James Paul Wickstrom (October 7, 1942 – March 24, 2018) was an American white supremacist, far-right activist, and Christian Identity minister. He was a founding member of the Posse Comitatus, an antisemitic, anti-government and anti-tax group associated with the broader militia movement. He was strongly anti-communist, and he frequently advocated the genocide of Jews, non-European Americans, "race traitors," homosexuals, and drug addicts.
James Paul Wickstrom
7 October 1942
Munising, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||24 March 2018 (aged 75)|
Linwood, Michigan, U.S.
|Occupation||Minister, activist, radio host, salesman|
|Years active||Early 1970s-2018|
Wickstrom was born and raised in Munising, Michigan. During the 1960s, he protested the Vietnam War on the grounds that it was being fought for "Jew bankers." For a time, he worked as a salesman for Snap-on.
His affiliation with Christian Identity began in the early 1970s, when he joined Mission of Jesus the Christ Church in Humansville, Missouri, which was co-founded by William Potter Gale. After several unsuccessful political campaigns, Wickstrom became a full-time activist and minister of Christian Identity and the affiliated Posse Comitatus movement. In 1995, he opened Information Consulting Corp, a retail store which sold survival gear, outdoor apparel and videotapes about militias.
In March 2018, it was reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center that Wickstrom had died; the report was attributed to unnamed "sources within the white supremacist movement". More details appeared in a report on Michigan-based website Mlive.com, which reported that Wickstrom had been living in Linwood, Michigan.
In 1980, Wickstrom ran unsuccessfully in Wisconsin as a Constitution Party of Wisconsin candidate for United States Senator, coming in third with 16,156 votes; and he was a Wisconsin representative on the American Independent Party's national committee. He was the party's nominee for Governor of Wisconsin in 1982, coming in fourth with 7,721 votes; and he remained on the national committee. During this same period, he drew national attention to the ideology of the Posse Comitatus movement, as an outspoken defender of the rights and concerns of Gordon Kahl, including an appearance on the Phil Donahue Show. In 1985, after his arrest, he was no longer listed as an official of the Constitution Party of Wisconsin.
Wickstrom subsequently adopted the title of "national director of counter-insurgency" for Posse Comitatus. He was affiliated with Aryan Nations, and visited their Hayden, Idaho compound several times. In 1995, after serving a prison sentence for counterfeiting and illegal possession of a firearm, he moved back to Munsing. He started a new Christian Identity organization and operated a Posse Comaitatus website with August Kreis. The ministry later moved to Hampton Township, and again to Tennessee.
Periodically, Wickstrom wrote racially-inspired articles, and he also operated as a pastor in Christian Identity organizations. He later hosted a daily Internet radio show called Yahweh's Truth, where he promoted Identity ideology and conducted interviews. The program was run through Covenant People’s Ministry, an Identity organization based in Brooks, Georgia. The show billed him as "Dr. John Wickstrom," though he was not known to hold any doctorate degrees through an accredited institution.
Wickstrom derived his beliefs from his interpretation of the Christian Bible. He preached what he referred to as Two Seedline Racial Covenant Identity, an ideology which among other things, postulates the belief that the Caucasian race is made in the image of God. Furthermore, people of Jewish descent are not considered the "children of God", instead, they are considered the children of Cain. Wickstrom categorically rejected the Jewish religious doctrine which states that the Jews are "God's chosen people" by stating that members of the "white western, European" race are the actual Israelites who are referred to in the Christian Bible.
Wickstrom's racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric frequently drew the attention of such activist groups as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. In a 2004 interview, Wickstrom stated that Jews, including women and children, should be tied to chairs and beaten to death, and he also stated that after they are killed:
Criminal activities and convictionsEdit
In January 1982, Wickstrom lost when he sought election as chairman of the town of Fairbanks, Wisconsin. He decided to set up his own municipality, a Posse enclave on the banks of the Embarras River within the boundaries of Fairbanks. He put public notice of the creation of the "Constitutional Township of Tigerton Dells" and a meeting to elect officers of the township in a local paper. The announcement described Wickstrom as an "acting clerk"; at the meeting, Wickstrom was "elected" clerk and municipal judge and fellow Posse member Donald Minniecheske was "elected" the Tigerton Dells Chairman and Assessor.
Over the next seven months, Wickstrom took applications for and issued a liquor license and a cigarette license, attempted to file various documents which indicated that he was a judge or a town clerk with local and state offices, and threatened to sue the Shawano County county clerk if she did not cooperate with his demand for official printed ballots.
Since none of these activities were lawful under the relevant Wisconsin statutes, in 1983, Wickstrom was arrested for "assuming to act as [a] public officer". (During the trial, he announced to the court that he planned to set up similar townships in other states, and had the presiding judge served with an ersatz "subpoena" for a "Citizens Grand Jury", signing the document as "Judge". He was found guilty, and served over thirteen months in jail (he had received the maximum nine-month sentence on each count, to be served consecutively).[non-primary source needed] (Minniecheske was sentenced to nine years in prison for possession of stolen property and other crimes.) Wickstrom's sentence was eventually commuted; as a condition of the terms of his release, he was not allowed to associate with members of the Posse or members of similar groups. He moved to Pennsylvania, and was later arrested and convicted of planning to distribute $100,000 in counterfeit U.S. currency to white supremacists who were attending the 1988 Aryan World Congress. He was paroled in 1994.
In 1990, Wickstrom was convicted of counterfeiting currency and illegally possessing firearms as a felon. Prosecutors alleged that the counterfeiting was part of a scheme to finance the activities of far-right paramilitary groups and militias. He was sentenced to 38 months in jail.
- "James Wickstrom". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
- Phillips, Ed (July 1, 1988). "Counterfeit money exchange led to racist group leader". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
- Waterman, Cole (March 28, 2019). "James Wickstrom, infamous white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer, dies at 75". Mlive. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
- "Our Campaigns - Candidate - James P. Wickstrom". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved 2021-06-27.
- Sommerstein, Adam (March 26, 2018). "James Paul Wickstrom, Posse Comitatus leader, dies at 75". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
- Theobald, H. Rupert; Robbins, Patricia V., eds. The state of Wisconsin 1981-1982 blue book Madison: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, distributed by Document Sales, 1981-1982; pp. 823, 887, 908
- Theobald, H. Rupert; Robbins, Patricia V., eds. The state of Wisconsin 1983-1984 blue book Madison: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, distributed by Document Sales, 1983-1984; pp. 686, 821
- Theobald, H. Rupert; Robbins, Patricia V., eds. The state of Wisconsin 1985-1986 blue book Madison: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, distributed by Document Sales, 1985-1986; p. 836
- "James Wickstrom Faces Attacks, Continues to Preach Christian Identity Doctrine". Southern Poverty Law Center. 21 Dec 2004. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
- "Leader of Posse denies Klan Link". Milwaukee Sentinel. April 3, 1981. p. 3, section 2.
- 798 F.2d 268 James P. WICKSTROM, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Walter SCHARDT, Respondent-Appellee; No. 85-3224, United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit. Submitted July 8, 1986; Decided August 19, 1986
- Smith, Brent L. (1994). Terrorism in America: Pipe Bombs and Pipe Dreams. SUNY Press. p. 60. ISBN 0-7914-1760-3. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Google Books.
- Buchanan, Susy (December 21, 2004). "James Wikcstrom Faces Attacks, Continues to Preach Christian Identity Doctrine". Intelligence Report. No. 116 (Winter 2004 ed.). Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
- Roddy, Dennis B. (January 29, 2002). "Aryan Nations moving to state". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
- James Wickstrom's official website, "Yahweh's Truth"