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Essays in Radicalization & Deradicalization authored by former white nationalists

In our extensive history of outing fascists, we realize most are everyday people, radicalized online. Most have children, family members, co-workers, employees, lovers, or friends who are disgusted and disappointed that this person in their life is actively organizing for genocide against people who don’t look like them. Our tagline at the bottom of each article remains the same:

“If you have any information about xxx, other fascists on Iron March or other white nationalists in general, including additional tips, please send them to panicinthediscord (at) riseup (dot) net or DM them to @discord__panic on Twitter”

Landing on our twitter, the sentiment in our pinned tweet has held for months:

As anarchists, we don’t believe people are disposable. We want to help create a pathway for folks to get out of white nationalism as cleanly and quickly as possible. Sometimes that happens on the heels of a dossier, while other times it happens beforehand, when a person realizes the internal communications of a hate group of which they previously or currently belonged has leaked or when they have long since left an official movement. In recent months alone, there has been quite a few ex-Iron March and  Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement members who have reached out to us, looking to publicly renounce their involvement in order to move forward with their lives in a healthy, productive way.
To that end, we’re pleased to compile and re-publish statements former white nationalists have written for us as a part of their healing and coming to terms with their past. Please read on!

These statements were previously published on our Twitter but we wanted a permanent home for them so everyone can see how far these folks have come. Click on the title to read the whole, archived account of the former member’s involvement, process of leaving, and lessons learned. Our intention is that these essays will be an inspiration for others to begin the process of extracting themselves from white nationalist communities. We are always happy to help and here to listen.

A quick trip down the far-right rabbit hole turns out to be a close call for an Iron March user 

[Editor’s note: we neglected to post this essay when it first arrived and thank the author for his patience.] This former user reached out to us to share his articulate statement about his involvement with Iron March in this essay, excerpts below, full text at the title link:

“All this culminated when I returned home, shortly after my 17th birthday, and found myself on the Ironmarch forums, which I had discovered when it was mentioned on some podcast or talk show on YouTube, although I don’t remember exactly what video it was.

“My involvement on Ironmarch ended just as quickly as it began. Per the site’s rules, my first post was an introduction thread for myself. I was forthright and honest, including why I was there and some little personal details to let the other members get to know me. Based on the far-right propaganda I’d encountered up to then, I had somehow led myself to believe that fascists were really a misunderstood and respectful group. I realize how ridiculous this sounds now, but this is how I thought at the time. Once I had introduced myself, other members of the forum were downright hostile toward me. I realized I had been wrong about them, and that it was a mistake to expect anything other than hate from them.

“Following my departure from Ironmarch, I left both the people and the ideas of the far-right behind, and I’ve never looked back.

“In hindsight, and seeing what has become of some of the others who joined at a young age, I am so thankful that I was able to see the truth of who I was getting involved with and that I got out as early as I did. Many others were not so lucky.

“Since I was in and out so quickly, I don’t have much to share, but I have gained a much deeper understanding of how extremist groups target young people, especially online. At the time, even I did not realize the extent to which violent rhetoric and pressure for ideological conformity permeated far-right discussion. I find that both their recruitment tactics and their practices are very similar to those of a cult, and the results can be just as deadly.”

Iron March & TRS user McDago on his plunge into the rabbit hole of 4chan to TRS to the Alt-Right to Iron March and how he found his footing again

McDago emailed us in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by police, looking to come clean about his involvement in white supremacy. Below find excerpts of his statement, full text available at the link above.

“On 8chan there was even less censoring of extremist content and what I thought was more “ironic shitposting” soon turned into much more serious screeds about how the white race was doomed. Around the summer of 2015 I remember a podcast being linked on 8chan called FashTheNation, an edgy pun off of face the nation. I listened to this podcast and discovered other similarly named podcasts on TheRightStuff.biz where I became a forum member and avid listener often spending my hours alone with them as “company” at school. This was one of the major stepping points in the run up to the election when internet extremists starting feeling like they weren’t just whining on the internet that “white people used to be cool and have empires now look at this compilation of LGBTQ people, fat people, women doing things I don’t like.” Suddenly it was the alt-right, everyone was talking about us online and we weren’t lame old hillbilly racists we were intellectuals with cool haircuts!”

“The seriousness of these ideas never really hit me until one day I logged on to hear that one user (Devon Arthurs) killed two of his roommates and that the fourth one was arrested with the ingredients to make a bomb. It finally hit me that the weird kid who LARPed as an ISIS supporter and played Minecraft actually acted out on the things constantly being said. It was at that moment I realized, Communists weren’t the threat, Black people weren’t the threat, Jews weren’t the threat, Muslims weren’t the threat: Fascism and the group of malcontent and angry Nazis on the internet were. I wish that revelation had been enough to shake me awake from all those “redpills” but all it made me do was delete my account cut contact with them and step down a level to be a lonely internet racist.”

“The killing of George Floyd pushed me to think about this more deeply instead of going back to my old habits of justifying it because he was black or high or whatever excuse I would have made a few years ago. Around that time I had time to surf around the internet seeing how the same toxic reaches of the internet were still fanning the same old mantras of “happenings” and coming “race wars.” which lead me to find out about the Iron March forum leak. Though my account had all of two posts it reminded me of how extremist my views had gotten, from there I dug through old comments on social media and saw exactly the descent into Nazism from Anti-SJW and even egalitarian views I had started off with.”

“I can’t go back in time and talk to my teenage self but I can write this as a message to others in the hopes it can save them from digging a deeper hole for themselves. unlike what random internet posters will say to you there is a way back, the “redpill” is not something that forever changes you and forces you to believe in hateful ideology,” from McDago’s essay, available here.

 

An ExUser on the journey to leave Iron March, lessons learned and life now 

“My reasons for breaking with ironmarch and with fascism generally were informed by a number of factors and changes in my own life. For one, I could no longer maintain the cognitive dissonance between the ideology I was adhering to and online persona on the one hand and the reality of who I really was on the other. I realized that I could never be the “pure,” idealized fascist man promoted by the community and that if the world that ironmarch and other fascists wanted ever came to be, I would be killed as a “degenerate.” Another reason was that I slowly began to crawl out of my previous isolation by creating meaningful real world relationships with other people, many of whom belonged to groups which I had taught myself to hate. Believing in fascism is one thing when you’re a socially isolated loner and the idea of a fascist world is purely abstract.”

“A few takeaways from my experience:

“-The pewdiepipeline is real. Though I had already been flirting with far-right ideas when I started consuming “anti-SJW” media, videos by people such as Sargon and his ilk put me in a state of mind that was much more willing to accept reactionary viewpoints as true. If the left (however defined) is dehumanized and made to look ridiculous, the next logical step for people who are already experimenting with rightist ideas is to assume that the beliefs and values put forward by the left are also ridiculous. This is a truly dangerous process as it makes far-right ideas more palatable to naive and confused young people. It’s also no accident. Personalities such as Sargon or Molyneaux know on some level that they’re pushing they’re viewers towards the far right despite claims of being “rational” or “moderate.” Stopping young people from becoming fascists requires a response to (and possibly the deplatforming of) these kinds of content producers.

“-The language and media used by the far right online is designed explicitly to break down a person’s ability to think critically and to lodge itself into a person’s mind whether they accept the ideas or not. Even before I went all in and accepted fascist ideology, I found myself thinking with far right terms and rhetoric (i.e. “what a cuck” or “they look degenerate”). This serves to normalize fascism in a person’s thinking,” read the full post

 

Urizen on his lessons learned about how negative self-image & a need to belong brought him to Iron March

 

“As another recent author reflecting on their radicalization on Iron March has noted, the forum started off with a theoretical orientation but quickly moved to IRL activism. I logged on intermittently for about a year. By the time of my last log on, the forum had grown into a giant repository of hate. There were no longer any theoretical or historical discussions. I never went back and per the SQL dump my profile was deleted for inactivity years later. I forgot all about the place until I heard about some of the actions of Atomwaffen in 2017. When I learned that they started on Iron March, my stomach turned.
With the benefit of hindsight, I can see things about myself now that I may not have been able to admit before. I’ll spare readers the sob story, but I didn’t like myself very much. I think fascist politics and perennialism connected for me at this juncture – i.e. I was a nobody, a piece of shit, a loser, but both of these systems of belief constructed a theoretical hierarchy in which I might occupy a superior position. Although this striving for superiority was mostly unconscious for me at the time, it’s still a shameful and embarrassing thing to admit about oneself.”

A former Iron March user, under the pseudonym John Patrick

 

“I was indoctrinated early due to the Internet, YouTube was a bastion of white nationalist propaganda videos that tried to pull you in by claiming to be scientific and rational (you still see this now with popular Alt-Right channels still getting tens of thousands of views). IronMarch was a weird conglomeration of different eccentric racists, fascists and run-of-the-mill nationalists. The rise of the far-right within Europe in nations such as Greece, Poland, and Hungary were seen as signs that the views espoused on the forum were gaining traction.

“Although I wasn’t one of the more influential members, it became a tradition of mine to check out the forum everyday for updates and drama. However, my enthusiasm would change when I realized that the views I held online were being used to actually committing violence on behalf of those views.”

Iron March user Vanguard’s account of his involvement & exit

 

“When I first joined, I would never have considered myself even marginally fascist. I’d seen some of the founding user, Slavros’, art on DeviantArt, thought the flashy and militant aesthetic was “edgy” and interesting, and this led down a rabbit hole of ultranationalism. I made an account on Iron March, and within a few days of posting, found myself starting to adopt more and more of the fascist worldview. Thankfully, I didn’t exchange private messages with other users (with the exception of being contacted once about my account avatar) and was never enmeshed with any organizers of real-life fascist groups. I realize it sounds ridiculous that I didn’t see how horrific and extreme the content was, but as a middle schooler, I suppose I chose to “put on blinders.” Regardless, after being active for the summer, I began to realize the extent of the site’s radicalization, and quickly left.
“Since those months, I can count myself lucky to say that I’ve never been in any form of contact with fascism or the extreme right,” excerpt from Vanguard, who was 13 or 14 years old when he joined IM, per his own admission.

Iron March User Nova Prospekt on Fascism & child recruitment

 

“I don’t remember how exactly I ended up in the so-called “anti-SJW” camp, but once that door was open I was exposed to a variety of increasingly right-wing beliefs. There was an endless stream of posts decrying social justice concepts in between pictures of jack-booted Nazis and European sculptures. All of it was doused in a heavy layer of sarcasm, irony and the age old desire to be edgy online.
“Somewhere in that milieu were other people like me, as well as already true believing fascists and Nazis. Once these worlds collided, I had created an Iron March account.
“Looking back at the posts I made then, I don’t see a true believing Nazi. I see a naive idiot who viewed hot takes about social justice as a grave concern. I see a man-child caught up in something he didn’t truly understand. I see someone who could have kept going down a dark path if I hadn’t pulled myself out of that world.”

Former Iron March User on youth conditioning and eventual exit

 

“I found Iron March when I was 14. Fourteen. Fourteen fucking years of age. And I was immediately attracted to it. The romanticism of fascism as not an ideology, but a ‘worldview’ drew me to it. The philosophical interpretations of it are designed to bring in newbies. How difficult is it to ignore an idea that says it is the basis of absolute, universal truth? I of course, being 14, didn’t consider that this is the ‘absolute truth’ according to fuckwits on the internet, but my previous conditioning as a member of the alt-right made it convincing enough.

“I joined, made my introduction thread, lied and said I was 15, said some awful things about queer folk, and then never really went back (it was shut down before i was ‘educated’ [i.e., conditioned] enough to do the test). Instead of lurking on Iron March, between the time I first posted and the time it shut down, and a short while afterwards, I just lurked on fascist discord servers. I rarely talked, just watched and learned.

I considered joining a group (organising was considered the best thing a fascist could do), but somehow miraculously my 14 year old self decided I was too young. That group is defunct now anyway, so fuck you, Antipodean Resistance, you guys’ hiking trips looked fucking dumb.”

 

A former Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement member’s exit and discussion of mental health

“I got involved in their Discord group. Some of the perspectives of some of the members were shameful and embarrassing. There was a strange obsession with Jewish people and POC. I indulged due to curiosity. I found myself being influenced to think of Jews and POC as ‘others.'”

“Early in 2019 Unicorn Riot released a data dump of the entirety of the IE discord group. I was shocked to see that I was involved with some people that held such disgusting beliefs. I was shocked that I had begun to share some of those beliefs in a few short months. I left the group shortly thereafter.

“After leaving I had a nagging suspicion that there was something seriously wrong with me. I sought the help of mental health professionals. I was diagnosed with bi polar disorder. My association with IE was, in part, directly related to untreated mental illness. Today I don’t suffer as I used to.”

And finally, a message to the white nationalist movement from one former about how important it is to come clean, reject fascism and move on with one’s life:

written by Nova Prospekt

In the cases when former white nationalists are seeking help and support, we are always quick to offer resources and connections to people who help others leave the hate movement and de-radicalize. We aren’t the monsters that the fascists have made us out to be, all we really want is for fascism to stop being a threat to the existence of our loved ones whether they are black, brown, Jewish, Muslim, queer, trans, women, or another oppressed people.
The longer white nationalists remain active, the more likely it is that their beliefs harden and that they one day will appear on our blog, in naked vulnerability of the shameful acts that they have committed. If you or someone you know are thinking of leaving the white nationalist/white separatist/identitarian/white supremacist/fascist/far-right nationalist/confederate movement(s), please don’t hesitate to reach out.

If you have any information about members from Iron March, Proud Boys, American Identity Movement, The Atomwaffen Division, Patriot Front, The Base or other white nationalists in general, including additional tips, please send them to panicinthediscord (at) riseup (dot) net or DM them to @discord__panic on Twitter