This article examines the ethical and political process of taking leave of violent neo-Nazi groups from the viewpoint of the relationship to the self and the strategies of self-transformation that are deployed. The autobiographical accounts of Ingo Hasselbach, a former East German neo-Nazi leader, provide the principal texts on which this examination is based. This article argues that the disruptions caused by political violence at the collective level, which have been explored in recent literatures on the politics of exception, also need to be examined at the individual level. The narrative of conversion and redemption with which Hasselbach frames his perilous experiences of leaving the neo-Nazi scene is belied by the lingering politics of friend and enemy, the categories of a neo-Nazi worldview, and the nostalgia for violence that remain as traces in his account. Little's analysis leads to a rethinking of the limits of ethics and politics in terms of an ontology of violence, which in turn has far-reaching implications for understanding the responses to political violence and the relationship between violence and identity.
William Little; Leaving a Life of Political Violence: A Neo-Nazi Steigt Aus. New German Critique 1 February 2012; 39 (1 (115)): 139–167. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-1434533
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