Commentary: Beyond Alinsky



There is no doubt that the “community organizing” methods and philosophy developed by Saul Alinsky have had a penetrating effect on our politics. However, has it made government more responsive or improved results for citizens?  That is highly doubtful.

What happens when Saul Alinsky and his tactics do not go far enough for you?

We are probably about to find out. There are seemingly no longer limits to acceptable behavior in society, no moral conscience for some people and Alinsky’s radical “methods” are now the new normal. Combined with the usual Orwellian double-speak from those trained in Alinsky tactics. They can attract the gullible.

Alinsky famously referenced his admiration for Lucifer in his book Rules for Radicals. I really do not care to speculate what the motivation was; it is in front of the book.  Alinsky adhered to a Marxist ideology.  People should read Rules for Radicals for themselves.  Some of the rules that are often cited, and are subsequently employed regularly are:

  • “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”
  • “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
  • “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.”
  • “Pick the target, freeze it, person­alize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not instit­utions; people hurt faster than instit­utions.

The objective of most community organizers is to inject politics into every issue, every debate. It is dangerous to induce immoral and scrupulous tactics solely for political gain for the “militant minority.”  One overarching goal is never-ending conflict.  They simply move from issue to issue.

The reaction community organizers seek: is to identify activists, who can build a larger, more robust militant minority within organizations they control.  This warped strategy leaves the majority of people in organizations impacted by community organizers pushing this radical agenda underserved.   This approach is why so many labor unions are dying, as they only exist to serve the excessively bureaucratic union leadership.  This leadership often encompasses a socialist agenda at odds with a majority of the members.

The question for all of us, is how far is too far? In the world of Alinsky, “organizing” is simply the revolution.  Who leads the revolution?  The community organizers who control the radicals/militant minority will be the leaders.  And for many, Alinsky is just a stepping stone for the next wave of issues that will emerge.  And the organizer knows that there can be no action until those “issues are polarized.”  There is no solution possible, when conflict never ends.


– – –

JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the association are properly cited.



Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 The Tennessee Star

Related posts

6 thoughts on “Commentary: Beyond Alinsky

  1. […] that says everyone ought to be out for themselves. The only purpose in life is to gain power. Sound familiar?  Power can only be accumulated through chaos, by using upheaval to rearrange things so that you […]

  2. Horatio Bunce

    This too was my thinking on the NEA reversing course and endorsing the common core “state” standards and asking members in TN to support the Race to the Trough, selling their souls to the best education system Bill Gates can buy. It would provide the union with a permanent, ongoing conflict they could “represent” their dues-payers in. That was much more important than advising their dues-payers to avoid the conflict.

  3. […] that says everyone ought to be out for themselves. The only purpose in life is to gain power. Sound familiar?  Power can only be accumulated through chaos, by using upheaval to rearrange things so that you […]

  4. Wolf Woman

    Some of the biggest supporters of Alinsky in Nashville are ACLU TN head, Hedy Weinberg and her husband, Dan Cornfield, a Vanderbilt sociology prof.

    They brought the “Chicago way” to Nashville and have been successful in influencing many young people in the socialist, communist progressive worldview and Alinsky organizing techniques. Hedy’s father, Arthur Weinberg, was friends with Emma Goldman, the famous anarchist of the first half of the twentieth century who said,

    “Religion, the dominion of the human mind;
    Property, the dominion of human needs; and
    Government, the dominion of human conduct,
    represent the stronghold of man’s enslavement
    and all the horrors it entails.”

    1. I am goingto use that quote.

  5. Jim Forsythe

    Alinsky was an evil person who wanted to destroy America. His followers are promoting and expanding on his insane ideas.