Classic EssaysWilliam Pierce

What It Will Take


The final acts of Robert Mathews and their portent for the White resistance

by Dr. William L. Pierce

THE LONGEST-RUNNING national news story of recent months certainly must be the one about the Aryan Resistance Movement, also named in various news accounts as the White American Bastion, the Silent Brotherhood, and the Order. (ILLUSTRATION: Robert Mathews challenging an “anti-racist” protester.)

Newspapers have reported, week after week, on multimillion-dollar armored-car robberies and a counterfeiting operation intended to finance a violent overthrow of the U.S. government, fiery shootouts between White revolutionaries and SWAT teams of Federal police agents, an assassination of a Jewish radio commentator and alleged “hit lists” of government officials to be killed, and massive FBI manhunts for surviving members of a group that is said to have involved no more than 40 members. Interest in the Aryan Resistance Movement (ARM) on the part of the television networks and the nationally circulated print media seems still to be growing.

The fascination this story holds for the minions of the controlled media may be due to any of several features. First, there is the sheer scale and relative professionalism of the thing. Previous instances of direct action by “White extremists” have been on the order of three or four Ku Klux Klansmen tanking up on beer and then firing a shotgun from a pickup truck as they sped through a Black neighborhood. By way of contrast, in just one armored-car hijacking (in Ukiah, California) 17 members of ARM, operating with military precision, riddled a Brink’s truck with automatic-rifle fire and made off with $3.6 million in cash. The group recruited two Brink’s branch managers and were preparing to clean out the main Brink’s vaults in San Francisco, where as much as $50 million in cash is kept, when an informer betrayed them. By that time ARM had accumulated a million-dollar arsenal of military weapons, including machine guns, hand grenades, and night-vision sights for their automatic rifles, as well as high-tech communications equipment and a huge store of explosives.

Then there is the scope of ARM’s aims. Violent White resistance in the past nearly always has been strictly local in character, and largely unplanned: ad hoc opposition to a forced busing program, to the destruction of a White neighborhood by a Federal race-mixing decree, or to public activity by an anti-White group. A notable example of the last was the 1979 shootout between Klan members and Black and Jewish members of the Communist Workers’ Party, in Greensboro, North Carolina, in which five Communists were killed.

ARM, on the other hand, set its sights on a full-scale armed revolution, ending with the purification of the U.S. population and the institution of a race-based, authoritarian government. It recruited its activists throughout the country, and it carried out its strikes in half-a-dozen states. Whether or not these strikes were ill-advised, whether or not the recruiting tactics were well thought out, even the question of the feasibility of any type of armed action against the U.S. government under the conditions which now prevail — these questions are beside the point. The fact is that because of ARM, White resistance in America will never again be the same. The stakes have been raised substantially, and a new level of action has been set, which will be the baseline for future efforts.

But ARM is unique in more ways than the magnitude of its plans and the spectacular nature of its operations. There has been an element of do-or-die heroism, of fanaticism and determination, and of idealistic motivation in the group which causes the heart to swell and the blood to pump more strongly in some observers — and which causes cold shivers in others. The gentlemen of the press belong almost entirely to the latter group, but even in this deracinated rabble there are a few who still are able to recognize heroism when they see it, and who cannot help but feel a twinge of the White man’s natural response to it. Thus, some of the early Washington-state newspaper stories of the death of the group’s leader, Robert Mathews, after his single-handed standoff against 100 secret policemen — especially those stories which quoted from his last testament, a moving document indeed, written just two days before — lacked the sneering, spiteful tone of later, nationally-distributed news stories.

The real portent of the ARM saga, in fact, lies in the character of Mathews. He hardly fit the controlled media’s stereotyped image of the White activist — that of the deranged “hater” or the cowardly braggart. He was a man who had no time or inclination to hate or brag. He was an intensely earnest man, a passionate man, with strong convictions about what was right and what was wrong, but he also was a very private man, who believed in leaving others alone as long as they left him alone.

In the little town of Metaline Falls, Washington, where he spent the last decade building a small farm on land he cleared from the forest and providing for his wife and son, he was known as a “straight arrow”: always friendly and helpful, but never nosy; a hard, steady worker; a non-drinker and non-smoker.

That is not to say that Mathews was oblivious to what was going on elsewhere in the world. He had a voracious interest in both current events and history, and he spent much of his spare time in serious reading. He wanted to understand his race’s past, so that he could make some sense out of the chaotic present and gain some hint of what the future might hold.

As his understanding grew, so did his concern — and so also did, to use his own words, “a suppressed emotion buried deep within my soul, that of racial pride and consciousness.” He viewed with increasing alarm the darkening of America by an unchecked horde of non-White immigrants, the insidious inculcation of non-White values into young Americans by a degenerate educational system and alien-controlled entertainment media, the treasonous subservience of the nation’s political leaders to a bloodthirsty band of gangsters in the Middle East.

“By the time my son had arrived,” he wrote in his last testament, “I realized that White America — indeed my entire race — was headed for oblivion, unless White men rose and turned the tide. The more I came to love my son, the more I realized that, unless things changed radically, by the time he was my age he would be a stranger in his own land, a blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan in a country populated mainly by Mexicans, mulattoes, Blacks, and Asians. His future was growing darker by the day.”

This realization that his nation and the future of his son were being destroyed before his eyes tormented Mathews. What distressed him even more, however, was the pusillanimous acceptance by his fellow Americans of the evils overtaking the country. Earlier he had written: “A great sickness has overcome us. Why do our people do nothing? What madness is this?”

He contrasted the selfish and cowardly behavior of most White Americans today with their heroism of an earlier era, and with the heroism of their European forebears. “Were the men of the Alamo only a myth?” he asked.

The more he agonized over these questions, the more clearly Mathews saw his own responsibility. Finally, his conscience would let him wait no longer. “I have no choice,” he wrote. “I must stand up like a White man and do battle.”

And he did.

He took up arms against the enemies of his race, knowing that he had virtually no chance of defeating them, or even of surviving more than a few skirmishes against their overwhelmingly greater resources. “Even so,” he acknowledged, “I have no fear. For the reality of life is death, and the worst the enemy can do to me is shorten my tour of duty in this world. I will leave knowing my family and friends love me and support me. I will leave knowing that I have made the ultimate sacrifice to secure the future of my children.”

He held to his resolve to do or die, until the end. On November 24, 1984, he and a companion were surprised in a Portland, Oregon motel by some two dozen Federal police agents, after an informer had betrayed him. His companion surrendered, but Mathews shot his way out of the trap in a blaze of gunfire. The following month he and a half-dozen associates were surrounded in their headquarters building on Whidbey Island, Washington, by a task force of more than 100 heavily armed secret policemen.

One or two of the revolutionaries slipped through the police lines and escaped. Of the others, all except Mathews surrendered. For 34 hours he exchanged gunfire with Federal agents, single-handedly repulsing two waves of agents who attempted to storm the headquarters. He used a machine gun to drive off an FBI attack helicopter. After the FBI succeeded in setting fire to the building with magnesium flares, Mathews continued firing through the smoke and flames. He died when tons of stored munitions exploded and demolished the building.

What Robert Mathews did will remain incomprehensible to many White Americans. How can your average “yuppy,” steeped in the values of the “me” generation, understand Mathews’ concern for the type of world his son would inherit?

How can the clever lawyer in his $500 suit, accustomed to figuring all the angles before making a move, fathom the soul of someone who knew that he must act, regardless of the personal consequences, because it was his responsibility as a man to do so?

How can America’s soft, feminized, materialistic masses have any idea of the thinking of a man who made a deliberate choice to die, when he might have lived — to die fearlessly and defiantly — solely so his death could set an example for other fearless and defiant fighters who would follow him in the years and decades to come?

No, many Americans will not understand. But some will. And they will also understand that in the final showdown there will be no other way but Bob Mathews’ way.

No combination of clever lawyers, yuppies, and Joe Sixpacks will ever beat the Jews. Money will not beat them. Brains alone will not beat them. Votes will not beat them. But blood will, eventually.

The Jews know how to deal with materialists, who think the way they do. They have long experience at outmaneuvering clever schemers and outspending well-heeled opponents. They are past masters of intimidation and bribery. They will always whip those who try to fight them on the Jews’ own terms.

But how will the Jews cope with the man who does not fear them and is willing, even glad, to give his life in order to hurt them? What will they do when a hundred good men rise up to take Bob Mathews’ place? Where will they find enough secret police to protect them?

It is a hard truth to face, but America has gone far beyond the point where its problems might have been overcome bloodlessly or with relatively little sacrifice. The evil which has spread across the land can still be destroyed, but only by men like Robert Mathews — only when enough such men have been awakened and have said to themselves, as he did: “I have no choice. I must stand up like a White man and do battle.”

* * *

From National Vanguard magazine, Issue No. 103, January-February 1985

* * *


The band Dresden dedicated their song, “To Robert Mathews in Valhalla,” to Mathews and his life. It may be downloaded or streamed by clicking the link below. The lyrics follow the link.″ text=”Listen: ‘To Robert Mathews in Valhalla’ by Dresden”]

(a full CD of this and other songs by the band Dresden is available here)

We’re on the march today to Whidbey Island;
We’ve found a reason to live today, on Whidbey Island.
Maybe, now we know just why this young man had to die;
He saw the gleaming dawn; he asked the question.
We follow him where he’s led, O Northern Bastion.
We’ll never live a lie; our people must not die.
We’ve built our fire tonight on Whidbey Island.
The flames they will rise and rise from Whidbey Island.
And then the world will know, how from a spark the flames will grow,
O Whidbey Island.

Source: National Alliance

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Michael Olanich
Michael Olanich
28 March, 2015 1:26 am

Dresden’s Call of the Blood has been one of my favorite music albums of all time, ever since I first listened to it completely in 2002. Joe Pryce is an extremely talented Musician.

“To Robert Mathews in Valhalla” is a memorable song, and besides the lyrics paying tribute to Mathews (rightfully so), the tune is extremely catchy. It’s one of those songs that I found myself humming to every so often because I couldn’t get it out of my head.

I could be wrong but wasn’t the song “Desolation Row” also dedicated to Mathews?

Will Williams
Will Williams
29 March, 2015 11:19 am

Michael, I asked Joe Pryce about that and he replied: “Actually ‘Desolation Row’ was written in honor of Robert Miles [] …Like most musicians, I love to elicit a positive effect.”

I’ll put you two in touch with each other privately. The National Alliance retained rights to “Call of the Blood” when Resistance Records was sold and we will be offering that Dresden cd to members again soon. Listen to “Desolation Row” and other cuts from COTB here:

…And though the flowers droop sometimes, we soothe our minds
When winter comes, spring is close behind.
Let the old fools make their deals.
Let the old world prepare its exit.
We’re waiting in the wings right now to show you how
A real live Hamlet can take a bow.

Will W. Williams * National Alliance Chairman
Will W. Williams * National Alliance Chairman
Reply to  Will Williams
20 August, 2022 6:59 pm

We tend to forget the reality of our situation. We tend to believe that we are in some sort of political or ideological contest where you deal with your opponents the way the Democrats or the Republicans deal with each other…The fact is, however, that we are engaged in a fight for racial survival. It is the fight in which either our race or the Jews will be utterly exterminated. Dr. William Pierce and Robert Mathews – A Call to Arms – National Alliance Video ( This speech was delivered before the General Conference of the National Alliance in Arlington, Virginia on Sunday, September 4, 1983. A little over a year later, December 8, 1984, Robert Jay Mathews was burned to death by a secret police task force on Whidbey… Read more »