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Saul Alinski: Hero of The Left!

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  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    edited April 2019 #32
    Want to see some bipartisanship? Check this out. Screw for taxpayers, score for tax software companies. Democrats and Republicans are both looking out for big "INC." and don't care about the rest of us. We are headed to an oligarchy, not communism or socialism...


    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    bisley said:

    Have you actually read "Rules for Radicals," or just the excerpts that some lefty political science professor has cherry-picked from it?
    Nope. I never really had an interest in political or social activism. I was never shown excerpts in college either-- all I ever hear regarding Alinsky is cherry picked from "conservatives". But to satisfy my curiosity, I got a copy coming tomorrow. I will let you know what I think.


    After reading about half of it, I pretty much got the gist of it. If you can stick with it all the way through and you think something else he said was worth considering, I will read some more and discuss it. Many of his analyses are relevant, from a tactical point of view...if you accept his premise that everyone is really just as immoral as a pack of hyenas.

    Mostly, I just think he was an amoral rabble-rouser who believed that rules are for suckers, and cheating is just good fun, and smart. He probably never had a friend in his whole life. How can anyone take to heart a 'philosophy' that laughingly exploits every convention that human civilization has ever created to improve human existence? If he can have a good laugh about exploiting those conventions, as the means to their destruction, he is probably laughing from hell about all the fools that took his book to heart.

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    edited April 2019 #34
    Want to see some bipartisanship? Check this out. Screw for taxpayers, score for tax software companies. Democrats and Republicans are both looking out for big "INC." and don't care about the rest of us. We are headed to an oligarchy, not communism or socialism...


    Revenue collection is big business. I can't wait to see what the W4s get replaced with.

    Big government is the problem??? So big INC is the answer???

    Privatised municipalities already provide the model. Once the pesky electorate is suppresed, the opportunities are endless.
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Posts: 7,671 Senior Member
    His judicial nominations and executive orders were a big part of that "fundamental change of the USA." He also needed the Wall Street cronies for their money and political support.
    Why would a bunch of Wall Street cronies willingly give money to eliminate a capitalist system?
    Because many of them are left-wingers, and probably believed Obama wouldn't have gone that far. Your point about oligarchy is probably pretty accurate. It would be socialism for the masses, and cronie-capitalism for the elites.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    I can believe that. More pseudo-socialism like Obamacare lining Big Inc's pockets.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    bisley said:


    Mostly, I just think he was an amoral rabble-rouser who believed that rules are for suckers, and cheating is just good fun, and smart. He probably never had a friend in his whole life...

    Wait who are we talking about now? 
    Please forgive me if I have gored your favorite ox, but that is my opinion of Saul Alinski, at the moment. What is your question about what I have written?

    I will plow through some more of "Rules for Radicals," if I have to, to accommodate a serious question. I have stalled out, for the moment, due to the repetitious nature of his prose, but I will dutifully continue my 'enlightenment,' if need be, to attempt an answer to any serious question.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    bisley said:
    bisley said:


    Mostly, I just think he was an amoral rabble-rouser who believed that rules are for suckers, and cheating is just good fun, and smart. He probably never had a friend in his whole life...

    Wait who are we talking about now? 
    Please forgive me if I have gored your favorite ox, but that is my opinion of Saul Alinski, at the moment. What is your question about what I have written?

    I will plow through some more of "Rules for Radicals," if I have to, to accommodate a serious question. I have stalled out, for the moment, due to the repetitious nature of his prose, but I will dutifully continue my 'enlightenment,' if need be, to attempt an answer to any serious question.
    The quoted text in my previous post sounds like a fairly spot on description on Donald J Trump. Many of the tactics discussed here seem to have been used very effectively at least by him and at least the "Alt" portion of the right in recent years. That said I more just find the irony of people using Saul Alinski's very own tactics to make him into a giant boogie man to manipulate people quite amusing. 
    On the contrary, Alinski's tactics don't work so well against Trump, because he does not retreat in shame and embarassment, which was the goal of Alinski's method. Sure, it fires up the lefty activists, and gives them someone to hate, but other than an occasional flare-up from Trump that makes him look silly for a couple of days, it doesn't defeat him - at least, not yet. He just lashes back and lawyers up, while moving on to the next issue. He has the advantage of being able to claim that his enemies are deranged, and plenty of examples of it to use as evidence.

    Still, Trump might have read Alinski - after all, he was a liberal Democrat for most of his life. But if he did, he was at least discerning enough to realize that the entire human race does not fit Alinski's cynical profile of it. Trump recognized the absolute necessity for the ingenuity of the middle class, while Alinski wrote them off as not useful for anything but 'apparatchik' for his revolution, to help direct the masses. Every thing he said about the middle class (that I've read, so far) indicates to me that he agreed with the ideological leftists about that.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    edited April 2019 #39
    I am only 1/4 the way through the book right now, but Alinsky doesn't sound very much like a boogie man to me. He actually comes out strongly advocating change within the system. Before it was ever a thing, he comes out against politically correct euphemisms and speaks highly of personal freedoms and liberty. He also says that one of the reasons he wrote the book is because he wanted it out there as an alternative to other "revolutionary" writings that tend to push the communist agenda.

    It is definitely interesting.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    edited April 2019 #40
    I am over half way through Rules for Radicals (A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals) now and still haven't pissed myself. Alinsky seems to take a pragmatic view toward community organizing and working with whatever hand the community that is supposed to be organized deals him-- on their terms.

    He comes across as a for profit, capitalist community organizing gun for hire to me. $10 says Al Sharpton can recite the entire book like Bible verses. He doesn't seem to lock into any idealism so much as offering a system for community organizers. He often uses the phrase "free and open society" as his ultimate goal. I will admit that there is plenty of moral relativism there, but he makes good arguments to justify it.

    Maybe I will get to the socialist, commie Satanic crap in the last half.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    Make My Day has first dibs on this book when I am finished. When he is done reading it, who wants it next? We can keep mailing the book across the country between forum members until it ultimately gets back to me and maybe broaden our horizons a little bit.

    Centermass recommended that I read Capital by Karl Marx as well. I got that coming this weekend. Once I read it, I will mail it out to someone else that can mail it to someone else...etc.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Posts: 7,671 Senior Member
    Jermanator said:
    "I am over half way through Rules for Radicals (A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals) now and still haven't pissed myself. Alinsky seems to take a pragmatic view toward community organizing and working with whatever hand the community that is supposed to be organized deals him-- on their terms.

    He comes across as a for profit, capitalist community organizing gun for hire to me. $10 says Al Sharpton can recite the entire book like Bible verses. He doesn't seem to lock into any idealism so much as offering a system for community organizers. He often uses the phrase "free and open society" as his ultimate goal. I will admit that there is plenty of moral relativism there, but he makes good arguments to justify it.

    Maybe I will get to the socialist, commie Satanic crap in the last half"


    Maybe he wasn't being 100% honest. As with most lefties, I don't trust anything they say as being the truth. He might have used some of his rhetoric to attract the leftist not-yet-ready-to-buy-into the whole commie schtick. Since when do political activists ever tell the truth in books that they write?
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    edited April 2019 #43
    I finished the book, just to keep up with Jerm and Alf (thanks for the inspiration), and I have to admit that the guy was brilliant. Had I stopped halfway through, I would have never known that the reason he didn't claim to follow any particular ideology was that he was creating his own, which he did not live to see come to fruition. The Democrat Party is truly the Alinski Party, today, although political parties always deviate from their original inspirations. In this case, he pretty much 'blessed' those deviations, by stating that good organizers follow certain principles, but not necessarily precise protocols - one must adapt to whatever opportunities jump out at them, once they have created chaos within their enemy's camp. Brilliant tactics, assuming that the person leading the revolution is open-minded enough and tactically shrewd enough to capitalize.

    It is easy to believe that Alinski really did believe in democracy, even though he seemed to believe that true democracy could only exist within a continuous revolution. Mainly, he was just a very intelligent man who found his joy in life by attacking the status quo, and was lucky enough to live in an era where his life's work was blessed with a target rich environment. He was pretty much unerring in his truthfulness, at least in any sort of public venue, preferring to let others do the dishonest work, which he rarely bothered to criticize, as long as it furthered the revolution. He liked to ask leading questions, until his recruits came to their own conclusions, and when they came up with one that benefited the movement, he did not argue against it. He was not concerned when they failed, and was exhilarated when something did actually gained traction.

    That said, his ideas only worked against the people who fit the stereotypical view that the leftists of his time believed. Like the leftists, he put all of his opponents in the same box, and made no distinctions between individuals. Doing so was necessary, according to his philosophy, because an organizer had to be 100% sure he was right, in order to convince those he represented, so obviously, his opponents also had to be 100% wrong. He was a strong believer that the stated goal was never the real goal. The real goal was confusion, from which some great opportunity would arise, be taken up, and later rationalized as the true goal, with the original stated goal becoming irrelevant. It was a great 'warrior tactic,' and he treated everything he engaged in as total war, because almost everyone agrees that it is the one situation where the 'end justifies the means.

    That is exactly what the current Democrat Party believes, now - total war against the right, presently represented by Donald Trump, a traitor to that cause. And I now agree with Jerm that Trump probably did read the book, or had somebody else read it and give him the highlights.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    I suspect that Trump learned to employ the total war philosophy in his private business. The DNC & RNC were likely drawn into it when the table stakes were raised to unlimited by Citizens United.

    Disclaimer, I've not read the book.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    Good article.

    They left out the part about not being overly embarrassed about moral failings. The part he hasn't mastered is asking leading questions so that his organizers think they invented the tactics themselves - his ego won't permit it.

    Trump is probably not nearly as smart or articulate as Alinski was, but he does have that very American trait of being able to read the enemy's playbook and adapt the best parts to his own strategy.

    It's really kind of funny that Hilary Clinton was the Alinski expert, yet a piker like Trump beat her at her own game, with dramatically less resources in the media, the entertainment industry, and cash resources. I guess his main advantage was energy and work ethic.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    I got to agree. If Obama and Clinton were both students of Alinski's tactics and methods, they were very poor students.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    Alinski knew how to solve difficult problems. Obama and Hilary were both products of the looney left, where nothing is really real. They were community organizers of a sort, but unlike Alinski, they didn't actually have to demonstrate results, because they had a compliant media that wouldn't expose their empty rhetoric. They had the luxury of flitting from one narrative to the next, without ever resolving anything.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    Alinksi was quite often taking on the Daley political machine... and winning.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    Most of Alinski's wins were against corrupt bureaucracies - the type that Chicago has been famous for, for well over a hundred years. As long as he didn't run afoul of organized crime, he had a target-rich environment to work in, with plenty of legitimate victims to champion.

    I don't really fault Alinski so much for that. The problem I have is with the politicians who adapt his methods and use them to destroy their political opponents, most of whom are not as dishonest as their accusers. The media is the wild card in that game - if they don't debunk the lies and hypocrisies of both sides, equally, they tip the scales of power in a way that promotes unbridled corruption.

    The problem I have with Alinski is that he exemplified the idea that "my side is the right side," therefore he was not bound by any ethical or philosophical rules of decent behavior. That is the equivalent of total war, politically speaking. One of the reasons that politics emerged in civilizations, in the first place, was to prevent total war. Total war against a foreign enemy is damaging enough to the progress of civilization, in general, but against your own people, it's insane. Radicalism, unchecked, destroys the foundations built through generations of hard-won progress and understanding. There can be no compromise, between radicals - it's pretty much victory, or death.
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