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Alinsky's Rules for Radicals
STRATEGIC PUBLIC RELATIONS ^ | 1993, 2001 | Craig Miyamoto

Posted on 06/10/2005 6:07:02 PM PDT by ken21

Alinsky's Rules for Radicals By Craig Miyamoto, APR, Fellow PRSA

(This is an expanded version of the 2000 Third Quarter issue of Public Relations Strategies, a quarterly publication of Miyamoto Strategic Counsel)

To paraphrase some sage advice, "keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer." If your business or organization ever becomes a target of radical activists, it will be extremely helpful to know what strategies of attack will used against you. Short of having spies infiltrate their organization - a practice that is sure to be found out and exposed to your discredit - it would help to study their methods.

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. Activist organizations teach his ideas widely taught today as a set of model behaviors, and they use these principles to create an emotional commitment to victory - no matter what.

Grassroots pressure on large organizations is reality, and there is every indication that it will grow. Because the conflicts manifest in high-profile public debate and often-panicked decision-making, studying Alinsky's rules will help organizations develop counteractive strategies that can level the playing field.

Governments and corporations have inherent weaknesses. And, time and again, they repeat mistakes that other large organizations have made, even repeating their OWN mistakes. Alinsky's out-of-print book - "Rules for Radicals" - illustrates why opposition groups take on large organizations with utter glee, and why these governments and corporations fail to win.

Large organizations have learned to stonewall and not empower activists. In other words, they try to ignore radical activists and are never as committed to victory as their opposition is committed to defeating them. Result? They are unprepared for the hailstorm of brutal tactics that severely damage their reputation and send them running with their tails between their legs.

Some of these rules are ruthless, but they work. Here are the rules to be aware of:

RULE 1: "Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have." Power is derived from 2 main sources - money and people. "Have-Nots" must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)

RULE 2: "Never go outside the expertise of your people." It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don't address the "real" issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)

RULE 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.)

RULE 4: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity's very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)

RULE 5: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." There is no defense. It's irrational. It's infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)

RULE 6: "A good tactic is one your people enjoy." They'll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They're doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid "un-fun" activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)

RULE 7: "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag." Don't become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)

RULE 8: "Keep the pressure on. Never let up." Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

RULE 9: "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself." Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists' minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)

RULE 10: "If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive." Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management's wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)

RULE 11: "The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative." Never let the enemy score points because you're caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: alinsky; hillaryclinton; manifesto; radical; rules; saulalinsky
summary of saul alinsky's rules for radicals.

a cursory view of these provides immediate reminders of the democrat attack machine.

1 posted on 06/10/2005 6:07:03 PM PDT by ken21
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To: ken21
AKA Hillary's thesis.
2 posted on 06/10/2005 6:12:19 PM PDT by perfect stranger (I need new glasses.)
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To: perfect stranger
AKA Hillary's thesis.

Mentor and hero also! Clearly the SOP of the neo-marxist wing of the democratic party, which is all but a few.

3 posted on 06/10/2005 6:17:18 PM PDT by Archon of the East ("universal executive power of the law of nature")
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To: ken21

Juvenile hogwash. Still, one should be familiar with it so that they can identify and defang it.


4 posted on 06/10/2005 6:17:31 PM PDT by Constitution1st (Never, never, never quit - Winston Churchill)
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To: perfect stranger

yeah, i'd like to get a copy of that.

when the clintons entered the white house they had vassar hide her thesis.

barbara olsen had one. but she died in 9.11.

rush limbaugh spoke of it.

any ideas where to get a copy?


5 posted on 06/10/2005 6:18:11 PM PDT by ken21 (if you didn't see it on tv, then it didn't happen. /s)
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To: Temple Owl
ping

Sounds like the rules for the Inquirer editorial board.

6 posted on 06/10/2005 6:18:17 PM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Constitution1st
juvenile hogwash.

The rules or the idea that they use it?

7 posted on 06/10/2005 6:22:11 PM PDT by Archon of the East ("universal executive power of the law of nature")
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To: Tribune7

Yeah, I think the editorial boards of the msm use it as a bible.


8 posted on 06/10/2005 6:31:23 PM PDT by Temple Owl (19064)
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To: ken21

This sounds like the James Carville guide for living!


9 posted on 06/10/2005 6:42:08 PM PDT by Mr. Jazzy (Bumper sticker "Martyrs or Marines: Who do YOU think will get the virgins?")
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To: ken21

Sounds like the conduct of every stupid leftist I've ever come in contact with. Fits in perfectly with the conduct of the anti-Bush crowd.


10 posted on 06/10/2005 6:45:19 PM PDT by popdonnelly
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To: Mr. Jazzy; popdonnelly

yep.

democrats do these things.


11 posted on 06/10/2005 6:46:41 PM PDT by ken21 (if you didn't see it on tv, then it didn't happen. /s)
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To: ken21

"It's the economy, stupid!"


12 posted on 06/10/2005 6:47:29 PM PDT by Toskrin (Socialism is communism a little bit at a time)
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To: ken21

bump


13 posted on 06/10/2005 6:50:07 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: Toskrin

that was a good one!

the wall street journal before the 1992 election editorialized:

whoever wins this presidential election will be blessed with a very good economy.

it was only the stupid people who voted democrat that didn't know this.


14 posted on 06/10/2005 6:52:48 PM PDT by ken21 (if you didn't see it on tv, then it didn't happen. /s)
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To: ken21
I saw Chaaaly Rangle tonight on H & C spouting some hogwash about how GW, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Cheney had some super-secret meeting IN 1998 to plan the destruction of Saddam Hussein and the invasion of Iraq.

Looks like he's taken the Rules to heart, eh?

15 posted on 06/10/2005 7:22:36 PM PDT by Humidston (Yo, Hitlary... BRING IT ON!)
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To: Humidston

yeah, rangle's definitely on the far left.

they know what they're doing.

the democrats do not approach any doings with this country or the republicans in GOOD FAITH.


16 posted on 06/10/2005 7:28:30 PM PDT by ken21 (if you didn't see it on tv, then it didn't happen. /s)
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To: ken21
I'd flag FR's premier Alinksy know-it-all, but she has been banned. Our loss.

Google Search on FR Archives for Saul Alinsky. The Rules have been posted before.

17 posted on 06/10/2005 7:34:03 PM PDT by Dumb_Ox (Be not Afraid. "Perfect love drives out fear.")
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To: ken21
It is interesting to compare Alinsky's rules with David Horowitz's guidelines for political warfare, which says conservatives need to fight with leftist tactics.

I've only briefly looked through Horowitz's rules for the first time in years, but it's interesting that both he and Alinsky take a mainly psychological approach that plays off the subrational aspects of human nature. I don't think such an approach is compatible with republicanism, which is based on the belief(fact? hope?) that people are capable of acting reasonably most of the time, or at least more capable than style-savvy aristocrats and monarchs.

Horowitz claims some people try to treat politics as a religion, where one cannot compromise at all. Well, there is certainly such a thing as a civil religion, and the politics he and Alinsky promote tend to undermine that. Alinsky, as I recall, says outright that this is a good thing. I don't know if Horowitz has addressed the question.

Letting your opponent set the terms of the debate is an easy way to lose it. Letting your opponent make the rules of political warfare seems much the same to me.

18 posted on 06/10/2005 8:31:21 PM PDT by Dumb_Ox (Be not Afraid. "Perfect love drives out fear.")
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To: Dumb_Ox

thanks very much.

the marxist left is chilastic or milleninarianist in its outlook. i think that's why it sticks with so many people for so long, even after reason and experience have displaced it.

horowitz in "radical son" wrote that his father never gave up the idea of a communist revolution in his adopted america. he died embittered.


19 posted on 06/10/2005 8:40:08 PM PDT by ken21 (if you didn't see it on tv, then it didn't happen. /s)
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To: ken21; little jeremiah

Bump.

Ping...


20 posted on 06/10/2005 8:50:52 PM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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To: ken21

Patience, I bet if she runs in 08 copies will appear.


21 posted on 06/10/2005 9:17:03 PM PDT by Atchafalaya (When you're there that's the best!!)
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To: Archon of the East
Wellesely College is drafting a new course on Gramsci.
22 posted on 06/10/2005 9:18:29 PM PDT by Red Sea Swimmer (Tisha5765Bav)
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To: Constitution1st
Juvenile hogwash. Still, one should be familiar with it so that they can identify and defang it. Do you always agree with the government? This seems particularly useful if, for example, you want to do something about our immigration problem. Protest and reform isn't always a socialist tactic.
23 posted on 06/10/2005 9:43:12 PM PDT by nunoste
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To: Red Sea Swimmer
Wellesely College is drafting a new course on Gramsci.

Clearly even more open than in the past, communism is alive and well. I can't help but think that Pat Buchanan is correct when he says we are losing, regardless of any small victories. Do people understand the consequences of a system that reduces everything to conflict with no more eternal or even enlightened end than oppressed vs oppressor? All for what. Why are they willingly giving up their Liberty? Destroy the family and people will no longer have children. What kind of people promote this, why do they promote this? I think we know.

24 posted on 06/11/2005 5:27:32 AM PDT by Archon of the East ("universal executive power of the law of nature")
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To: Red Sea Swimmer

>Wellesely College is drafting a new course on Gramsci.<

Now there's a comforting thought. And I bet dollars to doughnuts it'll not be taught from a conservative standpoint.


25 posted on 06/11/2005 6:15:15 AM PDT by Darnright ( Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before)
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To: thompsonsjkc; odoso; animoveritas; DaveTesla; mercygrace; Laissez-faire capitalist; ...

Moral Absolutes Ping.

These "Rules for Radicals" should be read by everyone who is concerned about the leftists' takeover of political and social life. Anyone concerned about "gay" rights, the ACLU, read freedom of speech, association, and religious expression should read this. I read Horowitz' "Radical Son" a couple of years ago and it was an eye-opener, I highly recommend it.

Let me know if you want on/off this pinglist.

I was just telling mrs lj about Gramsci today. Unfortunately what I know was explained in two minutes. I need to read up on him and his works, and who is following him today.


26 posted on 06/11/2005 4:20:44 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Resisting evil is our duty or we are as responsible as those promoting it.)
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To: ken21
RULE 4:
"Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity's very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)
Compare with Theodore Roosevelt
There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes to second achievement. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticise work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities - all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness. The rôle is easy; there is none easier, save only the rôle of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.


27 posted on 09/30/2008 5:50:27 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The conceit of journalistic objectivity is profoundly subversive of democratic principle.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

>...an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty...<

how better to describe the liberal-socialists that you see day to day?

thanks for digging this up!

i’d forgotten that i’d posted it.


28 posted on 09/30/2008 5:59:15 PM PDT by ken21 (people die and you never hear from them again.)
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To: ken21
Socialist Central Planning Government attract thugs and blackgards to take over top positions; Clintons Obamas prove the theory.
29 posted on 02/19/2011 6:33:30 PM PST by 1elder1 (\Christmas with the Palins all December 2010)
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To: 1elder1

yep.

remember hillary in the snow in d.c. carrying her bible from the white house to church?

and now she’s ganging up with moslems against israel.


30 posted on 02/20/2011 8:38:01 AM PST by ken21 (dem taxes + regs + unions = jobs overseas.)
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