Former boxer Erich "The Aryan Barbarian" Gliebe made a name for himself in the neo-Nazi National Alliance (NA) with his innovative moves to recruit new, younger members through hate rock music and white supremacist events masquerading as European-American "cultural festivals." Rising to the head of the "hatecore" music label Resistance Records after it was purchased in 1999 by NA founder William Pierce, Gliebe was the unexpected choice to succeed Pierce after his sudden death in 2002. Presiding over a series of scandals that ultimately debilitated the once-mighty organization, Gliebe resigned in 2005, only to regain the leadership of a decimated NA a year later. He remains leader of the dispirited remnant of the group that remains.
In His Own Words
"Jewish influence — in the media, business, high finance, and government — has also created a domestic policy that has weakened the racial integrity of White Britain and White America through unchecked non-white immigration — not just through Mexico, but also through our airports."
— "American Dissident Voices" Internet radio broadcast, July 7, 2007
"I do, however, have a solution for the nutty multiracial chaos that afflicts our society and that virtually guarantees conflict and hatred between rednecks, niggers, Yankees and every other racial group in the country, no matter which name they go by and no matter which name they are called by members of another group. That solution is racial separation, clear and simple."
— "American Dissident Voices," July 26, 2008
Just out of high school, Erich Gliebe was already boxing under the not-so-subtle moniker of "The Aryan Barbarian." Growing up in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio, Gliebe became disenchanted with his white classmates who, he said, lacked "honor and discipline." He idolized his father, a German citizen who fought for the Wehrmacht in World War II. According to Gliebe, "My father was my hero and I decided that one day I would give my all to fight for my race." While boxing provided an occasional chance to pummel one minority or another, Gliebe soon found other ways for furthering his racist ideas. Having discovered famed neo-Nazi William Pierce's National Alliance (NA) in 1990, it took the erstwhile boxer just a year to rise to the head of the NA's Cleveland unit. Giving up his boxing career, Gliebe took a job as a tool-and-die maker to be able to dedicate himself fully to his growing role in the neo-Nazi group.
The budding neo-Nazi proved himself an able recruiter and began early on to devise innovative techniques for finding new members. His most notable — and, arguably, deceptive — tactic was creating the "European American Cultural Society" in Cleveland. Through that organization, Gliebe organized a series of "European American Culture Festivals" in cities around the country that were designed to make white pride a family affair. By cloaking neo-Nazi activity in the trappings of a benign celebration of European culture, Gliebe's festivals gave his recruiters a chance to bring in individuals who might not attend more hardcore neo-Nazi events.
Simultaneously, Gliebe made a name for himself in the growing world of "hate rock," organizing concerts under the auspices of "Life Rune Records." A 1995 event reportedly attracted over 500 people. These concerts furthered Gliebe's aim of expanding membership to a new demographic, in this case to teenagers and young adults itching for a way to exercise their rebellious instincts. Gliebe's efforts were so successful that in 1999, when Pierce bought the floundering Resistance Records, Gliebe was chosen to head the record label and to edit its publication, Resistance Magazine. Dedicating himself heart and soul to the record label, Gliebe managed to turn it into a relatively profitable endeavor. In that role, Gliebe was able to further his dream of promoting the white race through hate rock, using the medium, as he enthused at one point, to "heighten Aryan racial consciousness — both in ourselves and in others."
By the time of William Pierce's unexpected death in July 2002, the profitability of Resistance Records had helped to take the National Alliance to an all-time high in terms of membership and funding (between dues and profits from record and book sales, the group was bringing in close to $1 million a year). Following its leader's demise, however, the group quickly began to disintegrate. Gliebe, who was named chairman only six days after Pierce's death, took office amidst a series of vicious internal and external disputes. Early on, the new leader came under intense attack from customers of Resistance Records after the Intelligence Report published parts of a speech he had made a few months prior to Pierce's death in which he called members of other prominent white power groups "morons" and "hobbyists." The comments, made privately at an Alliance gathering that spring, closely mirrored remarks made at the same meeting by Pierce. The resulting internal dispute over the Alliance's relationship to other white nationalists produced a split in the NA, with Gliebe firing deputy membership coordinator Billy Roper, who had advocated reaching out to others in the movement. At the same time, many racist skinheads began boycotting Resistance Records over Gliebe and Pierce's remarks.
Roper was only the first victim in a series of spats and purges that decimated Gliebe's National Alliance. As membership declined rapidly (from around 1,400 in 2002 to only 800 by the end of 2003) and record sales decreased dramatically (from a high of $50,000 for one month in 2002 to under $7,000 in July of 2003), Gliebe's relationship with the NA's board members rapidly soured, prompting many of them to resign. To top it all off, Gliebe persisted in angering other groups within the movement, engaging in a vicious (and losing) verbal battle with Vanguard News Network's Alex Linder over support for jailed former Klansman and Alliance leader Chester Doles. Neo-Nazi and white supremacist forums were filled with criticism of Gliebe, who fought back by asking allies, including Stormfront.org founder Don Black, to delete critical comments from their forums.
The final blow came in 2005, when longtime Gliebe ally and NA editor Kevin Strom, who had been instrumental in fending off attacks against his boss, circulated a petition widely viewed as a coup attempt. Gliebe promptly fired Strom, who responded by taking a large group of Alliance members and leaders to help him found his own new neo-Nazi group, National Vanguard. (Strom, who edited the NA magazine National Vanguard and ripped off its name for his new group, also took that magazine and its website with him.)
Ironically, Gliebe stepped down just two days after Strom's departure, handing the reins over to his staunchest supporter, Shaun Walker. Gliebe said his reason for departing was that he wanted to spend more time with his wife, a former stripper whose birth name was Erika Snyder. In 2006, however, Walker was convicted on federal civil rights charges related to several bar assaults and sent to prison, necessitating the return of Gliebe as national NA leader. In the years since then, Erika Gliebe has moved to divorce her husband, and the National Alliance has been reduced to a tiny remnant of its former self.