Remember this photo? Do you know what it is? Do You know who Saul Alinsky was? And why Democrats like Hillary Clinton, who wrote her thesis on Saul Alinsky and his way, and why you should know … And how this Chicago resident affected our president? Alinsky, by forming an unprecedented coalition between the Catholic Church and the Meatpackers Union, he was able to force several landmark concessions from the meatpacking industry. These three organizations show how Alinsky’s ideas, in turn, influenced the civil rights movement, the farmworkers struggle and many Vietnam era political protests…
Obama teaching Saul Alinksy ‘power analysis’ organizing
Why is Saul Alinsky so important? Saul Alinsky is known as the original “community organizer.” Sound familiar? In fact, Alinsky is said to have developed the “science” of community organizing. He maintained an active career as a political agitator from the 1930’s up until his death in 1972:
Alinsky was born in Chicago in 1909 to Russian Jewish immigrant parents, the only surviving son of Benjamin Alinsky’s second marriage to Sarah Tannenbaum Alinsky.
Alinsky came up with the idea of power analysis, which looks at relationships built on self-interest between corporations, banks and utilities.
In the 1930s, Alinsky organized the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago (made infamous by Upton Sinclair’s novel. The Jungle for the horrific working conditions in the Union Stock Yards). He went on to found the Industrial Areas Foundation while organizing the Woodlawn neighborhood, which trained organizers and assisted in the founding of community organizations around the country. In Rules for Radicals (his final work, published in 1971 one year before his death), he addressed the 1960s generation of radicals, outlining his views on organizing for mass power. In the first chapter, opening paragraph of the book Alinsky writes, “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”.
The documentary Saul Alinsky, states that “Alinsky championed new ways to organize the poor and powerless that created a backyard revolution in cities across America.” Many important community and labor organizers came from the “Alinsky School” including Ed Chambers and Tom Gaudette. Alinsky formed the Industrial Areas Foundation in 1940. Chambers became its Executive Director after Alinsky died. Since its formation, hundreds of professional community and labor organizers and thousands of community and labor leaders have attended its workshops. Fred Ross, who worked for Alinsky, was the principal mentor for Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.
Alinsky’s teachings influenced Barack Obama in his early career as a community organizer on the far South Side of Chicago. Working for Gerald Kellman’s Developing Communities Project, Obama learned and taught Alinsky’s methods for community organizing.
Alinsky is often credited with laying the foundation for the grassroots political organizing that dominated the 1960s.
Alinsky advises his followers that the poor have no power and that the real target is the middle class: “Organization for action will now and in the decade ahead center upon America’s white middle class. That is where the power is. … Our rebels have contemptuously rejected the values and the way of life of the middle class. They have stigmatized it as materialistic, decadent, bourgeois, degenerate, imperialistic, war-mongering, brutalized and corrupt. They are right; but we must begin from where we are if we are to build power for change, and the power and the people are in the middle class majority.”
In Rules for Radicals, he argued that the most effective means are whatever will achieve the desired ends, and that an intermediate end for radicals should be democracy because of its relative ease to work within to achieve other ends of social justice.
The very last sentence in the quoted paragraph above should give you pause.
The Hugo Chavez way…
Alec Baldwin narrates the story of legendary community organizer, Saul Alinsky, and his modern-day legacy.
“The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky & His Legacy”, narrated by actor Alec Baldwin, examines the life and legacy of the controversial community organizer Alinsky and his modern-day legacy.
The first half of the program chronicles the Chicago-based organizer Saul Alinsky and three key Alinsky organizations to show how his techniques developed over time including The Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, in Chicago’s blighted stockyards in the 1930′s. By forming an unprecedented coalition between the Catholic Church and the Meatpackers Union, Alinsky was able to force several landmark concessions from the meatpacking industry. These three organizations show how Alinsky’s ideas, in turn, influenced the civil rights movement, the farmworkers struggle and many Vietnam era political protests…