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This recap of the role of national socialist Harold Covington in the white nationalist movement was originally published in Searchlight Magazine in September 2017.



Long-time national socialist Harold Covington died, apparently at his home in Bremerton, Washington.  He was 64 years old.  Born in North Carolina, he traveled to Rhodesia, Ireland and the UK before he settled in the Pacific North West.  He was a talented writer, but had no mind of his own when it came to developing strategy.  And he fought endlessly with other white nationalists.  Nevertheless, he developed a following for his latest enterprise: the Northwest Front.

The idea of a white nationalist nation in the Pacific Northwest did not start with Covington. Robert Matthews created the clandestine Silent Brotherhood in 1983, precisely to fight for a northwest territorial homeland. Robert Miles, a Klansman in the 1960s and a movement leader in the 1980s, first publicly articulated the idea in 1985, at a closed-door meeting on his farmstead in Michigan.  It was finally adopted by Aryan Nations in Idaho.

After Will Williams, a leader in William Pierce’s National Alliance, sued Covington for libel and won a judgment of $10,000 in 1998, Covington moved to Washington state (many said to avoid paying Williams.)  During the past 20 years, Covington wrote five fantasy novels, in which white nationalists build a party, seize control of land from Northern California to Alaska, and create their own national socialist white republic.  Unlike William Pierce’s The Turner Diaries,

Covington’s novels never caught on nationwide.  But they were well read in the Pacific Northwest, and Covington developed a Northwest Front organization to carry on his ideas.

According to an IREHR report, in July 2017, Covington had 1726 followers and 1394 likes on his Twitter feed.  He had members of his Front strewn across the states of Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Washington.  They weren’t all welcome by long-standing national socialists in the region, however.  April Gaede, who had once commanded a place of prominence in Pierce’s now defunct National Alliance wrote, “The only problem we have had in Kalispell (Montana) is with Harold Covington’s Northwest Front followers.” And in a different post Gaede wrote,” the quality of them is such one would expect the prerequisite … (be) malicious mendacity.”

The Northwest Front’s heir apparent is Andreas Donner of Seattle.  But it is not expected that he will be able to lead all of Covington’s former organization.

Covington’s history before the northwest is long and sordid.  In 1971, at the age of 19, he joined the National Socialist White People’s Party.  In a few years he moved to Southern Africa, and claimed he was a founding member of the Rhodesian White People’s Party and fought in the Rhodesian Army.  He apparently returned to the North Carolina and the United States in 1976.

He became active in the National Socialist Party, and then in 1979, along with several Klan groupings, he helped create the United Racist Front.  On November 3, 1979, a caravan from the United Racist Front staged an armed attack, a massacre really, on an anti-Klan rally in Greensboro. Five anti-Klanners were shot dead. More were wounded.  But Harold Covington, who helped plan the attack, was not there.  Numbers of the white supremacists began to consider him a government agent.

In 1980, Covington ran in the Republican Party primary for North Carolina’s Attorney General. He received 54,000 votes, or about 40% of the Republican electorate.  Shortly thereafter, Covington disappeared, apparently moving to Ireland.

By 1987, Covington had returned to North Carolina and started the Confederate National Congress, in an attempt to capture the remains of the defunct White Patriot Party for himself.  He published a book, The March Up Country, which gathered his a small amount of support. He was able to report on some varied white supremacist activity across the South, and he endlessly promoted himself as the truest fuhrer of them all. But he failed to build any type of organization.

After a brief flit with a Klan group, Covington began to publish his own newsletter, Resistance.  His post office box became the mailing address of a British national socialist terror grouping, Combat 18.  And then he moved to England, apparently in support of this loathsome enterprise.  Despite his efforts to remain clandestine, Searchlight investigators found Covington’s home. The magazine exposed his efforts, and Covington was dispatched back across the ocean.

In 1994, Covington started his own National Socialist White People’s Party (NSWPP).  It developed a newsletter, a theoretical journal, a website, and the barest bones if an organizational infrastructure.  Covington was maximum leader, and he used the perch to continue his long-standing practice of vilifying other national socialists.

Thus he was forced to move.  Covington would have been 65 years old this September.

Leonard Zeskind

Author Leonard Zeskind

is founder of IREHR. For almost four decades, he has been a leading authority on white nationalist political and social movements. He is the author of Blood and Politics: The History of White Nationalism from the Margins to the Mainstream, published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in May 2009. [more..]

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