The National Alliance After the Death of William Pierce: What Next?
Posted: July 29, 2002
The National Alliance (NA) suffered a huge blow on July 23, 2002, when the group's leader, William Pierce, died unexpectedly from cancer at the age of 68. Until his death, Pierce continued to focus on the subjects that had preoccupied him since he became active in white supremacist circles in the 1960s: eradicating what he saw as Jewish control of the media and government and creating a whites-only homeland in the U.S. and Europe. Pierce's goal was to build up the National Alliance so that it could spark a "white revolution" in the U.S.
The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon fueled Pierce's belief that Jewish influence led to the destruction of white America's values and culture. He hoped to capitalize on post-September 11 anger and uncertainty by fixing blame for the attacks and the loss of American lives on the U.S. government's support for Israel - support he claimed was controlled by prominent Jews.
Since the attack, NA members, taking cues from Pierce's anti-Israel radio broadcasts, have protested Israeli actions on several occasions outside that country's embassy in Washington, D.C. The group has invited other white supremacists to join the protests, and each rally has been bigger than those before it.
Additionally, the NA has invited racist skinheads to the rallies to raise the turnout, and it alerts anti-racist groups ahead of time in the hopes of creating confrontations that will generate publicity (a plan that has worked on some occasions). Billy Roper, Deputy Membership Coordinator of the NA, has played the leading role in organizing these events - whose public nature mark something of a new style for the group - and in creating alliances with other groups, particularly racist skinheads and the World Church of the Creator.
Protest in York
The anti-Israel cause is not the only issue around which the NA has rallied. In January 2002, the group co-sponsored a rally with the WCOTC in York, Pennsylvania, in reaction to the arrest last year of the mayor of the town, who had been charges with murdering a black woman during the city's 1969 race riots. At the time, it seemed that the two groups had formed an official alliance with each other since they were displaying unprecedented cooperation and co-sponsoring events. However, the violent confrontation at the York rally between the white supremacists and the anti-racists brought more media attention to the WCOTC than the NA. In an NA membership bulletin, Pierce angrily stated that he would not allow his group to unite with weaker or defective organizations. Although Pierce's statement alienated a number of people in other groups, NA and WCOTC members continue to work together on a local level and the NA appears to want to work with other groups as long as the NA maintains hegemony.
In addition to adopting the Palestinian cause, the group recently began trying to infiltrate the anti-globalization movement, forming the Anti-Globalism Action Network in June 2002. The NA believes it can convince young anti-globalization activists that it shares their anti-capitalist, anti-government views and should therefore be viewed as an ally.
This appropriation of progressive causes is just one of the group's many recruiting efforts. Others include using Resistance, the white power music company owned by Pierce, to promote more concerts, particularly after rallies (adding incentive to attend); national literature distributions; numerous press releases; billboards touting NA ideology and the group's Web address; distribution of a 51-minute recruitment CD, which is also featured on the Internet; and selling a violent racist and anti-Semitic video game called "Ethnic Cleansing," which is geared toward teenagers.
Moreover, the NA, proficient with cutting-edge technologies, has revamped its Web site, adding flash and video game clips to attract new followers.
Pierce's death may have widespread ramifications on the National Alliance, which may not survive his death. Although it was well organized, Pierce played a crucial role in its operations and his absence may prove fatal. Even if the group survives, it may split into two or more factions as different National Alliance personalities attempt to assume the mantle of leadership.