“The community organizer’s job was to mobilize the discontent into political power.”

From Corsi’s Kindle book: Saul Alinsky:The Evil Genius Behind Obama

Alinsky fashioned himself a modern day Machiavelli, well-versed and comfortable with Machiavelli’s teaching that, “It is necessary for a prince, who wishes to maintain himself, to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge and not use it, according to the necessity of the case.” Paralleling Machiavelli’s thought, Alinsky wrote, “To me ethics is doing what is best for the most.” He could as easily have written, “To me ethics is doing what works.” Alinsky repeatedly stressed that the advantage of the “have-nots” centered in numbers. “The resources of the Have-Nots are (1) no money and (2) lots of people.” This, he advised, required the Have-Nots to use street tactics to succeed. “For example, I have emphasized and re-emphasized that tactics means you do what you can with what you’ve got, and that power in the main has always gravitated towards those who have money and those whom people follow.”

As Machiavelli sought to advance himself by advising the prince how to use the amoral tactics to gain and hold political power, Alinsky fashioned himself championing the economically downtrodden. “The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power,” he wrote on the first page of Rules for Radicals, in a chapter entitled “The Purpose.” His goal was exactly the opposite. “Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.” Alinsky taught that politics, camouflaged as “community organizing,” was the only effective way that the socialist elites could mobilize the Have-nots to take power from the Haves.

Long before Barack Obama used the rallying cry of “Hope and Change,” Alinsky used the themes of “Hope and Change” as code words for creating a socialist revolution in the United States. His goal was to set in motion a peaceful revolution, using the ballot box, not bombs or bullets, to wrench power from the hands of capitalist elites and business leaders currently in charge. He taught a pragmatism in power politics, noting that, “Even if all the low-income parts of our population were organized – all the blacks, Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Appalachian poor whites – if through some genius of organization they were all united in a coalition, it would not be powerfulenough to get significant, basic needed changes.” Instead, he advocated seeking political allies in “the organized sectors of the middle class.” Specifically, Alinsky argued that the “have-nots” should seek their middle class allies among the young. “Activists and radicals, on and off our college campuses – people who are committed to change – must make a complete turnabout,” he wrote, “With rare exceptions our activists and radicals are products of and rebels against our middle class society.” But, to be successful, Alinsky encouraged activists and radicals to cut their hair, put on business suits, and run for political office. Appropriately, Rules for Radicals was subtitled “A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.”

Alinsky’s methodology began by teaching “community organizers” to raise the consciousness of the economically disadvantaged, who were typically also minorities. The goal was to stir the pain of economic suffering in order to creating awareness in an economic underclass of their disadvantages. “The organizer dedicated to changing the life of a particular community must first rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; fan the latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt oppression,” he wrote. “He [the community organizer] must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them, for unless there is controversy people are not concernedenough to act.” From there, the community organizer’s job was to mobilize the discontent into political power. When Alinsky asked new students why they wanted to organize, he shouted back at them a one-word answer: “You want to organize for power.”

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10 Responses to “The community organizer’s job was to mobilize the discontent into political power.”

  1. fvhale says:

    Saul David Alinsky was a favorite of many Catholic leaders and activists in Chicago and the upper midwest in the 1960’s. He was the 1969 recipient of the “Pacem in Terris” Award by the Diocese of Davenport.

    From “The Rightwing World Resurrects Saul Alinsky” by Peter Dreir, in Jewish Currents:

    …Alinsky reshaped activism in America by transferring some grassroots organizing tactics from shop floors and factories to urban neighborhoods and religious congregations. In Back of the Yards, he sought out local leaders involved in churches, sports leagues, neighborhood businesses, and other networks. One was Joseph Meegan, a supervisor of recreation at Davis Park. He and Alinsky gained the confidence of Chicago’s auxiliary Catholic Bishop Bernard Sheil, who founded the Catholic Youth Organization. Sheil helped them recruit young priests and parish leaders, and to overcome the tensions between Catholics from different ethnic backgrounds. They persuaded Sheil to speak at the 1939 founding meeting of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC), comprising about seventy-five organizations, including unions, neighborhood groups, churches, sports clubs, small businesses, and others. The next day, Sheil shared the stage with Congress of Industrial Organizations president John L. Lewis at a rally of ten thousand.

    The alliance between the church and the union guaranteed that the BYNC would be taken seriously by the city’s political and corporate power brokers….

    He considered himself a patriotic American. He eschewed ideology. His closest political ties were with the Catholic Church. He frequently spoke at seminaries advising future priests to express their faith by putting Catholic social teachings into practice by helping to organize their parishioners rather than doling out charity. In 1969, a coalition of Catholic groups in Iowa gave Alinsky its Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award, named after Pope John XXIII’s encyclical on war, peace, and social justice. Today, many of the community organizing groups that follow Alinsky’s ideas are rooted in religious congregations that constitute a progressive counterpart to the upsurge of rightwing activism among evangelicals…..

  2. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you for posting this. Of course, not only Obama and Emanuel, but Hilary read and employ this philosophy. Jacques Maritain answered many of these statements in his discussion with Chomsky. In the States, the first attack was on the school systems as early as 1980, with the dropping of required World History courses in many areas to deaden the thinking and reflective skills of the voting populace. Then, the second ploy was to mobilize groups using the language of Marxism. Haves and have not, rich and poor, etc. had been more unified in political philosophy-the American dream was replaced by the dualism of atheistic materialism.

    Alinsky and his groups were, in the early days in Chicago, anti-religious, as like Gramsci, they could see that the ONLY organized grass roots power was the Catholic Church and others, like the Evangelicals. Like Gramsci, these Machiavellians saw that the nexus, the source and process as well as center of power had to be moved from any institution to the people-who were being disunited.

    Now, one may ask, what is the goal of all this and are all Alinsky and Chomsky followers Marxists?

    Yes, to the last question and the goal is power, period. Machiavelli was a utilitarian and a political genius. He understood and wrote on the power of the focussed individual. Now, Machiavelli was not a moral philosopher. He separated conscience from politics.

    And, like Alinsky, Marx, Lenin, Chomsky, and Gramsci, he thought all people were basically bad, flawed, and therefore, the political philosophy behind all these men, and Obama, is cynicism.

    What people in the media call Obama’s aloofness is merely his narcissism and cynicism. A political cynic cannot “connect”, as Binx says in The Moviegoer. This lack of connection stems from a soul which is not connected to God.

    By the way, all of this philosophy forms an “anti-Gospel” and is credal. The proponents and followers have the zeal of real Christians. These words do not reveal games but converts of the dark side who are not after the common good or, as Maritain notes, “the health of the state” but power.

    I read Maritain years ago and his ideas on the person and the concept of personal identity and freedom are based on Aquinas and the encyclicals of the Popes from 1848. I hope readers recognize that year.

    Maritain and Gilson addressed these problems as Neo-Thomists who had to speak to a world of growing and finally successful atheistic communism and other tyrannies. This is Maritain’s strength. And, Catholics must address Alinsky and crew. We have the weapons at our disposal, but so many Catholics are ignorant of the rich legacy of our Church regarding all these ideas.

  3. Mariana says:

    “Machiavelli’s teaching that, “It is necessary for a prince, who wishes to maintain himself, to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge and not use it, according to the necessity of the case.””

    Machiavelli described things as he thought they were, not how he thought they ought to be,;he was profoundly pesssimistic about man. A dangerous man to take as one’s teacher.

  4. SKAY says:

    2008–

    “Most Americans never heard of Saul Alinsky. Yet his shadow darkens our coming election. Democrat frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both worship at the altar of Alinskyism .

    In a 1971 book called Rules for Radicals, Alinsky scolded the Sixties Left for scaring off potential converts in Middle America. True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism, Alinsky taught. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within.
    Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties.

    In his native Chicago, Alinsky courted power wherever he found it. His alliance with prominent Catholic clerics, such as Bishop Bernard Sheil, gave him respectability. His friendship with crime bosses such as Frank Nitti – Al Capone’s second-in-command – gave Alinsky clout on the street.”

    In 1964 Alinsky allies infiltrated Johnson’s War on Poverty-steering federal money into Alinsky
    projects. Sen. Robert Kennedy allied himself with Cesar Chavez-who had worked for Alinsky for
    10 nyears. Alinsky later wrote that he and Kennedy had an “understanding”.
    I do remember that Alinsky’s son said that his father would have loved the 2008 Democrat Convention and the nomination of Obama. It sounds like he would also get along very well with Pilosi, Biden, Kerry and all the other left wing Catholic Democrats.

  5. JARay says:

    I had heard the name Alinsky and thought that he was up to no good. I can well see that Obama and co would follow in his footsteps.

  6. Andrew says:

    I’ve read about these things many years ago in “the Wonderer” and how some of the annual collections at US parishes were contributing to organizations promoting no good.

    While all of this is scary, it is good to remember that God is in charge and that prayer coupled with keeping oneself pure is the formula for winning and transforming the world. Memorare Oh piissima Virgo Maria!

  7. Elodie says:

    No one used the name Alinsky, but these methods were very much a part of my late 80s/early 90s university experience in urban planning, sociology, and educational policy studies courses. By the grace of God, such things caused the scales to fall from my eyes regarding the liberal agenda and brought me back to Mother Church. Still, that doesn’t happen for everyone and serves as a warning about what goes on in institutes of higher brainwashing….er, learning.

  8. chantgirl says:

    So, after the Alinsky tactics work and you have the power you want, then what? You switch to Machiavellian tactics and put the thumbscrews to all of your enemies? You become what you hate? That reminds me of all of the young idealists of the protest era who grew up and took over seminaries and universities and now fight any sort of free-thinking that tries to surface in those institutions. The repressed have become the tyrants.

  9. Gail F says:

    I know many earnest people who use these techniques and think they are doing good. They see the whole world in terms of power — the poor have no power and the rich (everyone who is not poor and doesn’t agree with them) have all the power. Everything they do is about banding people together to get power, and all you can do with power is wield it against someone else. As they are always working with the very poorest and least influential people, it’s hard for them to see this essential fact, because most of the time the people they are working with really are powerless. We’re talking about people whose landlords can terrorize them even though they live in falling-apart buildings, because they don’t know how to get out of them or how to call a building inspector or (sometimes) how to do much of anything at all. But most of the time, it seems to me, what’s wrong with these people and their situations has nothing to do with power or the lack of it. The organizers are setting themselves up to be the powerful ones , and they are teaching the people they supposedly want to help to look at the world in terms of how they can force other people to give them what they want.