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Tom Metzger

Tom Metzger

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Thomas Metzger is an American white nationalist who founded White Aryan Resistance
White Aryan Resistance
White Aryan Resistance is a neo-Nazi white separatist organization founded and led by former Ku Klux Klan leader Tom Metzger. Part of the American far right, it is based in Warsaw, Indiana and is incorporated as a business....

 (WAR). His far-right activist groups, including WAR, have been monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups; legal representation for victims of hate groups; monitoring of alleged hate groups, militias and extremist organizations; and educational programs that...

, an American organization that tracks hate group
Hate group
A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other designated sector of society...

s. He has been incarcerated in Los Angeles County, California
Los Angeles County, California
Los Angeles County is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of 2010 U.S. Census, the county had a population of 9,818,605, making it the most populous county in the United States. Los Angeles County alone is more populous than 42 individual U.S. states...

 and Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, and has been the subject of several lawsuits and government inquiries. Metzger has also been involved with the Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 and Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 parties, as an activist and a candidate. A neo-Nazi
Neo-Nazism
Neo-Nazism consists of post-World War II social or political movements seeking to revive Nazism or some variant thereof.The term neo-Nazism can also refer to the ideology of these movements....

, who was also the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

 in the 1970s, Metzger has voiced strong opposition to U.S. immigration.

Early life


Metzger was born and raised in Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

. He served in the U.S. Army from 1961 until 1964 when he moved to Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

 to work in the electronics industry. For a short time, he was a member of the radical right-wing group the John Birch Society
John Birch Society
The John Birch Society is an American political advocacy group that supports anti-communism, limited government, a Constitutional Republic and personal freedom. It has been described as radical right-wing....

, and attended anti-communist luncheon meetings sponsored by the Douglas Aircraft Corporation.

By 1968 Metzger had moved to Fallbrook, California
Fallbrook, California
Fallbrook is an unincorporated community in northern San Diego County, California. The Fallbrook census-designated place population was 30,534 at the 2010 census, up from 29,100 at the 2000 census....

 and supported George C. Wallace for President. Metzger stopped paying taxes in the 1970s and by 1972 his tax protest over the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 destroyed his thriving television business but introduced him to other tax protesters who, he said, were "atheist racists, Christian Identity
Christian Identity
Christian Identity is a label applied to a wide variety of loosely affiliated believers and churches with a racialized theology. Many promote a Eurocentric interpretation of Christianity.According to Chester L...

 racists, neo-Nazis, all kinds of people."

Ku Klux Klan


During the 1970s he joined the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which was led by David Duke
David Duke
David Ernest Duke is a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan an American activist and writer, and former Republican Louisiana State Representative. He was also a former candidate in the Republican presidential primaries in 1992, and in the Democratic presidential primaries in...

, eventually becoming the Grand Dragon for the State of California. In summer 1979, he organized a patrol, the Klan Border Watch to capture illegal Mexican immigrants south of Fallbrook, California
Fallbrook, California
Fallbrook is an unincorporated community in northern San Diego County, California. The Fallbrook census-designated place population was 30,534 at the 2010 census, up from 29,100 at the 2000 census....

. Subsequent groups, such as Glenn Spencer
Glenn Spencer
Glenn Spencer is an American political and illegal immigration activist.In the 2000s Spencer gained media attention, most notably from Lou Dobbs of CNN, when he converted his ranch on the Arizona and Mexico border into a hi-tech security zone complete with infrared cameras, aerial drones and motion...

's American Border Patrol and Ranch Rescue, derived from this effort. Metzger's Klan organization also had a security force which was involved in confrontations with communists and other anti-Klan protesters.

Metzger's branch of the Klan split with Duke's organization in 1980 to form the "California Knights of the Ku Klux Klan." Also in 1979 he took Greg Withrow, of the White Student Union "under his wing," which later became the Aryan Youth Movement (AYM), for youth associated with White Aryan Resistance
White Aryan Resistance
White Aryan Resistance is a neo-Nazi white separatist organization founded and led by former Ku Klux Klan leader Tom Metzger. Part of the American far right, it is based in Warsaw, Indiana and is incorporated as a business....

.

White Aryan Resistance


Metzger left the Klan after the election and formed the "White American Political Association" in order to promote "pro-White" candidates for office. In 1982 he sought the Democratic Party's senatorial
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 nomination, running against then-Governor Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown
Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr. is an American politician. Brown served as the 34th Governor of California , and is currently serving as the 39th California Governor...

 and author Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal is an American author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and political activist. His third novel, The City and the Pillar , outraged mainstream critics as one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality...

, winning almost 76,000 votes (and 2.8% of the vote) in the Democratic Party Primary. In 1983, he changed the name of his group to "White Aryan Resistance
White Aryan Resistance
White Aryan Resistance is a neo-Nazi white separatist organization founded and led by former Ku Klux Klan leader Tom Metzger. Part of the American far right, it is based in Warsaw, Indiana and is incorporated as a business....

" (WAR). WAR worked to recruit members in prisons, and rejected Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 as a form of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

.

In 1985 Metzger was invited to attend and speak at a rally of the black Muslim group the Nation of Islam
Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

. In spite of Metzger's open racism towards blacks, the two groups found common ground in the desire for racial separation and loathing of Jewish people. Metzger even went so far as to donate $100 to the Nation of Islam.

Metzger made numerous television appearances in addition to hosting his own cable TV Public-access television
Public-access television
Public-access television is a form of non-commercial mass media where ordinary people can create content television programming which is cablecast through cable TV specialty channels...

 show, "Race and Reason." In one of his first cable episodes, Metzger invited the death-rock band Radio Werewolf
Radio Werewolf
Radio Werewolf was an deathrock band formed in 1984 in Los Angeles. The band split in the early 90s, and Nikolas Schreck and Zeena Lavey continued making music.-History:...

 onto the show, during which time a confused Metzger was given honorary membership. In November 1988, his son appeared on an episode of the Geraldo
Geraldo (TV series)
Geraldo is an American daytime television talk show hosted by Geraldo Rivera that aired in syndication from September 7, 1987, to June 12, 1998. On the last two seasons, it was known as The Geraldo Rivera Show. Both titles were produced by Investigative News Group in association with Tribune...

show in which a brawl broke out and Rivera's nose was broken.

Oregon Civil Trial


The group was eventually bankrupted
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

 as the result of a civil lawsuit
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

 centered on its involvement in the 1988 murder of Mulugeta Seraw
Mulugeta Seraw
Mulugeta Seraw was an Ethiopian student and father who went to the United States to attend college. Seraw was killed in November 1988, at age 28, in Portland, Oregon by three racist skinheads...

, an Ethiopian
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 man who came to the United States to attend college. In 1988, white power skinheads affiliated with WAR were convicted of killing Seraw and sent to prison. Kenneth Mieske said he and the two others killed Seraw "because of his race." Metzger declared that they did a "civic duty" by killing Seraw. Morris Dees
Morris Dees
Morris Seligman Dees, Jr. is the co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center , and a former direct mail marketeer for book publishing. Along with his law partner, Joseph J...

 and the Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups; legal representation for victims of hate groups; monitoring of alleged hate groups, militias and extremist organizations; and educational programs that...

 filed a civil suit against him, arguing that WAR influenced Seraw's killers by encouraging their group East Side White Pride to commit violence.

At the trial, WAR national vice president Dave Mazzella testified how the Metzgers instructed WAR members to commit violence against minorities. Tom and John Metzger were found civilly liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability
Vicarious liability
Vicarious liability is a form of strict, secondary liability that arises under the common law doctrine of agency – respondeat superior – the responsibility of the superior for the acts of their subordinate, or, in a broader sense, the responsibility of any third party that had the "right, ability...

, in which one can be liable for a tort
Tort
A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a wrong that involves a breach of a civil duty owed to someone else. It is differentiated from a crime, which involves a breach of a duty owed to society in general...

 committed by a subordinate or by another person who is taking instructions. The jury returned the largest civil verdict in Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

 history at the time—$12.5 million—against Metzger and WAR. The Metzgers' house was seized, and most of WAR's profits go to paying off the judgment.

Post-Oregon trial


After the trial, Metzger's home was transferred to Seraw's estate for $121,500, while Metzger was allowed to keep $45,000 under California's Homestead Act. The SPLC and the ADL came up with the $45,000 needed to pay Metzger for the home. Metzger was warned that any damages left in the house would result in a lawsuit, and while he left it in "a mess" with cracked windows, there was no serious damage. As a result of the sale of his home, he was forced to move into an apartment.

In May 1991, Metzger had to agree to stop selling T-shirts of Bart Simpson
Bart Simpson
Bartholomew JoJo "Bart" Simpson is a fictional main character in the animated television series The Simpsons and part of the Simpson family. He is voiced by actress Nancy Cartwright and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987...

 in a Nazi uniform with the words "Pure Nazi Dude" and "Total Nazi Dude". He was convicted in 1991 of burning a cross
Cross burning
Cross burning or cross lighting is a practice widely associated with the Ku Klux Klan, although the historical practice long predates the Klan's inception...

 in 1983, and sentenced to six months in prison and 300 hours community service working with minorities. He was released from prison 46 days into his sentence to be with his critically ill wife, who died after the seizure of his home. In 1992, Metzger and his son violated a court order not to leave the country and entered Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 to speak to the Heritage Front
Heritage Front
The Heritage Front was a Canadian neo-Nazi white supremacist organization founded in 1989 and disbanded around 2005.The Heritage Front maintained a telephone message line with a different editorial each day. The voice on the hotline was Gary Schipper...

. Soon afterwards, he was arrested for violating Canadian immigration laws by entering the country to "promote racial hatred".

Since the early 1990s, Metzger has advocated the "lone wolf" method of organization, of which there are many, for white nationalist groups, which states that a person should not outwardly display his/her racist ideology, but must act covertly.

In 2003, Metzger appeared in a documentary by Louis Theroux
Louis Theroux
Louis Sebastian Theroux is an English broadcaster best known for his Gonzo style journalism on the television series Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends and When Louis Met.... His career started off in journalism and bears influences of notable writers in his family such as his father, Paul Theroux and...

, titled "Louis and the Nazis
Louis and the Nazis
Louis and the Nazis is a British documentary that was televised on 21 December 2003. It was directed by Stuart Cabb and written by Louis Theroux. The documentary ran for 80 minutes....

".

Metzger moved to Warsaw, Indiana. On 25 June 2009, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided Metzger's home. No arrests were made and no information was released on what was found inside his house. Metzger was allowed to leave the premises during the search and stated that address books, compact discs, tapes and computers were seized in the raid.

Metzger currently resides outside of Warsaw, Indiana
Warsaw, Indiana
Warsaw is a city in and the county seat of Kosciusko County, Indiana, United States. Cradled among Winona Lake, Pike Lake, Hidden Lake and Center Lake, Warsaw is nicknamed "Lake City," though other cities in the surrounding area are also referred to by that nickname...

, and is still mandated to make payments to Seraw's family. Metzger hosts a daily (5 days a week) internet radio talk show called Insurgent Radio.

Mainstream party politics


Metzger has registered at various times as a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 or Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. In 1964, he served as a precinct worker for the Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

.

In 1980, Metzger won the Democratic Party nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives with over 40,000 votes in a San Diego-area district. He had changed his party registration from Republican to Democrat earlier in the year. The local Democratic Party chairman disavowed his candidacy, instead endorsing incumbent four-term Republican Clair Burgener
Clair Burgener
Sinclair Walter "Clair" Burgener was an American Republican politician and member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1973-1983.-Early life:...

. Metzger lost by over 200,000 votes in November 1980 to a several-term incumbent in a heavily Republican district.

In 2010, Metzger took out an advertisement in the Warsaw Times-Union, in order to announce his intention to challenge U.S. Representative Mark Souder
Mark Souder
Mark Edward Souder is an American Republican politician who was a U.S. Representative from Indiana from 1995 to 2010.During the 1980s and early 1990s, he worked as a congressional aide to Dan Coats and committee staff director. He was elected to his congressional seat in 1994...

, a Republican from Indiana's 3rd congressional district
Indiana's 3rd congressional district
Indiana's 3rd congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of Indiana. Based in Fort Wayne, the district takes in the northeastern part of the state and includes Goshen....

. "I'd go to Washington and get into Congress, and have a fistfight every day," Metzger told local news station WANE-TV
WANE-TV
WANE-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for Northern Indiana licensed to Fort Wayne. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 31 from a transmitter at studios on West State Boulevard in Northwest Fort Wayne/Tower Heights section of the city. The station can also be...

 in Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne is a city in the US state of Indiana and the county seat of Allen County. The population was 253,691 at the 2010 Census making it the 74th largest city in the United States and the second largest in Indiana...

. Metzger did not make it into the ballot for the election, which was ultimately won by Republican Marlin Stutzman
Marlin Stutzman
Marlin Andrew Stutzman is a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives. He previously was a member of the Indiana Senate representing the 13th district, where he served from 2009 to 2010 and he was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 2002 to 2008 representing...

.

Electoral history


Further reading

  • Morris Dees
    Morris Dees
    Morris Seligman Dees, Jr. is the co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center , and a former direct mail marketeer for book publishing. Along with his law partner, Joseph J...

    . Hate on Trial: The Case Against America's Most Dangerous Neo-Nazi. Villard, (February 23, 1993) ISBN 0-679-40614-X (280 pages)
  • Elinor Langer. A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America. New York: Henry Holt, 2003. ISBN 0-8050-5098-1

External links

  • White Aryan Resistance - WAR official site
  • Tom Metzger list on Southern Poverty Law Center
    Southern Poverty Law Center
    The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups; legal representation for victims of hate groups; monitoring of alleged hate groups, militias and extremist organizations; and educational programs that...

    's "40 to watch"