Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals

Consider the words of the dean of Chicago Community Organizing, Saul Alinsky.  His book Rules for Radicals is clearly in play during this election.  Alinsky writes about a society (the 60s, but could just as well be today), where the systems of society have quit working. He sees it as a revolution.

Remember we are talking about revolution, not revelation; you can miss the target by shooting too high as well as too low.  First, there are no rules for revolution any more than there are rules for love or rules for happiness, but there are rules for radicals who want to change the world: there are certain central concepts of action in human politics that operate regardless of the scene or the time.  To know these is basic to a pragmatic attack on the system.  These rules make the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one who uses the tired old words and slogans … This failure of many of our younger activists to understand the art of communication has been disastrous.” (p. xviii)

It’s clear his discussion of means and ends has been understood by the Obamas…

“Life and how you live it is the story of means and ends. The end is what you want, and the means is how you get it. Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises. The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms. he has no other problem; he thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action. He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work. To say that corrupt means corrupt the ends is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles. The real arena is corrupt and bloody. Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life.” (p. 24-25)

“The Ninth Rule of the ethics of means and ends is that any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.” (p. 35)

We see Alinsky’s words on “tactics” every day.  Caling for McCain to stay positive, for example, while his own surrogates “leak” false and damaging inuendo daily.

“Always remember the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have. The second rule is: Never go outside the experience of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, it results in confusion, fear, and retreat. It also means a collapse in communication, as we have noted. The third rule is: Whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.” (p. 126-127)

“Use the power of the law by making the Establishment obey its own rules. Go outside the experience of the enemy, stay inside the experience of your people.

Here is the Obama playbook.  In black and white.

thanks to Chris Heuer for some of the background research.


2 Responses to Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals

  1. […] and radicals, and found a post that picked up on Michelle’s quoting Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. Two of the best comments came from mbabbit: It looks like Michelle Obama actually inverted the […]

  2. You know, …Alinsky is my smoking gun for, Az an Ex-Con, now talkshow host,…errr wanna be..this reinforces my thesis on the MediaOcracy, I welcome comments

    Media-Ocracy: Democracy not, Socialism disguised. Loses Bid.

    In this new MediaOcracy, one that is governed silently by Wall Street/Corporate America and is administered by the Media.

    Wall Street with their Lobbyists & Attorneys.($$ Dictate to dependent Corporate America $$)

    Corporate America and their Advertising Agenies (Feed money to the media, in ad revenue.)

    Politicians are the dot connectors to the top tier, connecting them with Labor Unions and other strong special interest groups.

    Labor Unions & other Special Interest Groups

    The MediaDELIVERYsystem is one that capitalizes on the human element “Ignorance is bliss.”

    As such this system utilizes two other key elements in this TRIAD.

    1. Freedom of the Speech, and the abuse/misuse the same.

    2. Celebrity, the notion of 15 minutes of fames is now..I want to be famous, everyone else is.

    a. Celebrity is beholden to the media for they rely on the spotlight.

    b. Hollywood returns the favor and support and brainwash those in America with the lull of celebrity….

    With the liberal media in the drivers seat their duty is but one.

    To spin, promote and otherwise confuse the obvious, while the power of suggestion are encouraged to the ends of their self interests.

    Why the Panic?

    It is this MediaOcracy that is why the media is in a panic state.

    The presumptive, (it isn’t over until it’s over) President elect is Obama.

    There is no doubt about it, to deny the sensibilities of this obvious regarding this point is to define you the reader…PERIOD.

    Thus! The loyalty demonstrated at the disgust of those who understand their lack of civic responsibility, would no doubt create IN GRANITE this new MEDIAOCRACY.

    For now the geeny is going to volunteer to step out of the bottle and take their RIGHTFUL seat at the Right hand of God….er Obama….

    AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD>>er OBAMA…No, We the MEDIA, rule.

    AS A MATTER OF FACT the power they would yield would compel Obama sit to Media’s Right….BUT there is A PROBLEM….put your money on

    OBAMA will lose by more than 20 points… Count on it….

    Media’s unwise gamble moving from bad to worse, their INTENTIONS exposed.


    What courtesies would be extended to them in the McCain Administration?

    Pie in the face is not even close to the discrace that will forever tarnish the good reputation and honored tradition of America’s Press Corp.

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