The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

In a Near-Final Collapse, the Neo-Nazi National Alliance Ends Membership

By Mark Potok on September 25, 2013 - 3:04 pm, Posted in Hate Groups, Neo-Nazi

The National Alliance (NA), the faded organization that once was the powerhouse of the American neo-Nazi scene, seems to be giving off a final death rattle. Its leader says it will no longer function as a membership organization, a move that reflects the fact that it has now lost virtually all of its supporters.

In a letter sent to members earlier this month, NA Chairman Erich Gliebe said the group will now be “supporter-based,” rather than made up of active, dues-paying “members” divided into chapters around the country. Gliebe portrayed the change as a “step forward” and “the beginning of a new approach that will appeal to a broader range of people” and a way of avoiding members with “serious character flaws.”

Gliebe’s Sept. 6 letter was immediately mocked by former members and others who have seen the NA fall from a highly organized and financially stable group of some 1,400 members to a fractious club of fewer than 75 members, most of whom stopped paying their monthly dues long ago. Californian Jim Ring, who until he quit last year was the group’s most respected and influential member, savaged Gliebe on his own website.

With NA membership “plummeting toward zero,” Ring wrote, Gliebe and his board of directors “have found a unique face-saving way to deal with the embarrassment; that is to declare they don’t want any members anyway.” “However,” Ring added, “in Gliebe’s Alliance some things never change. …. He still wants your money. Membership dues are now simply donations,” a reference to Gliebe’s request that former members send in donations in the same amount as their previous dues.

The NA has been in decline for years, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) over a long period (see here, here, here, here and here) — ever since 2002, when founder William Pierce died and Gliebe, a rough-hewn former amateur boxer, took over. Gliebe angered huge numbers of his membership with his abrasive personality and management style, his poor financial stewardship, his contentious marriage to a former stripper, and a whole host of other issues. The SPLC’s revelation in June that Gliebe had put up for sale 289 acres of the NA’s 346-acre West Virginia compound infuriated even more members who believed Gliebe was shutting down the group and cashing out. Earlier in the year, Pierce’s brother, Sanders Pierce, quit the group in another deep embarrassment to Gliebe and his few remaining supporters.

Gliebe’s recent letter, which was made public on Ring’s website, comes at a time when what might have been the last lifeline for the NA is in serious jeopardy. A estimated $250,000 bequest (about $160,000 after taxes and other debts) left to the group by a Canadian NA member is being challenged in a Canadian courtroom by the late member’s family, supported by two human rights groups representing Canadian Jews and the New Brunswick attorney general. Although such a case would almost certainly fail under U.S. law, Canadian law has a much broader interpretation of the “public good” that could result in the courts disallowing a bequest meant to benefit a neo-Nazi organization.

The case is set for trial in New Brunswick on Nov. 13 and 14.

The anger directed at Gliebe by his former followers is hard to adequately describe. Jim Ring, writing this summer, didn’t hold back. “There is no greater miscreant,” he said in words that could have come from a great many former NA members, “than this piece of filth who has betrayed Dr. Pierce’s Our Cause.

  • Charles Ross

    Good news; bad news is they are all joining the Tea Party and/or the republicans.

  • Jane Schiff

    “In a letter sent to members earlier this month, NA Chairman Erich Gliebe said the group will now be “supporter-based,” rather than made up of active, dues-paying “members” divided into chapters around the country. Gliebe portrayed the change as a “step forward” and “the beginning of a new approach that will appeal to a broader range of people” and a way of avoiding members with “serious character flaws.”

    I’m glad their current composition is defunct but something in the portion I quoted screams new lobby forming via their possibly approaching the IRS . If they turn out to meet the legal requirements of a lobby that would entail their requirement to have their own attorney on board. Do you guys think I’m worrying for nothing? (I hope so)

  • m. Brewster

    I would like to know who has taken up the slack, now that the NA is almost dead. The supremacist movement certainly hasn’t lost steam — all that steam must be going somewhere.

    tt77

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Erich if you’re reading this, just sell everything, cash out, and run. Anyone left in the Alliance is too old and senile to do anything about it. Take the money, move abroad, and atone for your sins by exposing the BS of the National Alliance. Come on, you know you stopped believing in that crap YEARS ago, and even if you still did you’d never win back any significant part of the movement. You’ve got nothing to lose. Just pack it up. Stick a fork in it. It’s done.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold?feature=mhee Critical Dragon1177

    Mark Potok,

    This is a good sign.

  • Tony

    So they want to avoid members with “serious character flaws?” Isn’t that every neo-nazi, by definition?

  • concernedcitizen

    Well Prescott perhaps if you added the traditional Buddhist garb along with the hair cut it may have cleared up any misunderstandings.

    It’s good news that this Alliance organization is slowly going into the cornfields of non-existence.

  • http://Facebook Sheldon L. McCormick

    Dissapointed at rotten leadership. Realization that it was a lie, nonsense, a racket, an outlet for hoodlums or becoming a cash cow for some big wig extremist leader who pocket his members’ hard-earned money and use it to enrich himself. Perhaps it resulted from an epiphany, an awkening of hatred’s brutal costs and its uselessness. The National Alliance, like many white supremacist groups before and with it, is now faced with this result. Like the fiery cross, no matter how bright it blazes amidst racial strife, the flames will eventually die out.

  • dinosaur

    Since there is this bequest and property at stake, one would think someone would come forward and try to take control away from Gliebe. These guys grouse about him enough. Likely candidates are any one of the group who runs the National Alliance news website (don’t want to link to it) or wannabe leaders like Linder who were passed over by Pierce himself.

    I wonder what Gliebe has on the lot of them to keep them at bay.

    If they were shrewd (they are not), the new guard like Matt Heimbach or Hunter Wallace would hitch themselves to the NA wagon. There’s real assets there, not just a forum. And doesn’t the NA still own Resistance Records and its distribution network?

    It’s very strange that even those young, seemingly ambitious racists are not angling for position in that organization.

    I guess ideological differences keep the new divided from the old.

  • Prescott Auburn

    Is this indicative of the Neo Nazi movement, as a whole? I went through a time, as a beginning Buddhism student, (Following in the path of my late friend John Steinbeck IV) where I shaved my head, and was mistaken for a skinhead …even as I was at the grocer with Kedem in my basket. Sheesh.

  • Ivan Roman

    Excellent news Mark Potok! Thanks for your vigilance. Keep up the great work you all do!

  • Gregory

    Nelson Muntz. Who else could summarize my feelings with such economy of motion?

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rX7wtNOkuHo