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,


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