The United States' largest neo-Nazi group, the National Alliance (NA), has begun a rapid collapse due to widespread anger and disaffection among its white supremacist membership regarding the group's leaders, Erich Gliebe and Shaun Walker.
A number of long-time members announced their departure from the NA and many of the neo-Nazi organization's local units rebelled en masse after reports circulated during the weekend of April 16-17 that NA chairman Gliebe had expelled long-time NA activist Kevin Strom and other well-established members from the group's ranks. Strom, a member of the group for more than 20 years, delivered the weekly American Dissident Voices radio broadcasts and ran the National Vanguard magazine and Web site.
National Alliance members claimed that the expulsions were a purge on the part of Gliebe and Walker, the group's Chief Operating Officer, to protect themselves from scrutiny and accusations by members. Since the death of NA founder William Pierce in 2002, controversy and acrimony have plagued the National Alliance. Detractors have accused Gliebe and Walker of mishandling the NA's finances and making disastrous decisions. Many members are also upset with Gliebe's fiancé, a former stripper and Playboy model allegedly on the NA payroll, since she does not fit in with their notion of "pure white womanhood."
As a result of the uproar, Gliebe and Walker have cancelled the group's semi-annual leadership conference, which was to take place at the NA headquarters in West Virginia later in April. Walker claimed that Strom was trying to lead a coup against Gliebe and take the helm of the NA, and that Strom and his supporters were planning to cause a disturbance at the meeting. Accused along with Strom for hatching a plot against Gliebe was April Gaede, who has written for National Vanguard and was recently interviewed by Strom on his ADV radio broadcast.
As word circulated that Strom and others had been expelled, including the leaders of the large and active Sacramento, California, unit, a number of local units have said that they would continue their activities, but withhold their dues and allegiance to the national organization.
In the absence of capable leadership from Gliebe and Walker, much of the strength of the NA since Pierce's death has come from the local units, many of which have remained well organized and able to carry out a number of racist and anti-Semitic activities, including publicity-grabbing literature distributions and billboard postings. Now, many NA unit leaders and members have demanded that Gliebe and Walker resign their leadership positions.
Meanwhile, members and supporters continue to speculate about the future of the neo-Nazi group, including spreading rumors that Gliebe and Walker are planning on selling the NA's assets, including the once profitable white power music company, Resistance Records. While some members have pushed for Strom to lead the group, others talk about regrouping and taking an active role in reforming the "leadership and ownership structure" of the neo-Nazi group.
Since the uncharismatic Gliebe took the helm of the National Alliance in 2002, its fortunes have done nothing but decline. These most recent purges, aimed at some of the last significant supporters that Gliebe and Walker have managed to hang onto, suggest the possibility of a complete disintegration of the NA, which for years has anchored the white supremacist movement in the United States and provided influence and support to a variety of haters and domestic terrorists, including Timothy McVeigh. It seems unlikely that the NA will survive as is; either the disintegration will continue and Gliebe and Walker will be left with no followers, or the disaffected current and former NA membership will attempt to forge a new white supremacist organization out of the wreckage of the NA.