By Jack Jodell, Jan. 29, 2012

“Always remember the first rule of power tactics; power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”

“Tactics mean doing what you can with what you have.”

“Last guys don’t finish nice.”
– Saul Alinsky –

Mouthy, grandstanding Republican presidential wannabe NUT GINGRICH, ever the master of hyperbolic distortion, has been running around lately claiming that President Obama has been following “the radicalism of Saul Alinsky.” Like most of the self-described “historian”‘s recent statements, this, too, is a load of poppycock. For this late great political organizer was no wild-eyed radical or far-left socialist. Instead, he was the father of modern community organizing, and devoted nearly four decades to improving the living standards of the poor across North America, and trying to empower them via the ballot box.

Saul David Alinsky was born in 1909 to Russian strict-orthodox Jewish immigrants. He grew up with them in Chicago, and observed years later that “their whole life revolved around work and synagogue…I remember as a kid being told how important it was to study.” He studied hard and worked his way through the University of Chicago, where he majored in archaeology. With the Depression at hand and archaeology majors definitely not in great demand, he dropped out of graduate school after two years and became a criminologist for the state of Illinois. In his spare time, he also began to organize for the Congress of Industrial Organizations (C.I.O.). By 1939, he found himself becoming more active in organizing the community around and in the slums of the city than he did for labor. He began a determined effort to “turn scattered, voiceless discontent into a united protest.” His efforts soon gathered the attention and respect of Democratic then-governor Adlai Stevenson, who praised Alinsky by saying his aims “most faithfully reflect our ideals of brotherhood, tolerance, charity, and dignity of the individual.” As a result of this recognition, Alinsky spent the next 10 years repeating his organization work all across the country, giving the poor unprecedented access to government and input along the way.

He was once asked by the San Francisco Bay Area  Presbyterian Churches to help organize the black ghetto in nearby Oakland. Then as now, the citiy’s leaders took a reactionary approach to their problems by hurriedly passing a resolution banning him from their city.  He often employed highly original techniques to get his message across. One time, in Rochester, NY, he threatened  to stage a “fart-in”, whereby community leaders would ingest large quantities of baked beans and then descend on a concert hall being played by the Rochester Philharmonic, whereupon they would loudly and forcefully expel their noxious vapors in such a manner as to compete with the woodwinds for attention. He also threatened Chicago with a “piss- in”, whereby nicely-dressed blacks would occupy all of O’Hare airport’s urinals and toilets until the city would come to the bargaining table. The threat alone got the city to comply.

Alinsky published two books, “Reveille for Radicals” in 1946, and “Rules for Radicals” in 1971. In the latter, he wrote, “What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.” He also advised, “the job of the organizer is to maneuver and bait the establishment so that it will attack him as a ‘dangerous ebemy.’…the hysterical instant reaction of the establishment [will] not only validate [the organizer’s] credentials of competency but will also ensure automatic popular invitation.” He was once asked whether ge had ever considered becoming a Communist Party member. “Not at any time,” he replied. “…I prize my own independence too much. And philosophically, I could never accept any rigid dogma or ideology, whether it’s Christianity or Marxism.” So much for Gingrich’s hyperbolic accusations of “Marxist radicalism”!

Saul Alinsky was planning a massive action on behalf of the white middle class in 1972. This great visionary correctly saw that those whom Richard Nixon had termed “the silent majority” were being sadly misled, and that someday they would need to rise up or fall prey to the false promises of reaction, such as we have been seeing with the recent aberration known as the Tea Party. Regrettably, before Alinsky could initiate such an action, he died of a massive heart attack on a street corner in Carmel, CA.

Rather than being reviled, as NUT Gingrich would have us do, Saul Alinsky should be revered for his lifelong efforts in trying to level the political playing field for the poor and marginalized members of our society. He was out pushing for the majority 99% long before it was fashionable to do so, and provided inspiration to such notable progressive leaders as Cesar Chavez, Ralph Nader, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.  HE WAS A TRUE AMERICAN HERO!

About jackjodell53

I am an American Dissident trapped in a country where poor and middle class people are constantly being exploited and lied to by a very rigid and conservative plutocratic elite. I believe in government OF, FOR, and BY the people, not one controlled as it now is by corporations and special interests.
This entry was posted in commentary, labor unions, Politics, Progressives, reactionary Republicans, Tea Party, THE MAJORITY 99%, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to A TRUE AMERICAN HERO!

  1. Darlene says:

    I doubt that the people who listen to the Nut (case) Gingrich have a clue as to who Saul Alinsky is.
    They will just assume he must be a horrible man if the Nut says so. Too bad they can’t read your post. (They’re too busy buying and reading our Arizona nut case, Jan Brewer’s, book. Sigh!

    • jackjodell53 says:

      I think your insight about Newt’s followers, as well as that crazy Brewer’s, are spot on. Can you believe that loony pair? Throw in Callista, and we’ve got a real three-ring circus! 🙂

  2. tnlib says:

    Actually, I think the Newt did us all a favor by re-introducing Alinsky. Too many libs, progressives and today’s activists have either forgotten his teachings or they’ve never heard of him. It is time for renewal.

    Angry Black Lady has started a weekly book chat about “Rules for Radicals.”

    This is an excellent article – no surprise there.

  3. Joe Hagstrom says:

    I never heard of the guy either till not long ago. Now he’s one of my heroes. Thanks for the write up Jack.

  4. I have to admit, I had not heard of Alinsky before your (excellent) piece, Jack. Thanks for this info. As for Gingrich, I hope that hypocritical, lying sack of shit gets the GOP nomination. Although the Dems have long been notorious for blowing elections that they should have won, I think in this case, Obama would handily beat Gingrich. Having said that, I there are tens of millions of ignorant, mouth-breathing, Rush-listening, knuckle-draggers who’ll vote for ANYONE the GOP puts on the ticket, so Dems shouldn’t take anything for granted.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Thanks, Marc.
      It looks as though the GOP establishment is having hissyfits about Gingrich, so Romney will probably get the nod after all. But let’s certainly hope Obama can defeat THAT despicable, uncaring member of the greediest 1%!

  5. Jim says:

    I like what Saul had to say. Hi Jack by the way. Gwendolyn recommended I come by so I thank her. Saul was right about the money and the people, I am interested in at least getting the people on the side of occupy and controlling the information output is the key as we discussed yesterday.
    As for the Republicans, they are doing a great job defeating themselves and getting Obama reelected.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Hi Jim.
      Thanks for stopping by both here and Here Be Monsters, and for commenting on both venues. I’m adding your site to my blogroll. Keep up the good work on behalf of real people, and not the corpocacy which is strangling us!

  6. Excellent account of a decent, dedicated man. He was a Jew but came closer to modeling Christ’s work on Earth than most of today’s Christians. I wish a lot of Occupy activists would read your post about Alinsky and go on to read his books. His guidance would be invaluable to him and maybe ultimately to the country.

    • That last sentence should read, His guidance would be invaluable to them . . .

      • jackjodell53 says:

        Thank you for that, and for pointing out how his work was more Christian than are many of today’s Christians. He was indeed a phenomenal man whose teachings would definitely benefit today’s protesters.

  7. Jim says:

    I just added you Jack. Gwen said you are working on something and if you need anything from me you know my Email. Take care!

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Thanks, Jim.
      Thanks to your inquiry about decent news sources last Sunday, we are working on a list of reliable sources which we will put in a post very soon. Watch for it, my friend. 🙂

  8. JollyRoger says:

    The mention of Alinsky was purely for pandering to the native anti-Semitism of the Klanbaggers. Newt knows how to push all of their buttons.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Jolly Roger,
      NUT doesn’t care who he belittles or infuriates as long as he smells a vote from his knuckle-dragging base in it!

  9. mudrake says:

    Newt is such a righteous SOB that he would denigrate his own mother if it were in his political interests. When the name Saul Alinsky spews from his bile-dripping lips, it must mean that he was an important person who worked to save this democracy.

    Thanks, Jack, for giving us all a heads-up Alinsky.

  10. holteender2 says:

    Very nice Jack, thank you and thanks also to Gingrich for forcing me to read about a guy I had almost forgotten about. I hope Newt stays in the race, he might bring to the nations attention other worthy people.

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