William L Pierce

William L Pierce
William L Pierce

An arch racial conspiracy theorist as well as a white supremacist leader and publisher, William Pierce is most widely known for his novel The Turner Diaries. The novel, like most of Pierce’s writings, depicts a racial revolution to overcome a national, multicultural conspiracy against Anglo-Saxon Americans in the late twentieth century.

The Turner Diaries generally had an underground existence as a magazine serial among many white supremacist movements until its publication as a book in 1978, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation denounced it as the most dangerous book in the United States.

Pierce’s pseudonymous novel became notorious, however, when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building in April 1995, killing 168 people in an enactment of one of the novel’s key scenes. An excerpt from The Turner Diaries was found with McVeigh at the time of his arrest and has since propelled Pierce’s name as well as his organization, National Alliance, into the mainstream media.

Pierce justifies his extremist writings with a conspiracy theorist’s fear of ethnic diversity; in his writing, the liberal conspiracy to pollute the United States with multiculturalism represents the end of the white race. Ironically, Pierce’s work depicts and even exhorts a conspiracy of its own: the targeting and killing of those who represent or support racial diversity in the United States.

While his fiction depicts the political strife of war in an imagined social transition from a multicultural to a white United States, Pierce also expresses his extremist politics through other political modes such as Libertarian and militia ideologies.

Pierce’s incendiary rhetoric has been effective with some of his readers; The Turner Diaries is known to have inspired other crimes. In the early 1980s, a group named for The Turner Diaries’ highest echelon of resistance fighters (the Order) committed murder, robbery, and counterfeiting, and bombed a synagogue in Colorado.

In the early 1990s, a group calling itself the Aryan Republican Army committed bank robberies and bombings across the Midwest. Later in the 1990s, members of the New Order in St. Louis were arrested for plotting to bomb the Anti-Defamation League’s New York headquarters, the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

Although Pierce denies the influence of The Turner Diaries or any other of his many publications and broadcasts in inspiring violent acts, he has a history of generating conspiracy rhetoric that exhorts those who would seek a white United States to take action.

Pierce has been active in right-wing extremist movements since the 1960s. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, 11 September 1933, he holds a B.Sc. from Rice University (1955), and an M.A. (1958) and a Ph.D. (1962) in physics from the University of Colorado. Pierce was an assistant professor of physics at Oregon State University from 1962 to 1965.

He then became a senior research scientist at the Advanced Materials Research Development Laboratory of United Aircraft’s Pratt and Whitney Division in 1965–1966. During this time he was involved with the John Birch Society. By 1966, Pierce left his employment and the John Birch Society for full-time neo-Nazi activism with the American Nazi Party, run by George Lincoln Rockwell.

There, he edited the National Socialist World, a quarterly journal for academics and intellectuals. When Rockwell was assassinated in 1967, Pierce became one of the leaders of the National Socialist White People’s Party, which succeeded the American Nazi Party.

By 1970, Pierce left the National Socialist White People’s Party to join the National Youth Alliance, a far-right political group whose aim was to disrupt liberal causes on college campuses. Infighting between Pierce and the Nazi Youth Party’s founder, Willis Carto, split the group into factions. Pierce’s wing came to be known as the National Alliance, a group he has run since 1974.

Pierce relocated the National Alliance from Arlington, Virginia, to a 346-acre farm in Mill Point, West Virginia. In many ways, Pierce is the National Alliance; he runs all aspects of the organization and writes most of and entirely oversees all its media. Pierce edits and writes for its magazine, National Vanguard (originally Attack!), and an internal newsletter, National Alliance Bulletin (formerly titled Action), as well as Resistancemagazine.

He also oversees several businesses as part of the National Alliance: National Vanguard Books, Resistance Records, and Cymaphane Records. Additionally, Pierce broadcasts a weekly radio program, American Dissident Voices on AM/FM and shortwave radio and writes articles for Free Speech, the program’s newsletter.

The National Alliance aims to become the world’s largest umbrella organization for white supremacy and is well on its way to meeting that goal. Domestically, Pierce created affiliations with the antigovernment Patriot movement during its rise in the 1990s.

A decade later, he reached out to neo-Nazi youth groups, once again, through his record labels. With chapters in twenty-three states and a web page that is translatable into eight languages, the National Alliance has become well established.

The use of technology has driven Pierce’s outreach efforts and allows for unique associations: in 2002, a large excerpt from one of his radio speeches, downloaded to a National Alliance listserv, ended up on a Hezbollah website two weeks later. The National Alliance provides a range of literature, radio, and music targeting both general and specific audiences that disseminate white supremacist conspiracy theories.

Specifically, Pierce’s work describes a national crisis for white racial purism—a conspiracy of multiculturalism—and urges political activism and the recruitment of new members to build a political movement.

However, National Alliance’s ideology frequently describes force as the means to this reclamation of a white ancestry and a commitment to building a white nation. Pierce’s fiction, written under the name Andrew Macdonald, depicts con- spiracy theorists reacting to a perceived conspiracy of racial treason.

Largely critical of Jewish media and business in the United States, these novels also focus on miscegenation and other racial “pollution” of the Anglo-Saxon bloodline. In these imagined scenarios, race patriots intend to provoke a racial war that will allow for armed rebellion and the creation of a white nation.

In The Turner Diaries, the United States is represented as severely intolerant of a specific “racism”—defined as acts perpetrated by whites against people of color—and has created a climate in which white people are under scrutiny for racist transgressions while people of color exploit the situation. The seemingly liberal government extends its oppressive influence with a law that repeals the Second Amendment right to own firearms.

The consequent insurrection—which eventually becomes a global race war—is chronicled by one of its unassuming heroes, Earl Turner, whose fellow patriotic, militant white supremacists have prepared to fight “the System’s” despotism. Turner’s diary describes his experiences as he organizes small resistance cells and goes about the daily labor of domestic terrorism in the conspiracy to overthrow the government.

Some of the novel’s major scenes include a mortar attack on Washington, D.C., and a truck bombing of FBI headquarters (which McVeigh borrowed for his terrorism in Oklahoma City). One of the most graphic scenes is “the Day of the Rope,” in which the group publicly hangs tens of thousands of race traitors with placards describing their treason.

Turner’s heroic acts lead to his induction into the group’s inner circle (the Order)—a transcendence that concludes with Turner’s suicide mission and subsequent martyrdom as the group’s savior. By the novel’s end, the New Era of white dominance has overcome the racial conspiracy.

Pierce’s second novel, Hunter, published in 1989, reaches out to a different readership, moving away from the working-class emphasis of The Turner Diaries and focusing on a highly educated audience. The conspiracy of multiculturalism is the same, but the focus is the Jewish-owned media’s social role.

Protagonist Oscar Yeager is a talented engineer who, although highly educated and extremely rational, is being uncharacteristically reactionary—literally hunting black and white “miscegenating” couples in his disgust about the decline of the race.

Unlike Turner, however, Yeager seeks a deeper, intellectual contextualization of his white supremacism as well as a solution that speaks to the social ambiguities he perceives. Hunter chronicles Yeager’s hunt for a philosophy, his subsequent education about the Jewish media conspiracy, and his own answer to the racial conspiracy of a multicultural United States.

In the novel’s solution, Yeager becomes a media mogul who educates the U.S. public about white supremacism with a fundamentalist television preacher and deposes the Jewish media monopoly by gaining the largest market share of the viewing audience.

The novel depicts Yeager’s media counterconspiracy as a success both in reaching white America and beginning the transition to a racially pure nation with less large-scale bloodshed but, rather, key behind-the-scene assassinations at high levels.

In addition to his two novels, Pierce published Serpent’s Walk, another racial conspiracy text, in 1991, under the name Randolph D. Calverhall, and has two other books published with National Vanguard Books: The Best of Attack! and National Vanguard Tabloid (1984) and Gun Control in Germany, 1928–1945 (1994).

Pierce’s organization has reached out to other spheres of influence: from the purchase of AT&T stock in order to use the share-holder meetings as a platform for antisemitic speech, to the targeting of youth markets in his newest ventures.

The most diverse products in his catalog include the 1993 comic title, New World Order Comix #1, The Saga of ... White Will! and a computer game depicting a virtual race war: “Ethnic Cleansing: The Game!” In 1999, Pierce became involved in the music industry through white power music labels Resistance and Cymophane Records.

Pierce finds conspiracy everywhere he looks: organizations working against hate-speech have targeted Pierce’s various businesses and have worked to discredit his tax-exempt status (through his Church of the Creator organization) as well as to direct attention toward his enterprise.

In 1996, the Southern Poverty Law Center won an $85,000 judgment against Pierce for his role in an effort to keep Church of the Creator assets from the family of a murdered member, Harold Mansfield. Pierce continues to refer to these groups as part of the conspiracy against white values and white supremacism, just as he continues to find ways to bring his extremist politics to mainstream media.