Tuesday, March 29, 2011

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Rules For Radicals- an Overview

          “Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was an American community organizer and writer. He is generally considered to be the founder of modern community organizing and has been compared in Playboy magazine to Thomas Paine as being "one of the great American leaders of the nonsocialist left."[1]  “Alinsky was born in Chicago in 1909. Hillary Rodham’s thesis is very revealing of Alinsky’s view of American life. It says, “…after graduating from the University of Chicago, Alinsky received a fellowship in criminology with a first assignment to get a look at crime from the inside of gangs. He attached himself to the Capone gang, attaining a perspective from which he viewed the gang as a huge quasi-public utility serving the people of Chicago. ”Alinsky -- in that and other experiences -- became an academic-turned-radical, a personality type first found among the press covering the Russian revolution of 1917-18 and that became much more common five decades later, forming the basis of the Vietnam anti-war movement. He, and others like him, would find America’s adversaries -- within and outside the law -- more attractive than America itself.  Saul Alinsky’s radicalism was expressed in his 1971 book, “Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.” In that book, Alinsky said, “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins -- or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer.” Alinsky never saw himself as the devil, but as some radical angel who could bedevil “the Establishment” and force it to change to assuage pressures from community organizations.”[2] [3]

          In order to distinguish Alinsky’s own words from mine and others, I have placed them in bold Italics.  Anything that has this distinction will be his direct quotes.  You will be able to verify everything I say, by reading the book.

          In reading Saul Alinsky’s book “Rules for Radicals” I came to realize that he was living in a world of unreality.  He called for revolution and change, but failed to realize that the revolution had already taken place (the American Revolution).  He calls for a utopia that has freedoms and rights already granted in our founding documents.  He expounds on the desires of the founding fathers and what they wanted to accomplish, as if it had not already been completed.  “None is as blind as he who will not see.”[4]  He espouses the Judeo-Christian principles yet fails to see them in action. “The democratic ideal springs from the ideas of liberty, equality, majority rule through free elections, protection of the rights of minorities, and freedom to subscribe to multiple loyalties in matters of religion, economics, and politics rather than to a total loyalty to the state.  The spirit of democracy is the idea of importance and worth in the individual, and faith in the kind of world where the individual can achieve as much of his potential as possible.[5]  He calls for a revolution to set up these freedoms and rights which we already possess.  Where else in the world are these freedoms and rights guaranteed in writing, except for the United States?  The truth is in front of him and he fails to recognize it.  His cry is for the ‘have nots’ to take from the ‘haves’ because he fails to see the opportunity for the ‘have nots’ to make it on their own.  How sad it is to see one so disillusioned that he can’t see the forest for the trees.  That a man such as this could be an icon of the progressive movement is truly amazing.

          He sites projects that were begun with the “best intentions” but in the end were in a worse plight than before such as: government housing, the union movement, Tennessee Valley Authority and the slums of Chicago which were brought from abject poverty into the middle class.  Alinsky asserted that “Today, as part of the middle class, they are also part of our racist, discriminatory culture.”  In other words, every time the Socialist utopia is attempted, it fails.

          He recognizes the duality of good and evil but deems it to be natural instead of spiritual.  He says that everything is relative and fluid.  “One man’s positive is another man’s negative.  The description of any procedure as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ is the work of a political illiterate”.  In other words, there are no absolutes.  “Ethical standards must be elastic.”  Consistency is not a virtue.”  There are others that hold these views of relativity and fluidity.  In 1545, the Council of Trent declared that tradition is of equal authority to the Bible.  Our Supreme Court has determined the precedent is of equal authority to the Constitution.  

          Alinsky describes three classes in our culture: “The ‘haves’, the ‘have nots’, and the ‘have some and want mores’”.  The ‘have some and want mores’ are the middle class.  According to him the greatest achievements come from the middle class.  Can it be that it is because we, in the United States, have the opportunity for upward movement that Alinsky either did not realize, recognize or ignored? 

          He claims that we are a “Judeo-Christian civilization” and that our founders had the right idea, but discredits that we have gotten it right.  If he wants what he claims, why can’t he see that we have it?  We have never been perfect and probably never will be, but we have the best chance to get there. 

          He claims that our Declaration of Independence is simply a declaration of war against Great Britain, who had been so good to the colonists that it amounted to a slap in the face to a friend.  He claims that our founders were dishonest in their presentation to the people for justification of our separation from England. 

          He states that attacks on an opponents personal life is both “loathsome and nauseous” but should be used if expedient.  He states that ‘the ends justify the means’ only applies when “a particular end justifies a particular means”.  Apparently this is decided by the individual on a fluctuating scale.  He stated that if Gandhi had had guns, and the people to use them, he would not have used nonviolence. 

          Revionist history contains just enough truth to make it palatable to those who will not seek the full truth.  One of the pillars of the progressive movement is to discredit our founders and the accomplishments of our country.  I have often been questioned as to why I would read a book such as this.  This is one of the means, among others, to get information on the ‘enemy’[6].  If you don’t know what the other side is planning, you are defenseless against it.  Why do you think the Bible gives us so much information on the devil? 

          You may have noticed that Alinsky’s groups go for mass voter registration in the projects rather than middle class neighborhoods.  The middle class, you see, is more apt to vote against the radicals and their movements.  The radicals would like to eliminate the middle class even though it is the backbone of our nation.  Redistribution of wealth is one of the clarion calls of the community organizers.  The middle class is the target for organization in the future; for instance using stockholders against corporations.  “‘Organization For Action’ will now, and the decade ahead, center on America’s white middle class.  That is where the power is.”  I guess he turned his back on the poor, black, and disenfranchised that was his base.  Wasn’t it the ‘haves’ and the ‘have somes’ that were the problem?  Apparently the ‘have nots’ were a good stepping stone.  Our rebels have contemptuously rejected the values and way of life of the middle class.  They have stigmatized it as materialistic, decadent, bourgeois, degenerate, imperialistic, war-mongering, brutalized and corrupt.  They are right; but we must begin from where we are if we are to build power for change, and the power and the people are in the big middle-class majority.”  The middle class has, today, started using some of Alinsky’s ‘tactics’ but in a much more acceptable way.  The ‘Tea Parties’ are the ‘radicals’ today.  Why do you think the left is so against them?  The ‘tactics’ of the left have been turned against them and it drives them crazy.

          In his training tactics for organizers it is clear he is training salesmen.  I was not impressed with a lot of the sales training I received over my forty years in the sales field.  There were two courses that I walked out on while voicing my opinion they were nothing but mind control techniques.  These are the techniques espoused by Alinsky.  His main instructions are to worm your way into a community and tell them what they want to hear, until you can earn their trust and lead them in the way you want them to go.  In my salesmanship and training of other salesmen, I espoused the following: (1) always tell the truth, (2) never promise what you can’t deliver, (3) never promise what you don’t intend to deliver, (4) never present something beyond its honest expectation and (5) always follow up.  Alinsky said: The function of an organizer is to raise questions that agitate, that break through the accepted pattern”.  [An organizer] “is challenging, insulting, agitating, and discrediting. He stirs unrest.”  It could be argued that reverence for others, for the freedom from injustice, poverty, ignorance, exploitation, discrimination, disease, war, hate, and fear, is not a necessary quality in a successful organizer.”  … the most potent weapons known to mankind are satire and ridicule.”  “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.  It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule.  Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”  “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.  You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christians can live up to Christianity.”  “An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent; provide a channel into which the people can angrily pour their frustration.”  In his ‘tactics’ he sees nothing wrong with disrupting your life (that really means YOUR life) and your finances, in order to further his cause (regardless of which side you are on).  The more lives he can disrupt, the better.  It is my opinion that he learned this ‘tactic’ of intimidation from his work with the Chicago Mafia.  He doesn’t call for physical harm or murder but mostly threat and intimidation. 
          His method of lying to further his ends reminds me of Islam.  It says that you should never lie to a fellow Muslim (unless he is not a ‘good Muslim’) but it is alright to lie to a non Muslim.  His ‘tactic’ of using the scriptures, to misrepresent what they say or take them out of context, are the same as one of his idols; Lucifer, “the very first radical[7]. 

          Alinsky did get one thing right.  The great American dream that reached out to the stars has been lost to the stripes.  We have forgotten where we came from, we don’t know where we are, and we fear where we may be going.”  We do need to return to the foundations of our nation that have been so long ignored.  The mechanisms are in place; set up by the founding fathers.  All we need to do now is demand that the politicians and judges stick to our founding documents and repeal those laws and regulations that contradict those principles.  “Rules for Radicals” was released a year before his death.  It is obvious to anyone who reads it for what it actually says; he knew he was ‘jousting at windmills’ and was turning his attention to a better way.  It is my opinion that, in his later years, he was turning from being a radical to more of a statesman.

[1] Wikipedia
[2] From Hillary Rodham Clinton’s college thesis
[3] Who was Saul Alinsky? by Jed Babbin
[4] A proverb attributed to John Haywood in 1546, he was paraphrasing Jeremiah 5:21
[5] Prologue “Rules for Radicals”
[6] An Alinsky  phrase, meaning the opponent
[7]    Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins-or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.”  Saul Alinsky


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