- Exhaustion from Violence
- Asking for Help
- Political Activism and Intelligence Sharing
The findings of this part of my study leave to question whether or not that the people men who disengage from white supremacist movements share commonalities that synthesize the reasons for their involvement with the movements in the first place. I now have questions as an ‘insider’ researcher if those who stay in the movement long term as opposed to those who defect, disengage and or deradicalize differ in personality affect; or if their motivations for joining the white supremacist movements differs in anyway. I have many other thoughts and ponderings as a result of this study and the ongoing exit work I do with the non-profit I founded Exit Canada. The findings of this study have resulted in personal clarity on what is important in life as a former, which then helps prepare me to what may assist in strategizing exit strategies for others. Thus, my research has already proven to be successful. I now hope that I will offer others some insights and resources into their own exiting and or assisting/supporting other practitioners who work with exit organizations.
*The following articles will combine both my book reviews and my graduate studies analysis of the autobiographies by TJ Leyden, Frank Meeink and Arno Michaelis.
Tags: Academia, Academic, Arno, Arno Michaelis, Book Reviews, Daniel Gallant, Exit, exit resources, Frank Meeink, Males, Masters, Masters in Social Work, Masters of Social Work, Men, Nazi, North America, Qualitative Methodology, Qualitative Research, Research, TJ Leyden, UNBC, University of Northern British Columbia, White Power, White Pride, White Supremacist