James Mason’s <em>Siege</em>: Ties to Extremists

Siege is an anthology of violent pro-Nazi and pro-Charles Manson essays written by American neo-Nazi James Mason in the 1980s and first published as a single volume in 1992.* The book has since inspired a generation of neo-Nazis who have formed a violent online subculture called Siege Culture devoted to Mason’s calls for independent terror cells to carry out a race war.*

Mason originally published Siege in 1992 as a compilation of essays he wrote in the 1980s for the eponymous newsletter of the National Socialist Liberation Front, a now-defunct splinter group of the American Nazi Party.* Throughout the book, Mason calls for so-called leaderless resistance and deliberate terrorist acts to bring about a race war and the downfall of the global political system. In one passage, Mason wrote, “White men will never rule their own lives and destinies again without a successful revolt, and no revolt can materialize without the intensive period of resistance….”* Another passage describes a “healthy state” as one that will “expel – or kill – the Jew; a decadent one will take him to its bosom. The Jew corrupts the nation.”* Other passages praise cult leader and murder Charles Manson, with whom Mason maintained a close relationship and formed the Universal Order movement in the late 1970s.* Ryan Schuster, who published the second edition of Siege in 2003, wrote in the introduction that the book “is to be used as a cookbook and guide. It is sincerely hoped this edition will prevail the vigilant(e) intelligence to heed a clarion call, wage battles of attrition, and act in a manner commensurate to Timothy McVeigh of Oklahoma City fame.”*

In 2015, members of the far-right IronMarch online forum formed the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division (AWD). AWD has since been linked to multiple murders around the United States as well as racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic protests. On January 2, 2018, AWD member Sam Woodward allegedly murdered gay, Jewish college student Blaze Bernstein, an act AWD celebrated.* AWD co-founder Brandon Russell is serving a five-year prison sentence for stockpiling explosives to carry out attacks on U.S. infrastructure.* In 2015, AWD members republished Siege and began to popularize it online through the creation of an online subculture called Siege Culture, an umbrella brand publicized across social media, podcasts, and chatrooms dedicated to Mason’s book. At the center of Siege Culture is the website Siegekultur.info, which also bears the branding of Mason’s Universal Order movement. Throughout Siege, Mason describes the Universal Order as an American descendent of Nazism.*

The Siege Culture/Universal Order website highlights James Mason, Charles Manson, and Siege. The above image is from the Siegeculture.biz website, which went offline in early 2019 and relaunched at a new URL that June.

The original Siege Culture/Universal Order (www.siegeculture.biz) website went offline in early 2019, but returned that June at a new address, www.siegekultur.info. The administrators of the Siege Culture/Universal Order website claim to be “working with James Mason to utilize and encourage the Universal Order worldview in people’s consciousness and physical daily life.”* The original site included links to the third edition of Siege on the Internet Archive and hosted essays by Mason, his Siegecast podcast, and links to various other neo-Nazi content. Its library included neo-Nazi and white supremacist literature such as Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The Turner Diaries by William Luther Pierce, as well as books on Satanism, the occult, and fantasy like The Lord of the Rings.* The new iteration of Siege Culture has uploaded much of the same content.* The Worldview section of the site declares that the page is “something that James Mason attempted to put into form himself, but due to circumstance, he never implemented it. This changed in the year of 2017, when the Atomwaffen Division discovered and met James Mason,” which led to “a new course of action for SIEGE.”* The page administrators deny that Mason runs Universal Order, though he is cited as the author of blog posts and podcasts on the website.* Reported AWD leader John Cameron Denton, a.k.a. “Rape,” claims to own the rights to Siege and Mason’s other writings.* On March 9, 2020, an alleged audio recording of Mason declared AWD would immediately disband due to increased pressure from legal authorities.*

Since Mason announced AWD’s shuttering in March 2020, however, two successor organizations have emerged. In July 2020, a group of former AWD leaders announced the reorganization of AWD into the National Socialist Order (NSO). NSO leaders claimed they learned from the mistakes of AWD, pointing to a lack of ideological cohesion. The NSO leaders further claimed they had built the NSO with a new leadership dedicated to creating an “Aryan, National Socialist world by any means necessary.”* In November 2021, a second self-proclaimed group of former AWD members announced AWD was reorganizing to provide guidance to the broader fascist movement. The announcement called Mason’s March 2020 statement disbanding AWD “now officially defunct” and “nothing more than a bad memory.”* The posting also emphasized AWD and NSO are separate organizations.* Mason denounced the new AWD as a “stupid action on the part of one lone nut” that threatened to put other former AWD members in legal jeopardy from “the enemy government.”* He reiterated that AWD had retired “with all honor” in 2020 and it would continue to live in legend like the American Nazi Party and the National Socialist Liberation Front.*

In addition to the website, Mason’s followers have created Twitter, YouTube, and other social media accounts dedicated to Siege.* Siege-related social media accounts directly call for violence against minorities and promote Nazi ideology. As of February 12, 2019, the Read Siege YouTube channel hosted 48 videos and had received more than 30,000 views since its creation in 2017.* The SIEGE Culture Twitter account had 625 followers as of the same date.* A Read Siege group on the free-speech platform Gab had 380 members as of that date.* Siege Culture-related Twitter, Gab, and YouTube accounts have been offline since spring 2019.

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Key Facts

CEP has counted 26 global extremist individuals with ties to the book Siege by neo-Nazi James Mason.

Siege’s publishers have praised the book as a guide for direct, violent action on par with Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Members of the U.S.-based neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division (AWD) have created an online subculture around the book and Mason called Siege Culture. AWD has been linked to at least five murders and has branches in Canada and Europe.

Neo-Nazis online herald Siege as a must-read and use it as a recruitment tool to their ideology. Siege Culture activists promote the book and Mason through podcasts, websites, and social media accounts on X, Facebook, YouTube, and Gab.

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