Nov 28

Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals, by Saul D. Alinsky (★)

Saul Alinsky became well known as a “community organizer” in Chicago, Illinois. He was responsible for helping form the political ideology of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. This book is still being quoted heavily, and instrumental in directing a new generation of “progressives” in government. To best understand the movement, it is of value to have read the book. It is difficult to offer it any sort of rating since it is written in a world to which I am alien, but to which many of our youth are living in without a sense of angst or discomfort.

Alinsky begins the book by delighting in the fact that he follows in a long line of rebels, the first of which was Satan himself. Yes, he actually proudly says that! A lengthy prologue sets the stage for his thinking. He is not promoting violent radicalism and disowns the Weathermen and like groups. Rather, he considers the best option for Radicals is to infiltrate the system. In discussing his purpose, he wishes to make clear that there are only three groups in society, the Haves, the Have-nots, and the Have-a-little;-want-mores. The Have-nots are obviously the poor, and the Have-a-littles are the middle few, which Alinsky notes there are relatively few of, yet even fewer of the Haves. Alinsky disclaims any dogmatic approach to revolution. He is correct in noting that the Christian “revolutionaries” have been inconsistent in their ideology, though Alinsky seems to be a poor judge of ideology and morality. Alinsky does not label himself a Marxist, yet his argument and desire to level the playing field between the Haves and Have-nots seems to be written straight out of the Marxist playbook. Perhaps Alinsky is slightly disoriented? Later, Alinsky shows how he plays semantic games, and when a word triggers bad connotations, a different word is used. The most used example is the label of “community organizer”, which actually means “communist revolutionary”. Read that into any time Alinsky (or Obama or Hillary Clinton) speaks and you will understand what they truly mean.

Alinsky spends a chapter on clarifying the purpose of his mission. Actually, he’s not sure as to his purpose, except to generate unrest and anger with the Have-nots. He then spends a chapter telling us the means of achieving his purpose, but spends most of the time justifying the ethics of his means. Most his justification comes from historical examples when prevailing ethical standards were violated for the so-called common good. For Alinsky, that justifies the ability to act without the sense of defined morality, as the ends always justify the means. His eleven rules of ethics summates in the tenth rule, which is to do whatever you want, and then engulf your actions in a moral cloak. (…really! That’s essentially what he said!). To help, the eleventh rule is to label your ethics with a general but appealing term such as “For the Common Good” or “for Liberty”. Yup. Sure.

Alinsky pauses for a chapter to define certain words such as power, self-interest, compromise, ego, and conflict. What he means to say is that you play the system to best accomplish your momentum of the moment—there is no accomplishing of an “end” since the revolutionary leader (community organizer) isn’t usually sure as to the end for the revolution. One needs to educate budding young educators, and Alinsky will spend a chapter discussing how to train a young rebel (without a clue). The virtues necessary for a revolutionary include curiosity, irreverence, imagination, humor, a very blurred vision of the perfect world, an organized mind, a strong ego, political schizophrenia that is not set on a single political ideology. Communication is the prime virtue according to Saul. Saul even gives an example from the Bible how Moses told God to “cool it”, and get control of himself, shaming God for always wanting to be #1. So Moses (according to Alinsky) won an argument with God through effective communication. Saul gives abundant examples of how he used communication to get his way with people. Among his clientele were a host of religious types, especially Catholic priests, who didn’t seem to realize exactly who they were speaking to.

The “community organizer” needs to start a movement when the organizer sees a perceived need. Often, the so-called oppressed person doesn’t see that need, and so agitation and anger must be generated. Oftentimes the solution is simple by just asking an authority to correct a problem, but that is not the best way to manage the situation according to Alinsky. A group needs to show outright anger with persistence before accepting resolution of the problem. Sometimes, criminality needs to be rationalized away, such as when Alinsky led multiple efforts at voting fraud in Chicago, justified since it accomplished its end (I’m surprised Alinsky even discussed this issue!). Often, Alinsky’s tactic includes displaying “power”, another euphemism for bullying a subject to the point of exhaustion. Starting a crisis by creating a problem is Saul’s first issue of necessity. After that, tactics to maintain an air of crisis and tension must occur.

The longest chapter is on tactics, the techniques that the Have-nots can use to take power from the Haves. Many of these techniques are quite obvious and need not be listed, such as appearing bigger or stronger than you really are, shaming your opponent by their own rules (especially if they are religious), use lots of ridicule, persist, divide your opponent whenever possible, and, know your opponent so that you can make their life as miserable as possible. Forcing your opponent to live by their personal moral code while you conduct yourself without a moral code is a standard tactic. Time in jail, if short, helps create a martyr syndrome. Then, mutter epithets such as “The right to a job transcends the right of private property” to further shame your opponent. Alinsky gives multiple examples of how he exercised the above tactics to win cases, and most of the time, others with more sense would consider those tactics as quite immoral, though perhaps not illegal. Though not said by Alinsky, many of these tactics could kick back and actually lead to worse consequences to the revolutionary.

Alinsky offers a short summary. Actually, Alinsky really doesn’t know what his goals are. Often, he describes material envy with the Have-nots, such as gaining possession of cars, tvs, and other convenience items of life. Never does he suggest legitimate means of acquiring “stuff”. Alinsky proposes stirring additional unrest in lower middle class people in order to agitate for revolution. Class envy, class discontent, status anger, are all necessary for Alinsky to get his ends.

Alinsky is left with a dilemma. His entire thesis is based on pitting the Have-nots against the Haves. Social status (in Alinsky’s mind) necessarily must be fixed. The Have-nots cannot become the Haves. The lower middle-class cannot become the upper middle-class. If that were possible, it would leave Saul with a dilemma: as soon as his revolution sees success, the Have-nots become the Haves, and thus become the object for revolution. Alinsky doesn’t want that to happen. So many of Alinsky’s pupils are now filthy-rich, and yet must be defined as remaining Have-nots.

Alinsky is totally devoid of any social or personal ethic. Alinsky comments on this boldly and proudly. His is not the revolution of a Biblical sort, even though he frequently quotes (and always misquotes) Scripture. It is a revolution straight from the pit of hell. Which ultimately leads me to a most relevant and vital question to be asked. Many Christians are quite aware that Obama, H. Clinton, and others in politics are disciples of Alinsky. Alinsky offers them the rule book to play by. Hillary Clinton wrote a thesis on Alinsky, idolizing concepts that he expounds. Obama worked with Alinsky’s community, personally naming himself a community organizer. Their association and affection to Alinsky are NOT a secret. Yet, somehow many Christians (and many never-Trumpers like the Bush clan) are persuaded that these are people worth supporting or voting for. They argue the need to opt for the lesser of two evils, or that Alinsky (in some very strange way) really stands for “Biblical” social justice. The intentional naiveté of these “Christians” is most damning—I can only pray that God have mercy on them. If you don’t believe me, please read this book. With multiple examples more that I could have quoted, the book is far more damning than I made it out to be.

When Patton was asked early in WWII how he was able, as an immature tank commander, to overcome the superior tactics of Rommel, Patton’s reply was simply that he had read Rommel’s book on tank warfare. Alinsky provides us a look at the playbook of the left, including the progressives in congress (and possible president/vice-president), the deep state, the BLM and Antifa movement, and many other revolutionary groups. Know that they intentionally deceive, they intentionally seek to create unrest and strife. More importantly, know for certain that they secretly have no clue as to where they are going, and exactly how they wish to end up. Alinsky had no clue as to his ultimate destination and states that fact repeatedly. If they accomplish their “goals”, they have no idea what to do with their accomplishments. Ultimately their greatest desire would be to see the fall of the whole of society. Whereas now there is a small group of Have-nots, they will not be happy until everybody is a Have-not. Please realize that Have-nots actually have a lot, certainly vastly more than those that you would call poor in third-world countries. Alinsky’s vision would eventually lower the Have-not’s status to a third-world condition. To those with more sense than Alinsky, be aware, and don’t be afraid to challenge the revolutionaries. Truth will win in the end.

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2 Responses to “Rules for Radicals”

  1. Bruder Dennis says:


    This is such a well-written review, and so revealing of insights about the base motives of the wicked in America, that you should submit it for publication on a major website. Some possibilities I’ll email to you. (This very limited “wordpress” does not allow images to be inserted.)

  2. Lew Feucht says:

    Fantastic review of a book that I now want to read and understand. It will certainly shed light on the society that we live in and is progressively marching to Pied Piper Alinsky!

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