NEWS FEATURE: Record Label Uses Rock to Spread Racist Doctrine

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c. 2000 Religion News Service

CLEVELAND _ When bands like the Angry Aryans and Blue Eyed Devils come to this city, you can’t call Ticketmaster for tickets. They don’t advertise on the radio. You won’t find their CDs at record stores.

They slip into town quietly. Their concerts are promoted by word of mouth and fliers. Maps are drawn up, directing people to an address where they can pick up further directions that will lead them to a secret location, usually a rented hall.

Inside, hard-driving rock blares for a crowd of about 200 racists, skinheads and swastika-tattooed music fans. Some give the Heil Hitler salute. They are mostly males in their 20s. All are white.

The Angry Aryans, from Detroit, sing songs like “Let’s Start a Racial War,” “Asian Invasion” and “Race Mixing Is Treason.” The Blue Eyed Devils, based in New Jersey, sing the violently anti-Semitic “Holocaust 2000”: “We’ve heard your tales of persecution and we’ve listened to your lies/but this time it’s for real/the final genocide.”

Next to the kegs of beer are two tables. One carries literature from the neo-Nazi National Alliance, called by the Anti-Defamation League “the single most dangerous hate group in the country.” The other is loaded with CDs from the largest neo-Nazi white-power record label in America: Resistance Records.

The label, owned by the National Alliance, is based in Hillsboro, W.Va., but run out of the Cleveland area by Erich Gliebe. Gliebe, a former professional boxer and trainer, is ranked as one of the six rising stars of America’s “radical right” by the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., which monitors racist organizations and has analyzed the National Alliance extensively in its Intelligence Report.

Gliebe (pronounced glee-bee) signs new musical talent to Resistance while promoting existing bands and concerts. He also edits Resistance magazine, a glossy quarterly that promotes the label’s bands and features articles like “Lies, Murder and Jews: The Columbine High School Massacre.”

Gliebe, 36, has led the Cleveland chapter of the National Alliance for several years. Aside from a brief conversation and some e-mails, he declined to be interviewed.

He is at the forefront of an expanding effort to use rock music to recruit young people to the National Alliance’s racist cause.

The music being peddled by Gliebe and his associates at Resistance Records is far removed from even the most obscure underground rock scene. Local clubs that willingly book devil-praising, death-metal bands won’t have white-power acts.

They’ll deal with Satan but not the National Alliance.

The Alliance is run by William Pierce, “the most dangerous racist in the country,” according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Jewish human rights organization named for the famed Nazi hunter.

Pierce wrote the 1978 racist novel “The Turner Diaries,” under the name Andrew Macdonald. The book, considered the bible of right-wing extremists, follows a band of white-power radicals who overthrow the U.S. government. It also includes accounts of gruesome public hangings of white women who “defiled” their race by marrying Jews or blacks, and has tips on terrorism, weapons-stashing and how to make a 4,000-pound bomb. It inspired the terrorist group The Order, and copies of its pages were found in the car of Timothy McVeigh, the man convicted of bombing the Oklahoma City federal building.

Pierce, 66, a former college physics professor, founded the National Alliance in Washington, D.C., in 1974, moving its headquarters to Hillsboro in 1985.

He bought Resistance Records last year in hopes of reaching a younger crowd. “To me rock is atrocious,” Pierce said recently. “But I bought Resistance Records because I thought it was a good opportunity to add a new medium for propagating my message.”

Resistance was founded in Detroit in 1993 by Canadian George Burdi, a k a George Eric Hawthorne, lead singer of the white-power band Rahowa (short for Racial Holy War). The label had modest initial success, selling, by some estimates, 50,000 CDs the first two years, but then stumbled. Resistance moved to California, then Washington, D.C., under new owners in 1998.

Since purchasing the company, Pierce has doubled Resistance’s number of titles by acquiring a Swedish record company, Nordland. He tapped Gliebe, with his connections to white-power bands, to manage the label and edit the magazine.

Ninety percent of CD sales now come through the Resistance Web site, or by mail order. Pierce said the label should break even soon and is expected to be the Alliance’s top moneymaker by year’s end. Resistance could sell more than 60,000 CDs this year, and gross more than $1 million by next year.

The music is primarily fast, guitar-driven rock. It encompasses different styles including Oi (the British working-class sound that took off in the 1970s), punk, heavy metal, hard-core and “hatecore.” It is alternately called skinhead music, racist rock and hate music.

Top bands include Rahowa, whose CDs include “Declaration of War”; Bound for Glory (“Hate Train Rolling”); Nordic Thunder (“Born to Hate”); Extreme Hatred (“Now Is the Time”); and Skrewdriver, the British band that stuck a racist message on punk rock in the late ’70s and became the hero of skinheads.

The skinhead movement has always been more popular in Europe, and Resistance does well in several countries including Germany, Poland, Slovakia, France, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Sweden. Through the Resistance Web site, white-power fans can order CDs from more than 100 bands, priced from $14.88 to $19.88.

The singing is often more shouting, like two WWF wrestlers arguing in a TV commercial. But it is not all raunch. Rahowa offers more melodic songs, using symphonic synthesizers and a cello on its odes to fallen comrades. There is even folk hate music.

Many of the band members favor the shaved-head, multiple-tattoo look, with heavy doses of Nazi symbolism. Of the 16 songs on the Angry Aryans’ “Racially Motivated Violence,” seven attack blacks (called “mud people” or “muds”), while the others rip Jews, Muslims and Asians. In “Aryan Rage” the band rags on lazy whites for not being angry enough: “Get off the fence white man/it’s time to kick some ass!/Pulverize the niggers/trash the (expletive) fags!/Grab yourself a club and beat down a lousy Jew.”

Pierce’s headquarters is a 400-acre compound on a mountain in Hillsboro. A few houses share space with an old barn and a warehouse under construction. Until the new building is ready, Resistance Records is housed on the second floor of Pierce’s two-story headquarters. Ten people work at the compound; about half live there.

Pierce has a doctorate in nuclear physics. Born in Atlanta, he grew up in Virginia and Texas. He said he did not have a political idea in his head until he landed on the campus of Oregon State University to teach physics in the 1960s. There he was repelled by the dual eruptions of anti-war protesters and the civil rights movement. In 1968, he joined Youth for Wallace, an arm of George Wallace’s third-party presidential bid. Pierce also worked with former American Nazi Party chief George Lincoln Rockwell, before he was killed.

Funding for the operation comes from three sources: dues from National Alliance members (Pierce will not divulge membership figures but watchdog groups estimate it at about 1,500); book sales from his National Vanguard Books, whose best sellers include “The Turner Diaries” and “Mein Kampf”; and now Resistance Records.

“We’re not trying to compete with Hollywood,” said Pierce. “We’re addressing ourselves to the 3 (percent) or 4 percent of the public which is independent-minded, the thinking minority.”

According to Jon Buschbacher, a 20-year-old who processes orders at Pierce’s headquarters, “The bands are like any other bands, just expressing their feelings about life. I like it because it expresses my feelings, the problems in society, race problems.”

“There are a hell of a lot of alienated kids in America,” said Pierce. “Going to school in one of those multicultural high schools is an alienating experience. A lot of these kids really feel lost. They become very angry. They become filled with rage. My aim with Resistance Records is to give people a rationale for their alienation. I want to give them a target for their anger.”

DEA END O’CONNOR

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