BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!
At EXIT, we believe that the best approach to reduce Far-Right Extremism is through meaningful and peaceful initiatives that centre around Education. We believe If we can upskill people and give them the ability to effectively—and ideologically—disarm a Far-Right Activist, then ultimately the threat from the far-right will be reduced, and the individual will gain the support they need to build a life away from hate. Many Anti-fascist organisations often express that the best way to reduce Far-Right Extremism is through Violent confrontation and aggression—something which plays right into the hands of the Far-Right. Confronting the Far-Right with like-minded tactics will simply result in retaliation from the far-right late at night when people are at home, with their families or even when people are returning from work and this is when many Extremists (Left & Right) seek to confront those they see as enemies and intimidate people into changing their views, but the reality of this is in the majority of cases, this simply makes someone more dedicated to their cause, not less. Simply put, there is no merit in this method, it only breeds further extremism and ultimately may lead to radicalising more people into the Far Right, as the far-right seek to use this, to look the victim and be seen as the defenders of free speech. Exit’s approach is very different, we believe in an approach which is based on listening to people, finding out why they got involved, what is bothering them now and we then look to see what they think about their involvement and develop our conversation to look at what if anything people feel they have achieved and what impact their involvement has had on them and their families from a personal point of view. Caution-based and calculated, we use a tried and tested method which is both peaceful and effective, obtaining the best possible outcome. Whilst we know—and we can certainly see—that Far-Right Extremists are supporting a hateful and destructive message, we have to hope that those people caught up in the ideology will one day go on to have ‘normal’ lives, away from the Far-Right and this is what we as an organisation, seek to do, lead people away from extremism and onto lives that are positive and supportive of others. For some of those who are involved in Far-Right Extremism, they haven’t always been involved—which means that there is a chance they could revert into their former lives and abandon the Movement. Sadly, we have found that some of those who seek to Counter Far Right Extremism wrongly assume —even with some hostility—that many in the Far-Right are ill-educated or even stupid, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. From our engagements we know there are some incredibly smart individuals involved in extremism who are wasting their lives, and it is often those people who are the first to recognise they are wasting their lives on this path, as being honest, joining a Far-Right movement is a stupid thing to do, but that doesn’t make that person forever damned and doomed by their actions—there can be hope if we create it! Education is key to creating positive change and works really well if done right, because we are teaching people how to not only address the problem, but also giving them the ability and confidence to engage with Far-Right Extremism in their own communities. We believe if we all do something, then we can reduce extremism, so if you work with us , then you can help change the situation, but this is no easy task and always requires the ability to be non-judgemental. Moving forward, if we can put our pre-conceptions behind us, then we can focus on helping both individuals challenge Far-Right involvement, but also assist people to leave and start again.
Using this practice for several years, this so often is the case with Former-Far Right Extremists, who after being supported themselves to take a different path, they express a genuine desire to want to help others and then with training and supervision, these individuals then go onto help others leave and also support families, who have a loved one involved and just don’t know what to do. Now supporting families as well as individuals, Exit’s work is growing as people in real need reach out to reduce the impact of extremism on them and the communities, they live in. Understanding we cannot do this on our own, Exit wants the support of anyone who understands the merit of our approach, so if you want to help, please get in touch, and let us know how you want to help. For us, this is a great outcome—real people dealing with their own problems and then going on to help others overcome theirs. Supported by others, dedicated individuals who understand, we cannot go on as we are, we know we have to look at a different ways to tackle extremism. All it needs is people to get involved and do something. Interested? Email us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. We look forward to hearing from you.