A tale of two failures: Klassen and Pierce.
We’ll now take a look at this analysis of Klassen’s basic errors and compare some of those to that of Pierce, and observant readers can discern patterns inherent in generalized “movement” failure. This is by no means any comprehensive analysis; nevertheless, it points toward real problems.
Problem A: Less than Stellar Employees
The problems Ben Klassen ran into are probably more related to the natural conditions of pioneering any sort of new religious and ideological territory than failings on his part. After all, Klassen’s career was extraordinary. He was so financially successful he was able to retire as a young man. From that situation he went on to successfully invent and market a product, be elected to public office, and make more money in real estate in Florida. His racial ideas, while radical, cannot be ignored.
His first problem related to the limitations of his pioneering work was having more problem employees than top talent during his active career as the church’s leader. Klassen writes in 1992, “I had damn few volunteers to choose from that were foot-loose and fancy free, could type and were dedicated to the cause, all of which is a dismal reflection on the disoriented state of mind in which the White Race was then, and still is.”
White advocate Jared Taylor spoke of this phenomenon in a 2017 YouTube.com interview. After describing his “redpilling” and white advocacy work going back to 1990, Taylor says, “In the earlier days you met most unusual people because it took a very unusual frame of mind to look into those dusty corners of university libraries [where frank discussions of racial matters existed in print] and to be aware of the obscure PO Boxes [where one could get racially frank literature]. So they were always very unusual people. Now, you meet more and more perfectly ordinary (sic), they’re not particularly unusual, they don’t have sort of the odd kinks of the mind that the older race realists tend to have. They’re smart, hard-working, nice looking, attractive people who have just seen through the rubbish.”
In the above statement, Jared Taylor is pulling his punches and being generous.
Dissident movements tend to attract marginal personalities. It’s the nature of the beat. One could attempt – one MUST attempt – to counter this tendency by weeding out the more obvious dysfunctional individuals at the very least. Failure to do so make dysfunction a self-reinforcing quality, as higher quality people become repelled by the freaks, while, of course, even more freaks are attracted. Der Movement has always had the weakness of being so desperate for followers, for validation that they’ve accepted virtually anyone and everyone, leaving themselves open to both sincere freaks as well as malicious infiltrators.
Of course, in reading some of the quotes above, one wonders about the “pot-kettle” thing, but we can leave that aside for now.
Problem B: Location, Location, Location
Klassen sunk a great deal of capital into his church’s campus in the mountains of western North Carolina. In Trials… Klassen remarked that most of his neighbors were curious about his ideas and mostly friendly to his face. However, this friendliness masked the serious problems that developed due to the church’s location.
On the surface, the homogeneously white and rural location in the “conservative” Highland South would be a great pick for a new, explicitly pro-white church, however this was not the case…Framed in the metapolitical structure of the time and place, Klassen was, to put it simply, a living embodiment of “evil.” He was a big target smack dab in the center of the pre-sighted range of the Southern Protestant “Guns of Singapore.” The workers building Klassen’s church were shot at and had to bring their firearms to the site to be able to finish the job. After the church was built, it was vandalized, and the sign was hit by a shotgun blast. Klassen received hate mail, bomb threats, hostile trespassers, and prank phone calls…Klassen did recognize that his Christian neighbors would be hostile in theory. However, he didn’t realize the counterintuitive nature of ethnic struggles. This is the second problem with his pick of location. Those in homogeneous areas like Minnesota, western North Carolina, and Vermont are often so insulated from non-white dysfunction that there is no understanding in such communities of why someone like Ben Klassen would come into their midst with an idea that the institution of Christianity damaged white racial interests. They didn’t even realize white racial interests were under threat. As a result, every local politician in the area could be hostile to Klassen and not lose a single vote.
Had Klassen organized his church in South Florida, Anglo preachers would, possibly, have sermonized against him, but the whites in the pews would have all had personal experience dealing with non-whites and their problems. With this in mind, in South Florida, The World Church of the Creator might have easily gotten a quiet, solid-as-bedrock, base of support.
True. But these types make the same mistake over and over again. What is it? Quota queen deficiencies? Personal preferences (see about Pierce below)? Ethnic affinities?
Had Klassen purchased property in the Poconos, he’d probably had done one better. Those with summer homes in that area would have had deep connections to New York City, quite possibly the city with the most red-pilled white population on this planet. It is also possible that had Klassen put his headquarters in eastern Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey, he’d have had an all-around better class of “walk-ins” supporting him.
But, but, but…those Whites (you know, the same sorts who supported Trump precisely because Trump was painted as a “fascist bigot” by the media) are the wrong (wrong! wrong!) kind of Whites – or perhaps not even White at all! Southern European Negroes, Eastern European Asiatics, all sorts of non-core European, outside-the-Hajnal-line, low life trash! No, no, a thousand times no!
The National Alliance – well, Pierce - made a similar error with respect to location– moving to the mountains of West Virginia, completely isolated from the main currents of American (and world) events and power, was a horrendously bad case of poor judgment. And this was particularly so given that Pierce exerted tight centralized control over the activities of the Alliance’s local units (see more on this below) – a person so isolated being in no condition to exert control over people dealing with the real world of modern America. And to the argument – “they had to move there to avoid leftist attacks” – let’s consider what Pierce told Griffin when the latter was writing his biography of the former. Essentially, Pierce left DC because he wanted to, he wasn’t comfortable in “the big city,” he preferred the “mountain man” life, and he was getting disgusted and triggered by DC and was “doing things” (*) and was afraid those “things” would escalate and get him in real trouble. The move from DC to Hillsboro was not really informed by a grand strategy, but by Pierce’s personal lifestyle preferences and his self-stated inability to control his behavior. Now, if the “National Office” was the headquarters of an underground guerilla movement then, yes, living out in the middle of nowhere, the grand sage on the mountaintop, would have made sense. But as the leadership of an aboveground, legal, metapolitical activist group, the location of the National Office was simply terrible. If DC or some other “diverse” city was unacceptable, then there were plenty of predominantly White smaller cities, not too far from the centers of power, in which a real National Office could have been located. With the income being generated, and with some good sense, and quality staff, security arrangements could have made that would have been tolerable. But that’s not what Pierce wanted for his lifestyle, with the predictable outcome.
Also, and no offense meant to those who worked with Pierce in the wilds of West Virginia, but that location, that environment selected for people who were not representative of Whites in general, or of White nationalists more specifically. That may be one reason why the Alliance’s propaganda (apart from the ADV broadcasts, which were usually quite good), membership handbook, and book catalog were all “off-putting” and did not resonate well with the target audience. Essentially, the location predisposed the National Alliance to (relative) irrelevance and failure.
Problem C: Too Many Targets
Ben Klassen did himself no favors by picking too many targets. In his tribal struggle against Jews and non-whites, he also became a tax protestor, an anti-Mason, and an anti-Federal Reserve activist. His anti-Mason attitudes were probably correct in a European, French Revolution sense, but in the English Speaking World, Freemasonry is little more than a social club providing a place for retirees to get away from the wife and bicker with each other over trifles.
Conspiracy theorizing and pet peeves have always been a problem for Der Movement. That goes against one of my most important pieces of advice: do not expand “movement” freakishness beyond what is absolutely necessary. That’s Sallis’ Razor: do not multiply memetic entities beyond necessity. Racial nationalism is already a “bridge too far” for most people, adding these other things is just plain stupid.
However, his biggest “too many targets” problem was his tax protest. Because he didn’t file his taxes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was on to him, and that gave a desperate edge to his activities.
That was just plain stupidity (once again) on Klassen’s part. Why add to your troubles and give the System ammunition against you?
Don Johnson died of a heart attack shortly after the Chilton Bank fiasco, and Klassen came to believe that his employee may have been a plant to disrupt his activities all along.
Maybe. Or maybe Klassen was simply foolish. Or both.
Problem D: Competent Enemies
While Klassen was stuck with a large number of bumbling employees and unable to find a “great promoter” or “white financial angel,” his enemies moved on him with a ruthless efficiency. Klassen’s true ideological enemies consisted of the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, both of whom used the local Macon County, North Carolina authorities to further their aims.
His enemies used the tactics of the strong against the weak. If one has more firepower but is faced with an elusive enemy, the trick is to bait the enemy into exposing itself to the firepower. This happened on the night of June 13-14, 1986. Klassen’s chief typesetter and employee Carl Messick, titled by Klassen Hasta Primus (meaning spearhead) awoke to voices in the middle of the night. Fearing an arson attack, he called both Klassen and the sheriff’s department and then took a firearm and fired into the intruders’ car as the trespassers attempted to escape. It turned out the intruders were a Georgia couple, William and Patricia Trusty. They claimed to be looking to visit a local couple. Remember, in 1986, there were not any pro-white activists on the internet that could crowd-sleuth the Trusty’s background like today.
The SPLC’s report on the affair states that the “…[S]ecurity chief Carl Messick fires 19 shots at the car of a Georgia couple who strayed onto the COTC grounds.” The SPLC intelligence report doesn’t mention that the Trusty’s “strayed” onto COTC grounds in the middle of the night. The Sherriff’s Department arrested Messick. The trial was another unforced error. Messick didn’t use a lawyer in his defense, but the alleged paralegal expert in the COTC, the aforementioned Don Johnson. Messick was sentenced to seven years. By Klassen’s account, Messick was one of the few competent employees, and his incarceration really put him behind.
Klassen’s movement was bankrupted by the SPLC legal trick of suing a pro-white organization after someone with “links” to it did an illegal act. In this case, a follower of Klassen shot a black sailor and Gulf War veteran in a road rage incident in 1991. A jury ruled in favor of the SPLC and The World Church of the Creator was destroyed.
This tactic, where a follower of an extreme, pro-white group gets involved in a violent confrontation with someone else, and the SPLC swoops in with slick lawyers that seek a bankrupting judgement is effective. However, like the famous Highland Charge was effective against soldiers armed with matchlock harquebuses, but not more advanced flintlocks that were quicker to load and had a longer range, the SPLC’s tactic might not work in the future.
Again, quality followers/employees are important here. And anyone who takes someone with an online handle like “supernazi1488ssmanadolflives” and gives them “the keys to the kingdom” is just asking for trouble. Don’t be all surprised when your files end up in the hands of “watchdog groups.”
The SPLC’s bankrupt on behalf of tactic only works in a situation where the overwhelming preponderance of the public see the SPLC as a moral force. Additionally, a jury must be persuaded to give a big payout targeting an organization only thinly “linked” to the actual criminal, therefore the entire jury must be totally alienated from any pro-white idea. If pro-white metapolitical ideas seep into the culture, jury decisions will change. Additionally, this tactic can be used against the SPLC. For example, in 2012 a gunman named Floyd Lee Corkins II, who had links to the SPLC, shot up the Family Research Council after the SPLC labeled them a “hate group.”
Let’s consider the tight and hyper-centralized control of National Alliance activities by Pierce and his “National Office,” relevant to the abovementioned stories.
I have heard some people defend Pierce’s rigid centralized control with reference to the SPLC tactics mentioned above. The idea was this – if Pierce let local units have more autonomy, they might do something illegal, which would be used to legally bankrupt the Alliance. Or even if they just did something stupid and not illegal, and/or produced shoddy propaganda, that would have been an embarrassment to the “National Office.”
There is some truth to that. One could counter-argue that by establishing such tight control, Perce created a legal situation that he could not plausibly deny pre-knowledge and approval if a NA member did do something illegal (even if Pierce had nothing at all to do with it and had no pre-knowledge). One could counter-counter-argue that this wouldn’t have made a difference one way or another, Pierce would have been blamed in any event, so better he exerted as tight control as possible.
A better argument against Pierce’s centralized control was that if he had picked better local unit coordinators, and had been more selective in NA membership, he would have had higher quality people in the local units who could have been trusted with a bit more autonomy. You could have had local unit coordinators enforcing discipline in some cases rather than having the constant micro-management from the local office.
And the most convincing argument against the Pierce approach was that the centralized control was not really of the nature of “hey, you can do some local initiatives targeted to your local context, but you need approval first” but rather of the nature of “you guys can do nothing except distribute propaganda produced by the National Office (purchased by members thus forcing them to subsidize Pierce’s lifestyle if they wanted to do some local activity) or maybe if you are Gliebe you can be allowed to put together some sort of small cultural festivals.” In other words, the centralized control essentially stifled all local initiative and all local activities except putting up the NA’s stickers and distributing leaflets (except again for a small amount of leeway allotted to one local unit – Gliebe’s). Pierce’s centralized control was excessive, it was not a request for approval but rather a denial of all local initiative. It led local units to be nothing more than money-generating vehicles for the National Office: membership dues, purchasing the centralized propaganda for distribution, and recruiting more members to do the same. It was more like a Ponzi scheme or cult than an activist organization. It could have been possible for Pierce to retain control but still let local initiatives go forward, if these initiative were actualized by high quality members, led by high quality local unit coordinators, and with timely approval by the National Office. That’s not how it was done, however.
*I remember visiting the DC area during the last years of Pierce being located there (and long before I became associated with Der Movement), and seeing a building in Arlington with the following words, in big letters, carved into its wall: White Revolution is the Only Solution – accompanied by a swastika. One wonders if that was an example of Pierce “doing things.”