(TFC) – As The Fifth Column continues its exploration of the rising white supremacist movement in the United States, an examination of past connections between white supremacist groups and America’s political machinery is in order. Who better to explain the realities than a reformed neo-nazi?
At the age of 15, the author co-founded the NJ chapter of the SS Action Group, one of the most politically active neo-nazi organizations in NJ history. His renunciation of racism in 1994 was covered widely by the mainstream media – including feature articles in Details magazine and the New York Times. Following a brutal revenge attack on a loved one, he became committed to militant antifascist action. He has since collaborated or consulted on a number of initiatives – from infiltrating the Nationalist Movement as “Erik Florio” to street battles in York, PA. He currently holds advisory roles with a number of defense funds, and acts as a fundraising consultant for grassroots and community organizations. He is actively seeking literary representation in order to make his story known at this critical juncture in American history.
Below we present the unedited statement of Dominick Bruno:
This is a mildly fictionalized account of true events that occurred during the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey in 1993. Events, locations, and names are accurate, but actual conversations are paraphrased since the events occurred over 20 years ago.
John Kucek received 2,822 votes in that election, more than twice that of the Socialist candidate.
Being the networking person of the SS Action Group in New Jersey involved contact with groups across the right-wing political spectrum. We valued our track record as one of the most active distributors of white separatist literature in our state’s history (“…the gang handed out more than 100,000 pieces of literature in 1993, a figure that officials do not dispute.”) , and scheduled most of our social activity around getting more literature and the distribution of said literature. Networking was essential in securing support for this activity – whether publicity, donations, or information.
One of the most productive ways we found was to pick up publications like “The Spotlight” newspaper (it’s called the “American Free Press” now). At the time it was a project of the Liberty Lobby. Where we spoke about the Zionist Occupational Government (“ZOG”); they would speak of the Bilderbergs, New World Order, Illuminati, or bankers. The faces changed, but the conspiracy stayed the same. To keep up appearances, they would not run ads for open racialist groups like us, but the classifieds were a goldmine. Almost any time a classified ad specified they were Christian, it would mean they were adherents of the Christian Identity movement. Christian Identity is an umbrella title given to sects of Christianity that hold that white Europeans are the lost Tribes of Israel of Biblical lore; and that those we know as Jews are (at best) cursed and exiled by God or (at worst) the literal direct bloodline of Satan. The most notorious Christian Identity group was the Aryan Nations who openly supported neo-nazis, but a lot of the small town preachers & congregations weren’t so keen on Nazis. Identity ministers like Jim Wickstrom were active in forming/promoting a number of Constitutionalist and “patriotic” organizations such as the Christian Posse Comitatus, tax resistance groups, and various state militias; were able to use their religious status to get air time on shortwave radio; meet local officials; and generally had funding, and so were seen as key allies. I quickly developed a nationwide network, and hours every day were spent in correspondence, attempting to focus on things we could cooperate on and downplaying the swastika.
Election season had come around, and suddenly NJ was covered in blue “Tax Revolt NOW” bumper stickers. I had taken a closer look and discovered they were promoting the Populist Party candidate for NJ governor, John Kucek (Kucek passed away in 2010). As was my job, I reached out to him. We were in the newspapers weekly at this point for our literature distributions, and the Populist Party was staunchly “patriotic”, so I didn’t really expect much to come of it besides some fruitless but friendly discussions. The patriot groups never turned us away (only a few Klan factions did that), but would generally just give us shit about being American not German. To my surprise, after a few telephone conversations and some literature exchanges, Kucek had called to arrange a meeting. “We’re having a Populist Party meeting at the American Opinion bookstore, and I’d like for you boys to come out and meet everyone”. What I didn’t know, was that the controversial Kucek had publicly expressed support for David Duke and was a Holocaust revisionist, as well.
The American Opinion bookstore was in Bound Brook, NJ. A small, poorly placed town known for eternal flood remediation projects by the Army Corps of Engineers; Bound Brook lay about twenty minutes drive in the opposite direction of our usual operating area. One of the first things you see when entering the town is an old building tied to the Zarephath community – which (until the 1930s) maintained close ties with and received funding from the KKK (they have since denounced their founder’s support for the Klan). The bookstore itself, founded by the local head of the John Birch Society, Al Olszewski, had been a center of conservative activism for at least a decade. Their activities had received favorable coverage in local newspapers since the 1970s (Olszewski passed away in 2012). “This was as close to mainstream political power as we could get, right now, but if we can form an alliance here, we’ll have plenty of backup from the old guard”, I thought.
What Kucek didn’t know was that despite our media success, we were desperate. Contacts on local police forces had intimated that pressure was increasing for them to find a reason to arrest us, and allegedly only my age had kept a raging future governor McGreevey (then-mayor of Woodbridge, NJ) from pushing for sedition charges after I distributed a flier in his town bearing a masked man holding an AR-15 calling for “building the armed struggle for national socialist revolution”. Our use of cannabis and focus on political acts rather than subculture also placed us at odds with established Nazi groups like the Eastern Hammer Skins, and even our political successes had lead to hostility from other groups. More and more of our membership was coming from homeless and runaway teens whom we were supporting in exchange for political work, draining our funds. We needed friends. And money.
So with this in mind, Doug Moditz (the co-founder of SS Action Group in NJ; deceased in 2012) and I hopped in his tiny car and headed off to meet them. Doug was older and performed most of the day to day leadership roles; as a result, he had become increasingly radicalized by the pressures of the position and had very little time for “patriots”. He recognized we were all approximately on the same side, however. Still, more and more groups were refusing to work with us: even the local National Alliance chapter had said we were too hot. “I don’t really see the point if they won’t address the Jewish problem; why do they want us there anyway?” “I don’t know. Sometimes John talks like he’s a secret Klansman or something, but he’s never said anything blatant. I think we can work with them. Who cares if they say ‘bankers’ and we say ‘Jews’ – you know all the bankers they complain about are Jews anyway!” “I guess you’re right” muttered Doug.
We arrived at the bookstore. It was dark, save for the light of a couple small lamps coming from inside. It looked pretty deserted. There were a couple cars, though, so we knocked on the glass door. We were greeted by Kucek, who invited us inside. “Find the place okay?” “Yeah, the directions were good, thanks!” “Come on inside!”
Within, we discovered three or four men sitting in chairs in a semi-circle, with a few empty chairs. All the merchandise was covered with tarps, but a photocopier was visible. Introductions and pleasantries were barely over, when I asked if we could use the photocopier. “We usually distribute ‘The New Order’ newspapers (published by Gary Lauck’s NSDAP/AO in multiple languages; they have a mini-edition designed specifically for literature distro), but when they run out, we photocopy our own lit, and it’s getting expensive because it’s getting harder to find print shops willing to run off copies and so we have to use the self-serve machines”, I explained. A couple of the fellows shifted uncomfortably, and Kucek apologized, stating they had use of the space, but the machine was for business use only.
We made chit chat for a few minutes about one of our recent distributions – in order to highlight white flight and urge a stand, we had made a highly publicized show of distributing literature in predominately African-American area of nearby Plainfield, New Jersey. Despite a number of threats leading in, the town essentially turned their backs on us, leaving us with deserted streets, resulting in a quite anti-climactic “victory”. One of the fellows said something along the lines of, “Well, I really admire the work you are doing, but why the Hitler stuff? We fought against him in World War 2, you know!” I saw Doug tense at this – his father was a World War 2 vet, and his fellow vets at the Legion Hall (it could have been a VFW Hall) gave him no end of shit for the constant news reports about his Nazi son. I don’t think we had a good answer – at any rate, I can’t recall our response. We likely would have brought up Rudolf Hess – a sympathetic figure to many conservatives, who flew to England to try and personally talk them out of war with Nazi Germany. He was imprisoned, where he died in captivity.
We continued to make small talk – primarily us getting lectured on obscure points of Constitutional law. We were informed on the basis of their interpretation of one law, for example, that technically if we witnessed police breaking a law, we were obligated to physically intervene or be liable ourselves. We’d dealt with this stuff a lot with the Midwest Identity folks fighting the farm foreclosures that were devastating the small farmers. They’d adopt some alternate interpretation of how they read a statute, ignore legal precedent, and lead these farmers into lengthy and ultimately frivolous lawsuits. It bought them some time, but rarely, if ever, succeeded. We’d heard it all before, and to put it mildly, we were pretty bored. We saw them passing a hat around. I assumed it was a collection for renting the space or something and started fumbling for some cash (page 15 here talks about the space being rented). The hat stopped with Kucek, though, who brought it over to Doug. “We’d like to thank you fellas for coming out tonight, here’s a little something for gas money.” Both our eyes got wide as we saw the pile of bills in the hat. Over $200 for gas money! “Now boys,” said Kucek as he positioned himself near a small table filled with handbills and bumper stickers, “we’re a clean cut, American campaign, and we can’t be associated with swastikas, but if you’d like to take some literature to give to your family, I’d sure appreciate it!” I saw the understanding in Doug’s eyes, and we took probably five hundred or so handbills, only for our closest family, of course.
We “dressed down” the next day and passed out handbills at the Shoprite supermarket in Edison, NJ. It was kind of fun at first – different from our usual fare and allowing us a rare moment of interaction with the folks in town. When we got tired of doing that, we left stacks at shops all over town. We blew through that first batch pretty quickly. I called Kucek and reported what we’d done, and he delightedly said he’d have more in the mail right away.
Doug really wasn’t having much of an interest in continuing the campaign, though. As far as he was concerned, we’d gotten money for a few thousand more mini-editions, gas for the car, and had carried out our end of the bargain. We still dropped off the occasional pile of handbills or threw up a bumper sticker, but nothing intensive. Neither were we ever given gas money again. We stayed in touch with Kucek, who actually provided useful information when we were later arrested in Winfield Park, NJ on a literature distro.
The last time I saw Kucek alive was at the Manville, NJ VFW Hall in 2000 where he had to be hospitalized for chest pains after being confronted by World War 2 vets and Antifa for organizing clandestine racialist meetings there.