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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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