... And Another Springs Up
As a new generation of recruits, many of them better educated than in the past, moves up in the world of the organized radical right, the older leaders who shaped the postwar white supremacist movement in America are nearing the end of their active years.
While it is still too soon to say how a new cadre of young leaders will alter the shape of hate in this country, it seems clear that a political and generational change is about to occur. Here are profiles of five men in their 20s or 30s who are emerging as new leaders on the radical right.
Bruce Alan Breeding, 31
In the last six years, this former black metal guitarist has performed as a full-time neo-Nazi recruiter, promoter and Internet maven, and he has brought former Klansman David Duke and British Holocaust denier David Irving to Florida several times on behalf of the National Alliance.
In 1998, Breeding and his "cybercell" exacerbated racial tensions on the campus of a Texas university by, among other things, E-mailing students and others about an alleged rape of a white woman by black men. Early this year, Breeding launched his Nationalist News Agency as a Web-based propaganda organ for both Duke and the Alliance.
Also this year, Breeding, using the alias of Vince Edwards, joined Duke's bid for a Louisiana congressional seat. After Duke's loss, Breeding stayed in Louisiana as a paid Duke assistant while continuing to work for Pierce.
Alex Curtis, 23
San Diego, Calif.
Alex Curtis launched his political career as a 16-year-old, attempting unsuccessfully to form a Klan chapter at his Lemon Grove, Calif., high school. Although he was an honors student, by the time he was 17 Curtis had been expelled from school and convicted of three felonies in connection with his racist activities (including stealing a list of addresses from his high school and sending letters to parents warning them of their children's interracial relationships).
Mentored by California neo-Nazi Tom Metzger, Curtis was one of several white supremacists suspected in a series of hate crimes, including the delivery of a dud hand grenade to the home of the La Mesa, Calif., mayor.
Later, he was found guilty of false use of a police insignia after distributing thousands of fliers purporting to be a police request to "help stop non-white crime."
He was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Today, Curtis runs the Nationalist Observer, a white supremacist media enterprise that includes a newsletter, Web page and telephone hotline.
In his propaganda, Curtis has applauded those who carry out "lone wolf" attacks on the democratic system he opposes.
Erich Gliebe, 33
Erich Gliebe, a former amateur boxer and workhorse in the service of neo-Nazi leader William Pierce, is the National Alliance's Midwest spokesman and regional coordinator -- a person Pierce recently characterized as a "tireless recruiter and organizer, a man who has spent nearly every available minute working for the Alliance."
Gliebe's Cleveland unit is the largest in the Alliance, boasting nearly 60 members, and now hosts an annual "Euro-American Cultural Fest" that draws as many as 500 in paid admissions. Among those also attending the cultural fests have been Pierce; Tom Metzger, head of the neo-Nazi White Aryan Resistance; and Steven Barry, editor of The Resister, a white supremacist magazine.
Gliebe's organizing on behalf of the Alliance now extends into the German and eastern European communities in and around Cleveland, where he has made significant inroads. His unit has hosted speeches by Holocaust denier David Irving, and it also coordinated this summer's Cleveland meeting of the American Nationalist Union that featured Sam van Rensburg, the Alliance's recruitment director.
Matt Hale, 28
East Peoria, Ill.
Matt Hale has been the leader of the neo-Nazi World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) since 1995. But he began his racist career as an eighth grader with a group called the New Reich and continued on through a series of similar groups before joining WCOTC. In 1990, Hale formed the American White Supremacist Party while still in college.
The following year, he was arrested after allegedly threatening three black men with a gun. The charges were eventually dropped -- possibly because one of the allegedly threatened men was armed with a baseball bat -- but Hale was convicted of obstruction in connection with the case. Also in 1991, Hale joined the National Association for the Advancement of White People, then led by David Duke.
In 1992, Hale and two others started the National Socialist White Americans Party. In 1995, he ran unsuccessfully on an open white supremacist ticket for the East Peoria, Ill., City Council. The same year, members of the original Church of the Creator, founded by Ben Klassen, selected Hale to lead the group's comeback as WCOTC.
In 1999, the Illinois Bar Association twice refused to grant Hale a license to practice law after he graduated from law school, saying Hale was "unfit" because of his racism.
Jimmy Miller, 25
Jimmy Miller threw himself into the racist Skinhead culture when he was a scrawny 15-year-old on the streets of Phoenix, and within months was recruited by a member of Tom Metzger's neo-Nazi White Aryan Resistance. That same year, in 1989, Miller took to the streets in his first neo-Nazi parade and soon rose to become a lieutenant in the Arizona Hammerskins, a violent Skinhead group.
Soon, he was showing his skill as an organizer, putting together well-attended marches on Hitler's birthday and on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In 1990, after a three-month terror campaign by the Arizona Hammerskins, Miller was arrested and eventually found guilty as an adult in two firebombings and an assault -- an attack in which Miller sliced tattoos from the skin of an anti-racist Skinhead using a mat knife. He served more than four years in prison.
Upon his release in the mid-1990s, Miller returned to the Phoenix area and resumed his leadership of the Arizona Hammerskins. He has since expanded his role to become a leader of Hammerskin Nation, an umbrella group that takes in many U.S. and European Hammerskin factions.
Miller now distributes a newsletter that is sent to juvenile detention facilities throughout the country.