William Pierce, author of the racist novel The Turner Diaries, uses every means possible to build bridges to other racist organizations.
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."
'A Man Who Gets Things Done'
Pierce's influence in the United States has been driven not only by his organizing efforts, but by the stature of his race war novels, The Turner Diaries and Hunter. The Turner Diaries, in particular, functioned as the blueprint for the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, which killed 168 people.
In 1983 and 1984, the book was the inspiration for The Order, a terrorist group that murdered a Jewish talk show host in Denver and robbed some $4 million in a series of armored car heists.
As it has been in America, so it is now in Europe.
Pierce, who now has chapters in 11 countries in South America and Europe, boasts that every racial nationalist in Europe has heard about The Turner Diaries, and he is probably not far off.
For years, the book had been a major influence on the British neofascist scene. In 1998, electronic copies of the book became available on the Internet in French as Les Carnets de Turner and in German as Die Turner-Tagebücher.
Then, in December, Pierce announced that a publisher had been found for a German-language printing of paper copies of the book, leaving only the "logistics problem" of smuggling them into Germany, where neo-Nazi propaganda is against the law.
"Because of his books, Pierce is undoubtedly the most well-known [American] right-wing figure" in Europe, says Nick Lowles of Searchlight, a British anti-fascist magazine. "Rightly or wrongly, people here see him as a man who get things done."
That has put Pierce in a unique position.
Standing above the fray of internecine rivalries that have divided the European radical right for years, the former physics professor has come to be seen in Europe as a man whom all factions can look up to, the legendary author whose two novels helped spark the most violent U.S. domestic terrorist attacks of the last 15 years.
The man who for years has sought "a long-term eugenics program involving at least the entire populations of Europe and America" is now intent on internationalizing the fascist struggle.
"Cooperation across national borders," he wrote recently, "will become increasingly important for progress — and perhaps even for survival — in the future."
In his own publication, Pierce also quotes approvingly from AmeriKKKa: The Ku Klux Klan and the Ultraright in the U.S.A., a book by Roger Martin that just recently became available in German bookstores.
"Pierce has decided to concentrate all his efforts on the development of competent cadres and on the expansion into Europe," Pierce quotes Martin as writing. The Alliance "is indisputably the richest and most influential neo-Nazi organization in the United States and in Europe at this time."
Golden Dawn of Internationalism
Consider the curious scene outside the nightclub in Thessalonica, Greece's second largest city, last October, where attack dogs strained at their leashes just a few feet away from signs marking the event inside: "Greek Coordination of Touring Groups."
If this was a gathering of tourist officials, it was a different kind of tourism indeed. As the Greek press realized only four days after it had ended, those inside weren't figuring out how to market cheap package tours to the Aegean islands.
Instead, the gathering of 150 people from 10 countries was busy planning for international fascist revolution. Amidst swastikas and sieg-heil salutes, these men and women — including a relative of Adolf Hitler — had gathered secretly to hear a keynote speech from Dr. William Pierce.
Pierce represented the only American group to be invited to the meeting, which was hosted by the ultranationalist Greek group Golden Dawn. But it drew fascists from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and South Africa, some of whom have made their own efforts to infiltrate mainstream European parties.
After the Thessalonica meeting, Pierce traveled to Augsburg, Germany, to meet with French and German white nationalists — his second 1998 visit to that country, he says, despite the fact that he has been banned there because of his neo-Nazi publications.
His most important political ally in Germany has been the extreme right-wing National Democratic Party (NDP), which claims to have 6,000 members.
Last April, the NDP sent Alexander von Webenau, who specializes in youth recruitment, to visit the Alliance for a week. While there, Webenau spoke to some 60 members of the Alliance's elite who had gathered for an invitation-only conference. Pierce returned the favor, publishing an interview with NDP official Udo Voigt.
Hungary, the country in which Pierce has found two brides, in part through local neo-Nazi contacts, is another important European connection for the Alliance. Pierce is very close to Istvan Csurka and Isabella Kiraly, two former members of the Hungarian Democratic Forum who were expelled because of their anti-Semitism.
Kiraly, a former member of the Hungarian parliament and currently a patroness to the Hungarian Skinheads, dedicates herself to the political education of neo-Nazi Hungarian youth.
Using 'Suits' to Hook Recruits
In Britain, Pierce already has had a real impact.
Before Pierce's writings became popular, Lowles says, interracial marriages were not an issue to British radical rightists. But Pierce's attacks on "mongrelization" — spelled out in Hunter, which depicts the assassination of mixed-race couples — caught on quickly.
In 1993, the deputy leader of the extreme right-wing British National Party and three other party members attacked an interracial couple with a bottle in a London pub. Alliance stickers attacking "mongrelization" also have appeared around the capital city.
In the 1980s, Pierce had a chapter in England run by Steven Brady, who is from Northern Ireland and had links there to Protestant paramilitary groups.
But in the next decade, Brady moved into the Conservative Party. In 1993, he visited Pierce in the company of Mark Cotterill (see Sharks In The Mainstream). To Lowles, the influence of such men on mainstream parties is more of a concern than openly neo-Nazi groups.
"In many ways, they are more dangerous now because they have gone into suits. People like Mark Cotterill, for example, are more sophisticated in how they do things and take advantage of opportunities without resorting to terrorism," Lowles said.
This is a point not lost on Pierce. Although he has sought to recruit in academia, the armed forces and among other "elites" for years, he is now stepping up his efforts.
The men and women he is seeking, Pierce explained in his membership manual years ago, are "those who recognize the social, political, and demographic changes which have taken place in America since the Second World War as degenerative... . If these people can be made to see beyond the symptoms of the decay they oppose and understand its fundamental causes — if they can be radicalized — they can be recruited."