Autobiographies of Former Neo-Nazis (Part II of V)

This article was previously published at Exit Resources

Following text is paraphrased from my thesis:

A “Former” Perspective:
An Exploration of the Disengagement Process from Violent Right Wing Extremism

By
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.

Exit Resources

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).

Males

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.

North America

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.

Findings

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:

  •  Contradictions
  • Unlikely Networks/Individuals
  • Epiphany/Realization
  • Exhaustion from Violence
  • Faith/Hope
  • Asking for Help
  • Meaning/Purpose
  • Political Activism and Intelligence Sharing
  • Education

After Thoughts

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.

 

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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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