As promised here is Part III of our study of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.
Part I introduced Saul Alinsky and his book with a brief description of what it proposes, i.e. revolution. The call for revolution starts with its very first sentence and continues throughout.
Part II outlined his eleven rules of the ethics of ends and means and his philosophy that “the perennial question, ‘Does the end justify the means?’ is meaningless as it stands; the real and only question regarding the ethics of means and ends is, and always has been, ‘Does this particular end justify this particular means?’”
Part III is about how the Barack Obama administration is using this philosophy to radically change America as we know it.
Obama, a community organizer like Alinsky, was schooled in Chicago by mentors from a school that Alinsky founded. Chicago organizer Gregory Galluzzo, Obama’s former supervisor, who likes to describe himself as Alinsky’s “St. Paul”, believes that Obama’s exposure to the organizer’s liturgy taught him that wisdom can emerge from the grass roots.
In a letter to the Boston Globe, Alinsky’s son wrote that “the [Obama] Democratic National Convention had all the elements of the perfectly organized event, Saul Alinsky style. . . Barack Obama’s training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.”
Alinsky’s method of organizing is to identify a disaffected community and divide it into two classes, the Haves (the oppressors) and the Have Nots (the victims.) The next step is to make the Have Nots believe they are being unjustly treated by the Haves by pointing to the inequities that exist between the classes.
Hmmm…recognize any similarities here to the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd, the 99% vs. the 1%?
The revolution is begun by building resentment against America’s economic system (capitalism) in order to demand higher taxes on the wealthiest in order to provide big-spending programs for the poor who are presented as the victims of the oppressive capitalist system. The end is to have government confiscate the wealth and power of the Haves and redistribute it to the Have Nots. Sound familiar?
Given Obama’s personality and his messianic ability for public speaking another Alinsky quote seems remarkably prophetic: “Ego must be so all-pervading that the personality of the organizer is contagious, that it converts the people from despair to defiance, creating a mass ego.”
The scariest element in this whole scenario is that these ideas have now gone viral. It has become an international movement spurred on by worldwide economic distress. Unfortunately it is being innocently viewed by most as a benign continuation of that glorious “Arab Spring”of a few months ago.
Meanwhile a scent of Alinsky’s revolution wafts faintly in the breezes.
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Rules for Radicals, p24