April 9, 1938
Indiana, United States
|Known for||Head of White Aryan Resistance|
|Children||John Metzger, Lori Metzger|
Thomas Linton Metzger (born April 9, 1938) is an American white nationalist who founded White Aryan Resistance (WAR). His far-right activist groups, including WAR, have been monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an American organization that tracks hate groups. He has been incarcerated in Los Angeles County, California and Toronto, Ontario, and has been the subject of several lawsuits and government inquiries. Metzger has also been involved with the Republican and Democratic parties, as an activist and a candidate. A neo-Nazi, who was also involved in the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s, Metzger has voiced strong opposition to U.S. immigration.
Metzger was born and raised in Indiana. He served in the U.S. Army from 1961 until 1964 when he moved to Southern California to work in the electronics industry. For a short time, he was a member of the radical right-wing group the John Birch Society, and attended anti-communist luncheon meetings sponsored by the Douglas Aircraft Corporation.
By 1968 moved to Fallbrook, California and supported George C. Wallace for President. Metzger stopped paying taxes in the 1970s and by 1972 his tax protest over the Vietnam War destroyed his thriving television business but introduced him to other tax protesters who, he said, were "atheist racists, Christian Identity 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, 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. Subsequent groups, such as Glenn Spencer'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
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 nomination, running against then-Governor Jerry Brown and author Gore Vidal, 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" (WAR). WAR worked to recruit members in prisons, and rejected Christianity as a form of Judaism.
Metzger made numerous television appearances in addition to hosting his own cable access show. In November 1988, his son appeared on an episode of the Geraldo show in which a brawl broke out and Rivera's nose was broken.
The group was eventually bankrupted as the result of a civil lawsuit centered on its involvement in the 1988 murder of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian man who came to the United States to attend college. In 1988, white power skinheads affiliated to 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 and the Southern Poverty Law Center 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, in which one can be liable for a tort committed by a subordinate or by another person who is taking instructions. The jury returned the largest civil verdict in Oregon 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.
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 in a Nazi uniform with the words "Pure Nazi Dude" and "Total Nazi Dude". He was convicted in 1991 of burning a cross 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 to speak to the Heritage Front. 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.
Metzger, on welfare, 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, 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
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. Metzger lost by over 200,000 votes in November to a several-term incumbent in a heavily Republican district.
Metzger took out an advertisement in the Warsaw Times-Union, in order to announce his intention to challenge U.S. Representative Mark Souder, a Republican from Indiana's 3rd congressional district. "I'd go to Washington and get into Congress, and have a fistfight every day," Metzger told local news station WANE-TV in Fort Wayne. Metzger did not make it into the ballot for the election, which was ultimately won by Republican Marlin Stutzman.
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- White Aryan Resistance - WAR official site
- Tom Metzger list on Southern Poverty Law Center's "40 to watch"