(January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was an American community organizer and writer. He is generally considered to be the founder of modern community organizing
"What I have to say in this book is not the arrogance of unsolicited advice. It is the experience and counsel that so many young people have questioned me about through all-night sessions on hundreds of campuses in America. It is for those young radicals who are committed to the fight, committed to life." In the first chapter's opening paragraph, 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"
"There's another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevski said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. To bring on this reformation requires that the organizer work inside the system, among not only the middle class but the 40 per cent of American families – more than seventy million people – whose income range from $5,000 to $10,000 a year [in 1971]. They cannot be dismissed by labeling them blue collar or hard hat. They will not continue to be relatively passive and slightly challenging. If we fail to communicate with them, if we don't encourage them to form alliances with us, they will move to the right. Maybe they will anyway, but let's not let it happen by default."
- The judgment of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment.
- In war the end justifies almost any means.
- Judgment must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point.
- Concern with ethics increases with the number of means available and vice versa.
- The less important the end to be desired, the more one can afford to engage in ethical evaluations of means.
- Generally, success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics.
- The morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.
- Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.
- You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.
- Goals must be phrased in general terms like "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," (Motto of France and one of many slogans of the french revolution although originally ended with "OR DEATH") "Of the Common Welfare," "Pursuit of Happiness," or "Bread and Peace."
"Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to to the very first radial: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins-- or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom --Lucifer." -Saul Alinsky
"A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage -- the political paradise of communism." p.10
The Revolutionary force today has two targets, moral as well as material. Its young protagonists are one moment reminiscent of the idealistic early Christians, yet they also urge violence and cry, "Burn the system down!" They have no illusions about the system, but plenty of illusions about the way to change our world. It is to this point that I have written this book. These words are written in desperation, partly because it is what they do and will do that will give meaning to what I and the radicals of my generation have done with our lives.
(Obama Taught Classes On Alinsky's Rules...)
(Obama Taught Classes On Alinsky's Rules...)
Saul Alinsky's Rules For Radicals is on the National Endowment For The Art's (The NEA's) Recommended reading list
The Latter Rain Page On Alinsky
Alinsky in Action - Rama Indian Reservation, Canada - New Zeal