National Alliance Leader, William Pierce, Looks to Build Far-Right Alliances
William Pierce builds bridges at home, abroad
For all the world, it looked like some kind of celebration of multiculturalism, a quintessentially American tribute to the notion of the United States as a melting pot. A Scottish bagpipe band played, an Irish group danced, and people dressed in the traditional costumes of their ancestors' native lands enjoyed the fellowship of friends.
But this Cleveland gathering was hosted by neo-Nazis.
Like other conclaves in Ohio and around the country, the "European-American Cultural Fest" held last summer was a paean to whiteness run by the National Alliance, the powerful white supremacist group led by William Pierce.
Organized by area coordinator Erich Gliebe, son of a German World War II army veteran, it featured "bright-faced, racially healthy" performers who to Pierce represent the future of fascism.
Across the United States and Europe, the National Alliance is reaching out. More and more, Pierce's acolytes are turning up inside other far right American groups — including some that are seen as relatively mainstream — and building bridges to white ethnic societies such as those the Alliance hosted in Cleveland.
They are using the front of "culture" to help build a revolutionary coalition here and abroad. In Europe, Pierce has been pushing as never before to build a new solidarity in the service of international fascism.
"The great value of this type of activity," Pierce said in a recent Alliance publication, "is that it brings the Alliance into contact with ethnically conscious non-members in an atmosphere especially conducive to building understanding."
Rapid Growth and Leninism
In the United States, the count of National Alliance units has exploded since 1992, when just three were documented. In the last year alone, the number jumped by more than half, from 22 in 1997 to 35 at the end of 1998.
Pierce's short-wave radio broadcasts, his publications and his Internet site — which now carries materials in five languages — appear to be reaching an ever-larger audience. But it is not the number of his members, which Pierce says has been flat in the last year, that counts.
It is their quality, their work and their placement — often in groups far less radical than the Alliance — that is important to the organization.
William Pierce is, after all, a Leninist.
Like the Russian Bolsheviks, who infiltrated the far more moderate Menshevik party in an effort to seize power early this century, Pierce is seeking to place members and fellow travelers in other groups so as to swing them to his point of view.
Like Vladimir Lenin, he is not interested in winning his battle through electoral successes. He is forming a vanguard, an elite cadre capable of leading the "lemmings," or ignorant masses, and hijacking power.
The aim is a period of ethnic cleansing that Pierce has referred to as a "temporary unpleasantness," the seizure of state power and creation of all-white nations.
Pierce refers to his contacts with other groups as "beachheads," and in the December issue of the National Alliance Bulletin, he spells out their importance: "One of our principal tasks in the coming year will be to continue developing all of these beachheads, primarily through continuing to develop our means for reaching out to ... White elites."
Culture, Computers and Other 'Beachheads'
So far, Pierce has been doing rather well.
· In Cleveland, the Alliance's largest and best-organized unit has planned and hosted a series of "European-American Cultural Fests" boosting white ethnic pride. Gliebe also has organized a number of forums for men like British Holocaust denier David Irving.
· Like its Cleveland counterpart, the Alliance's Tampa, Fla., unit is using "culture" to reach out to new recruits. Vince Breeding, the dynamic former lead guitarist for a "black metal" rock band who heads what is the Alliance's second most active chapter, has planned rallies featuring both David Duke and Irving.
Recently, his unit sponsored a "Yule Fest" for members of the Aernfolk/Eagles Reaches, an arm of the so-called North American Folk Community. The Aernfolk are followers of Odinism, a neo-Pagan religion that influenced many Nazi leaders and today claims a large number of neo-Nazi adherents.
Breeding has also created a so-called "cybercell" which has specialized in getting into Internet news groups to promote the Alliance. And he has organized such events as a debate featuring Duke that drew 350 people to Southwest Texas State University.
· In Sacramento, Calif., where Pierce boasts of the most active Alliance unit for its size, coordinator Jim Ring has focused on proselytizing at gun shows, where many potential recruits gather. In 1998, the unit participated in 12 shows in California and Nevada.
· Duke, the former Klansman who has made runs for the presidency, Congress and several Louisiana political offices, has been increasingly courted by Pierce. He has spoken at several Alliance gatherings and represented the group in debates.
When he appeared in the Washington, D.C., area in January to tout his run for a congressional seat now held by Bob Livingston, Duke was hosted by Mark Cotterill, a British neofascist who has visited Pierce's West Virginia compound and written admiringly of the Alliance.
· Cotterill also seems to have helped extend Pierce's influence into the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a racist group that has hosted such Republican luminaries as Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia (see Sharks In The Mainstream).
Until stepping down in December after a barrage of negative publicity, Cotterill was the leader of the CCC's capital region chapter. (He remains a CCC member.) Pierce's publications have been openly sold at Cotterill-organized events, including the January meeting at which Duke plugged his candidacy. In addition, Alliance members have been spotted at CCC events, although the group has never endorsed Alliance views.
· White Aryan Resistance leader Tom Metzger, an erstwhile Pierce competitor, spoke recently at one of Pierce's high-level "leadership conferences" after being flown in at Alliance expense. Metzger, who has built a following among youths and the working class, brings a new organizing dimension to the often elitist Alliance.
· Steven Barry, leader of a secret extremist group made up of elite members of the armed forces and known as the Special Forces Underground, has grown close to Pierce. Barry advertises Pierce's writings in his publication, The Resister.
· Richard Butler, the octagenarian head of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations in Idaho, flew to one of Pierce's leadership conferences despite his frail health in April 1997, indicating that the two men have grown closer.
For years, Pierce has mocked the Christian Identity religion, the racist and anti-Semitic theology at the heart of Butler's teachings. Now, despite their past antagonisms, the two racist leaders seem to be cooperating.
· Pierce appears to have friends within the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), a Washington, D.C.-based Holocaust denial outfit once controlled by Pierce nemesis Willis Carto. Mark Weber, the editor of IHR's Journal of Historical Review who has for years been in a legal battle with Carto over a multimillion-dollar bequest, was once a key Pierce protégé and staff member and now seems to be again drawing close to his mentor.
"We're more in contact with non-members of all sorts than we ever have been before," Pierce wrote last November. "This increased recognition could be attributed to the almost total absence of other organizations with goals similar to ours."