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Saul Alinsky was a brilliant man. Evil, but brilliant. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, everyone on the Left from the President on down is playing by his rules in the political arena. Not all liberals have read his book or know his name, but his tactics have become universal. Sadly for conservatives, when two evenly matched forces go head-to-head outside of a fairy tale, the side that tries to play nice usually ends up with its head in a box. So, don’t lie or become an evil person like Alinsky, but learn from what he wrote and give the Left a taste of its own medicine.

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.

…The third rule is: Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

…the fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

…the fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.

…the sixth rule is: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

…the seventh rule is: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

…the eighth rule: Keep the pressure on.

…the ninth rule: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

…The eleventh rule is: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.

…The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

…The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. — Rules for Radicals

1) Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have. Boycotts have fallen out of favor on the Right because the Left has used that tactic to target conservative radio. This is a mistake. That’s because there are a lot more conservatives than there are liberals and we’re much more capable of using the tactic effectively. There are roughly 120 million people who identify with conservatism in this country and almost twice as many Christians. When there are threats that Christians and conservatives will refuse to go see movies, stop buying products, or cancel subscriptions, it will scare some people straight. That threat should be used and carried out much more often.

2) Never go outside the experience of your people. Want to know why Republicans are so terrible at reaching out to minorities? Because identity politics works really, really well and conservatives tend to oppose it on principle. So, white Republicans are constantly trying to go outside of their experience and reach out to minorities who are generally disinclined to listen to them because they have the wrong skin color. When the GOP accepts reality, adopts the tactics of the Democratic Party, and starts paying off our own Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons to reach out to minority groups and call Democrats racists, we’ll start making inroads with minorities for the first time in decades.

3) Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. The GOP often foolishly retreats from social issues. This is a huge mistake in an era when 76% of the country is Christian and most liberals find sincere Christian beliefs to be repellent. We don’t have to preach at anyone, wag our fingers, or turn into legions of Ned Flanders, but we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about our Christian beliefs, stick up for Christians who are under attack, and hammer the Left for its anti-Christian bigotry. Conservatism is a pro-Christian ideology and liberalism is an anti-Christian ideology. We should never be afraid to drive that point home.

4) Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. This is something conservatives have gotten much better at in the last few years, but we seldom take it far enough. If we did, a tax cheat who advocates higher taxes could certainly never be our Treasury Secretary, Barack Obama would be afraid to associate with race hustlers like Al Sharpton or one percenters like Warren Buffet, and Al Gore would have either given up his mansion or his status as the leader of the cult of global warming.

4A) Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. Conservatives have a tendency to try to win every debate with logic and recitations of facts which, all too often, fail to get the job done because emotions and mockery are often just as effective as reason. The good news is that liberals almost never have logic on their side; so they’re incapable of rationally making the case for their policies while conservatives can become considerably more effective debaters by simply adding some emotion-based arguments and sheer scorn to their discourse. This has certainly worked on Twitter, where conservatives keep making the Obama campaign look like buffoons by taking over its hashtags.

6) A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. Sometimes Republicans get too serious about politics. Why not hold a fund raiser at the gun range? What’s wrong with having Kid Rock or a bunch of popular country musicians play at a massive voter registration drive? How about building some giant puppet heads of our own, featuring Nancy Pelosi injecting botox into her face or Barack Obama punching the Pope in the stomach? A little controversy and fun draw in the eyeballs and gets people excited.

7) A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. This one seems self-explanatory, but in practice, it can be tough to keep things on a timeline. This is what happened to the Occupy Movement, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Republican race for the presidency, too. If it goes on too long, people sour on it whether it’s a war, an election, or a tactic.

8) Keep the pressure on. Conservatives fall down on this one all the time. Just when Obama’s SuperPac was starting to feel real pressure over taking a million dollar donation from Bill Maher, conservatives eased up. This is also why liberal film stars feel so comfortable trashing conservatives, Christians, and Americans — even right before their film comes out. It’s because we get offended, shrug our shoulders, and then almost immediately let it go. Sometimes, an apology doesn’t fix everything. How often do liberals accept an apology at face value and let an issue go?

9) The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself. How about we treat the Left to some of its own medicine? Libs throw a pie at a conservative author on campus; then we promise to shower every liberal speaker on the same campus with garbage. They post a conservative address online; we post two liberal addresses online. They hold a protest at someone’s house; then we hold a protest at someone’s house. They hit one of our politicians with glitter; we hit one of their politicians with coal dust. Liberals have a mentality that says, “Everything we do is harmless, but everything conservatives do is potentially dangerous.” Yet, we’re usually too well behaved to copy their tactics. Mimic those tactics once or twice and the Libs will freak out so hard that they’ll start declaring it to be off limits for everyone, including their own activists.

10) The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. When you launch an attack, tie it in as part of a theme and never stop hammering the theme as long as it’s true and it works. John Kerry is a flip-flopper, Bill Clinton is a liar, Barack Obama is bankrupting the country and wrecking the economy — tie your attacks into themes that can be picked up on social media, talk radio, cable TV, and in the blogosphere over the long haul. Why does McDonald’s keep running ads? Because it may be that 50th ad or 100th ad you see that gets you to go buy a Big Mac, just as it may be the 50th or 100th time someone hears that Obama is bankrupting the country and wrecking the economy before it sticks.

11) If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.The winner in politics is almost always whoever is on offense. Liberals understand this in an intuitive way that most conservatives don’t. We think because we have this wonderful, honest, logical response to a charge that we’re scoring major points — but, except in rare cases, it’s not true. If you’re spending all of your time refuting the charges that you’re extreme, racist, hate women, and despise the poor — you’re losing. That’s because some people will assume where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and disbelieve you no matter how good your explanation may be. Additionally, if you’re busy defending yourself, you can’t go after the other side. Defend when you absolutely have to, but make sure most of your time is spent attacking relentlessly attacking.

12) The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Honestly, this is more of a liberal problem than a conservative one, since liberals always seem to be clamoring to rip out some functional necessity of American society so they can replace it with an ill-defined hodgepodge of ideas that they think will shift power their way or be less “mean.” Our ideas work; so coming up with a constructive alternative is seldom a problem.

13) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Conservatives tend to do well with this one until they get to the last part. Polarization is at the core of the Left’s strategy. According to liberals, if you’re conservative, you hate blacks, Hispanics, gays, Jews, Muslims, women, the poor, the middle class, the environment, and probably a half dozen other groups I’ve forgotten. Even when something is in front of our face, conservatives shy away from polarization. What’s wrong with pointing out how hostile the Democratic Party has become to Christianity? Why not point out the truth: that most white liberals are racists who think black Americas are too stupid and incompetent to compete with white Americans, which is why they push Affirmative Action and racial set asides? Why not note that liberals want poor Americans to stay poor and dependent, because as long as they do, they’ll keep voting for the Democrat Party? There’s a reason Barack Obama bows to foreign leaders, is constantly apologizing for America, attended an anti-white, anti-American church for 20 years, and it’s why his wife was proud of the country for the FIRST TIME because she thought it was going to elect her husband. The sad truth is that these are people who hate and despise this country. Why do you think “hope and change” appealed so much to Obama that he made it his theme? When you look at America as an evil, racist, unfair, horrible place to live inhabited by ignorant trash and “bitter clingers,” what else would you do other than hope for change? If you love this country and the values it represents, the people in the White House not only don’t share your values, they hold people like you in utter contempt.

Home   Quotes and Excerpts from

Rules for Radicals

By Saul Alinsky – 1971

    Hillary Clinton’s 1969 Political Science Thesis (“There is Only the Fight”) refers to an earlier version of Alinsky’s training manual. “In 1946,” she wrote, “Alinsky’s first book,Reveille for Radicals, was published.”

See From Freedom to Servitude | Training an army of world servers | From Marx to Alinsky

 

Background information

Obama learned his lesson well. I am proud to see that my father’s model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.” –Letter from L. DAVID ALINSKY, son of Neo-Marxist Saul Alinsky

Obama helped fund ‘Alinsky Academy’: “The Woods Fund, a nonprofit on which Obama served as paid director from 1999 to December 2002, provided startup funding and later capital to the Midwest Academy…. Obama sat on the Woods Fund board alongside William Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist organization.…  ‘Midwest describes itself as ‘one of the nation’s oldest and best-known schools for community organizations, citizen organizations and individuals committed to progressive social change.’… Midwest teaches Alinsky tactics of community organizing.”

Hillary, Obama and the Cult of Alinsky“True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism, Alinsky taught. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within. Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties…. Many leftists view Hillary as a sell-out because she claims to hold moderate views on some issues. However, Hillary is simply following Alinsky’s counsel to do and say whatever it takes to gain power.

      “Obama is also an Alinskyite…. Obama spent years teaching workshops on the Alinsky method. In 1985 he began a four-year stint as a community organizer in Chicago, working for an Alinskyite group called the Developing Communities Project…. Camouflage is key to Alinsky-style organizing. While trying to build coalitions of black churches in Chicago, Obama caught flak for not attending church himself. He became an instant churchgoer.” (By Richard Poe, 11-27-07)

Opening page – Dedication

“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.


Prologue

“The Revolutionary force today has two targets, moral as well as material. Its young protagonists are one moment reminiscent of the idealistic early Christians, yet they also urge violence and cry, ‘Burn the system down!‘ They have no illusions about the system, but plenty of illusions about the way to change our world. It is to this point that I have written this book.”


1. The Purpose

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…. “Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.’ This means revolution.” p.3

“Radicals must be resilient, adaptable to shifting political circumstances, and sensitive enough to the process of action and reaction to avoid being trapped by their own tactics and forced to travel a road not of their choosing.” p.6

“A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage — the political paradise of communism.” p.10

“An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma to begin with, he does not have a fixed truth — truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing…. To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations….” pp.10-11

Notes on Saul Alinsky and Neo-Marxism:

     Alinsky’s tactics were based, not on Stalin’s revolutionary violence, but on the Neo-Marxist strategies of  Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Communist. Relying on gradualism, infiltration and thedialectic process rather than a bloody revolution, Gramsci’s transformational Marxism was so subtle that few even noticed the deliberate changes.

     Like Alinsky, Mikhail Gorbachev followed Gramsci, not Lenin. In fact, Gramsci aroused Stalins’s wrath by suggesting that Lenin’s revolutionary plan wouldn’t work in the West. Instead the primaryassault would be on Biblical absolutes and Christian values, which must be crushed as a social force before the new face of Communism could rise and flourish. Malachi Martin gave us a progress report:

“By 1985, the influence of traditional Christian philosophy in the West was weak and negligible…. Gramsci’s master strategy was now feasible. Humanly speaking, it was no longer too tall an order to strip large majorities of men and women in the West of those last vestiges that remained to them of Christianity’s transcendent God.”

2. Of Means and Ends [Forget  moral or ethical considerations]

“The end is what you want, 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. … The real arena is corrupt and bloody.” p.24

“The means-and-ends moralists, constantly obsessed with the ethics of the means used by the Have-Nots against the Haves, should search themselves as to their real political position. In fact, they are passive — but real — allies of the Haves…. The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means… The standards of judgment must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be….” pp.25-26

“The third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means….” p.29

“The seventh rule… is that generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics….” p.34

“The tenth rule… is you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.… It involves sifting the multiple factors which combine in creating the circumstances at any given time… Who, and how many will support the action?… If weapons are needed, then are appropriate d weapons available? Availability of means determines whether you will be underground or above ground; whether you will move quickly or slowly…” p.36

Notes: Apparently, Michelle Obama referred to these words during her Democratic National Convention speech:

“She said, ‘Barack stood up that day,’ talking about a visit to Chicago neighborhoods, ‘and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about ‘The world as it is‘ and ‘The world as it should be…’ And, ‘All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do – that we have an obligation to, fight for the world as it should be.”

Do you wonder who — or whose values — should determine what “the world… should be?”

4. The Education of the Organizer

“To the organizer, imagination… is the dynamism that starts and sustains him in his whole life of action as an organizer. It ignites and feeds the force that drives him to organize for change….
“The organizer knows that the real action is in the reaction of the opposition. To realistically appraise and anticipate the probable reactions of the enemy, he must be able to identify with them, too, in his imagination, and foresee their reactions to his actions….
“The organizers searching with a free and open mind void of certaintyhating dogma, finds laughter not just a way to maintain his sanity but also a key to understanding life.”
pp.74-75

“…the organizer must be able to split himself into two parts — one part in the arena of action where he polarizes the issue to 100 to nothing, and helps to lead his forces into conflict, while the other part knows that when the time comes for negotiations that it really is only a 10 percent difference.” p.78

“…the organizer is constantly creating new out of the old. He knows that all new ideas arise from conflict[See Dialectic Process]  that every time man as had a new idea it has been a challenge to the sacred ideas of the past and the present and inevitably a conflict has raged.” p.79


5. Communication [Notice the emphasis on conflict, dialoguerelationships, etc. Team “service” is essential to building strong relationships through “common involvements”]

 “And so the guided questioning goes on without anyone losing face or being left out of the decision-making. Every weakness of every proposed tactic is probed by questions…. Is this manipulation? Certainly….”p.88

“One of the factors that changes what you can and can’t communicate is relationships. There are sensitive areas that one does not touch until there is a strong personal relationship based on common involvements. Otherwise the other party turns off and literally does not hear….

     “Conversely, if you have a good relationship, he is very receptive…. For example, I have always believed that birth control and abortion are personal rights to be exercised by the individual. If, in my early days when I organized… neighborhood in Chicago, which was 95 per cent Roman Catholic, I had tried to communicate this, even through the experience of the residents, whose economic plight was aggravated by large families, that would have been the end of my relationship with the community. That instant I would have been stamped as an enemy of the church and all communication would have ceased.

     “Some years later, after establishing solid relationships, I was free to talk about anything…. By then the argument was no longer limited to such questions as, ‘How much longer do you think the Catholic Church can hang on to this archaic notion and still survive?’ …the subject and nature of the discussion would have been unthinkable without that solid relationship.” pp.93-94

6. In the Beginning: The Process of Power [Notice the compromise needed to build the power base. Yet, since pragmatism has eroded all values, it’s simply a matter of ends justifying means. It’s not unlike churches that attract members through the world’s entertainment — then continue to soften or hide Truth in order to keep them happy and lure more.]

“From the moment the organizer enters a community he lives, dreams… only one thing and that is to build the mass power base of what he calls the army. Until he has developed that mass power base, he confronts no major issues…. Until he has those means and power instruments, his ‘tactics’ are very different from power tactics. Therefore, every move revolves around one central point: how many recruits will this bring into the organization, whether by means of local organizations, churches, service groups, labor Unions, corner gangs, or as individuals.”

     Change comes from power, and power comes from organization.” p.113

The first step in community organization is community disorganization. The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are  to be displace by new patterns…. All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new.” p.116

Compare with this excerpts from “Group Decision and Social Change” by Kurt Lewin:

      “A change toward a higher level of group performance is frequently short lived: after a “shot in the arm”, group life soon returns to the previous level. This indicates that it does not suffice to define the objective of a planned change in group performance as the reaching of a different level. Permanency of the new level, or permanency for a desired period, should be included in the objective. A successful change includes therefore three aspects:

  • UNFREEZING (if necessary) the present level… 
  • MOVING to the new level . . . and
  • FREEZING group life on the new level.”

An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent… He must create a mechanism that can drain off the underlying guilt for having accepted the previous situation for so long a time. Out of this mechanism, a new community organization arises….
“The job then is getting the people to move, to act, to participate; in short, to develop and harness the necessary power to effectively conflict with the prevailing patterns and change them. When those prominent in the status quo turn and label you an ‘agitator’ they are completely correct, for that is, in one word, your functionto agitate to the point of conflict.” 
p.117

Process tells us how. Purpose tells us why. But in reality, it is academic to draw a line between them, they are part of a continuum…. Process is really purpose.” p.122


7. Tactics

“Tactics are those conscious deliberate acts by which human beings live with each other and deal with the world around them. … Here our concern is with the tactic of taking; how the Have-Nots can take power away from the Haves.” p.126

Always remember the first rule of power tactics 
(pps.127-134):

1. “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”

2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear and retreat…. [and] the collapse of communication.

3. “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”

6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”

7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time….”

8. “Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.”

9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

10. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.”

11. “If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside… every positive has its negative.”

12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”

13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.  In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

     “…any target can always say, ‘Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?’ When your ‘freeze the target,’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the ‘others’ come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…’

     “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.” (pps.127-134)

 Saul Alinksky, Rules for Radicals, Vintage Books, New York, 1989.

Additional Notes:

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: “Known as the ‘father of modern American radicalism,’ Saul D. Alinsky (1909-1972) developed strategies and tactics that take the enormous, unfocused emotional energy of grassroots groups and transform it into effective anti-government and anti-corporate activism. … Some of these rules are ruthless, but they work.”


Article by Phyllis Schalfly titled “Alinski’s Rules: Must Reading In Obama Era,” posted at www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=318470857908277 (2-2-09)

       “Alinsky’s second chapter, called Of Means and Ends, craftily poses many difficult moral dilemmas, and his ‘tenth rule of the ethics of means and ends’ is: ‘you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments.’  He doesn’t ignore traditional moral standards or dismiss them as unnecessary. He is much more devious; he teaches his followers that ‘Moral rationalization is indispensable at all times of action whether to justify the selection or the use of ends or means.’…

       “The qualities Alinsky looked for in a good organizer were:

  • ego (“reaching for the highest level for which man can reach — to create, to be a ‘great creator,’ to play God”),
  • curiosity (raising “questions that agitate, that break through the accepted pattern”),
  • irreverence (“nothing is sacred”; the organizer “detests dogma, defies any finite definition of morality”),
  • imagination (“the fuel for the force that keeps an organizer organizing”),
  • a sense of humor (“the most potent weapons known to mankind are satire and ridicule“), and an
  • organized personality with confidence in presenting the right reason for his actions only “as a moral rationalization after the right end has been achieved.’…

“‘The organizer’s first job is to create the issues or problems,’ and ‘organizations must be based on many issues.’ The organizer ‘must first rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; fan the latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expression. He must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them, for unless there is controversy people are not concerned enough to act. . . . An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent.'”


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See also Obama: Training an army of world servers

Collectivism in churches and Trading Truth for a “Social Gospel”