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Alinsky, Governance, Democracy, Obama

By       Message Stephen C. Rose       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink

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I doubt the MSM has any idea where the Obama movement is going. Nor may liberal and radical adherents. I think I have a pretty good idea. I once wrote that Obama, Clinton and I share one common thread -- each of us did significant writing on the work and thought of Saul Alinsky.For those completely in the dark, the late Saul Alinsky was a community organizer who began his work in Chicago with support from Marshall Field. Grass roots community work built around locating leaders and uniting groups until enough leaders and groups were gathered to create some local power. Alinsky was a yippie before his time, taking unconcealed pleasure in media responsiveness to simple consciousness-raising events and prods. Alinsky's work was carried on by a younger generation in the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) and spread to other cities and areas.

There was even some contact between IAF and the Clintons in the late 1980s.

For purposes of this exploration it suffices to suggest that the Obama campaign is actually beginning to walk the walk when it comes to testing the combining of governance at the top with grass roots organizing.

This past week the Obama campaign sought volunteers to become ongoing community organizers as the campaign heads toward November. And I have little doubt that the Obama movement will continue beyond his election.

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This is the conscious creation of the mechanism needed to help tilt the balance of power toward the people.

That is what this campaign is about.

Now I want to quote 13 rules proposed by Alinsky
Always remember the first rule of power tactics:

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Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

The second rule is: Never go outside the experience of your people. When an action is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

The third rule is: Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

The fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their 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.

The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.

The sixth rule is: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. If your people are not having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.

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The seventh rule is: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time, after which it becomes a ritualistic commitment...

The eighth rule: Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.

The ninth rule: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

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Born in NYC, attended Oberlin & Trinity Schools, then Exeter and Williams (Phi Beta Kappa 1958). Worked with the Reverend James Robinson, finished Union Theological Seminary in NYC (1961). Joined Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. Founded (more...)

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Alinsky, Governance, Democracy, Obama