A fan of Charles Manson and follower of Hitler, James Mason published essays in the 1980s that now act as the inspiration for a militant neo-Nazi group linked to multiple murders in the U.S.
“Revolutionary discipline must mean that WE will be the single survivor in a war against the System,” Mason wrote in 1985. “A TOTAL WAR against the System.”
But nowadays, Mason isn’t waging war with the system. He is, in fact, dependent on it.
The 67-year-old white supremacist lives in a government subsidized apartment in Denver and eats at soup kitchens.
In a brief interview last week, a few days after he was spotted picking up a meal at a city-run center for “homeless and hungry seniors,” Mason said he sees no contradiction between his writings and his lifestyle.
“Guerilla warfare, man. Guerilla warfare,” Mason told NBC's Denver affiliate KUSA. “You’ve gotta take what you have to get what you need.”
Mason’s old writings have gained new life with the rise of the Atomwaffen Division, a white supremacist group bent on overthrowing the government through terrorist acts and guerrilla warfare tactics.
In a typed letter, Mason initially declined an interview with KUSA for “purely tactical reasons.” But a reporter caught up with him this month.
In the interview, Mason rejected the suggestion that Nazis have been in decline since losing World War II.
“Look at the shape society is in. Look at the goddamned shootings. Look at the drugs. The suicides and the crime and everything else,” Mason said.
“I say this country lost. And decade by decade I see my beliefs proven over and over again. We’re prophets. Nobody’s listening to us, but they’re going right off the cliff thinking we’re nuts.”
Mason initially seemed to push back against the idea that his writing had inspired young neo-Nazis to commit violence. “If they were acting on my words, they wouldn’t be doing the things they’re doing,” he said.
But Mason, who insisted he's not a member of Atomwaffen, followed with an ominous and ambiguous statement about the possibility of violence.
“If you must do it, it seems to me to be only common sense that you’d want to do it right,” Mason said.
“Because it’s the end of your life. You may die out there in the street via SWAT team, or you may spend the rest of your life in the joint. Make it count for god’s sake.”
He did not elaborate.