Perspectives on Building Power
Flitting around on Amazon.com, I came across this review of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:
As a VISTA “organizer” in Columbus, Ohio(1969-197):CMACAO)I heard the name of Alinsky quoted like biblical scripture. I read excerpts from his writing and suffered through several seminars led by his disciples from Chicago. As I explained to one(garbed in a suit with short hair-cut in contrast to pseudos garbed in hippie gear and “hair down to there”)I disagreed with many of the implications of his mentor because they seemed to be based on ENVY,INDOLENCE and IGNORANCE of the organizees and that the stirring of conflict for its own sake was counterproductive and created new dependence and an ensconced Underclass.
The man asked me what I did in VISTA (at my idealistic age of 21)and I told him I taught GED classes for adults and moved a lot of donated furniture to the apartments of poor folks.He stated that what I did was “practical” and not really the Alinsky thing.
After VISTA I spent three years in the Army(USAREUR/NATO duty).It was non-combat, showing the flag as a trip wire threat to the now defunct USSR. But it put the Vista time in perspective. Most of my buddies in Vista were pseudo hippies and draft dodgers (my room mate had spent 4 years in the Air Force as a Russian language translator). Half my Army buddies had served in Vietnam. The point is that Alinsky was a “guru” for middle class ingrates with pretensions to “playing” revolutionary. (Mark Rudd;Bernadette Dohrn etc). And they had a field day encouraging students at OSU to walk-out of class during the disruption of campuses in the spring of 1970.It was a Felini movie. Alinsky’s book as the script.It was a game.RULES FOR RADICALS was his money-making,”rock-star” text(sucked-up by college kids with names like Obama and Clinton).
The most important/impotent chapter in the opus is “Tactics” (pp. 126-164). At he center of this chapter are the 13 rules on how to raise hell by creating guilt. He left-out the 14th. “Organizer potential “organizees”usually have one set set of “values”incommon~ENVY;IGNORANCE; & INDOLENCE(or you can plant them in varying degrees!).This unwritten rule for targets turn the struggling person into the malcontent that the organization(say, ACORN)can use and abuse for their own glory and self-apotheosis: HENCE President Barack Obama,”the dream of his father Saul.D. Alinsky.” Read this mess and laugh/weep at a con artist at his best.
The reviewer gave the book 3 out of 5 stars.