“Last guys don’t finish nice.” Saul Alinsky
I know I haven’t written much lately but it seems that every time I get an idea for an article, one of my esteemed colleagues out here in our little corner of the webz puts one out just before I get ready to write mine. Which personally, I think is cool as hell. It proves that our movement is coalescing, certain truths are becoming self evident and I think we are developing something like a hive mind, where an idea almost is instantaneously transmitted through organic means only. So, I spent the past two weeks hanging out on the beach, did a lot of partying and a little travel and mostly I caught up on my reading. I have a huge stash of paper books in my shed and on occasion I’ll pull one out that I haven’t read in a couple of decades and re-read it. One of the books I found in my stash and made it a must read was was Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals.
There’s a reason for that. The ascension of the left wing in politics and political correctness is proportionately regarded as having started with the publication of his book that was published in 1971, only a year before his death. He also did a Playboy interview in the last year of his life and if you think he was a leftist, communist or statist, this excerpt will change your mind. Remember this interview was published in 1972:
“PLAYBOY: The assumption behind the Administration’s Silent Majority thesis is that most of the middle class is inherently conservative. How can even the most skillful organizational tactics unite them in support of your radical goals?
ALINSKY: Conservative? That’s a crock of crap. Right now they’re nowhere. But they can and will go either of two ways in the coming years — to a native American fascism or toward radical social change. Right now they’re frozen, festering in apathy, leading what Thoreau called “lives of quiet desperation:” They’re oppressed by taxation and inflation, poisoned by pollution, terrorized by urban crime, frightened by the new youth culture, baffled by the computerized world around them. They’ve worked all their lives to get their own little house in the suburbs, their color TV, their two cars, and now the good life seems to have turned to ashes in their mouths. Their personal lives are generally unfulfilling, their jobs unsatisfying, they’ve succumbed to tranquilizers and pep pills, they drown their anxieties in alcohol, they feel trapped in longterm endurance marriages or escape into guilt-ridden divorces. They’re losing their kids and they’re losing their dreams. They’re alienated, depersonalized, without any feeling of participation in the political process, and they feel rejected and hopeless. Their utopia of status and security has become a tacky-tacky suburb, their split-levels have sprouted prison bars and their disillusionment is becoming terminal.
They’re the first to live in a total mass-media-oriented world, and every night when they turn on the TV and the news comes on, they see the almost unbelievable hypocrisy and deceit and even outright idiocy of our national leaders and the corruption and disintegration of all our institutions, from the police and courts to the White House itself. Their society appears to be crumbling and they see themselves as no more than small failures within the larger failure. All their old values seem to have deserted them, leaving them rudderless in a sea of social chaos. Believe me, this is good organizational material.”
Remember that this interview was published in 1972. Does this have any resonance in 2013? Has anything much changed since then? We have been subjected to nearly four decades of this shit, and Alinsky was one of the first to figure this out. Unfortunately, he didn’t figure out that what he was espousing had no chance of being successful even though he thought he had a chance. From the same interview:
“In all the ways I’ve been talking about, from taxation to pollution. The middle class actually feels more defeated and lost today on a wide range of issues than the poor do. And this creates a situation that’s supercharged with both opportunity and danger. There’s a second revolution seething beneath the surface of middle-class America — the revolution of a bewildered, frightened and as-yet-inarticulate group of desperate people groping for alternatives — for hope. Their fears and their frustrations over their impotence can turn into political paranoia and demonize them, driving them to the right, making them ripe for the plucking by some guy on horseback promising a return to the vanished verities of yesterday. The right would give them scapegoats for their misery — blacks, hippies, Communists — and if it wins, this country will become the first totalitarian state with a national anthem celebrating “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” But we’re not going to abandon the field to them without a long, hard fight — a fight I think we’re going to win. Because we’ll show the middle class their real enemies: the corporate power elite that runs and ruins the country — the true beneficiaries of Nixon’s so-called economic reforms. And when they swing their sights on that target, the sh– will really hit the fan.”
“a fight I think we’re going to win” No Saul, by the time you figured this out it was already too late. It was already too late by WWI.
The left and the elites have taken Saul Alinsky and his writings as their own and have used his insights to defeat their enemies, imagined and real. But, Alinsky must be rolling in his grave seeing how his commonsense ways to fight back against what he saw as the elite’s war against the people that make this country work has been coerced into an elite program of propaganda and personal ruination.
Read the book and the Playboy interview. It will give you some insights as to how long these programs have been in place and how one man’s fight against what he determined to be the elites was usurped and used as one of the most powerful weapons against dissent ever devised. Whereas Edward Bernays thought himself above the “useless eaters”, Alinsky thought that his ideas could help the people that were without power or any other decent options. Given that he died when Barack Obama was 11 years old, he couldn’t have ever ascertained that what he wrote about would have ever been as bastardized as it has been.
Be careful about what opinions you cultivate until you confirm for yourself what the man or his writings really mean. Personally, I think Alinsky has valuable lessons to teach us here in this little corner of the webz. Why do you think #Fatshamingweek and Matt Forney’s post on the complete uselessness of female self esteem were so successful?
We used Alinsky’s rules. Here’s a primer if you’re too lazy to download the book:
* RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”
* RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”
* RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.”
* RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”
* RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
* RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
* RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”
* RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.”
* RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”
* RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.”
* RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”
* RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
Sounds exactly what we do on a regular basis doesn’t it?