Chapter 6: Post-Pierce Developments and the Continuing Danger

Since Pierce’s demise, the NA has experienced considerable internal unrest. The period following Eric Gliebe’s ascension to power was initially calm. But within a year, Gliebe expelled Billy Roper from the NA. Roper had been the Alliance’s foremost recruiter, and had successfully organized several large demonstrations that had brought together various white supremacist groups under the NA’s banner. Roper had also been one of the more popular members of the NA, and was considered to be a rival of Gliebe’s within the organization (ADL Special Report 1). After his ouster, Roper returned to his home state of Arkansas and founded an organization called White Revolution, which was intended to act as an umbrella group for the white supremacist movement. Several NA members quit to join Roper’s new organization. Among them was Victor Gerhard, the former chief legal counsel of the NA, who now writes a column for the White Revolution website (CNC 15). Gliebe also expelled Lawrence Myers, Resistance Magazine’s head photographer, on charges that Myers was a government informant (ADL Special Report 1). At the time of this writing, it appears that several other important NA members are on the verge of quitting or being forced out of the organization, mostly as a result of power struggles with Gliebe.
The NA has had to deal with increased pressure from the federal government as well as from within the group itself. After the September 11th attacks, law enforcement agencies began to more closely monitor all potential terrorist groups, both foreign and domestic. Chester Doles, a prominent NA leader from Georgia, was recently arrested and charged with illegal possession of firearms after an investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The NA has helped to set up a legal fund for his defense (White Wire 64). Given the NA’s violent anti-government rhetoric, it can be expected that the group will continue to be closely observed by law enforcement organizations so long as counterterrorism is considered to be a top priority.
When considering the unstable state of the organization and the current investigation by federal authorities, one might be tempted to write off the NA as a group with little hope for survival. Gliebe’s abrasive managerial style and the paranoia that has resulted from the increasingly intense government surveillance has certainly taken its toll. And the loss of William Pierce, the group’s founder and undisputed leader, has left the NA without its personal center. But thanks to the autocratic structure of the NA, as chairman Eric Gliebe has sole control over all of the group’s assets and businesses, including Resistance Records. He cannot be removed by the membership, regardless of his unpopularity. Even if key members continue to leave the group, Gliebe will have access to a large, constant cash flow, making it likely that the NA will continue to exist as a functioning organization for the foreseeable future.
The NA continues to exist as a vehicle for forwarding Pierce’s vision of action. It aims to continue to build itself as a vanguard party, presenting a source of information free from Jewish influence, and attempting to enlighten those few whites who are capable of independent thought. When the time is right, a systematic campaign of terrorism against the state and the general population will be launched, with the aim of sparking a nation-wide race war. From the ashes of the civil war a new state will be created, one that is controlled by the NA. This new state will be designed to forward evolutionary progress through the maintenance of white purity and the application of eugenic principals. Ultimately, the white race will achieve a state of true enlightenment, becoming one with the Creator. At that point, the purpose of the universe will have been achieved.
The operating ideology of the NA has (not surprisingly) remained essentially unchanged since Pierce’s death. The Alliance was designed to function as a platform for Pierce’s viewpoints, and continues to do so today. However, some small differences in the style of the presentation of these beliefs are noticeable. The NA has of late become more overtly anti-Christian than it had been in the past. For example, an essay that appeared in number 119 of National Vanguard magazine referred to Christianity as “a Jewish cult for goyim” (Oliver 21). The overall presentation of NA propaganda has also become a bit sloppier. The news column of the Resistance Records website is currently written by NA member David Pringle, and often contains numerous grammatical and spelling errors. The perfectionist Pierce would never have allowed such unprofessional work to be released under the name of his organization.
It seems unlikely that Pierce’s ideological approach will be significantly altered in the future by those in the NA. There are a couple of reasons for this. Those within the NA hold William Pierce in a reverence that approaches worship. Any major effort to alter his teachings would likely be regarded as blasphemous by his followers. Secondly, Pierce, as noted, stood far above any other individual in the American white supremacist movement from an intellectual viewpoint. Within the NA, no person comes close to matching his abilities. As previously mentioned, Eric Gliebe is known as an effective manager, but lacks abilities as a theorist or writer. Kevin Alfred Strom, who contributes articles to National Vanguard and acts as the group’s main propagandist, currently writes the NA’s weekly radio broadcasts. If one examines his current writings, they are without fail faithful recitations of Pierce’s positions, made to fit current events. It can also be expected that the NA as an organization will continue to parrot Pierce’s teachings without deviation, and perhaps in some cases without understanding.
In attempting to determine what threat (if any) the National Alliance currently poses to the public safety and democratic institutions of the United States, we might consider three distinct dangers. The first is that the NA might become a mass organization with a mainstream presence, exposing a large section of the population to its propaganda and possibly leading to its emergence as a significant political party in the U.S. The second is that the NA might use its existing organizational base to launch coordinated attacks in the hope of sparking the civil war William Pierce had dreamed of. Finally, there is the very real danger that independently acting extremists may use Pierce’s writings as a blueprint and justification for acts of violence and terrorism, as has occurred in the past.
In his book “The Politics of Righteousness”, researcher James Aho persuasively argues that the majority of persons who join extremist groups do so not out of an honest commitment to the group’s ideology, but in the hopes of forming long-term social relationships and gaining a family-like support group (Aho 189). Factors such as pre-existing racial attitudes and level of education certainly play a role, but it is the social rewards of membership that are the driving force for members. If this is correct, then it is likely that the NA will be able to expand its membership only so far as its members are able to make personal connections with potential converts. In this respect, the fact that the NA controls Resistance Records, maintains several websites, and has a sizeable operating budget becomes less worrisome. It would be extremely rare for a person to become involved in an organization like the NA solely through exposure to the group’s written appeals. Barring a particularly effective personal outreach program on the part of the NA, further significant growth seems unlikely.
Even if for the purposes of this argument we dismiss Aho’s thesis and assume that persons who join extremist groups are in fact primarily ideologically motivated, the chances of the NA transforming itself into a mass movement still seem slim. As has been mentioned, Pierce’s plan for a revolutionary overturning of the current social order would mean that many persons might lose the material possessions they had worked their entire lives to achieve as the result of corporatist policies. Women as a group would be relegated to the status of second-class citizens. Pierce’s envisioned theocratic state would obviously be hostile to Christianity, a faith still held by the majority of Americans. And finally, in the chaos and violence of the race war, most whites would not survive to see the new order. This is hardly an attractive platform for a political party, and it seems unlikely that many Americans would ever be willing to embrace it.
Pierce of course acknowledged that only a small number of whites could be brought around to his way of thinking. Hence his preference for the organizational form of a vanguard party, followed by a campaign of terror designed to frighten the surviving white population into submission. But to accomplish even this feat, the NA would have to amass a sizeable number of highly motivated and trustworthy individuals, capable of carrying out a successful insurgency, and then creating a new state from the remnants of the old. The NA has failed in this task. The current membership (1,500 to 2,500 persons) is obviously far too small for this purpose, and the group shows no signs of the explosive growth needed in the foreseeable future. And many of those who have joined the Alliance are skinheads, former Klansmen, middle-aged businesspersons, and others who clearly lack the iron will and discipline needed to carry out Pierce’s plan. That plan will likely remain what it has always been: A fantasy in the minds of those who believe.
We can with a fair amount of certainty dismiss the possibility of the NA emerging as a major political force in the United States in the foreseeable future. It also appears that the NA is no where close to amassing the sophisticated underground organization that would be required to launch the type of insurrection described in The Turner Diaries. There is, however, the possibility that the leadership of the NA might become despondent at their obvious lack of progress, and in a fit of nihilistic rage lash out against society in the hope of somehow sparking the race war they have for so long desired. Although it is likely that such a campaign of terror would lead to the quick suppression of the group by law enforcement agencies, the NA has within its leadership ranks enough persons with violent tendencies and millennalist visions to make this a real threat worth examining.
Michael Barkun, an expert in the field of far right religions, was asked in a recent interview how he would assess the potential danger of a specific millennalist group. His reply might be instructive as we attempt to gauge the potential danger of the NA:
There are a couple of indicators one would look for. First, there is the question of how immanent they believe these changes to be. In other words, how much time remains before the end times? Do they believe that they or the world are being forced into a dead end where some kind of action is absolutely required?
A second thing is to look for is the way in which they characterize their enemies. Do they categorize them in rather general terms, as simply the forces of sin and evil in society? Or do they identify, quite explicitly, particular groups, organizations, or individuals as the enemy? Obviously, the more explicit the identification of enemies would be, the more likely that those might be targets.
A third indication would be the elements of lifestyle that suggest that this is a group that is, in fact, acting on its beliefs. So it’s not simply a matter of what someone says they believe, but rather that there’s evidence that they’ve taken steps to significantly carry those beliefs into actions (qtd. in SPLC 1997 [2] 17).
NA ideology certainly fulfills the second portion of Barkun’s description: the Jews are identified explicitly as being collectively responsible for the decline of the white race, and of threatening the purpose of the universe. The moral rationale for violence against Jewish persons (and any one else deemed to be an enemy of the Creator’s purpose) is clearly present in Pierce’s teachings. The other two elements are not as obviously evident. Pierce did not believe that the collapse of society was eminent; the fact that he felt he had the time to properly organize a functioning vanguard party indicates that he believed the apocalypse was still some time off. The NA has also shown few signs of preparing for a military struggle; its current activities seem to be confined to the distribution of the group’s propaganda and the attempted recruitment of professional individuals who can put forth a respectable public appearance. Gliebe himself seems to be a cautious, calculating man, unlikely to order his followers into a battle he does not think they are likely to win. While the danger of the NA leadership using their organization to launch a series of violent attacks on the public cannot be completely discounted, at the present such events seem unlikely to occur.
Even if we discount the possibility of the NA adopting an active policy of revolutionary terrorism, Pierce’s works still exert a dangerous influence on the thinking of the American racist right. Many of the persons outside of the NA who read and appreciate The Turner Diaries and Hunter may not absorb all of Pierce’s teachings. For instance, the may be Christians, or follow the organizational model of leaderless resistance. They will not have the vanguard party discipline of the NA to act as a restraint on their actions. In these cases, the persons in question are most likely to come away from reading Pierce’s works with only one key concept: The best way to topple the existing government and institute a racist regime is through the bringing on of societal collapse by means of a campaign of random terrorism aimed at the general public. This makes Pierce’s concepts extremely dangerous to the public safety of the United States.
Law enforcement agencies would do well to familiarize themselves with Pierce’s writings, (particularly The Turner Diaries) when they are dealing with persons involved in the white supremacist underground. His works affected even those in the movement who counted Pierce as a rival or even an enemy. The extent to which he influenced the progression of thought in the American racist right is unparalleled. The belief in the Jewish control of the mass media, the need for discipline and professionalism in the movement, and the necessity of revolutionary terrorism all existed as political concepts in the movement before Pierce’s appearance, but he expanded on these ideas and popularized them in a way that had not been done before. To understand the racist right and its potential for horrific acts of violence, one must first understand the writings of William Pierce.
Researchers who have even a passing interest in contemporary American extremist movements would also do well to familiarize themselves with Pierce’s beliefs. There is a lack of understanding among many in field of political science regarding the ideology of the far right. Part of this willful ignorance may be due to the political simplicity of the movement: admittedly, the National Socialist theories of Pierce lack the intellectual sophistication of Marxist or liberal thought. But we should keep in mind that it is often these simple, easily grasped political ideologies that have had the greatest effect on the masses. Hitler’s rise to power in Germany is a prime example. There is also the tendency of those in academia to gravitate towards the study of political ideologies that are similar to their own. Given the predominance of leftist thought in the academic world, it should not be surprising that more scholarly books have been written on the subjects of the American Communist Party and Weathermen than the National Alliance. But researchers must try to overcome their own political biases and realize that in contemporary America the writings of William Pierce are of at least of equal relevance to those of Noam Chomsky or Andrea Dworkin.
Finally, it may be tempting for some to ignore theorists like Pierce on the grounds that his writings appeal to a numerically insignificant portion of the population. This belief of course has some basis in fact: the NA, as noted, has less that 3,000 members; and the racist right as a whole constitutes a small sliver of the total population. But as the actions of the Order and Timothy McVeigh make clear, it takes only a small number of fanatical persons to wreak considerable violence onto the population as a whole. In this era of terrorism, we must not forget that the enemy comes not only from outside, but also from within.


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