Not long before this, Joe Tommasi had been a uniform wearing National Socialist who pretty much went by the book, and had been NS in spirit since his early teens. Having inherited a house in El Monte, he allowed it to be used as a headquarters for the old Rockwell Party, then led by Matt Koehl. He recruited many people in the L.A. area, and deployed many marches.
Joe Tommasi was a natural leader of men, and did not really believe in going strictly by the book. He went along with some beer drinking at headquarters, and had an occasional female companion in his room. This was one of the things which led to his downfall.
Matt Koehl was an unmarried bachelor-type and, like too many National Socialists back then, was a tight-ass. Koehl wanted to run headquarters like a monastery. This didn’t sit well with Joe, a working class guy who knew how to handle working class people. He was evolving through the early Brown Shirt stages into a true Freebooter, ready for NS type street action.
Then Commander Koehl sprung a trap on him. He called for a national convention in Cleveland where at one of the meetings Joe and some other officers, who also owned buildings used as party headquarters, were coerced into signing them over to the National party, meaning Matt Koehl. Not long afterward, using the excuse of Joe’s El Monte headquarters hijinks, Koehl kicked him out of his own House.
Joe Tommasi then created the NATIONAL SOCIALIST LIBERATION FRONT, a ‘loose cells’ organization presaging The Order. They wore street clothes and surplus military jackets, much like the old left. They grew long hair, many had beards. They could move through the seas of L.A. without the slightest notice. No flags, no arm bands, no badges, no targets on their backs!
They trained in the mountains and in the deserts. They attacked Marxist book stores and left wing meetings. They ‘may have’ bombed some porn shops. They published a slick magazine, sporting large captioned pictures with mottos like “POLITICAL POWER STEMS FROM THE BARREL OF A GUN”, and filled with revolutionary tracts.
Ominously, while this was all happening, Joe fumed about the home he was swindled out of. Every few days he would drive by the old place. NSWPP Headquarters was then being run as a Hollywood caricature — full uniforms, spit and polish…. and armed guards. One day while passing by, 19-yr-old guard Clyde Bingham flipped him the bird. Joe slammed on the breaks, got out and and headed toward him. Nearby, 18-yr-old guard Jerry Jones drew a .45 just as Bingham was holstering his. As Joe approached, the ‘little fat kid’, as Rose Tommasi called him, shot him in the head.
Joe Tommasi died in front of his own house!
Tommasi was a realist, and what he thought then is in some ways still relevant today; for example:
Tommasi was among the first to fully grasp the truth of the strategic situation–in the milieu of the radical right, no one is to be trusted, anyone could be (and probably is) an informer for the government or for one of the many watchdog organizations monitoring radical right wing activity, and short of divine intervention, public support would not be forthcoming no matter what tactical approach the movement was to adopt.
Tommasi was derisively nicknamed “Tomato Joe” behind his back by rival neo-Nazis because of his Italian heritage and somewhat swarthy features.