Very little has felt as satisfying to watch as the famed white supremacist/founder of the “alt-right” movement, Richard Spencer getting clocked in the face during an interview last month. The clip spurned a fervent argument online about whether or not it’s okay to punch a neo-Nazi—but it goes without saying that as cathartic as punching a white supremacist in the face may be, it won’t get us much closer to figuring out how to reckon with them.
Talking with ex neo-Nazis themselves might, so we asked Angela King, Tony McAleer, and Frank Meeink to explain what’s driving the rise of hate groups, what inspired them to leave theirs, and the threats they see in politics today. All are former neo-Nazis who are now directors of Life After Hate, a nonprofit that works to rehabilitate former hate group members. Though their experiences span different eras and locales—McAleer was a Canadian skinhead recruiter, King a white supremacist in South Florida, and Meeink a young skinhead leader in Illinois—they all share one thing in common: an intimate knowledge of the conditions in one’s life that can foster a turn to hate-based belief systems.
To read the entire article and interview, go to Vice.