“Everything is proceeding as I have forseen” – Emperor Palpatine, Return of the Jedi
Ever wonder what it would be like to be in the midst of a Socialist Revolution? An upheaval that results in the people becoming canon fodder and slaves to an all-powerful Central Planning State? Well, look around – listen to the politicians – you’re in the very midst of one!
From Frontpage Magazine.com.
Americans are well acquainted with presidential candidate Barack Obama’s legendary pledges to bring “change” to America’s political and social landscape. (For example, see here and here and here.) Indeed, “Change We Can Believe In” is the slogan that adorns the homepage of his campaign website and so many of the placards displayed by the supporters who attend his speaking engagements. His Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, is also well practiced at issuing calls for change. Her “Change and Experience” ad campaign was but an outgrowth of her 1993 declaration, as First Lady, that “remolding society is one of the great challenges facing all of us in the West.” Most Americans are unaware, however, that when Obama and Clinton speak of “change,” they mean change in the sense that a profoundly significant, though not widely known, individual — Saul Alinsky — outlined in his writings two generations ago.
Alinsky helped to establish the confrontational political tactics, which he termed “organizing,” that characterized the 1960s and have remained central to all subsequent revolutionary movements in the United States. Both Obama and Clinton are committed disciples of Alinsky’s very specific strategies for “social change.”
Obama never met Alinsky personally; the latter died when Obama was a young boy. But Obama was trained by the Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in Chicago and worked for an affiliate of theGamaliel Foundation, whose modus operandi for the creation of “a more just and democratic society” is rooted firmly in the Alinsky method. As The Nation magazine puts it, “Obama worked in the organizing tradition of Saul Alinsky, who made Chicago the birthplace of modern community organizing.…” In fact, for several years Obama himself taught workshops on the Alinsky method. Obama and his fellow agitators made demands for many things in the Eighties, including taxpayer-funded employment-training services, playground construction, after-school programs, and asbestos removal from neighborhood apartments. Journalist and bestselling author Richard Poe writes: “In 1985 [Obama] began a four-year stint as a community organizer in Chicago, working for an Alinskyite group called the Developing Communities Project. Later, he worked with ACORN and its offshoot Project Vote, both creations of the Alinsky network.” (In recent years, Poe notes, both of those organizations have run nationwide voter-mobilization drives marred by allegations of fraudulent voter registration, vote-rigging, voter intimidation, and vote-for-pay scams.) The Nation reports, “Today Obama continues his organizing work largely through classes for future leaders identified by ACORN and the Centers for New Horizons on the south side.”
Hillary, for her part, actually got to know Alinsky personally. She was so impressed with Alinsky’s theories and tactics vis a vis social change, that during her senior year at Wellesley College she interviewed him and subsequently penned a 92-page thesis on his ideas. In the conclusion of that thesis, she wrote:
If the ideals Alinsky espouses were actualized, [t]he result would be social revolution. Ironically, this is not a disjunctive projection if considered in the tradition of Western democratic theory. In the first chapter it was pointed out that Alinsky is regarded by many as the proponent of a dangerous socio/political philosophy. As such, he has been feared — just as Eugene Debs or Walt Whitman or Martin Luther King has been feared, because each embraced the most radical of political faiths — democracy.
During her senior year, Hillary was offered a job by Alinsky but chose instead to enroll at Yale Law School. Alinsky’s teachings, however, would remain close to her heart throughout her adult life. According to aWashington Post report, “As first lady, Clinton occasionally lent her name to projects endorsed by the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the Alinsky group that had offered her a job in 1968. She raised money and attended two events organized by the Washington Interfaith Network, an IAF affiliate.”
Given the huge intellectual debt that both Democrat presidential candidates owe to Saul Alinsky, it is vital for all American voters to understand precisely who he was and what he taught. As you read this, you will hear in his words the echo of many familiar, outspoken leftist agitators for “change.”
Though Alinsky is generally viewed as a member of the political Left, and rightfully so, his legacy is more methodological than ideological. He identified a set of very specific rules that ordinary citizens could follow, and tactics that ordinary citizens could employ, as a means of gaining public power…
…In the Alinsky model, “organizing” is a euphemism for “revolution”—a wholesale revolution whose ultimate objective is the systematic acquisition of power by a purportedly oppressed segment of the population, and the radical transformation of America’s social and economic structure.
The goal is to foment enough public discontent, moral confusion, and outright chaos to spark the social upheaval that Marx, Engels, and Lenin predicted—a revolution whose foot soldiers view the status quo as fatally flawed and wholly unworthy of salvation. Thus, the theory goes, the people will settle for nothing less than that status quo’s complete collapse—to be followed by the erection of an entirely new and different system upon its ruins. Toward that end, they will be apt to follow the lead of charismatic radical organizers who project an aura of confidence and vision, and who profess to clearly understand what types of societal “changes” are needed.
As Alinsky put it: “A reformation means that the masses of our people have reached the point of disillusionment with past ways and values. They don’t know what will work but they do know that the prevailing system is self-defeating, frustrating, and hopeless. They won’t act for change but won’t strongly oppose those who do. The time is then ripe for revolution.”
“[W]e are concerned,” Alinsky elaborated, “with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace, cooperation, equal and full opportunities for education, full and useful employment, health, and the creation of those circumstances in which men have the chance to live by the values that give meaning to life. We are talking about a mass power organization which will change the world…This means revolution.”
To counter that materialism, Alinsky favored a socialist alternative. He characterized his noble radical (read: “revolutionary”) as a social reformer who “places human rights far above property rights”; who favors “universal, free public education”; who “insists on full employment for economic security” but stipulates also that people’s tasks should “be such as to satisfy the creative desires within all men”; who “will fight conservatives” everywhere; and who “will fight privilege and power, whether it be inherited or acquired,” and “whether it be political or financial or organized creed.” Alinsky maintained that radicals, finding themselves “adrift in the stormy sea of capitalism,” sought “to advance from the jungle of laissez-faire capitalism to a world worthy of the name of human civilization.” “They hope for a future,” he said, “where the means of production will be owned by all of the people instead of just a comparative handful.” In short, they wanted socialism.
Alinsky had no patience for those he called the liberals of his day—people who were content to talk about the changes they wanted, but were unwilling to actively work for those changes. Rather, he favored “radicals” who were prepared to take bold, decisive action designed to transform society, even if that transformation could be achieved only slowly and incrementally. Wrote Alinsky:
Liberals fear power or its application.… They talk glibly of people lifting themselves by their own bootstraps but fail to realize that nothing can be lifted except through power…Radicals precipitate the social crisis by action—by using power…Liberals protest; radicals rebel. Liberals become indignant; radicals become fighting mad and go into action. Liberals do not modify their personal lives[,] and what they give to a cause is a small part of their lives; radicals give themselves to the cause. Liberals give and take oral arguments; radicals give and take the hard, dirty, bitter way of life.
If the purpose of radicalism is to bring about social transmutation, the radical must be prepared to make a persuasive case for why such change is urgently necessary. Alinsky’s conviction that American society needed a dramatic overhaul was founded on his belief that the status quo was intolerably miserable for most people. For one thing, Alinsky saw the United States as a nation rife with economic injustice. “The people of America live as they can,” he wrote. “Many of them are pent up in one-room crumbling shacks and a few live in penthouses…The Haves smell toilet water, the Have-Nots smell just plain toilet.”Lamenting the “wide disparity of wealth, privilege, and opportunity” he saw in America, Alinsky impugned the country’s “materialistic values and standards.” “We know that man must cease worshipping the god of gold and the monster of materialism,” he said.
Having painted a verbal portrait of a thoroughly corrupt and melancholy American society, Alinsky was now prepared to argue that wholesale change of great magnitude was in order. What was needed, he said, was a revolution in whose vanguard would be radicals committed to eliminating the “fundamental causes” of the nation’s problems, and not content to merely deal with those problems’ “current manifestations” or “end products.” The goal of the radical, he explained, must be to bring about “the destruction of the roots of all fears, frustrations, and insecurity of man, whether they be material or spiritual”; to purge the land of “the vast destructive forces which pervade the entire social scene”; and to eliminate “those destructive forces from which issue wars,” forces such as “economic injustice, insecurity, unequal opportunities, prejudice, bigotry, imperialism, … and other nationalistic neuroses.”
The organizer’s function, he added, was “to agitate to the point of conflict” and “to maneuver and bait the establishment so that it will publicly attack him as a ‘dangerous enemy.’” “The word ‘enemy,’” said Alinsky, “is sufficient to put the organizer on the side of the people”; i.e., to convince members of the community that he is so eager to advocate on their behalf, that he has willingly opened himself up to condemnation and derision.
But it is not enough for the organizer to be in solidarity with the people. He must also, said Alinsky, cultivate unity against a clearly identifiable enemy; he must specifically name this foe, and “singl[e] out”precisely who is to blame for the “particular evil” that is the source of the people’s angst. In other words, there must be a face associated with the people’s discontent. That face, Alinsky taught, “must be a personification, not something general and abstract like a corporation or City Hall.” Rather, it should be an individual such as a CEO, a mayor, or a president.
Alinsky summarized it this way: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it…. [T]here is no point to tactics unless one has a target upon which to center the attacks.” He held that the organizer’s task was to cultivate in people’s hearts a negative, visceral emotional response to the face of the enemy. “The organizer who forgets the significance of personal identification,” said Alinsky, “will attempt to answer all objections on the basis of logic and merit. With few exceptions this is a futile procedure.”
Alinsky stressed the need for organizers to convince their followers that the chasm between the enemy and the members of the People’s Organization was vast and unbridgeable. “Before men can act,” he said, “an issue must be polarized. Men will act when they are convinced their cause is 100 percent on the side of the angels, and that the opposition are 100 percent on the side of the devil.” Alinsky advised this course of action even though he well understood that the organizer “knows that when the time comes for negotiations it is really only a 10 percent difference.” But in Alinsky’s brand of social warfare, the ends (in this case, the transfer of power) justify virtually whatever means are required (in this case, lying).
Winning was all that mattered in Alinsky’s strategic calculus: “The morality of a means depends on whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.” “The man of action … thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action,” Alinsky added. “He asks only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work.”For Alinsky, all morality was relative: “The judgment of the ethics of means is dependent on the political position of those sitting in judgment.”
Given that the enemy was to be portrayed as the very personification of evil, against whom any and all methods were fair game, Alinsky taught that an effective organizer should never give the appearance of being fully satisfied as a result of having resolved any particular conflict via compromise. Any compromise with the “devil” is, after all, by definition morally tainted and thus inadequate. Consequently, while the organizer may acknowledge that he is pleased by the compromise as a small step in the right direction, he must make it absolutely clear that there is still a long way to go, and that many grievances still remain unaddressed. The ultimate goal, said Alinsky, is not to arrive at compromise or peaceful coexistence, but rather to “crush the opposition,” bit by bit. “A People’s Organization is dedicated to eternal war,” said Alinsky. “… A war is not an intellectual debate, and in the war against social evils there are no rules of fair play.… When you have war, it means that neither side can agree on anything…. In our war against the social menaces of mankind there can be no compromise. It is life or death.”
Alinsky warned the organizer to be ever on guard against the possibility that the enemy might unexpectedly offer him “a constructive alternative” aimed at resolving the conflict. Said Alinsky, “You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying, ‘You’re right — we don’t know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us.’” Such capitulation by the enemy would have the effect of diffusing the righteous indignation of the People’s Organization, whose very identity is inextricably woven into the fight for long-denied justice; i.e., whose struggle and identity are synonymous. If the perceived oppressor surrenders or extends a hand of friendship in an effort to end the conflict, the crusade of the People’s Organization is jeopardized. This cannot be permitted. Eternal war, by definition, must never end…
…Though Alinsky died in 1972, his legacy has lived on as a staple of leftist method, a veritable blueprint for revolution — to which both Democratic presidential candidates, who are his disciples and protégés, refer euphemistically as “change.”
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