I became a Christian in mid-1971, the same time that a groundbreaking work appeared. Saul Alinsky’s influential Rules for Radicals came out then, so I just missed it. I had read nearly every revolutionary manual I could find before that time however.
Thus I had waded through the rather tedious writings of Marx and Engels, revolutionary classics like Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man, and more recent hippy/yippy texts like Do It by Jerry Rubin and Revolution For the Hell of It and Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman.
Had I not become radically transformed by an encounter with the living Christ, it is still possible I may not have read Alinsky’s revolutionary tome. That is because I probably would have been dead before getting to it. You see, many of my friends in the radical left and hippy movement never made it.
Many of my friends died from drug overdoses or suicide. I too was suicidal and heavily involved in the drug scene. Thus it is a miracle that I was not dead by 18 as well. It was only the grace of God that kept me alive during those radical and out-of-control years.
So my Marxist past came to an end when I met Christ, and it was not until some years later that I learned of Alinsky’s work. It is a very important volume for many reasons, not least of which is its influence on what we see unfolding in the Occupy Wall Street movement.
It is well worth pulling a few quotes from this book to help us understand current events, especially the OWS movement. A very important remark is this: “In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power”.
As one SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) radical once wrote: “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.” The cause is always to seize power, to bring about a successful revolution. Any issue, be it poverty, or racism, or pollution, can be used as a means to gaining power and overthrowing the enemy.
In his “rules of ethics” he includes this: “The tenth rule… is you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments”. Thus we hear a lot about injustice, unfairness, exploitation and greed out of the mouths of the Occupy mobs. They know the revolution is more easily sellable when framed in such moral rhetoric.
And this: “The third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means.” So anything goes in seeking to obtain power. Violence is clearly a viable option for the revolutionary. Anything to gain and consolidate power is on for the revolutionaries.
And we must not forget his opening line in his dedication page: “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.”
One person who has especially followed how Alinsky’s program for revolution is being played out in America is David Horowitz, himself a former radical activist of the 60s, who, like me, has left the radical left and has moved to the right.
In 2009 he wrote an important booklet entitled Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model. In it he documents how the Alinsky program has been fully adopted by Obama. He notes the role the Clintons have played in the revolutionary process as well:
“In 1969, the year that publishers reissued Alinsky’s ?rst book, Reveille for Radicals, a Wellesley undergraduate named Hillary Rodham submitted her 92-page senior thesis on Alinsky’s theories (she interviewed him personally for the project). In her conclusion Hillary compared Alinsky to Eugene Debs, Walt Whitman and Martin Luther King.
“The title of Hillary’s thesis was ‘There Is Only the Fight: An Analysis of the Alinsky Model.’ In this title she had singled out the single most important Alinsky contribution to the radical cause – his embrace of political nihilism… To Alinsky radicals, ‘democracy’ means getting those who are in, out. Their goal is to mobilize the poor and ‘oppressed’ as a battering ram to bring down the system… Unlike Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama never personally met Saul Alinsky. But as a young man, he became an adept practitioner of Alinsky’s methods.”
His entire 52-page booklet is well worth reading. He concludes this way: “It is the means used to get there that make the revolution what it is. Each step of the way creates the revolutionary world. What radicals like Saul Alinsky create is not salvation but chaos. And presidential disciples of Alinsky, what will they create?”
Well, we are seeing this played out right now before our very eyes. The Occupiers are putting Alinsky’s rules into practice. Larry Kelley was at one of the Occupier mob scenes in Oakland. He begins his account as follows: “In attending the occupation of Oakland, I was struck by how the American Left has coalesced around the advocacy of Saul Alinsky, a man that 99% of the so called 99%ers have doubtlessly never heard of. In the 1930’s Alinsky created the ‘crisis strategy’ which prescribed flooding welfare rolls in order to bankrupt cities. David Horowitz has led the country in detailing how it was the Alinsky model which profoundly influenced Barack Obama and gave birth to vast ‘shake-down’ organizations such as ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). But even more importantly, he points out it was Alinsky, who, though not a communist, united the various socialists, anarchists, union workers, the disadvantaged and disaffected into a nihilist common cause—the seizure of power.”
He documents what took place in Oakland, and concludes this way: “An hour later, I follow another throng of about a thousand which moves out from the main gathering and is headed up by a group of black clad anarchists which are hooded and masked and carry six foot sticks with small black flags. As they march, they lead the chant, Hey, we’ll shut you down/ Oakland doesn’t f— around. As we reach banks which are already closed, some of the anarchists peal off and smash the windows. A twitter of glee ripples through the docile followers. Others in the crowd continue to mindlessly to chant. This is what democracy looks like.
“I’m reminded me that Plato and Aristotle had contempt for democracy and referred to it as mob rule because it destroyed the Athenian empire, plunging it into a thirty-year war. Our founders knew its dangers and consequently created a Republic. In the twentieth century, relatively small bands thugs, the Brown Shirts and the Bolsheviks, were able to gain control of the revolutions in Germany and Russia and seized authoritarian power. It occurs to me that it’s the destruction of our republican system that the Oakland mob is about.”
For photos of what took place at Oakland (pictures the MSM will dare not show), see these two sites:
Saul Alinsky is alive and well. Even though he died one year after he wrote Rules for Radicals, he is alive and well in Oakland, and in New York, and in London, etc. The Occupiers may well be a mixed bunch, with many idealistic souls amongst them, but if you have been involved in revolutionary foment before, as I was, then you can spot the radical revolution a mile away. The tragedy is how many well-meaning people are getting caught up in all this, including gullible Christians.