Once America’s Leading Hate Group, the Neo-Nazi National Alliance Now Considered 'a Joke'
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
Last year, a balding, 46-year-old man slipped quietly into the men’s rooms of three Orlando, Fla., area biker bars, where he warily pasted “Bring Our Troops Home” stickers on washroom mirrors. From there, his secret mission took him to an upscale Irish pub and a seafood restaurant, where he again made his way to the men’s rooms and pasted up that sticker and another, “Stop Immigration!”
A few days later, Wendell Duke Witten detailed his daring exploits to fellow members of the neo-Nazi group he’d joined seven months earlier, and on whose behalf he had been propagandizing. “I will check [the stickers] in a week to see how many are still where I placed them,” he earnestly assured his comrades.
Welcome to the new National Alliance, once America’s leading hate group. Ten years after the death of founder William Pierce — a former university physics professor and radical intellectual with a major following both here and in Europe — the Alliance has been transformed from the nation’s radical-right powerhouse into a tiny band of small-time propagandists, criminal thugs and attention-seeking losers. Recruitment and income are dismal, and the group rarely makes the news. Its leader, fresh from a withering divorce from his stripper wife, is widely disrespected by his followers and does not even live at the group’s West Virginia headquarters.
And the revolutionary activities of the Alliance, which seeks to build a fascist state peopled solely by whites, have been reduced to a few bathroom stickers.
Not that the group isn’t dangerous. In the last decade, the organization that once prided itself on the quality of its members has been distinguished by the pure thuggery of its people. Since Pierce’s death, four Alliance recruits have been convicted or accused of having carried out at least a dozen murders. And that’s not all. Even many more humdrum members are distinguished by their criminality.
Take Wendell Witten, who battles for the Aryan race with stickers pasted in the men’s rooms of seedy bars and chain restaurants. Witten, who goes by the name Edmond W. Duke on the Alliance’s Resistance Web forum, is a registered Florida sex offender with convictions for aggravated assault and sexual battery that go back more than 20 years. His many tattoos include one that reads, “No Mercy.”
Ten years ago, the Alliance had 1,400 carefully selected and clean-cut members, a paid national staff of 17, and great respect in radical-right circles in America and abroad. Its publications, including a newsletter and a journal, set the standard on the extreme right, and its leaders regularly met with their counterparts in Europe. In Florida, it bought radio time and billboard ads. Between dues and income from its white-power music label, it was bringing in almost $1 million a year.
Today, the National Alliance is widely viewed as a joke.
“It’s a shame watching yet another organization collapse,” one poster lamented in a long thread about the group on the racist Stormfront Web forum this March. “There are hundreds of White ‘Nationalist’ organizations in the US — [but] not one is taken more serious[ly] than a street gang in LA. And most not even that serious[ly]. … Even the lowly negroid eclipses our best attempt at organization.”
‘Freaks and Weaklings’ Redux
Not long after the July 23, 2002, death of founder William Pierce, the Intelligence Report published excerpts from Pierce’s last speech, given on April 20 of that year. In his talk at one of the Alliance’s “leadership conferences,” Pierce mocked the white power movement, saying there was no such thing, and denigrated members of other neo-Nazi groups as “hobbyists, freaks and weaklings.”