National Alliance Loses Key Leaders
On April 11, much of the Alliance's membership was shocked to learn that Gliebe and Walker had cancelled the group's semi-annual leadership conference. Although Walker claimed the cancellation was "due to a variety of reasons beyond our control," it quickly became known that the real reason was that a very prominent member was expected to aggressively confront Gliebe during the conference.
Meanwhile, it turned out, Strom had been making plans. He had talked to Pringle and Kelso, who lives with former Klan leader David Duke in Louisiana, about announcing a new organization at a May conference of Duke's latest hate group, the European-American Unity and Rights Organization. On April 14, Strom secretly transferred ownership of the Web site for the Alliance's National Vanguard Books to Palladian Books in Virginia, which is run by Strom and his wife.
Two days later, Strom was thrown out of the Alliance. Several other leading players were also expelled around the same time, including Western States Regional Coordinator Roger Williams, also a member of the new executive board; Nebraska leader William Muller; California member April Gaede, well known for her activism and her daughters, who make up the Prussian Blue band; and several others. "At this point," Pringle wrote, "every single NA unit is in disarray and open revolt."
A day after that, on April 17, much of the Cincinnati unit decided to quit paying dues to headquarters, giving them to their local treasurer instead. And on April 18, the rebels published a "historic declaration" criticizing Gliebe and Walker, demanding Walker's demotion and asking Gliebe to give up ownership of several of the Alliance's enterprises and put them in the hands of an expanded board. Signing were most of the Alliance's leaders — the entire executive board including Strom and a very wide array of unit leaders and other key activists, 140 of them in all (by the end of the month, that number had risen to more than 230 Alliance members).
A response wasn't long in coming. Four days later, Gliebe dissolved the executive board, saying that it had been designed as an advisory "think tank" but had degenerated into a "springboard" for a "power play" by the chairman's enemies.
Into the Future
It wasn't until April 24, eight days after Strom's ouster, that Gliebe tried to explain himself. In a letter to members, Gliebe described the affair as an "attempted coup" by Strom and several unit leaders that included "a massive smear campaign." Some, he said, had been "taken in by the smooth talk of our enemies." But despite it all, he insisted, "the severity of the damage and the extent of the coup were greatly exaggerated." He urged members to remember the "leadership principle" espoused by Pierce, and recalled how Pierce had put down a similar "coup" in the 1980s.
Apparently, Gliebe wasn't too convincing.
One day later, on April 25, Walker announced that Gliebe had stepped down as chairman because the one-time ladies' man had married Snyder and wanted "to devote more time to family matters." Walker would replace Gliebe, but Gliebe would stay on as ceo of Resistance Records, the Alliance's music operation.
By that time, Strom had already announced that he was forming a new group, to be named after National Vanguard, the Alliance magazine that he had long edited and whose Web site he and his wife now controlled. In May, he attended Duke's conference in New Orleans, where talk of the happenings within the Alliance was rampant. The new National Vanguard group, it was announced, would be run by former members of the Alliance executive board and other prominent former Alliance leaders.
It's not clear how successful National Vanguard will be. By mid-June, there was some evidence of 15 chapters around the country. But activists have criticized Strom as too interested in money and too weak to be a charismatic leader.
What is certain is that the Alliance, for the most part, is a hollow shell. It has lost almost all its well-known leaders, and its prestige has never been lower. Its moneymaking operations, National Vanguard Books and Resistance Records, are no longer making a profit. While it is sure to struggle on for some time, any major recovery seems very unlikely — although Gliebe still controls the Alliance's West Virginia compound, including several buildings, and other assets. In early June, a message was posted by an Alliance member that claimed surviving Alliance units only in Baltimore, Md.; Boston; Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio; Raleigh, N.C., and Sacramento, Calif. Others, it reported hopefully, were reorganizing.
The sorry state of the Alliance — and the circled-wagons mentality that has overtaken it — is reflected in angry May postings from Erika Snyder, Gliebe's wife, attacking the Stroms. Kevin Strom, Snyder wrote, is "a pompous, power-hungry brat," and his wife, Elisha, is "a feminist bisexual" given to attacks on "beautiful women [Snyder, presumably] and men who like beautiful women [Gliebe]."
Most former Alliance stalwarts seemed simply to shrug. "Gliebe can't kill the NA," wrote one in a message that spoke for hundreds. "It's already dead."