10 May 2011
25. Rules For Radicals
I am supposed to write a scathing anti-liberal, "I hate commies" review for this book, right? I don't think I will. Not entirely anyway. I did not read this for that reason. I read it to try and understand where "students" of Saul Alinsky, including President Obama, are coming from. I read it not to judge the intent or results of the proponents of Alinsky, but to understand the tactics and methods used by those same people.
This reminded me of Sun Tzu's Art of War...but for leftys.
What I read was some very useful information on how to get a group of people to unite for a common purpose and to help guide those people to success. What is in this book would work for exactly that. What was interesting is that Mr. Alinsky's actions focused mostly on the business-worker relationships, but the same ideas have been expanded into the political arena today using his suggestions.
I flagged a lot of things I found interesting in this book for one reason or another. I guess I will just list a few and then discuss my thoughts at the time. First of all, what I found interesting, was that Mr. Alinsky wrote a prologue to the book. That prologue was more enlightening about the purposes and motivations behind the actions described in the book that the book stated itself. The prologue covered the basics of the why. I liked that.
Before I get too far, I think the tactics Alinsky wrote about are usable by any group attempting to alter the behavior of another group. Therefore, though the book was written for pro-union activists and liberals in the Vietnam War era, it is usable by my own conservative self today to fight against the very changes that were made in the last 30 to 40 years. That is pretty cool.
"Let us in the name of radical pragmatism not forget that in our system with all its repressions we can still speak out and denounce the adminstration, attack its policies, work to build an opposition political base. True, there is government harassment, but there still is that relative freedom to fight. I can attack my government, try to organize to change it. Thats more than I can do in Moscow, Peking or Havana."
Absolutely! I will continue to point out every fault I feel like poking at and every issue I take exception to.
"Remember: once you organize people around something as commonly agreed upon as pollution, then an organized people is on the move. From there it's a short and natural step to political pollution, to Pentagon pollution."
That is how people get manipulated by these folks. Rally around one issue and then intertwine it with a bunch of other garbage they would never have organized to support in the first place.
"In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace, cooperation, equal and full opportunities for education, full and useful employment, health, and the creation of those circumstances in which man can have the chance to live by the values that give meaning to life."
Lots of beautiful words that can be used to describe exactly the same thing from any political perspective. Just because someone says that the way they describe will achieve these goals does not make it true.
Mr. Alinsky states "Today revolution has become synonomous with communism while capitalism in synonomous with status quo." Soon afterward he says "This is a major reason for my attempt to provide a revolutionary handbook not cast in the communist or capitalist mold, but as a manual for the Have-Nots of the world regadless of the color of their skins or their politics."
So, even if Alinsky is trying to separate radical revolution from communism, it is still the basis for what he believes to be better than capitalism. After reading the book it becomes obvious.
"Another example is today's high rise public housing projects. Originally conceived and carried through as major advances in ridding cities of slums, they involved the tearing down of rotting, rat-infested tenements, and the erection of modern apartment buildings. They were acclaimed as America's refusal to permit its people to live in the dirty shambles of the slums. It is common knowledge that they have turned into juungles of horror and now confront us with the problem of how we can either convert or get rid of them. They have become compounds of double segregation- on the basis of economy and race- and a danger for anyone compelled to live in these projets. A beautiful positive dream has grown into a negative nightmare."
Do-gooders failed to see all the consequences of their "help", as usual.
The "grasp of the duality of all phenomena is vital in our understanding of politics. It frees one from the myth that one approach is positive and another negative. There is no such thing in life. One man's positive is another man's negative."
Agreed...but there is such a thing as unconstitutional and anti-american. So, even if something is considered positive by some it does not mean it is American.
"The essence of Lenin's speeches during this period was "They have the guns and therefore we are for peace and for reformation through the ballot. When we have the guns then it will be through the bullet."
Alinsky uses this to justify changing tactics or flip-flopping on whatever decisions were made in the past. It is all about what is needed to accomplish the goal at the moment. He goes on to say....
"Means and ends are so qualitatively interrelated that the true question has never been the proverbial one, "Does the End justify the Means?" but always has been "Does this particular end justify this particular means?"
So, every situation is measured on it's own merits. There are no absolutes. Everything is flexible. Everything changes. I find that to be very very sad. To truly believe this you can have no grounding. There is nothing except that very moment to respond to and then change again in the next moment.
"If you start with nothing, demand 100 percent, then compromise for 30 percent, you're 30 percent ahead."
That make sense all on it's own. The next paragraph states why he mentioned that in the first place...
"A free and open society is an on-going conflict, interuppted periodically by compromises- which then become the start for the continuation of conflict, compromise, and on ad infinitum. Control of power is based on compromise in our Congress and among executive, legislative, and judicial branches. A society devoid of compromise is totalitarian. If I had to define a free and open society in one word, the word would be "compromise.""
That is the entire basis for the way the liberals have whittled away at America. Ask for 100 percent on any issue, settle for a fraction of that in the name of compromise, and then use that settlement for the basis of asking for further advances...ignoring that there was a compromise already to reach the point they were at. As time goes by the advances are tremendous and anyone who says they have a problem with it is labeled as uncompromising, intolerant, and totalitarian. I dare anyone to deny that this has been the tactics used to advance America further and further left during my lifetime.
"All definitions of words, like everything else, are relative. Defintion is to a major degree dependent upon your partisan position."
That depends what your definition of sex is. Exactly!
"There can be no such thing as a "non-controversial" issue. When there is agreement there is no issue; issues only arise when there is disagreement or controversy. An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent; provide a channel into which the people can angrily pour their frustrations."
Why the sky is always falling, the other side is always trying to "kill grandma" or "hates the poor" etc. That is also why there are so many "agitators" out there stirring shit up every day.
The fifth rule of power tactics..."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."
I have seen this tactic used repeatedly in the last three years. The lies have been insane.
And then there was this little tidbit when discussin "ordinary people" using thier proxy votes to force companies to do the bidding of the organizations. "There will even be "fringe benefits." Trips to stock-holders meetings will bring drama and adventure into otherwise colorless and sedentary suburban lives."
What? Suburban lives are colorless and sedentary? Alinsky is going to bring them some adventure? Get out of here with the flowery "we do no wrong" garbage. Sell that junk to someone looking to buy it. That was ridiculous. He even goes on with that scenario to alter the way the Pentagon deals with businesses and makes some HUGE leaps with how businesses and the Generals relate with each other. Ugh.
So, overall I didn't hate the book. Yes, I do completely disagree with the left on numerous issues. I definately despise the tactics they use, especially during the ObamaCare fiasco in Congress...but now I understand where those tactics are coming from. I understand why they are being used and what the goal is in some instances. I also see how I can use them on a smaller scale. Oh yeah! :-)