GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Neo-Nazis praising the Taliban? Islamists sharing extreme right memes? "Former" neo-Nazis talking "national Bolshevism"? There's much interest in the convergence between extreme ideologies lately. Time for a thread since the cover of "From Traitor to Zealot" has arrived!

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): "From Traitor to Zealot" will be out in November by .@CambridgeUP as the first indepth exploration of extremist side-switching and the ideological highways connecting usually hostile milieus based on over 50 extraordinary life stories. For the details:

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): In the past, few scholars and journos have looked at what has been dubbed "salad bar" ideologies or "fluid fringes". Let's start with highlighting previous research and reporting to get you up to speed.

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Academic work: .@DaveedGR and Madeleine Blackman's piece was one of the first articles to dive into this:

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): However, in 2006 George Michael's "The Enemy of my Enemy" had already looked at the convergence (mostly cooperation) between the extreme right and militant Islamists:

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): The 2019 article "Switching Sides: Exploring Violent Extremist Intergroup Migration Across Hostile Ideologies" by Daniel Koehler in Political Psychology is kind of a primer to "From Traitor to Zealot" and explores 4 German extremist side-switchers.

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Another good article that helps to explain extremist convergence is the 2020 "Connecting Structures: Resistance, Heroic Masculinity and Anti-Feminism as Bridging Narratives within Group Radicalization" by David Meiering, Aziz Dziri, and Naika Foroutan

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): One of the cases in "From Traitor to Zealot" is "former" neo-Nazi Matthew Heimbach. His case was recently discussed by the .@TheSoufanCenter .@ColinPClarke. The concept of "national Bolshevism" is intensely discussed among young militant neo'Nazis online.

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Also, there is amazing new cutting edge work coming up by by .@malikacoexist54 and .@MrBrianHughes looking at the convergence and interactions between Islamists and the extreme right in telegram groups, summarized in this thread:

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Another great piece you need to check out is .@JulienBellaiche's .@GNET_research article looking at neo-Nazi glorification of Salafi-Jihadi representations online:

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Now here are some must read journalistic piece on this issue that came out recently. Check out .@michelleinbklyn's brilliant article in the NYT:

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Then make sure to read .@ISDglobal's Moustafa Ayad's piece in .@thedailybeast:

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Also check out the groundbreaking work by .@BMakuch and .@MackLamoureux for .@VICE on militant neo-Nazis glorifying jihadists online:

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Of course, there is more but these sources are the best to get started on extremist convergence across hostile ideologies. So what are the main findings on this in "From Traitor to Zealot"? Are these fringes between environments populated by a specific extremist personality?

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): From what we can tell: no. Also, these convergence, side-switching or alliance building ist not accidental nor arbitrary. It follows quite distinct patterns aligned with ideological "highways" built into the "DNA" of the milieus.

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Some of these highways work in one direction (or mostly). Example: violent anti-Semitism exists in parts of the far left. Those shifting to the far right want more of it. When they move on to Islamism, they seek out even more militant and self-sacrifical versions of it.

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Also a strong ideological bridge is toxic masculinity, which also opens up the pathway left to right to Islamist. The extreme right is by far the most active environment when it comes to discussing and strategizing convergence and side-switching, as well as integrating defectors.

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): They have most to gain from it and ideologically they can connect to a much larger ideological "DNA" than other environments. Islamists require some form of religiosity. The far left has an abundant tradition and ideological richness of their own.

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): However, there are also covergences from the extreme right to the extreme left or directly from the far left to Salafi-jihadism. In the first case, the main bridge is shame, guilt and remorse. But also a deep distrust and even hatred against the authorities.

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): In the latter case, the strong spiritual and global community as well as militant anti-imperialism among Islamists who fight against the West and Israel hast lured some over from the far left and created bubbles of cooperation and convergence here and there.

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): To sum up this thread: extremist convergence is an immensely important symptom of extremist ideological connectors or highways between different but often related ideological "DNAs". Some are closer related than others. But there are connections.

GIRDS (@GIRD_S): Studying these underlying connections means diving into these extremist ideological "DNA" structures and to fully appreciate the complexity and multifinality of these environments. Ideologies not only work intellectually, but socially and emotionally as well. END OF THREAD