I currently work for the Jews.
Just kidding, but I bet that for a second you believed me.
After spending years in the movement, I remember the accusations placed on those who had left the movement:
- They work for the Jews or must convert to Judaism
- They become informants
- They turn to "anti-fa"
I’ve heard it all at this point. Even though those things might very well be true in some people’s cases, they aren’t a requirement for you to exit the far-right. Did you ever think that you could just leave and create your own identity and moral code? Perhaps more importantly, did you ever think that you could just be yourself?
I always hear a similar theme of “I can’t just be me; I must replace my former far-right identity with something else”. I’m here to tell you that this is simply not true;
In every accusation I’ve ever had thrown at me by people who still subscribe to the ideology, I always hear a similar theme of “I can’t just be me; I must replace my former far-right identity with something else”. I’m here to tell you that this is simply not true; there aren’t restrictive rules in place or certain guidelines to follow when you leave the movement. I used to think this as well when I was first contemplating leaving the movement, I was proven wrong. No one ever expected me to behave, dress or identify a certain way when I left and if they did, that really begged the question of if they should be in my life in the first place. Ultimately, I chose a life where I could make my own rules and decisions without an external influence in place.
If you want to know what leaving was really like for me, I’ll fill you in.
I broke my last tie to the movement and drove home one night thinking “I’m finally free!”. This is what I really wanted all along was a sense of agency and independence. I got home and my family was very happy to hear about this; in leaving I not only gave myself that sense of freedom, but also gave my family a huge sense of relief.
As excited as I was that I was able to make my own choices without another influence in place, it was also kind of scary since I wasn’t used to this; for years I deferred my judgment to the movement and checked in with them frequently to make sure that what I was doing fell in line with their “code of ethics”. Even simple things such as what food I would eat came into play; I now had the personal freedom to consume whatever I wanted without being questioned.
Typically the script running through my head would go like this:
“Does this align with the movement?”
“Oh wait, I don’t need to worry about them anymore!”.
Overall, I found that it was my own mind which kept going back to the idea of needing to follow a certain set of rules. A common pattern, I notice, is that often people are prisoners in their own minds this way; we continue to re-affirm these thoughts for ourselves and eventually it appears to be our reality.
Maybe, instead of asking yourself “What do I need to give up to be a part of this movement?”, you should ask “What could I gain if I give myself freedom instead?”