Letter: Modern-day attackers prove how effective Alinsky was

Originally Posted Online: March 06, 2014, 12:00 am
Last Updated: March 06, 2014, 12:11 am
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Saul Alinsky died in 1972; Barack Obama was 10 years old and living in Hawaii. A recent letter writer would have us believe that they were "good friends."

The so-called "eight levels of control to create a social state" do not appear in Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. Mr. Alinsky was neither socialist nor communist. He was a community organizer who organized Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood in the1940s. He believed immigrants and other minorities had the right to self-determination. His tactics relied on direct confrontation and non-violence.

Playboy interviewed him in 1972. When asked if he belonged to the communist party, Alinsky said, "I've never joined any organization -- not even the ones I've organized myself. I prize my own independence too much. And philosophically, I could never accept any rigid dogma or ideology, whether it's Christianity or Marxism. ... The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics, from the persecutions of the Inquisition on down to Communist purges and Nazi genocide. ... My only fixed truth is a belief in people, a conviction that if people have the opportunity to act freely and the power to control their own destinies, they'll generally reach the right decisions."

Alinsky's tactics were unusual, humorous, and provocative. In Rules for Radicals, Alinsky describes the role of the organizer "to maneuver and bait the establishment so that it will publicly attack him as a dangerous enemy." It seems he is still effective for being dead over 40 years.

Michael Freda,


Local events heading

  Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Col. H.F. Sickless informs us that there will be new organization of troops in this state under the call for more men.
1889 -- 125 years ago: James Normoyle arrived home after graduating from West Point with honors in the class of 1889. He was to report to Fort Brady, Mich., as second lieutenant in the 23rd Infantry.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany and Austria refused an invitation of Sir Edward Grey to join Great Britain at a mediation conference.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Dr. William Mayo, the last of the three famous Mayo brother surgeons, died at the age of 78.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the biggest horse shows of the season was held yesterday at Hillandale Arena on Knoxville Road under the sponsorship of the Illowa Horsemen's Club.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Davenport is like a gigantic carnival this weekend with the Bix Arts Fest taking over 12 square blocks of the downtown area. A festive atmosphere prevailed Friday as thousands of people turned out to sample what the Arts Fest has to offer.

(More History)