A Former Klansman Talks About How He Left a Life of Hate

“The fact that I believed that shit is embarrassing to me.”

Alyssa Schukar

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Shane Johnson was born into the Ku Klux Klan—now he works to convince others not to join hate groups. How did he get out? And what can we learn from his story?

On the Mother Jones Podcast, senior editor Wes Enzinna shares insights from his extensive reporting on the movement to deradicalize white supremacists and tells us how Johnson was able to turn away from a lifetime of hate. Enzinna shares exclusive audio from his interviews with Johnson, the subject of Mother Jones’ cover story this month. It’s a fascinating conversation that explores the difficulties of leaving violent extremist groups, why some researchers think extremism is similar to addiction, and the complicated ethical questions raised by a key step in the deradicalization process: getting extremists to engage with someone from a group they hate.

Also on this week’s podcast, DC bureau chief David Corn explains why President Donald Trump’s behavior makes him feel like “we’re in the upside down world in Stranger Things.” Plus, he gives us a big update in the Russia investigationand it doesn’t bode well for Trump.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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