Skip to comments.Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky - Quotes and Excerpts
Posted on 05/12/2009 3:05:00 PM PDT by CutePuppy
Quotes and Excerpts from
Rules for Radicals
See also Obama: Training an army of world servers
1. The Purpose
"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
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."
"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.... p.36
4. The Education of the Organizer
"...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
5. Communication [Notice the emphasis on conflict, dialogue, relationships, etc. Team "service" is essential to building strong relationships through "common involvements"]
"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....
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]
"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
"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. 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
"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, ersonalize 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)
Notes from an article by Phyllis Schalfly titled " Alinski's Rules: Must Reading In Obama Era," posted at www.ibdeditorials.com (2-2-09)
"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.'"
* Article's link to Hillary, Obama and the Cult of Alinsky is a reference to November 26, 2007 FR article written and posted by FReeper Richard Lawrence Poe.
A racially integrated community is a chronological term timed from the entrance of the first black family to the exit of the last white family.
Always remember the first rule of power tactics; power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.
History is a relay of revolutions.
Last guys don't finish nice.
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.
Once you accept your own death, all of a sudden you're free to live. You no longer care about your reputation. You no longer care except so far as your life can be used tactically to promote a cause you believe in.
Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
Tactics mean doing what you can with what you have.
The greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself.
We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. We will see it when we believe it.
Saul Alinsky on "Change"...
From Rules for Radicals, Alinsky outlines his strategy in organizing, writing:
"There's another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevsky said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution."
Saul Alinsky, The Latter Rain (Latter-Rain.com is a "Liberation Theology" commie-left website -etl)
"The Communist Party USA views the 2008 elections as a tremendous opportunity to defeat the policies of the right-wing Republicans and to move our country in a new progressive direction.
The record turnout in the Democratic Presidential primary races shows that millions of voters, including millions of new voters, are using this election to bring about real change. We wholeheartedly agree with them."
A Landslide Mandate For Change
Congratulations on an extraordinary history making election!
We can think back with pride to decades of hard work toward our strategic goal of a big enough, broad enough and united enough labor and all-peoples movement that could overcome the ultra-right blockage to all progress. That all peoples movement has come to life, it is dynamic and it has the potential to keep growing.
The election of Barack Obama and a strengthened Congress creates new conditions in our country. There is now the possibility to shift gears and move forward. This new day requires us to further develop our tactics in order to continue to deepen and broaden labor and peoples unity.
There are thousands of experiences that we all have had in these momentous days, some large, some small, all of which express the enormity of change in thinking and readiness for involvement that is underway and that steels us for the battles ahead.
The tears of joy we all shared as crowds gathered to watch the election results here and throughout the world dramatize the new moment we are in.
"Barack Obama told supporters that
'change has come to America' as he
claimed victory in a historic presidential election."
Please tell me that this bastard Alinsky is buried somewhere so I can go piss on his grave.
Somebody build me a time machine so I can go back and shoot that satan-spawn before he has a chance to write this crap.
This is nothing new. Alinsky didn’t invent this. The serpent in the Garden of Eden was the first Community Organizer. “Hath God said....”
That’s a thought...
A better thought is to use what we can AGAINST the Alinsky-ites. Ridicule for one!!
When asked about death, Alinsky replied "They'll send me to hell and I'll organize it."
He didn't invent it, but he distilled it, and his disciples keep pouring it to the ambitious "repressed".
For Clinton and Obama, a Common Ideological Touchstone - WaPo, March 25, 2007
Yep. 'Tis better to give than to receive.
Thanks for posting this.
You are welcome. To be effective against our enemies, we have to know what drives them and what tactics they are likely to employ.
I was hoping this could be a Reader’s Digest version of it on FR.
#13 above - Freeze your target, etc. - When I read that a few months ago, I saw that was exactly what the left did to Palin and her family.
It’s rather effective. They have managed to marginalize her to an awful lot of the population. Such a shame.
The reasons why it is rather effective are that, on one side, they stay on message and have the support of massive media machine to hammer the message to impressionable and otherwise uninformed; while on the other side people either shrink from their support or just stay on the sidelines, afraid of getting involved.
Yet liberals failed to "freeze" Reagan and G.W. Bush in his first term because there was a strong and effective response from the targets themselves and ridicule of the attacks and the attackers from the supporters far and wide. That's the "Teflon effect".
Bush survived these attacks very well until 2005 partly because of 9/11, in large part because conservatives coalesced around him and attacks were met with sharp PR. It really showed in mid-term and later in 2004. Bush eventually lost the battle for the "hearts and minds" because after winning second term, Bush lost a lot of "home" support with some of his Big Government policies and PR mistakes and then went completely incommunicado, making it difficult, if not impossible to defend him and the GOP "brand". Congressional "leadership", if there was one after 1999, didn't have any plans, ideas, or communication strategy because in many cases they had to work against their "leader" in the White House. Easy to "freeze" and personalize.
GOP could easily personalize and freeze every "conservative" Dem congressional candidate tying them to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in 2006 and 2008, but I didn't see or hear it even being mentioned or discussed.
Republicans simply don't do cause celebre very well. They are busy with work and family and other things, they don't have vast well-financed legal and PR machines designed to do the "wet work" on their opponents. It's the kind of job that Republicans just won't do.
I think the next, big Tea Party gathering should be held wherever this Marxist POS is buried. We can then all march to his gravesite and urinate on his grave en masse.
I will make sure that I am “properly” hydrated in order to complete the mission.
Worth another look...
Yes, well worth a look... and, hopefully, taken as an invitation to counter action.
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