Dr. William Luther Pierce, 1933-2002
by Victor Gerhard
July 23, 2002
Dr. William Pierce, America's most famous and influential pro-White activist, writer and organizer died July 23, 2002, at about 12:00 noon of cancer at his mountaintop home in Mill Point, W.V.
Pierce, leader of the National Alliance, the largest National Socialist-influenced organization in the U.S., was diagnosed with cancer near the beginning of July 2002. Pierce was hospitalized briefly in Lewisburg, W.V., then for somewhat longer in Beckley, W.V. An operation and initial treatment gave some hope of a recovery and he therefore requested that his condition be kept strictly confidential. The national office staff members complied admirably with their leader's difficult request.
However, after this brief moment of hope it became clear the cancer had progressed too far. Advised that intense treatment including kidney dialysis could possibly prolong his life but not stave off the inevitable and that such treatment would probably render him unable to work, Pierce instead characteristically chose to return to his home located at the National Alliance headquarters on July 20th to finalize his plans for the future of the organization and its members and to ensure an orderly succession of power.
Author of the famous incendiary novel of America's future, the Turner Diaries, Pierce also wrote the novel Hunter; both were written under the pen name Andrew Macdonald - a nod to his Scottish heritage. By itself the Turner Diaries probably recruited more people to the cause of White racialism than any other publication, person, organization or event.
Pierce was born in 1933 in Atlanta, Georgia. His early years were spent mainly in the South, especially Texas, where he attended a military school for a short time. His first love from his early years was science. He was experimenting with chemistry and other sciences in his parents' garage and basement when he was just a boy. He continued his own experiments in his private workshop almost until his death.
Pierce went on to be awarded a masters and a doctorate in physics from the University of Colorado, after earning an undergraduate degree at Rice University and briefly taking graduate classes at Cal Tech. Pierce later described his almost total immersion in his experiments for his degrees; he spent days in the laboratories, sleeping next to the table where he was working. Pierce then taught physics at Oregon State University from 1962-1966, where he attained tenure in less than three years, about twice as fast as usual.
During his time at Oregon State Pierce began becoming racially and politically aware after previously being almost totally unaware of politics and current events. Briefly he joined the John Birch Society. As his politics quickly became more radical he stopped teaching and began reading heavily about politics, European History, race differences, and other related matters. He considered writing his own book about what he had discovered then found to his amazement that such books had been written years before with no lasting effect on the public or elite. This caused him to begin searching for another way to stop the destruction of the White race.
About this time, in late 1966, Pierce wrote a long letter to a man he felt was doing the most to advance the cause of White Americans - American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell. Rockwell's long gracious letter in return had a life-long effect on Pierce, and not only for its political content. Pierce made a habit of personally answering many of the letters sent to him for the rest of his life, convinced that many people could be brought to the cause of White Nationalism with such personal attention to their inquires.
Pierce moved to Washington, D.C., that same year and while never officially joining the ANP he worked closely with Rockwell on many projects such as editing and writing for the Party publication the National Socialist World. Pierce also worked in the print shop for the ANP and quite quickly gained knowledge of the printing business that would be of great use in the future. It was at the print shop that he first met another Rockwell associate -- a man he instantly disliked -- the man who eventually was kicked out of the ANP and returned to assassinate Rockwell.
Most important of all Pierce spent many hours in Rockwell's personal office watching and listening to Rockwell handle the running of his organization. This experience would also prove very valuable for the future.
After Rockwell's assassination in 1967 Pierce became one of the leaders of the new National Socialist White People's Party, the successor to the ANP. In 1970 he left the NSWP and joined the National Youth Alliance, which had metamorphosed out of the Youth for Wallace campaign organization started by Willis Carto. Several other ANP members also joined. Ongoing problems with Carto led the NYA to split into factions. By 1974 Pierce led the new faction now called the National Alliance, headquartered in D.C. This organization and its ideology continue almost unchanged as today's National Alliance.
In the early years of the NA Pierce attempted to answer the spiritual questions and yearnings of members by starting the Cosmotheist Church, a religion sharing the philosophy of the NA and stressing the unity of man with nature, and the value and spiritual and biological continuity of the White Race. Contrary to many criticisms of the Cosmotheist Church by the mainstream press and Jewish militant organizations as merely a tax-dodge, Pierce and his followers were very serious about the new religion and its philosophy; in fact for a time separate meetings were held by regular NA members and by those more interested in Cosmotheism.
The National Alliance quickly began publishing a magazine for sale to the general public called 'Attack!' After it was clear that the street-fighting and other disruptions of the '60's were over, Pierce declared a change of tactics, but not strategy, and renamed the magazine 'National Vanguard.' NV was a more sophisticated magazine, designed to appeal to the professionals and others that Pierce felt were needed to build a revolutionary organization. It was in Attack! and the early National Vanguard that Pierce laid down the ideological basis for the Alliance; an ideology that has stood the test of time and had much to do with the Alliance's subsequent long-term success. The pertinent articles are available from National Vanguard Books in The Best of Attack! and National Vanguard.
In 1985, Pierce moved the Alliance from Washington to a 400-acre parcel of land in Mill Point, West Virginia, near Hillsboro. In one of the most isolated, mountainous and unpopulated regions east of the Mississippi the Alliance was free to grow without the interference of the local, state or federal governments. This move showed great foresight on the part of Pierce. Where almost every other pro-White organization has suffered some type of attack by governments and lawyers the Alliance has been unusually free of such hindrances.
Pierce and the NA began a large number of ambitious projects designed to spread their message, attract new members and raise money to fund their work. Most projects were an ingenious combination of outreach and fundraising. National Vanguard Books, Inc. was started while still in D.C. to sell a wide variety of books important to White activists and scholars. In West Virginia NVB grew very quickly with hundreds of titles, a yearly catalog and ever-increasing sales that required the building of a new warehouse.
Pierce also began a weekly broadcast called American Dissident Voices. At first a number of people, most notably Kevin Strom, wrote and broadcast the half-hour addresses but eventually the task fell solely to Pierce. The Alliance arranged contracts with a large number of AM and FM stations and also broadcast on Short-Wave radio. However, the ADV address is now mainly a product of the Internet and tens of thousands of people each week either read or listen to it on the Internet or receive it in the mail as the publication 'Free Speech.'
Membership in the Alliance grew rapidly in the 1990s. There are currently members in every State and in every part of the world where Whites live. The growth led to the creation of local units that could engage in Alliance activity as a group. Some regional coordinators were also appointed but generally Pierce felt that level of organization was not yet necessary.
Pierce began holding twice-yearly leadership conferences to find new leaders and spur growth and activities. The Alliance became known for its professional approach to White activism, for energetic recruiting and innovative ways of spreading the Alliance message.
In 1999 Pierce and the Alliance purchased the assets of Resistance Records, a White Power music producer and distributor. Soon after Pierce also oversaw the purchase of the assets of Nordland Records, further increasing the size of the new Resistance Records, LLC. With the recent sales of the video game 'Ethnic Cleansing,' Resistance has captured the market for disaffected White youths and earned significant money and new recruits for the Alliance.
The Alliance, National Vanguard Books and Resistance Records gained an early and vitally important Internet presence, at http://www.natall.com, http://www.natvan.com, and http://www.resistance.com. While Pierce himself never became Internet savvy (eye problems severely hampered his use of computer screens), or knew much about youth-market White Power music, he ably delegated these tasks to staff members and off-site Alliance members to keep the Alliance up to date technologically.
Pierce also during this time solidified ties with other large pro-White groups in Europe, most notably the British National Party and the NPD in Germany.
Pierce's strong leadership style and strict enforcement of rules helped the Alliance grow without the internal strife that eventually tears apart almost every other pro-White organization. His leadership abilities, communication abilities, vision, unending personal commitment and intelligence were the primary source of the group's ability, strength and influence.
Pierce had always attracted national media attention and did interviews with media outlets in America and around the world. One year ago a very even-handed book about Pierce was written by Professor Robert S. Griffin called The Fame of a Dead Man's Deeds: An Up-Close Portrait of White Nationalist William Pierce. The book is currently available at Amazon.com among other places and is the most informative and exhaustive book or article ever written about Pierce.
In the few months before his diagnosis Pierce and others noticed he was somewhat thinner and more drawn than usual. Pierce had also mentioned feeling far more tired than he had in the past. But his mind was as sharp as ever and with the Alliance busier than ever Pierce continued with his usual workload -- 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week -- at his office in the Alliance headquarters complex.
Pierce never had much faith or trust in medical doctors and until the cancer diagnosis had almost always been in excellent health. Pierce's mother had lived into her eighties and most of those who knew Pierce expected him to be leading the Alliance for at least that long. His death therefore came as a shock to all concerned.
National Office staffers and a few key Alliance members such as Resistance Records CEO Erik Gliebe are already at the National Office to begin the hard task of running the Alliance without its founder and only leader.
The Alliance will continue, but the next few months may be the most difficult and crucial in its history. If it is able to survive Pierce's death it can survive any other future problems. At this point it is a question of whether the membership and other concerned Whites will continue to support a National Alliance without William Pierce.