Tag Archives: Radicals

RULES for RADICALS by SAUL ALINSKY – IN THE BEGINNING

Continuing with the chapter by chapter series on Rules for Radicals, today we add Comments about the chapter called In the Beginning

Synopsis of the chapter entitled In the Beginning
The talent to organize a community seldom comes from within the community itself.  When a new organizer arrives on the scene he is greeted with suspicion.  Therefore, the first order of business is to establish his credentials, to gain acceptance and trust.  People in the community will ask “Who’s the cat?” “What’s he asking all those questions for?” “Is he really the cops or the FBI?” ” What’s his bag?” “What’s in it for him?” Who’s he working for?”, etc.

To gain the peoples trust a new organizer must show a intense anger over some issue.  Expressing love for the community accomplishes nothing.  It is only a sign of meekness.  Anger, on the other hand, unites the organizer with the people in a common cause.  It builds faith, faith in the ability and power of the organizer to bring change.

The organizer “is to maneuver and bait the establishment so they will attack him as a dangerous enemy. The word enemy is sufficient to put the organizer on the side of the people, …but is not enough to endow him with the special qualities that induce fear and thus give him his own power against the establishment. This need is met by the establishment’s use of the brand dangerous”.  That is to say, the organizer’s credentials are not fully established in the community until he has managed to get himself branded by the establishment as both an enemy and a dangerous one.

“The organizer’s job is to inseminate an invitation for himself, to agitate, introduce ideas, get people pregnant with hope and a desire for change and to identify you as the person most qualified for this purpose.”  “Power is the reason for being of an organization. Power and organization are one and the same. When those in the status quo turn and label you an agitator, they are completely correct, for that is, in one word, your function – to agitate to the point of conflict”.

Commentary
The largest training center for Socialist activists in the United States is a community organizer training institute in Chicago called The Midwest Academy.  Once their training is complete, organizers go to wherever they are most needed which is seldom back to their own community.  They come as strangers to a new neighborhood, hence the need to be pro-active in establishing acceptance.

The Alinsky method for doing that is to stir the pot and get people really mad about something.  Then present yourself as the best hope for improvement and change.  Hugo Chavez came to power by firing up his people against the United States, going as far as to say the U.S. was planning to invade and conquer Venezuela.  At a global warming conference in the Netherlands the Socialist dictator said the U.S. has sent intelligence agents, war ships and spy planes to the Dutch islands of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire in preparation for a possible military invasion.  We laugh but in Venezuela the story works.

Obama started out as a community organizer he chose to use asbestos removal as an issue at the Altgeld Gardens complex in the Chicago area.  On a larger scale the favorite targets of Socialism have long been the rich, the oil companies and the banks.

The professor makes it abundantly clear that the development of anger and rage within a community to the point where the masses are ready to be led into conflict is not a by-product; it is the function of a community organizer.  This was Obama’s world.  Now that he is President he is governing the only way he knows.  According to the Alinsky model, harmony is counter-productive.  You need a crisis.  When you have one you should never let it go to waste.  If you don’t have a crisis, then make or allow one to develop.

It would be a serious omission to leave this chapter without mentioning Alinsky’s admonition not to love your neighbor, but if you must, keep it under wraps because it’s a sign of weakness.  There is no statement that better expresses the difference between the leaders and the led on the left.  It gives understanding to Stalin’s phrase “useful idiots”.

RULES for RADICALS by SAUL ALINSKY – THE EDUCATION OF AN ORGANIZER

Continuing with the chapter by chapter series on Rules for Radicals, today we add our Comments about the chapter called The Education of an Organizer.

Synopsis of the chapter entitled The Education of an Organizer
“The building of many mass power organizations to merge into a national popular power source cannot come without may organizers”.  Training organizers is a daunting task.  Candidates come from every corner, from students to priests to union leaders and minority groups.  Many trainees start but few go on to great accomplishment.  The failure rate is high.”

“Certain qualities mark a candidate as more likely for success.  A good candidate is curious; of every issue, he asks why?  A good candidate is irreverent.  “He is challenging, insulting, agitating. discrediting.  He stirs unrest”.  He has imagination, a good sense of humor and “a bit blurred vision of a better world”.

Alinsky explains that the best organizer is “a well integrated political schizoid.  The organizer must become schizoid, politically, in order not to slip into becoming a true believer.  Before men can act an issue must be polarized.  Men will act when they are convinced that their cause is 100 percent on the side of the angels and that the opposition are 100 percent on the side of the devil.  He knows that there can be no action until the issues are polarized to this degree”.

Commentary (Revised)
When Alinsky wrote “The building of many mass power organizations to merge into a national popular power source” there can be little doubt that ACORN was in the professor’s mind.   However he never addressed the need for a grand leader, a Commander in Chief to preside over the Lieutenants and Generals who were the focus of his teachings.  Barack Obama will be ideally positioned to fill that role after his term in office.  Don’t be surprised if that’s the route he takes.  Martin Luther King is dead, Jessie Jackson has run his course and Al Sharpton is… Al Sharpton.  The door is open.

Good middle managers are the key to success in any business.  That’s just as true for building a political power base as it is for building a chain of shoe stores.  It is particularly difficult however, to find good candidates within a political movement that is populated by members more interested in achievement by taking that in achievement by producing.

Union leaders are unreliable because they can get better pay for leading unions.  Among priests, only the disgruntled are likely to apply.  And students grow up.  So it’s no mystery why the failure rate is high.

The author says the best candidate is a “schizoid” with “blurred vision”.  Level headed clear thinkers need not apply.

Why “schizoid’ and why is a “blurred vision” helpful?  Ethics Rule 11 says in part, the organizer’s mission must be phrased in terms like “Equality, Fraternity or the Common Welfare”.  Thus we see the goal of taking property from those who earned it and redistributing it to those who have no right to it expressed as Equal Justice.  We see the goal of expanding central power over another 16% of the economy and increasing the Party’s constituency of dedicated voters phrased as providing healthcare to 30 million hard working Americans presumed to be denied any medical treatment otherwise.

The organizer must preach these causes with a deep fervor that only a true believer can muster.  But he must not become a true believer because the causes are not the goal, they are just vehicles.   Power is the goal.

When Alinsky says blurred vision, I take him to mean vague vision.  When the 2012 Republican primary campaigns were in full swing each contender and his or her followers were comprised of true believers with their own clear vision and the result hurt the Party’s chances to win the general election. It’s an age old dilemma; do you stand unwavering on your principles, possibly in vain, or do you yield to compromise for the greater probability of gaining half of what you seek?  Alinsky taught continual new demand followed by compromise, gaining a little each time until you reach the final goal.

As an aside, you may have noticed the synopsis of this chapter is almost entirely in quotes, which means the text is reproduced exactly as it was written in the book.  You may have noticed the grammatical errors many of which occur throughout the book.  We noticed them but for the sake of simplicity didn’t point them out with the customary sic notation.


GALLUP – RECORD 81% DISSATISFIED WITH CURRENT GOVERNMENT


Results of a Gallup poll released today show that a “record-high 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed…”.

What can we infer from that?  First, a large number of people who voted for Obama are sorely disappointed.  That’s the price they paid, the price we all paid, for their not doing their homework.  Admittedly, it was a task that required some self study, not one easily resolved by watching the evening news and reading an occasional newspaper.  However, when a candidate for President of the United States launches his political career from the home of a virulent unrepentant anti-American terrorist and takes as his beloved mentor and spiritual leader a black liberation theologist like Jeremiah Wright, doesn’t that call for doing some homework before voting for him?

Secondly, can we infer that the President has little chance of winning a second term?  No we cannot.  We might if the election were to be this November rather than the next.  A year and a month are like an eternity in politics.  Community organizers know how to work up a crowd and this community organizer was very good at his job.  His tools are class warfare, stoking envy, channeling rage, appealing to liberal guilt and of course, race.  His techniques are covered in Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. 

That is a formidable arsenal.  Barack Obama wants what he sincerely thinks is best for his own people and for his vision of a better America.  He is a deeply dedicated man.  The President is a powerful fundraiser and a strong campaigner.  Never discount such a person.