William Pierce, founder and leader of National Alliance, dead at 68
Posted: July 24, 2004
Pierce, a fixture among the white supremacist fringe in the United States since his involvement with George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party in the 1960s, died suddenly from cancer on July 23, 2002. He was 68. His death will fundamentally, and probably adversely, affect the National Alliance, which centered on his personality.
Until his death, Pierce continued to focus on the subjects that had preoccupied him since his early involvement in white supremacist circles. He wanted to eradicate what he saw as Jewish control of the media and government and to create a whites-only homeland in the U.S. and Europe. The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon fueled his 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 powerful Jews.
Following Israeli military actions in the Palestinian territories, Pierce also tried to co-opt the Palestinian cause by staging National Alliance rallies at the Israel embassy in Washington, D.C., protesting Israel's occupation of the territories and its treatment of the Palestinians. These public rallies, which grew in size over time and brought together various white supremacist groups, attracted attention and recruits. Pierce also considered growing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments in the Arab/Muslim world and in Europe to be a sign that world opinion was moving closer to his views. In fact, some of Pierce's ADV speeches were reprinted in Muslim publications and on Web sites (including the Web site of the radical Islamic group, Hezbollah) both in the U.S. and in the Middle East.
In addition to promoting his anti-Semitic and anti-Israel agendas, Pierce continued to focus on expanding both his business ventures and the National Alliance's recruiting efforts. In the fall of 2001, Resistance Records, his white power music company, absorbed Vinland Records (the U.S. subsidiary of Nordland Records, a Swedish white power music company bought by Pierce in 1999). Pierce also created or bought other white power record labels to keep expanding his music business. The NA also branched into the video game business by producing a virulently racist and anti-Semitic game called "Ethnic Cleansing." Pierce said that he created the game to "raise the racial consciousness of the White kids who play it." As he had done with white power music, Pierce sought to appeal to young people by using a medium to which they were already drawn.
Pierce's other recruiting efforts included a 51- minute Internet video and, most recently, forming an anti-globalization group - the Anti-Globalization Action Network - to protest at the G8 summit in Canada in June 2002. AGAN was a thinly veiled effort to convince young activists in the anti-globalization movement that the NA shared their anti-capitalist and anti-establishment views.
Pierce's death may have widespread ramifications. While his writings such as The Turner Diaries will likely live on and may continue to influence people to commit violent acts, other Pierce creations face a more uncertain future. Perhaps most important is the fate of 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. The National Alliance membership may also become a target of recruitment for other extremist groups attempting to capitalize on Pierce's death.