William Luther Pierce
|William Luther Pierce|
|Born||William Luther Pierce III
September 11, 1933
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
|Died||July 23, 2002
Mill Point, Pocahontas County, West Virginia, U.S.
|Residence||Hillsboro, West Virginia|
|Alma mater||Rice University (B.A.)
University of Colorado at Boulder (M.Sc.)
University of Colorado at Boulder (Ph.D)
|Occupation||Professor of Physics at Oregon State University|
|Notable work||The Turner Diaries
|Height||193 cm (6 ft 4 in)|
|Religion||Cosmotheism (formerly Presbyterianism, Atheism)|
|Parent(s)||William Luther Pierce, Jr
William Luther Pierce III (September 11, 1933 – July 23, 2002) was a prominent American white nationalist and political activist. He was one of the most influential ideologues of the white nationalist movement for some 30 years before his death. A physicist by profession, he was also an author under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald of the novels The Turner Diaries and Hunter. Pierce founded the National Alliance, a major White nationalist organization, which he led for almost thirty years.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, to a Presbyterian family of Scots-Irish and English descent, Pierce was descended from the aristocracy of the Old South, descendant of Thomas H. Watts, the Governor of Alabama and Attorney General of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. As a child, Pierce did well academically, graduating from high school in 1952. He received a baccalaureate in physics from Rice University in 1955, earned a doctorate from University of Colorado at Boulder in 1962, and became an assistant professor of physics at the Oregon State University in 1962, where he joined the anti-communist John Birch Society. In 1965, in order to finance his political ambitions, he left his tenure at Oregon State University and became a senior researcher for the aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1966 Pierce moved to the Washington, D.C. area and became an associate of George Lincoln Rockwell, who was assassinated in 1967, after which Pierce became co-leader of the National Youth Alliance, which split in 1974, with Pierce founding the National Alliance.
Pierce intended the National Alliance to be a political vanguard that would ultimately bring about a white nationalist revolution in the United States. In 1978, Pierce wrote, under the pseudonym "Andrew Macdonald", the novel The Turner Diaries, which depicts a violent revolution in the United States which leads to the overthrow of the United States federal government. In 1984, he wrote another novel, Hunter which portrays the actions of a Vietnam veteran F-4 Phantom II pilot and Washington, D.C.-area Defense Department consultant who embarks on a plan to assassinate interracial couples and liberal journalists, politicians and bureaucrats in the D.C. area. In 1985, Pierce relocated the headquarters of the National Alliance to Hillsboro, West Virginia, where he founded the Cosmotheist Community Church to receive tax exemption for his organization. Pierce spent the rest of his life in West Virginia hosting a weekly radio show, American Dissident Voices, publishing the internal newsletter National Alliance Bulletin (formerly called Action), and overseeing his publications, National Vanguard Magazine (originally titled Attack!), Free Speech and Resistance, as well as books published by his publishing firm National Vanguard Books, Inc. and music produced by his record company, Resistance Records.
In 2002, Pierce suddenly died of cancer. At the time, the National Alliance was bringing in more than $1 million a year, with more than 1,500 members and a paid national staff of 17 full-time officials, and was better known than at any time in its history, after which it entered a period of internal conflict and decline. His works however continue to enjoy a notable audience.
Early life and education
William Luther Pierce III was born on September 11, 1933, to a Presbyterian family of English and Scotch-Irish descent in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of William Luther Pierce, Jr. and Marguerite Farrell. Pierce's younger brother, Sanders, an engineer, was born in 1936, and later assisted Pierce in his political activities. His father was born in Christiansburg, Virginia in 1892. His mother was born in Richland, Georgia in 1910, with her family being part of the aristocracy of the Old South, descendants of Thomas H. Watts, the Governor of Alabama and Attorney General of the Confederate States of America. After the American Civil War, the family lived a working-class existence. Pierce's father once served as a government representative on ocean-going cargo ships and sent reports back to Washington, D.C.; he later became manager of an insurance agency but was killed in a car accident in 1942. After the elder Pierce’s death, the family moved to Montgomery, Alabama and then to Dallas, Texas.
Pierce performed well academically in school, skipping one grade. His last two years in high school were spent in a military academy. As a teenager his hobbies and interests were model rockets, chemistry, radios, electronics, and reading science fiction. His first aspiration was to become an astronaut.
After finishing military school in 1951, Pierce worked briefly in an oil field as a roustabout. He was injured when a four-inch (10 cm) pipe fell on his hand, and he spent the rest of that summer working as a shoe salesman. Pierce earned a scholarship to attend Rice University in Houston, Texas. He was graduated from Rice in 1955 with a baccalaureate in physics. He worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory before attending graduate school, first at Caltech and then the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, where he earned his doctorate in 1962. He taught physics as an assistant professor at Oregon State University from 1962 to 1965.
Early political activities
His tenure as assistant professor at Oregon State University (1962–1965) coincided with the rise of two social movements, the civil rights and the Anti-Vietnam War movement, which he regarded as Jewish-led, communist-inspired, and a threat to European Americans. He was briefly a member of the anti-communist John Birch Society in 1962, but eventually resigned. In 1965, in order to finance his political ambitions, Pierce left his tenure at Oregon State University and relocated to North Haven, Connecticut, to work as a senior researcher at the Advanced Materials Research and Development Laboratory of aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney. In 1966, moved to the Washington, D.C. and became an associate of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party. During this time he was the editor of the party's ideological journal, National Socialist World. When Rockwell was assassinated in 1967, Pierce became one of the leading members of the National Socialist White People's Party, the successor to the ANP. In 1968, Pierce left the NSWPP and joined Youth for Wallace, an organization supporting former Governor of Alabama George Wallace's bid for the presidency. In 1970, along with Willis Carto, he reconfigured Youth for Wallace into the National Youth Alliance. By 1971, Pierce and Carto were openly feuding. Ongoing disagreements caused the NYA to split, and by 1974 Pierce's wing became known as the National Alliance. Among the founding members of the board of the National Alliance was professor of classics at the University of Illinois Revilo P. Oliver, who was to have major impact of Pierce's life both as an adviser and friend.
The National Alliance was organized in 1974. Pierce intended the organization to be a political vanguard that would ultimately bring about a White nationalist overthrow of the United States Federal Government. Pierce spent the rest of his life living in West Virginia, where he hosted a weekly radio show, American Dissident Voices, the internal newsletter National Alliance Bulletin (formerly called Action), and oversaw his publications, National Vanguard Magazine (originally titled Attack!), Free Speech and Resistance, as well as books published by his publishing firm National Vanguard Books, Inc. (many of which promoted Holocaust denial) and his record company, Resistance Records.
In 1978, claiming that the National Alliance was an educational organization, Pierce applied for, and was denied, tax exemption by the Internal Revenue Service. Pierce appealed, but an appellate court upheld the I.R.S. decision. Around the same time, he was interviewed by Herbert Poinsett on Race and Reason, a public-access television cable TV talk show.
An anti-Zionist, he attempted during the Yom Kippur War to force McDonnell-Douglas into canceling military contracts that sent armaments to Israel, by buying shares of the company's stock and putting forward the motion at the national shareholder's meeting. The company rejected the motion and continued supplying Israel with weapons. Some of Pierce's later speeches on American Dissident Voices concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict were reprinted in Muslim publications and on websites, including that of the Lebanese Shia Islamist group Hezbollah.
In 1985, Pierce moved his operations from Arlington, Virginia, to a 346-acre (1.40 km2) location in Mill Point, West Virginia that he paid for with $95,000 in cash. Here, he founded the Cosmotheist Community Church, in what may have been a last-ditch effort on to avoid paying taxes. In 1986, the church applied again, this time successfully, for federal, state, and local tax exemptions, however lost its state tax exemption for all but 60 (out of nearly 400) acres, which had to be exclusively used for religious purposes. The other 286 acres (1.16 km2) were used for both the National Alliance headquarters and the National Vanguard Books business and warehouse, and were denied tax exemption.
In 1990, the documentary series Different Drummer produced a portrait of Pierce, which was aired on PBS. He later participated twice on a public-access television cable TV live talk show hosted by Ron Doggett, "Race and Reality," aired from Richmond, Virginia. On May 19, 1996, Pierce made a rare personal appearance in the mainstream media, on 60 Minutes, during which Pierce was asked by Mike Wallace if he approved of the Oklahoma City bombing, and he replied "No. No, I don't. I've said that over and over again, that I do not approve of the Oklahoma City bombing because the United States is not yet in a revolutionary situation". Pierce was frequently designated as a neo-nazi by anti-racist organizations and the mainstream media, although he strongly rejected this label. When confronted with issue by Mike Wallace on 60 minutes, Pierce described the term as a "slander", while stating "I admire many things that Hitler wrote, many of the programs and policies that he instituted in Germany, but we do not blindly copy anyone else's policies or programs. We've formulated our own program in view of the situation that we face here in America today." In 1998, Pierce also appeared in a documentary by Discovery Channel on white nationalism in the United States. As the leader of the National Alliance, Pierce established contacts with other Nationalist groups in Europe, including the National Democratic Party of Germany and the Greek party Golden Dawn. Pierce's other recruiting efforts included a 51 minute informational video titled America is a Changing Country, and forming an anti-globalization group - the Anti-Globalization Action Network - to protest at the G8 summit in Canada in June 2002.
Pierce was thrust back into a national and even international spotlight after the 9/11 terror attacks (which had some general similiarites with the terror attacks that were a central part of Pierce's novels), when he expressed admiration for the Al-Qaeda members (a view that mirrored many neo-Nazi responses to the attacks) and expressed his happiness at what he referred to as the "Anti-Zionism of the Gentile Left" and belief that such groups and the NA could be allies against Israel even if they didn't agree on anything else. However, in 2002 Pierce suddenly died of cancer. At the time, the National Alliance was bringing in more than $1 million a year, with more than 1,500 members, a paid national staff of 17 full-time officials, and was better known than at any time in its history, after which it entered a period of internal conflict and decline. His works however continue to attract some readers. His last public speech was made in Cleveland, Ohio on April 28, 2002.
Before Pierce died, he allowed Robert S. Griffin, a tenured professor of education at the University of Vermont, to live with him for a month, with the result being the self-published work The Fame of a Dead Man's Deeds (2001). The book was named after Pierce's favourite quote, an Old Norse proverb from the Hávamál in the Poetic Edda:
The Turner Diaries
Pierce gained national public attention following the Oklahoma City bombing, as Timothy McVeigh was alleged to have been influenced by The Turner Diaries (1978), the novel written by Pierce under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald. The book is a graphically violent depiction of a future race war in the United States, which includes a detailed description of the mass hangings- "the Day of the Rope"- of many "race traitors" (especially Jews, gay people, and those in interracial marriages or relationships) in the public streets of Los Angeles, followed by the systematic ethnic cleansing of the entire city. This violence and killing is called "Terrible yet Absolutely Necessary". The story is told through the perspective of Earl Turner, an active member of the white revolutionary underground The Organization.
The part most relevant to the McVeigh case is in an early chapter, when the book's main character is placed in charge of bombing the FBI headquarters. Some have pointed out similarities between the bombing in the book and the actual bombing in Oklahoma City that damaged the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and killed 168 people on April 19, 1995. McVeigh personally stated that his attack was in response to the Waco massacre and the Ruby Ridge tragedy.
The Turner Diaries also inspired a group of white revolutionary nationalists in the early 1980s who called themselves the Silent Brotherhood, or sometimes simply The Order. The Order were an off shoot of the Aryan Nations. They were tired of being merely "armchair revolutionaries". The Order was connected to numerous crimes, including counterfeiting and bank robbery, and supposedly gave money to the Alliance. The Order's leader, Robert Jay Mathews, died in a stand-off with police and federal agents on Whidbey Island, Washington, when police fired flares into his hideout, igniting a fire. Other Order members, most notably the late David Lane, were all captured and sent to federal prisons, where they still continue to voice their support for white nationalist ideals.
In 1989, again under the Andrew Macdonald pen name, William Pierce published another novel, Hunter, which tells the story of a man named Oscar Yeager, a veteran of the Vietnam War and an F-4 Phantom pilot who assassinate interracial couples and liberal journalists, politicians and bureaucrats in the D.C. area.
In interviews, Pierce called Hunter more realistic, and described his rationale for writing it as taking the reader through "...an educational process".
This book was dedicated to serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, a longtime member of various white nationalist groups who, like Hunter 's protagonist, preyed on interracial couples. Joseph Paul Franklin was executed on November 20, 2013.
Although raised as a Presbyterian, Pierce became an atheist as a teenager. In the 1970s however, Pierce created the religion Cosmotheism, which the Anti-Defamation League suggests was an attempt at avoiding taxes after he failed to obtain tax-exempt status for the National Alliance. The Southern Poverty Law Center refers to it as a "bogus religion".
In effect, Cosmotheism is a form of panentheism, asserting that "all is within God and God is within all." It considers the nature of reality and of existence to be mutable and destined to co-evolve towards a complete "universal consciousness," or godhood. Cosmos means an orderly and harmonious universe and thus the divine is tantamount to reality and consciousness, an inseparable part of an orderly, harmonious, and whole universal system.
In his speech "Our Cause", Pierce said:
All we require is that you share with us a commitment to the simple, but great, truth which I have explained to you here, that you understand that you are a part of the whole, which is the creator, that you understand that your purpose, the purpose of mankind and the purpose of every other part of creation, is the creator's purpose, that this purpose is the never-ending ascent of the path of creation, the path of life symbolized by our life rune, that you understand that this path leads ever upward toward the creator's self-realization, and that the destiny of those who follow this path is godhood.
Pierce described his form of panentheism as being based on "[t]he idea of an evolutionary universe ... with an evolution toward ever higher and higher states of self-consciousness," and his political ideas were centered on racial purity and eugenics as the means of advancing the white race first towards a super race and then towards personal godhood. In his view, the white race represented the pinnacle of human evolution thus far and therefore it should be kept genetically separate from all other races.
Pierce believed in a hierarchical society governed by what he saw as the essential principles of nature, the survival of the fittest. In his view, White people should remain separated from other races and establish a ruled by the most qualified. He thought that extensive programs of "racial cleansing" (mass expulsion) and of eugenics, both in Europe and in North America, would be necessary to achieve this socio-political program.
Pierce married five times. His first marriage was to Patricia Jones, a mathematician whom he met while attending California Institute of Technology. They were married in 1957, and had twin sons, Kelvin and Erik, born in 1960. Kelvin is an aerospace engineer, while Erik is a computer scientist. The marriage ended in divorce in 1982. Pierce remarried that same year to Elizabeth Prostel, whom he met in the National Alliance office in Arlington, Virginia. The marriage ended in 1985, at which time Pierce moved his headquarters to Southern West Virginia. In the headquarters, Pierce acquired a Siamese Cat, Hadley, which stayed with him until his death. In 1986, Pierce married Hungarian Olga Skerlecz, a relative of Iván Skerlecz, Governor of Croatia-Slavonia, and the marriage lasted until 1990. Olga left "for greener pastures in California" after their divorce. Pierce then married another Hungarian woman named Zsuzsannah in early 1991. They met through an advertisement that Pierce placed in a Hungarian women's magazine aimed at arranging international marriages. Zsuzsannah moved to Florida after their divorce in the summer of 1996. His final marriage, which lasted until his death, was to another Hungarian woman, Irena, whom he married in 1997.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: William Luther Pierce|
The following works were published under the pseudonym "Andrew MacDonald":
- Asa Earl Carter, a white supremacist who also wrote novels but under the pseudonym Forrest Carter.
- Griffin 2001, p. 26
- Griffin 2001, p. 396
- Pierce 1976-2002, p. 210
- Griffin 2001, p. 40
- Griffin 2001, p. 41
- Griffin 2001, p. 33
- Griffin 2001, p. 30
- Griffin 2001, p. 36
- Griffin 2001, p. 31
- Griffin 2001, p. 27
- Griffin 2001, p. 28
- Griffin 2001, p. 29
- Griffin 2001, p. 32
- Griffin 2001, p. 34
- "William Pierce Biography". Anti-Defamation League. 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-18.
- "William Pierce Biography". Southern Poverty Law Center. 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-18.
- "Pierce, William L". Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Modern Political Biography. Oxon Helicon Publishing Limited. 2004. p. 604. ISBN 978-1-85986-273-5.
- Griffin 2001, p. 83
- Griffin 2001, p. 128
- William L. Pierce (1976–2002). "William Pierce Audio Archive".
- Race and Reason 1 (Talk show). PBS. 1980s. Retrieved 15 May 2010. Accessed on YouTube.
- "William Pierce, founder and leader of National Alliance, dead at 68". Anti-Defamation League. 2004. Retrieved 2007-07-18.
- "The National Alliance: A History". Anti-Defamation League. 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-18.
- Dr. No? (Documentary). PBS. 1990. Retrieved 15 May 2010. Accessed on YouTube.
- Race and Reality (Talk show). PBS. 1990s. Retrieved 15 May 2010. Accessed on Vimeo.
- Race and Reality (Talk show). PBS. 1990s. Retrieved 15 May 2010. Accessed on Vimeo.
- Dr. William Pierce Interviewed On CBS 60 Minutes (Reportage). CBS. 1996. Retrieved 15 May 2010. Accessed on YouTube.
- Goodman, Walter (May 24, 1996). "Critic's Notebook: For '60 Minutes,' New Dueling Voices". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- "William Pierce, America's Leading Neo-Nazi, Dies". Southern Poverty Law Center. July 24, 2002. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
- Johnston, David Cay (July 24, 2002). "William Pierce, 69, Neo-Nazi Leader, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
- Reed, Christopher (July 25, 2002). "William Pierce". The Guardian. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
- Henry, Schuster (July 24, 2002). "Neo-Nazi leader Pierce dead at 68". CNN. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
- Discovery Channel - William Luther Pierce (Documentary). Discovery Channel. 1998. Retrieved 15 May 2010. Accessed on YouTube.
- America is a Changing Country (Documentary). National Alliance. 2000s. Retrieved 15 May 2010. Accessed on Vimeo.
- "William Pierce, 69, Neo-Nazi Leader, Dies". New York Times. July 24, 2002. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- Last Public Speech of Dr. William Pierce (Speech). National Alliance. April 28, 2002. Retrieved 15 May 2010. Accessed on YouTube.
- British National Party. "Dr. William Pierce - hard talking American patriot, RIP". Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- Griffin 2001, p. 3
- Griffin 2001, p. 262
- Larrington, Carolyne. (Trans.) (1999) The Poetic Edda, page 77. Oxford World's Classics ISBN 0-19-283946-2
- Lyle Stuart, Publisher of Renegade Titles, Dies at 83
- Griffin 2001, p. 39
- Griffin 2001, p. 48
- Griffin, Robert S. (2001). The Fame of a Dead Man's Deeds. National Vanguard Books. ISBN 0-7596-0933-0.
- Pierce, William L. (1976–2002). American Dissident Voices.
- Lee, Martin A. (2002). "Sympathy for the Devil: A Vermont academic writes a fawning biography of America's late neo-Nazi leader". Intelligence Report (Southern Poverty Law Center) (107).
- Swain, Carol M.; Russ Nieli (2003-03-24). Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism in America. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81673-4.
- National Vanguard, a publication of the National Alliance
- American Dissident Voices, a radio show formerly hosted by Pierce
- Pierce's entry at History Commons
- William L. Pierce's FBI files, obtained under the FOIA and hosted at the Internet Archive: