One of the members of the board of advisors of the National Youth Alliance who was carried over from the Byers years turned out to have a major impact on Pierce’s life. It was a classics professor from the University of Illinois with a most interesting name: Revilo P. Oliver. It is not often one encounters someone with a palindromic name – spelled the same forward and backward. Although I must say it seems that I am the only one who is struck by the peculiarity of Oliver’s name. Everybody I have spoken to on the far right, when I would say something like, “Isn’t his name interesting, the same forward and backward?” has replied with a matter-of-fact, “Oh yes, that’s right” and moved right on to something else. My guess as to why the unusual name isn’t more salient to those in the movement is that Oliver’s stature in their eyes vastly overshadows something as trivial as a funny name. Reportedly one of his colleagues at the university called Oliver a “filthy fascist swine,” but everyone on this end of the political spectrum I have spoken to about him obviously thinks the world of him. They speak of him with both respect and fondness.
The second thing (after the name) that struck me about Oliver is his imposing physical presence. From photos, he appears to have been about 6’5” and to have weighed in the neighborhood of two hundred forty pounds. He dominated all of the group photos that I have seen, particularly in his younger and more vital years.
In 1969 Oliver made a promotional film for Lou Byers’ National Youth Alliance in which he spoke straight into the camera. His appearance on the film gives a sense of the man, or at least the image he chose to project.1 He sat at a desk in a book-lined study that looked like something out of the nineteenth century with its quaint lamps and the old pictures on the wall. At the time he made the film for the National Youth Alliance, Oliver was sixty-one years old. (He died in 1994 at eighty-six.). He had the appearance and bearing of an old-time professor. He wore a dark blue suit with a conservative tie and had a white handkerchief neatly folded in his left breast suit coat pocket. His thinning dark hair was watered down and combed severely back, and he had a dark mustache. He wore no glasses. His voice was clear and strong and his manner assured and serious, although he gave a hint of a sarcastic smile from time to time when referring to the antics of his political enemies. There was a formidable quality about Oliver that came through. He looked to be someone you wouldn’t want to have on the wrong side of you. For those readers who know of the satirist writer from the 1930s and ’40s, Robert Benchley, Oliver reminds me of a darker, slightly malevolent version of Benchley. People who knew Oliver personally have told me that what I hadn’t picked up from his film persona is his gentility, warmth, and kindness.
If a history of white nationalism is ever written, Oliver will certainly be prominent in it, but what is significant in this context is the important role he played in Pierce’s life. A lunch meeting with Oliver in Washington changed the course of Pierce’s life. (More on that in a bit.) How much happenstance has influenced Pierce’s life. How would his life have been different if he hadn’t been watching television the day he saw Rockwell try to give that speech in San Diego? Or if Rockwell hadn’t answered his letter, or if someone else to whom he had written had? Or if he hadn’t seen Byers on television? And now with Oliver: what if Oliver hadn’t been on the board of directors of the organization Pierce took over from Byers?
Revilo Oliver was one of the founding members of the John Birch Society and wrote a number of pieces for William Buckley’s magazine National Review in its early years. Oliver and the Birch Society parted company when Oliver’s publicly stated racial views made its leadership uncomfortable. Oliver was said to have made an observation in a speech he gave to the conservative Daughters of the American Revolution to the effect that the pre-Castro Cuban government under General Batista was probably as good as one could reasonably expect in an island largely populated by mongrels.2 Oliver’s overt anti-Semitism made him similarly persona non grata at the National Review. At one public meeting, Oliver reportedly referred to the thought of the “vaporizing” of the Jews as a “beatific vision.”3
Oliver’s writings have been collected and published in a book called America’s Decline: The Education of a Conservative4 The book was published in London. It is doubtful that what Oliver has to say in the book would be acceptable to the publishing and distribution industries in this country. In the introduction to the collection, Sam Dickson, an American lawyer and revisionist historian (on the far right, the term “revisionist” refers to someone who is bucking what they see as the official Jewish-liberal party line on World War II in general and the Holocaust in particular) refers to Oliver as a “leader of the racial nationalist movement.”5 Dickson makes the point in his introduction that Oliver focuses on racial self-love among whites rather than animosity toward blacks or Jews. Dickson says that Oliver believes that whites would do well to emulate the loyalties that Jews demonstrate toward their own people and traditions.6
In order to understand racialists such as Oliver and Pierce, one must keep in mind that they look upon the human being as an animal like any other animal in nature. To them, the human being is a species of animal, with the races being sub-species or breeds. That is to say, they don’t see simply one human race. They see one human being, or human animal, and a number of human races. Oliver writes: “Liberals are forever chatting about ‘all mankind,’ a term that does not have a specific meaning, as do parallel terms in biology, such as ‘all marsupials’ or ‘all species of the genus Canis,’ but the fanatics give to the term a mystic and special meaning… [that imposes a] transcendental unity on the manifest diversity of the various human species.”7 Liberals, Oliver argues, engage in “frantic and often hysterical efforts to suppress scientific knowledge about genetics and the obviously innate differences between the different human sub-species and between the individuals of a given sub-species.”8
“I reached the conclusion,” Oliver reported in one of his writings included in America’s Decline, “that our race [those of northern European background], including specifically the Americans, was a viable species, and that therefore, like all viable species of animal life, it had an innate instinct to survive and perpetuate itself.”9 He believed that those of his race do not realize their precarious status on this planet: “Aryans [Indo-European, Nordic, non-Jewish] are a small and endangered minority on this planet, but how many members of our race seem to have even an inkling of that fact?”10
Are Aryans superior to other races of men? It depends on what values you bring to answering the question, said Oliver. “We must understand,” he argued, “that all races naturally regard themselves as superior to all others… We are a race as are all the others. If we attribute to ourselves a superiority – intellectual, moral, or other – in terms of our standards, we are simply indulging in a tautology. The only objective criterion of superiority among human races, as among all other species, is biological: the strong survive, the weak perish. The superior race of mankind today is the one that will emerge victorious whether by its technology or its fecundity – from the proximate struggle for life on an overcrowded planet.”11 Oliver contended that the quality of human beings cannot be judged by the intelligence, academic record, or proficiency in a profession alone. He pointed to “mattoids,” as he called them, to make his case. These are individuals who are geniuses in some areas and imbeciles in others. Examples of mattoids Oliver listed were Shelley, Einstein, Lenin, Trotsky, and Mao.12
Oliver attempted to make the connection between race and the quality of collective life. According to him, if you want to understand the nature of a society you have to look beyond political and economic arrangements and geographic factors. You need to take into account the society’s racial make-up and such sensitive matters as who has children with whom and the races of those who enter and leave the society. “The decline in a civilization,” he contended, “is always accompanied by a change in the [racial] composition and deterioration in the quality of the population.”13
Oliver tied race to his conservative politics as he made the case that American Aryan whites are being threatened by the liberal-dominated government.14 “The power of government over us,” he asserted, “is being used… to accelerate our deterioration and hasten our disappearance as a people by every means short of mass massacre… To mention one small example, many states now pick the pockets of their taxpayers to subsidize and promote the breeding of bastards, who, with negligible exceptions, are the products of the lowest dregs of our population, the morally irresponsible and mentally feeble.” But despite the attack on us, he argued, “Our ‘Big Brains’ [leftist intellectuals]… assure us that it is unthinkable to be so wicked as to fight to survive.”15
Oliver harangued liberals: “Liberals rant about ‘human rights,’ but a moment’s thought suffices to show that… the only rights are those which the citizens of a stable society, by agreement or by a long usage that has acquired the force of law, bestow on themselves.”16 He contended that American society “has been so artfully manipulated that our citizens no longer have constitutional rights that are not subject to revocation in the name of Social Welfare. In effect, there are no citizens here, only masses existing in a state of indiscriminate equality, a state of de facto slavery.”17
Oliver also came down hard on (the unspoken adjective is Jewish) psychology, which he claimed justifies “the grotesque belief rapidly becoming universal in this country, that man is an imbecile creature whom government and the therapy industry must protect from society and even from himself.” He quoted a writer as noting “The psychoanalyst… strives to relieve the patient of all responsibility for his difficulties, and to shift it to society.”18
Oliver said that the welfare state currently being foisted on our country “takes away each year some part of our power to make decisions for ourselves over our own lives. It is perfectly obvious that if this process continues for a few more decades (as our masters’ power to take our money to bribe and bamboozle the masses may make inevitable), we shall… become mere human livestock managed by a ruthless and inhuman bureaucracy at the orders of an even more inhuman master.”19
The script for the promotional video film Oliver did for the National Youth Alliance (again, this was done before Pierce picked it up) was published that same year in Willis Carto’s American Mercury magazine (yet another of Carto’s many enterprises) with a very few minor changes.20 The talk/article was essentially Oliver’s cut on what was going on in colleges and with college students. The last few sentences in the filmed talk – or in the American Mercury article, the last paragraph – was a pitch for the NYA. Oliver probably originally put together this material as a paper or an article and then tacked on the material on the NYA for the film, and then left the NYA reference in when it was published by American Mercury. In any case, the film had the distinct appearance of someone reading a magazine article. The language and syntax were of a sort that is written, not spoken, and this gave the film a stilted quality.
The director of the film, whoever it was, attempted to inject some production values. For example, Oliver got up from his desk and walked over to the bookcase and struck a pose before going on with his presentation. Also, there were cuts in the film which moved viewers closer and farther away from Oliver and altered their angle of sight. Overall, however, the film was a rather drab affair. Although then again, Oliver did have a kind of grandeur and air of authority – his talk was sprinkled with impressive references to the classics, Oliver’s academic specialty – and I suppose that lent some measure of credibility to Lou Byers’ operation. I did wonder while watching the film, however, how much Oliver knew about the actual operations of the organization he was praising.
In his presentation, Oliver’s anti-Semitism came through. He didn’t refer to Jews explicitly, but when he talked about “alien slime” and “scabrous aliens,” we get the message.21 We also get the message that the National Youth Alliance was not seeking to attract what these years we would call a multicultural membership. Oliver tells us that the college students the NYA seeks to attract are the young men and women who have “inherited the quality peculiar to our race that finds expression in our great sagas of Beowulf, King Arthur, Roland, Parsifal, and Siegfried.”22
In many a required course, they [the students the NYA seeks to attract] must hear and recite once more, as they have had to do every year since kindergarten, the dreary drivel about “democracy,” “social good,” “underdeveloped nations,” “one world,” and all the other myths of liberal make-believe, and they see that the purpose is to excite in them the feeling of guilt because they belong to the only race that could attain power over the forces of nature – guilt because their ancestors’ intelligence and courage raised them above the squalor of universal “equality.” They parrot, as they must, the professor’s gabble, but what they feel is not guilt, but anger. And they are sick of equality.23
Oliver says he hopes that that the National Youth Alliance, will
tell the elite of young Americans what they have so long and doubtlessly waited to hear: not the economic advantages of “free enterprise,” to be reaped by helping some corporation sell more Coca-Cola or hair oil or paint remover, or the blessings of freedom to buy a mortgage in the suburbs, or run faster in the rat-race and raise children to be taught that Paradise is a place where hominoids with full bellies live in perpetual rut, but rather, about honor, loyalty, race, and Western man’s will to conquer or die. Young men and women should not be summoned to meetings of a Ladies’ Missionary Society, but to a struggle against great odds. They need to be warned not that lady-like conservatives must be careful to Love Everybody, but that treason of the slimy Ganelon can be defeated only if the men of the west are still willing to die in the pass at Roncesvalles.24
The reference to “slimy Ganelon” in this last quote is a reference to the medieval epic, La Chanson de Roland, in which Ganelon betrays his stepson, Roland, by arranging an ambush of Charlemagne’s army as it returns home from battling the Saracens in Spain. Roland, commander of the rearguard in the army, survives the attack, but then dies of exhaustion. So a “slimy Ganelon” refers to the connivers and traitors among us – that is to say, the Jews.
Four months after Oliver’s death in July of 1994, a memorial symposium was held in his honor at Jumer’s Lodge in Urbana, Illinois, the home of the University of Illinois, where Oliver had been a professor for thirty-two years. The organizer and master of ceremony of the event was Sam Dickson, the same Sam Dickson who wrote the introduction to Oliver’s collection of writings, America’s Decline. Among the speakers paying tribute to Oliver on that occasion were Kevin Strom and his wife Kirsten.
Kevin Strom had been a very important part of Pierce’s life since the Arlington days, Strom’s first contact with Pierce coming when he attended one of the Sunday night meetings of the Alliance. Strom was Pierce’s number one right-hand man, as it were.
After high school, Strom worked as a broadcast engineer before, in Pierce’s words, “breaking away from the Great Satan,” by which Pierce means the life of materialism and credit card debt. Strom moved to West Virginia and helped Pierce set up the telephone and alarm systems on the West Virginia property. Most importantly, it was Strom’s idea in 1991 to launch a half-hour weekly short-wave radio program to spread the message of the National Alliance. He called the program American Dissident Voices, and it went on the air on WWCR out of Nashville, Tennessee. The program soon expanded to AM stations around the country and is still a major vehicle for the dissemination of the philosophy of the National Alliance.
American Dissident Voices was Strom’s operation. He negotiated with stations, produced the tapes of the shows in a studio he set up on the second floor of the Alliance’s headquarters building, and mailed the tapes to the radio stations for later broadcast. He also hosted most of the programs – Pierce handled about one a month. Each show was a talk by Strom or Pierce, preceded by a standard pre-recorded introduction and followed by information about the National Alliance. Some of Strom’s programs were interviews with Pierce. Neither man trusted spontaneity – every show, including the interviews, were scripted word for word. Strom published the scripts of the broadcasts in a monthly Alliance newsletter called Free Speech, and sold audio tapes of programs as well as tapes of some of Pierce’s Sunday night talks back in Arlington through National Vanguard Books catalogs.
Strom also compiled articles from the 1970-1981 Attack! and National Vanguard tabloids into a large paperbound volume called The Best of Attack! and National Vanguard Tabloid and published and distributed it through National Vanguard Books. In the book’s introduction. Strom describes the articles as a “chronicle of an awakening.” He writes that they mark
the awakening of White men and women to their past greatness, to the reality of their race’s degradation, and to their responsibility for their future. It is the chronicle of the very beginning of a movement, the success or failure of which will determine the future course of life on this planet.25
Pierce describes Strom as a vegetarian and teetotaler (non-drinker). Pierce said that the way Kevin and Kirsten met was that a young woman named Kirsten Kaiser had sent some letters to the National Alliance headquarters and that she had sounded interesting and that he had suggested to Strom that this Kirsten was someone he, Strom, might like to meet. Strom took Pierce up on the suggestion, things worked out for the two of them as a couple, and he and Kirsten were married and she moved to West Virginia.
I watched a video tape Strom produced of the memorial service for Oliver.26 Strom was the third speaker, following Dr. Charles Weber, the Chairman of a group called the Committee for the Reexamination of the Second World War, and Dr. Richard Swartzbaugh, an anthropologist and author of a book entitled The Mediator. Sam Dickson introduced Strom. The Kevin Strom standing at the microphone that day was a youngish, clean-cut man who appeared to be in his mid- to late-thirties. He was of medium height and build, and was dressed conservatively in a coat and tie. His straight features and aviator glasses give him a John Denver-like appearance. Unlike Denver, however, Strom’s hair was dark and cut to medium length. It was parted neatly and combed to the side, and the ends fell toward his right eyebrow. He reminded me of the well-scrubbed men I see working behind the counter at airline ticketing stations. He spoke in a soft-spoken and formal way to the audience that had assembled on that November day in Illinois:
On August 10, 1994, for the first time in my life, I suddenly found myself living in a universe that did not contain Revilo Pendleton Oliver… My wife and I visited Dr. and Mrs. Oliver in July 1994, about one month before his death. At that time, my wife was pregnant with our second child, Edgar Alfred Strom. My first-born son, Oskar Oliver Strom, was named to honor Revilo Oliver. I hope that our growing family and our family’s dedication to the cause for which Revilo Oliver sacrificed so much gave him some small satisfaction… If our race’s future lies, as I believe it does, in the stars rather than in the nothingness of extinction, then Revilo Oliver’s consciousness was a consciousness of the future, an example of the intellectual and spiritual greatness of which European man is capable. Dr. Oliver shunned sentimental illusions, and was often pessimistic about the future of our race. But his existence on this planet is, to me, evidence that our future path is upward to understanding and mastery of the universe, and not downward through a mongrelized squalor to the primordial slime…. Dr. Oliver was not afraid, and we of European descent should not be afraid, to use the term Aryan… It should not be applied indiscriminately to every White person, however. In my opinion, its use should be limited to describe those of our race who truly deserve to be called nobles – those who by their appearance, their actions, their character, their intellect, and their consciousness of their mission to bring forth a higher type of human-kind on this planet, deserve to be the progenitors of future generations of our race. By such a standard, Revilo Oliver was an Aryan among Aryans. [Before he died] I was able to tell him how much I loved him, how much he had affected my life, how much he had inspired me and thousands like me, and how, as long as I drew breath, the Cause for which he lived would continue.
A number of speakers later, it was Kirsten Strom’s turn to pay tribute to Revilo Oliver. She was the only woman to speak that day. The microphone had been chest high to most of male speakers, and some had to lean down to speak into it. Kirsten, on the other hand, could barely be seen over the podium and the microphone was right in front of her face. She was probably in her early thirties, but she could have passed for someone in her mid-twenties. She had on large clear plastic-framed glasses and dark lipstick. She wore a dark round hat of the sort women wore in the ‘40s – the kind that had often had a veil, although hers didn’t – and it was pitched toward the back of her head. Her hair was dark and wavy and outlined her round face and soft features. She wore a dark woman’s suit over a white blouse open at the collar. A loosely tied scarf was around her neck. I remember my mother dressing this way when I was very young.
Kirsten Strom spoke in a girlish, unsophisticated (she mentioned having a “picher” taken with Oliver), gentle, and sincere way. “My name is Kirsten,” she began.
One of the things my husband Kevin and I used to do on a date – I know it was kind of a strange thing to do on a date – was listen to Dr. Oliver’s speeches. The first time I heard him speak I knew he was extraordinary… [When I came to know him personally] he was incredibly gracious to me. He always referred to me as Kevin’s bride – even after we had been married several years. I thought that was extremely courteous of him… Doctor Oliver was so nice to Kevin and me. We enjoyed talking to him so much. Everything he said is just seared into my memory, as I am sure it is to anybody’s who ever spoke to him. You could never forget him, never ever… The last time I saw him was in July – we wanted to see him for his birthday. We were distressed to find out that he was very sick. As Kevin said in his speech, we were lucky to have been able to tell him how much we loved him and how he had changed our lives forever…! just had a baby about two weeks ago, and I was really afraid I wouldn’t be able to come today. After a great deal of thought I decided to come, and I am very glad that I did, because this is something else I will never forget. I’m very glad that we are all here together. I hope we will forever remember Dr. Oliver, and that we will have the same kind of courage to just keep on going, day in and day out, saying what we know is true. At home I have this saying on my refrigerator: “The truth is not only outraged by falsehood, it is outraged by silence.” I am not going to be silent, and certainly my husband is not going to be silent. Kevin is on [the radio] every week. You can hear him every week. That is all I have to say. I am very honored to be here. Thank you. Good-bye.
As it turned out, Kevin isn’t on the radio every week, and Kevin and Kirsten are not together anymore. Their marriage failed and they divorced. Distracted by the trauma of the divorce and wanting to be in Minnesota, his home state, with his three children, Kevin stopped his work with Pierce. Kevin has been granted custody of their three children, and according to Pierce centers his life around homeschooling them. It is particularly difficult for Kevin, Pierce told me, because one of his children is mildly autistic. Strom no longer does the radio show – now Pierce handles all of the programs. Since 1997 Kevin Strom has been silent.
There has been much speculation about what inspired Pierce to write The Turner Diaries. He had never written any fiction before. Some have guessed that the inspiration was a book by Jack London called The Iron Heel27 Pierce clarified that in our discussions. He said that Revilo Oliver was the inspiration. Pierce recalls meeting Oliver through his contacts with Lou Byers in 1970 or 1971, and corresponding with Oliver after that. Oliver had written a review of a book by William Gayley Simpson called Which Way Western Man? for Pierce’s tabloid Attack!. (The Simpson book and Pierce’s response to it will be discussed in a later chapter.) Pierce had significantly cut Oliver’s review. Pierce thought it was too long and that Oliver, who Pierce said detested Christianity, had given over an inordinate amount of space in his review to broadsides against Christianity. At that point – and it is still true today, although to a lesser extent – Pierce didn’t want “a war with the Christians,” as he put it to me. Oliver hadn’t taken well to Pierce’s cuts in his review, but they were on cordial enough terms for the two of them to have gotten together for lunch in 1974 when Oliver was in Washington.
Pierce told Oliver at the lunch meeting that he was finding it hard getting a response out of people to the message he was trying to get across. Oliver asked him whether he had ever thought of writing fiction. Oliver told Pierce that many of the sorts of people who would respond to his ideas – those toward the bottom or on the margins of society with less stake in the existing arrangements and less to lose – simply don’t read the kind of non-fiction material he was generating. If they read anything at all, Oliver said, it is fiction, and particularly light, action-filled recreational fiction.
“No, I hadn’t thought about writing fiction,” Pierce told Oliver. “It does sound like a good idea, though. But I really wouldn’t know where to start doing something like that – I’ve never done any of it.” Oliver told Pierce that when he got back home in Illinois he would mail him a book that the John Birch Society had published. It was the kind of fiction that he had in mind for Pierce to think about writing.
A couple of weeks later, Pierce received a photocopy of the book Oliver had talked about in the mail. It was called The John Franklin Letters, and had been published back in 1959.28 Pierce told me he didn’t read the book carefully but that he looked through it enough to get an idea of how he could do something like that. The “something like that” turned out to be The Turner Diaries, a book that has sold over three hundred thousand copies without the aid of a commercial publisher and bookstore distribution and has become arguably the most infamous book of our time.
Pierce still has the photocopy of the book Oliver gave him, and I went through it. The John Franklin Letters is made up of chronologically arranged fictional letters from one John Semmes Franklin to his ninety-three-year-old uncle. They span a two-year period, from 1972 to 1974. (Recall that the book was written in 1959 and thus its events transpire in the future.) Pierce told me that the letters format on The John Franklin Letters inspired the idea of a fictional diary, which Pierce decided would be a good format for writing a first novel. With diary entries, he would just have to look at the world through the eyes of one person, Earl Turner. He wouldn’t have to put himself in the place of a number of characters or assume the position of an omniscient observer.
No author is listed for The John Franklin Letters. The preface is written by a fictional Harley Ogdon, who identifies himself as a professor of American history at the University of Illinois. He informs us that Franklin’s letters to his uncle record the ousting of the “Buros” (Bureaucrats) by the Rangers, an underground patriotic military force Franklin helped form. The Rangers, Ogdon writes, represented the resistance to the excesses of state control of every facet of American life. They were combatting the government paternalism that was destroying this country. As I read along in the book, I became certain I knew who the author of The John Franklin Letters was – Revilo Oliver himself. I had read enough of Oliver’s writings by that time to recognize his thinking and his writing style.
“Did Oliver ever tell you who wrote The John Franklin Letters ?” I asked Pierce.
“I don’t know who wrote it,” Pierce answered. “It doesn’t give an author because the premise is that this is a collection of letters.”
“I believe Oliver himself wrote this book, and that for whatever reason he didn’t want his identity known,” I said. “It could be that at that time, in the 1950s, he wasn’t excited about the idea of the people at National Review or the University of Illinois knowing he was writing this kind of thing.”
“That could be,” Pierce responded. “All I know is that he didn’t tell me that he had written the book. He just said did you ever see The John Franklin Letters? and I said, no, I never had, and he said I’ll send you a copy, it might give you an idea of how you can use a fictional medium to get your message out. And he sent me the book.”
Even though The John Franklin Letters was written fifty years ago, it reflects many of the concerns of those on the far right in contemporary times. For one thing, there is the worry about “big brother,” liberal, paternalistic government, particularly at the federal level. In an early letter of this unpaginated volume, Franklin tells his uncle that it all began with Roosevelt and the New Deal back in the 1930s: “By government, the great orator [Roosevelt] did not mean the people of the United States, acting with courage and common sense in their own communities. He meant a parcel of professional experts minding other people’s business, who were even then descending on Washington… a flock of theorists bent on confiscating the nation’s money through taxation.” Later on, Franklin gets more specific, as the tells his uncle: “[The ‘experts’ have] planned us into economic serfdom; now they’ll manage us into organized captivity with an orgy of deficit spending, pump-priming controls, and population shifts.”
And then there is the disastrous welfare system: “Here’s what has happened,” writes Franklin. “Anyone can get on the relief roles. All you have to do is convince a Bureaucrat, himself living on other people’s money, that you are in need.” Elsewhere he tells his uncle, “Charity to those in need has turned into a vast system of ‘projects’ in the hands of ‘social engineers.’ Something for nothing – that is now the battle cry.”
An anti-black bias shows through as Franklin writes: “One third of the nation’s crime is committed by Negroes, mostly in Northern cities – home of enlightenment and integration, you’ll notice. The Liberals cry, scarlet with rage, ‘Well what do you expect? They live in substandard conditions.’ And I add, those rapists, killers, and thieves are behaving in a substandard manner.” In another letter, Franklin refers to blacks as a “tax-supported proletariat.”
There is the worry about what have come to be called “hate laws.” “As bad as blacks are, you can’t criticize them,” writes Franklin, “because of the Javitts hate literature law, [Jacob Javitts was a Jewish senator from New York at that time] which prevents what is considered to be unfair propaganda against minority groups.” Later on, Franklin writes to his uncle about a “Mr. White” (white man?) who is serving a ten-year “administrative penalty” for being discourteous to a black. “This had been regarded as a form of genocide,” explains Franklin, “since it could do psychological harm to an entire minority element.” The New York Commission on Intergroup Relations had previously been after this Mr. White, Franklin reports to his uncle, because he was the president of a country club who failed to include a black among its members. “White’s remark to the Commission that he thought he and his friends had the right to choose their own associates,” writes Franklin, “was most unwise under the circumstances.”
The book also foretells fears about what in these years is called the New World Order. Franklin’s letters assert that America’s sovereignty is being given over to “world governments,” as he calls them, such as the United Nations. According to Franklin, this is part of a movement toward a “world-wide people’s democratic government.” He tells his uncle that the United States is now being governed by the United Nations Organization and the “Peoples’ Democratic Anti-Fascist Government of North America.”
And there are the gun-control worries. Writes Franklin: “No dictatorship has ever been imposed on a nation of free men who have not been first required to register their privately owned weapons… [However,] we are not, as were the Hungarians [referring to the 1956 uprising against the Soviet-dominated government in that country] reduced to fighting with our bare hands and Molotov cocktails [explosive devices made out of soda pop bottles and gasoline]. Millions of Americans still have a deadly and trusted weapon which the Buros tried too late to seize.”
In the end, the Rangers win the day. Franklin’s last letter, dated July 4th, 1974 (again, the book was written in the 1950s), tells of victory and the re-establishment of “the legal government of the United States of America.” Franklin tells his uncle: “Rangers appeared in Washington just before dawn. Within an hour we had control of the metropolitan police headquarters, the broadcasting stations, and the Buro guard posts throughout the city. Shortly after sunrise, two battalions of Ranger paratroopers jumped from the old military and commercial aircraft about which you know. A command post was set up in Rock Creek Park. We had almost no trouble with the UN and Buro guards around the city. They are, as we found out early in the game, more on the order of custodians and doorkeepers than fighting infantry. The professional military forces which had plagued us for a while – Soviet, Chinese, and Indian troops – had been withdrawn for some months to deal with unrest on their home grounds.”
The book ends on an ominous note as Franklin refers to retribution: “Certain high-minded Liberals will be among the first to be executed and they will go to their deaths not understanding why.”
Guided by the example of The John Franklin Letters, Pierce began writing what came to be called The Turner Diaries as installments for his tabloid Attack!. The early installments received an enthusiastic response from readers, so he kept them going. As with The John Franklin Letters, the basic situation is a revolt against those in control of America in a future time. Instead of the Rangers, in Pierce’s book it is the Organization. Within the Organization there was an elite group to which the protagonist Earl Turner belongs called the Order. In Nazi Germany, the cadre of the best young National Socialist party members was called the Order. When I read Pierce’s book I presumed that that is where he got the name, but he tells me that wasn’t the case. Instead of fighting the Buros as in the Oliver book, Earl Turner and his compatriots were taking on the System. And of course, instead of writing letters, Earl Turner keeps a diary.
Pierce told me he wrote twenty-six chapters of The Turner Diaries – one for each issue of his tabloid Attack! – over a period of three-and-a-half years. He said that the one thing he made sure to do was get one piece of violence or heightened action into each episode in order to keep his readers interested. He said he knocked out the episodes quickly as deadlines were short and that he had no idea that they would ever comprise a book. If he had known that they were going to receive as much attention as they eventually did receive, he told me, he would have tried to do better job with the writing. A number of times Pierce expressed to me that he didn’t think The Turner Diaries is very well written. He seems somewhat embarrassed about the book’s literary merits. He thinks Hunter, the novel he wrote in the mid-1980s and which has received much less attention than The Turner Diaries, is a far better written book.
When Pierce completed The Turner Diaries installments in 1978, he thought he had something worth publishing as a separate volume. He sent the manuscript to eleven or twelve publishers, he told me, and they all turned it down. He then published the manuscript himself.29 It has been sold in what Pierce calls the underground market: though ads in survivalist magazines, at gun shows, by individuals selling the book to their friends, and through the catalog of his own National Vanguard books. The book has been remarkably successful, with over three hundred thousand copies sold and perhaps a half-million readers.
There was a departure from the underground-sales pattern for a short period after all the attention the Oklahoma bombing brought to the book. A commercial publisher, Barricade Press, picked it up. Bob DeMarais had put together a promotional package and sent it to twenty-nine publishers and Barricade had “bought in,” says Pierce. Barricade is the operation of Lyle Stuart, who ironically is Jewish. Pierce told me that Barricade thrives on controversy, and that The Turner Diaries is the sort of book it publishes. In the preface to the Barricade edition of The Turner Diaries, Stuart writes that he personally finds the book reprehensible but that he believes as a matter of free speech it warrants being made available to the public. Soon after Barricade picked up The Turner Diaries, it went bankrupt and the rights to the book reverted to Pierce. One of the other of Barricade’s books alleged that a Las Vegas figure, Steve Wynn, was a front for organized crime. Wynn sued the publishing house for libel and was awarded a three-million-dollar judgment. That broke Barricade. So Pierce is back selling his own book.
What exactly did Pierce write in The Turner Diaries? What did Timothy McVeigh and thousands of others who have been affected by the book read in its pages? That’s next.
1 Revilo P. Oliver, After Fifty Years, video tape of original film (Hillsboro, WV: National Vanguard Books, 1995).
2 John George and Laird Wilcox, Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and Others on the Fringe (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1992), p. 220.
3 Martin Lee, The Beast Reawakens (Boston: Little, Brown, 1997), p. 435.
4 Revilo P. Oliver, America’s Decline: The Education of a Conservative (London: Londinium, 1981).
5 Ibid., p. v.
6 Ibid., p. x.
7 Ibid., p. 80.
9 Ibid., p. 58.
10 Ibid., p. 96.
11 Ibid., p. 94-95.
12 Ibid., pp. 233-234.
13 Ibid., p. 231.
14 Ibid., p. 231-232.
15 Ibid., p. 238.
16 Ibid., p. 81.
18 Ibid., p. 166.
19 Ibid., p. 237.
20 Revilo P. Oliver, “After Fifty Years,” American Mercury, no. 494, Fall 1969, pp. 15-19, 59, 60.
21 Ibid., p. 16.
22 Ibid., p. 19.
23 Ibid., p. 18.
24 Ibid., p. 59-60.
25 Kevin Alfred Strom, selector and arranger, The Best of Attack! and National Vanguard Tabloid (Hillsboro, WV: National Vanguard Books, 1992).
26 Oliver Memorial Symposium, video tape 624 (Hillsboro, WV: National Vanguard Books, 1995).
27 Jack London, The Iron Heel (New York: Hill and Wang, 1957).
28 _____, The John Franklin Letters (New York: Bookmailer, Inc., 1959).
29 Andrew Macdonald (William Pierce), The Turner Diaries, second edition (Hillsboro, WV: 1980).