LEADER: William Pierce
YEAR ESTABLISHED OR BECAME ACTIVE: 1974
USUAL AREA OF OPERATION: United States
The National Alliance emerged from an earlier group, the National Youth Alliance, which had been led by Willis Carto. A faction composed of former members of the defunct American Nazi Party led by William Pierce became dissatisfied with Carto's leadership and formed the National Alliance. In a few short years, it would become the most influential white supremacist organization in the United States and perhaps in the world.
Due in large part to Pierce's intelligence and ambition, the National Alliance grew to over 1,500 active members, with cells in thirty states. Financially solid, with a working business model that brought in over $1 million a year in profit, the group published a magazine, a newsletter, a successful record label, and a weekly radio address.
The group's fortunes rapidly declined after Pierce's death in 2002. Today, the group remains a weakened shell of its former self and is believed to be in its death throes.
The National Alliance had its beginnings in the Youth for Wallace campaign of 1968. Established by Willis Carto after George Wallace's failed presidential bid, the National Youth Alliance focused on recruiting college students to its cause. In 1970, Carto's recruiting efforts were successful in attracting William Pierce. Pierce was already a veteran of the white supremacy movement, having been a member of the American Nazi Party (ANP) and its successor, the National Socialist White People's Party. Other former American Nazi Party activists soon joined Pierce in the National Youth Alliance. By 1974, the former ANP contingent had become disaffected with Carto's leadership and left the group to form the National Alliance.
Pierce proved to be a remarkably savvy leader and businessman. A former physics professor, he held weekly meetings near Washington D.C. to recruit new members. He wrote a novel, The Turner Diaries, which went on to become the undisputed bible for right-wing survivalists worldwide. In the book, white revolutionaries overthrow the federal government and begin the systematic killing of non-whites and Jews to create an Aryan nation. The book has been the acknowledged inspiration behind many violent acts in recent history, including Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. The popularity of the novel among white extremists across the world increased Pierce's notoriety and helped the National Alliance become a powerhouse among white supremacy groups. In 1985, Pierce purchased a 346-acre farm in Millpoint, West Virginia, as a new base.
Pierce ran the National Alliance with an iron hand, controlling both its message and its growing business interests. He produced a weekly radio address, American Dissident Voices, and a publishing firm for his racist materials, National Vanguard Books. By 1998, he could claim 1,000 paying members. In 1999, he moved into a new venture, one that had the potential to extend the movement beyond most observers' wildest imagining, and one that would consume his interest until his dying days. He purchased a racist, "white-power" music company called Resistance Records from a Canadian group that had been operating out of Detroit to evade Canada's stringent laws against hate speech. Resistance Records had made a name for itself in the skinhead movement, featuring heavy metal rock music paired with racist lyrics. Pierce soon moved to purchase another white-power music label, Nordland Records out of Switzerland, essentially doubling his publishing holdings and cementing Resistance Records as the preeminent outlet for the new emerging genre of "hate-core" music. By this time, the National Alliance boasted over 1,500 dues paying members and annual revenues in excess of $1 million.
To cement his position as the undisputed impresario of hate-core, Pierce took in and championed the cause of Hendrik Möbus, an East German musician who had been convicted of murdering a fourteen-year-old youth. Appearing on Pierce's radio show in 2000, Möbus discussed plans to join forces with Pierce to extend their mutual racist message to more of the European audience. At the same time as he was developing this inroad to the young skinhead culture, Pierce was busy forging alliances with racist groups in Britain, Germany, as well as with other U.S. power players in the white supremacy movement, such as Matt Hale.
Then, in 2002, Pierce succumbed to cancer, and the group lurched into almost immediate decline. Erich Gliebe, Pierce's successor, has shown none of his mentor's organizational and management genius; he has succeeded only in permanently alienating core members of the group. Senior membership ultimately banded together to demand his resignation, only to find themselves purged from the group's rolls. These banished activists wasted no time in forming a new group, the National Vanguard.
Today, the National Alliance is a shadow of its former self, with Gliebe appointing one of his few remaining loyalists, Shaun Walker, as Chief Operating Officer in a belated response to the overwhelming demand that he step down. As long as Gliebe and Walker remain in control, the group that Pierce brought from obscurity to an international force seems destined to be overshadowed and absorbed by the National Vanguard.
PHILOSOPHY AND TACTICS
Pierce developed a philosophy he called "Cosmotheism," a system of beliefs that inform the activities of the group. Simply put, Cosmotheism states that humans are part of nature, the white race is the highest form of humanity, and nature is intrinsically hierarchical and non-egalitarian. Pierce contrasts his philosophy with the major Western religions, which espouse a "Semitic" point of view that sets humanity apart from nature and binds them to service to a manlike supreme being. Multiculturalism and feminism are seen as sicknesses infecting society and threatening its downfall. Allowing women and non-whites to vote was the first big mistake that led to this downward spiral towards a "darker world." Allowing the Jews to control the American media establishment was the second mistake. The result is that the non-white population is exploding throughout the world and white populations are at best static. The National Alliance wants to reverse this trend, in order to ensure the survival of the Aryan race.
The goal of the National Alliance is to establish a "White Living Space": all of Europe, the "temperate zones of the Americas," Australia, and South Africa. All non-whites and Jews are to be purged from the living space, in order to stop and reverse the trend toward a "darker" world that the disastrous multicultural policies of the last century have helped create.
There are specific acknowledgements that this purging process will be violent, systematic, and messy. A white government must arise, halt non-white immigration, deport all non-whites, and halt all forms of foreign aid to the nonwhite governments in the world. The larger urban areas within the United States are largely written off, and their hopelessly multicultural degenerate masses left to perish "in the chaos preceding the final cleansing." With this accomplished, nature would reassert itself and the white race would thrive. Non-whites would soon become if not extinct, at least returned to their naturally weakened pre-colonial state, due to their inherent inability to provide for themselves. The societies that evolve in the White Living Space must be purged not only of undesirable races but of all Semitic and non-white influences. Jazz and rock and roll will be forbidden, but the polka will be encouraged.
To this end, a reformed Aryan educational structure must be put in place, such that the education provided is gender specific and aimed at reinforcing Aryan character at least as much as it is imparting knowledge. Permissiveness is the reason for the failure of the current educational system, and discipline is the answer.
Pierce was vague about the kinds of government that would evolve in the Aryan world. In certain contexts, he seemed to be calling for a strong centralized government ruling over the entire White Living Space. In others, he specifically envisioned a variety of white governments that were endemic to their locales: a Baltic state, a Celtic state, a Germanic state. Somehow, these Aryan governments would avoid the evils of both unchecked capitalism and innovation-crushing Marxism by subordinating all economic policy to "racial progress."
- Former American Nazi Party contingent forms National Alliance.
- Pierce purchased a 346-acre farm in Millpoint, West Virginia, as a new base for National Alliance.
- Pierce succumbed to cancer, and the group goes into decline.
The structure of the group itself evidenced this same vagueness. Dues-paying members could join local "units" that were run like chapters and led by unit coordinators; they could affiliate in small groups, or "proto-units"; or they could remain independent. Whatever level of organization a member belongs to, the primary activity was recruiting. Members typically meet once a month to discuss ideology, upcoming events, and methods of recruiting, typically involving the dissemination of National Alliance literature purchased from Vanguard Books. The group's leaders have been quite inventive in developing methods for getting their message heard. Members have leased billboards, distributed flyers, and published racist comic books to target the young where they live and go to school. Recruiters have found fertile ground on college and high school campuses, in suburbia, in prisons, and within the ranks of the armed forces.
Against the Wall: Beset by internal battles, plunging revenues and membership, and attacks from without, America's leading hate group is in serious trouble
The most important hate group in America is sinking. The National Alliance, the neo-Nazi organization that has produced and influenced more violent criminals in the last three decades than any other, may soon be facing irrelevancy.
In the last year, membership has plunged from around 1,400 to fewer than 800 who still pay their dues. The staff, once the largest of any hate group in decades, has been cut by nearly half. Income from selling white power music and paraphernalia, which with dues was said to be bringing in more than $1 million last year, has dropped to the point where the Alliance spends more than it takes in.
Alliance chapters in Boston, Dallas, Georgia, Maryland, Memphis, Phoenix and Southern California are falling apart or have been reduced to a few staunch holdouts. And a pitched battle for control of the National Alliance and its 423-acre West Virginia compound is under way.
"[T]he National Alliance appears to be well on its way to dissolution," wrote Wayne Sims, who was a key editor at the Alliance's National Vanguard Books until running afoul of the Alliance's current leadership this summer. "[G]rand as it was until July 2002, [the Alliance] has been stripped of its spirit and will, I think, soon lose its solvency. I recommend that its members find or create another group."
The group's fortunes have fallen fast. When Alliance founder and long-time leader William Pierce died on July 23, 2002, the organization was doing better than at any time since its founding in 1974. It had developed a successful business model, and was regularly adding staff to Resistance Records and National Vanguard Books, the chief income-earners for the group.
Its prestige, maintained by Pierce's essays, commentaries on current events and broadcasts over the Internet and shortwave radio, reached all the way to the European radical right. The Alliance was in the streets and in the news, and its members were never more optimistic.
Today, all of that seems little more than a distant memory. Since former boxer Erich Gliebe (see profile Führer of the Titanic) was named chairman six days after Pierce's death, the Alliance has been plagued by vicious internal battles and almost daily attacks from outside right-wing radicals. It now seems possible the Alliance could completely founder.
THE DESCENT INTO DARKNESS
The trouble began with Gliebe. Although he had earned Pierce's respect, bringing Resistance Records to profitability in a couple of years and making his Cleveland unit the most active in the country, Gliebe was no Pierce.
Where Pierce was a former university physics professor and an intellectual capable of bringing in recruits through his writings, Gliebe was a one-time tool-and-die maker who was hard-edged, humorless and remarkably clumsy in his dealings with other members.
WHITHER THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE?
A remarkable series of events seems to have coalesced that may ultimately wreck what has for years been the most important hate group in America. The unexpected death of William Pierce; the naming of a man to replace him who had none of Pierce's intellectual qualities and few people skills; financial woes almost certainly due to poor management; the appearance of several Internet sites that aired all kinds of movement criticism of the Alliance; and the failure of Gliebe to raise money for a member in trouble—have all contributed to the present situation.
Hundreds of members have left the Alliance and key units are coming close to collapse. Although Gliebe claims to have added new chapters since Pierce's death, the reality is that these units are generally far smaller than the six-member minimum that Pierce insisted on, and they often consist of people who are brand new.
At press time, Gliebe had actually managed to fire or alienate everyone on staff who understood how to access the Alliance's membership database, which is protected by a sophisticated system of passwords at various levels. Presumably, he will regain access to the database, but even the temporary loss is telling.
Many former and present Alliance members think that various units of the organization will spin off and become independent groups. There has even been talk of "growing a new head"—that is, spinning off a new national group from units of the present Alliance and then choosing an entirely new leadership to head it.
Gliebe may yet pull the Alliance back from the brink. But with the huge amount of animosity he has created, with many of his former key activists now in leading roles of other groups, and with his own finances flagging, it seems almost impossible that the Alliance can regain the influence it once wielded.
Today, what seems more likely is that the struggle over the Alliance will eventually devolve into a simple battle over the substantial commercial assets the group still controls.
Source: Southern Poverty Law Center, 2003
Throughout his life, Pierce exercised tight control over the message, requiring members to get his approval before speaking publicly in the group's name or creating new materials for distribution. While he lived, there was very little of the dissension and infighting that runs rampant in other racist movements. He made alliances with all types of racists, from young skinheads to middle-aged ex-Klansmen. No one dared oppose the racist genius who wrote The Turner Diaries and inspired racists the world over to organize resistance against the forces that opposed them. In the end, it seems obvious that Pierce's intelligence, organizational abilities, and drive were the chief assets of the group he founded.
In the years since Pierce's death in 2002, civil rights watchdog groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center have all but pronounced the National Alliance dead. While it is true that the group is no longer on the growth trajectory it enjoyed under Pierce's leadership, many local units are still active.
In August 2005, homes in Belmont, Massachusetts were leafleted by NA members, prompting the local Human Rights Commission to hold a town meeting in an attempt to combat the spread of racism in the community.
In September 2005, an NA member was forced to take down presumably bogus Hurricane Katrina charity web sites when the Missouri Attorney General initiated legal proceedings against him.
In October, local civil rights activists in Vermont and Utah accused the anti-immigration group, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, of being affiliated and/or infiltrated by members of the National Alliance.
In the meantime, most of the former leadership of the National Alliance has formed a new organization, the National Vanguard, that has pledged to continue Pierce's legacy. In April 2005, the activists delivered a petition to the National Alliance headquarters, demanding Gliebe and Walker step aside, that the Executive Committee assume the function of Board of Directors, and that all future decisions and leadership functions come from the Board. When the deadline passed, the activists formed the National Vanguard. While only time will tell if the National Vanguard can live up to Pierce's vision and example, for the time being the group is intent on recruiting activities, having already established very active cells in Virginia, Florida, Nevada, and New Jersey.
In Nevada, members are trying to enter politics under the name of the White People's Party. In their first attempt at national action, members have organized a boycott of Home Depot, for their alleged pro-immigration stance. After Hurricane Katrina, members organized a National Vanguard First Response Team to offer aid to Caucasian families in Alabama and Mississippi. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, the group has no formally designated leader, but former National Alliance Executive Committee member Kevin Alfred Strom is their spokesmen and apparent first among equals.
The National Alliance was founded in 1974 by Dr.William Pierce, a former physics professor and veteran of several white supremacist organizations, including the American Nazi Party and the National Youth Alliance. Pierce articulated an unabashed philosophy of white supremacy he called Cosmotheism, and called for the establishment of a White Living Space encompassing all of Europe, the United States, Australia, and South Africa. An organizational and financial genius, Pierce exercised tight control over the groups message, membership, and financial interests His novel, The Turner Diaries, became the undisputed bible of right-wing fanatics worldwide, and is reported to have inspired the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Pierce established an array of businesses, and built a financial model that brought in more than $1 million annually. He published a magazine, a newsletter, a successful record label, and a weekly radio address. The record label, Resistance Records, established Pierce as the acknowledged impresario of the emerging racist "hate-core" genre. Hate-core, which combines heavy metal music with violently racist lyrics, afforded him new inroads with youth, particularly in Europe. By the time of his death in 2002, the National Alliance was the most important white supremacist group in the United States, and perhaps the world, with 1,500 registered, dues-paying members and important alliances with racist groups worldwide.
After Pierce's death, Erich Gliebe took over leadership of the group, and promptly became embroiled in a power struggle with senior members. Several of the leadership came together to demand his resignation, which Gliebe failed to acknowledge. The dissident members eventually formed a rival organization, The National Vanguard, which claims to represent the true legacy of William Pierce.
"As He Lay Dying." The Village Voice. September 4-10, 2002.
Southern Poverty Law Center. "Against the Wall." Intelligence Report. Fall 2003.
ADL.org. "National Alliance." 〈http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/N_Alliance.asp〉 (accessed October 15, 2005).