Tom Metzger 1938-2020

H&D regrets to confirm the death of Tom Metzger, one of the most influential White Nationalist leaders of the late 20th century, who died in Hemet, California on November 4th, aged 82.

Metzger was born in Indiana but settled in California in 1964 after three years in the US Army. He first became politically involved while working in the electronics industry in southern California, where the radically anti-communist John Birch Society was very active.

After moving to Fallbrook, near San Diego, Metzger campaigned for pro-White presidential candidate George Wallace at the 1968 presidential election. This proved a valuable training ground for a generation of White Nationalist activists, including Dr William Pierce and Willis Carto. Wallace polled 13.5% nationwide, including 487,000 votes (6.7%) in California.

In the 1970s version of Ku Klux Klan led by David Duke, Metzger became Grand Dragon for California, where he organised a “border watch” to capture illegal Mexican immigrants.

A California-based Klan split in 1980 led by Metzger evolved into White Aryan Resistance in 1983. Led by Metzger and with headquarters in Indiana, WAR became notorious as a movement of radical White Nationalist skinheads.

Tom Metzger (above left) with his son John during his closing argument at the Portland trial

In November 1988 three skinheads allegedly loosely associated with WAR murdered an Ethiopian immigrant in Portland, Oregon. The “anti-racist” Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) – the same organisation that a decade later targeted H&D editor Mark Cotterill – exploited tenuous connections between Metzger’s WAR and the killers, mounting a civil case against Metzger and his organisation on behalf of the victim’s family.

The outcome was a $12.5 million judgment that bankrupted Metzger.

Despite this setback, Metzger continued to publish a WAR newsletter and for more than twenty years had a widely-read website. Though many readers will associate his name with ultra-radical street activity, he also had some electoral success, notably in 1980 when he won more than 40,000 votes in a primary and gained the Democratic nomination for a US House seat in a California district near San Diego. Consequently the Democratic Party ended up denouncing their own candidate Metzger in the main congressional eelction that year, and unsurprisingly he lost to the Republican candidate.

Yet even with his own party leadership campaigning against him, Metzger still won more than 46,000 votes.

In 1982 he won 76,502 votes (2.8%) in the Democratic primary for Governor of California.

British readers will remember Metzger best for two of his many television appearances – in Louis Theroux’s 2003 BBC documentary Louis and the Nazis, and the 1996 Channel 4 series Stars, Tsars and Swastikas, where Metzger was interviewed by the black activist Darcus Howe.

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