Alinsky and his rules for radicals

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals are the playbook of the left. Alinsky, largely a nihilist himself, put together a set of rules on how to win power that contained not an ounce of policy. With the world not a perfect place and envy the single most powerful social force, he constructed guidelines on how to present a critique of others that have proven to be formidable in the midst of political debate.

What Alinsky would never have imagined is that the left would join forces with the media so that almost nothing said by a politician of the left is ever challenged in the media. For the left, it’s almost become too easy. The nature of the political battle for those with a more centralist and conservative perspective is now a minefield of potential explosives. If you are from a party of the centre or the right, these are rules you must know yourself, recognise and carefully think through how they can be dealt with since they will with certainty be used against you. In summary here are Alinsky’s rules but you should also read his book:

1) “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”

2) “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”

3) “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.”

4) “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

5) “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

6) “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”

7) “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”

8) “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.”

9) “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

10) “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.”

11) “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.”

12) “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”

13) “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

I have an article at Quadrant Online that looks at these rules in relation to Rupert Murdoch who is the great villain of the left for no other reason than that he can be effectively used as part of the last of the rules on personalising a target. Rudd has not a constructive thing to say in this election, representing a party with no runs on the board. Every major aspect of policy has deteriorated over the past six years and there is no reason to think they would get better if he were re-elected. The economy is worse, social cohesion has deteriorated, our borders are a sieve, living standards are falling and a series moonbat ideas in a host of areas have been endorsed. Yet what do we hear time and again, that this criticism is evidence of a press conspiracy by the Murdoch papers to see this government thrown out. Forgotten and seen as irrelevant is that these same papers, disastrously, sought to install Rudd in the first place in 2007.

How to deal with this rules-based criticisms is difficult but the first thing is for everyone to know these rules when they see them in action so that they can say, there they go again, using that same old tired Alinsky rhetoric. They bring up Murdoch, you bring up policy. Put the question straight, are you trying to change the subject from these policy failures of yours to the irrelevancy of who sells the most newspapers. Point out that they are trying to change the subject because sticking to the subject will only point up just how little they offer, how empty their policies are.

And let me just finish with a bit of context. In thinking about Alinsky and his rules, it is worth remembering this:

Hillary Rodham as a student at Wellesley in 1969, interviewed Saul Alinsky and wrote her thesis on Alinsky’s theories and methods. She concludes her thesis by writing,

‘Alinsky is regarded by many as the proponent of a dangerous socio/political philosophy. As such he has been feared, just as Eugene Debs or Walt Whitman or Martin Luther King has been feared, because each embraced the most radical of political faiths, ‘democracy.”‘

Alinsky offered Hillary a job upon graduation from Wellesley but she decided to attend Yale Law School where she met her husband Bill Clinton.

And then there’s this from that same source:

Obama taught workshops on Alinsky’s theories and methods for years and in 1985, he started working as a community organizer for an Alinskyite group called, ‘Developing Community Projects.’ While building coalitions of black churches in Chicago, Obama was criticized for not attending church and decided to become an instant Christian. He then helped fund the Alinsky Academy. Obama was a paid director of the Woods Fund, which is a non-profit organization used to provide start-up funding and operating capital for Midwest Academy, which teaches the Alinsky tactics of community organization. Obama sat on the Woods Fund Board with William Ayers, the founder of the, ‘Weather Underground,’ a domestic terrorist organization.

The fact is that irrespective of which side of politics you are on, you are not in the game unless you have made a study of Alinsky’s rules, understand its tactics and if you are on the conservative side of politics, thought through how you will deal with these tactics when they inevitably are brought into play by the other side.

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30 Responses to Alinsky and his rules for radicals

  1. Token

    Good work Steve, it is a great time to re-post this list so people can swat up on the tactics of the fruitbat left over the coming years.

    As Tom noted with amazement on the OT, they are using the tactics in their everyday campaigning to get in to colonise organisations like the RACV:

    Bicycle Network Victoria spokesman Garry Brennan is scathing of the RACV’s negative comments on cycling upgrades in the city.

    ”The RACV is struggling to reconcile its outdated 1970s thinking about roads and freeways with the forward-thinking aspirations of its contemporary membership,” he said.

    He is talking about the Royal Auto Club of Victoria.

  2. Toiling Mass

    “…embraced the most radical of political faiths, ‘democracy’.”

    I wonder if anyone pointed out to Hillary that Alinsky’s rules aim to distort public understanding of people and events.

    He didn’t embrace democracy. He came up with a way of hijacking the voting process to serve his own objectives at the expense of the people.

  3. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    You mean you guys HAVE NOT been using these very same set of rules against the left for the last five years?

    Why the HELL NOT??

  4. Fred Lenin

    Alinsky is a typical manipulative”interlekchool”,no real concept of democracy?another bronstein (trotsky),the soshalist jewish fascists ,”usefull fools” as ulyanov(lenin” called them as they helped him into total power,dzugashvilli(stalin”) reverted to the normal anti semitism and wiped the “useless fools “out ,delusion and grand strategies are the tools of soshalist fascism.

  5. MT Isa Miner

    Jesus H Christ. Are you blokes tapeing my breakfast conversations? I swear to G. this was my morning rant over toast: how can the Americans elect a guy that was brought up commie and taught commie and ran with the commies and terrorists? How? And why every time I talk about it do people make me feel as if I am wearing a hat with an alfoil covered coathanger to recieve the signals?

    My better half says normal people just don’t care about these things”” which translates as stop frothing at the mouth and pass the vegemite.

  6. Alfonso

    Alinskism won’t save Julia.
    Make no mistake, for the DPP to avoid laying charges for the allegedly fraudulently creation of the POA is impossible, but they’ll try, oh how they’ll try.

  7. MT Isa Miner

    Yes MK50, I ask the same Q.

    It was common enough rumour that Windsor some disease like Parkinsons that affected his brain function. Given the shit that they were pouring onto Mary Jo Fisher as far as I can see he was fair game. But no- gutless wonders the Liberals, time and time again. Brainless or gutless- take your pick.

    I can see how Windsor could fit into all the Alinsky plays.

  8. MT Isa Miner

    Could have, no use crying over spilt enemies.

  9. blogstrop

    I reckon we use a few of those. 4-8. JC loves 8. We all love 5.

  10. Gab

    None of them are any good. Where’s the one with the application of electrodes to sensitive areas? Pfft. Weaklings.

  11. J.H.

    But don’t forget. Alinsky’s codified manipulations are not a set of rules for good. It is a set of rules to abuse tolerance and replace order with Authoritarianism….. They take an ordered society of any type and subvert it, usually to a Socialist society and then install themselves as the ruling class….

    Socialism itself is a lie. It is based on the lie of equality. These subverters will look you in the face and say to you. “We are the same, you and I”. But they are not. Their ambitions are nothing like yours at all…. From that one lie all others then come naturally.

    It’s interesting to note that the early Soviet leadership rarely even used their own names…. Their very existence was a living lie. A fabrication.

  12. Bruce

    I find this very entertaining since for my lunchtime read just now I read David Burchall’s excellent fisking of the character of one Kevin Rudd, Emperor Incarnate:

    We react the same way to Rudd’s magical volte-faces as we do to the parries of a fencer or the weavings of a skilled half-back. They are not changes in point of view – since that would be something altogether more laborious and painful – but rather demonstrations of aesthetic virtuosity. His moral currency is not integrity and conviction but audacity and skill.

    The contrast against Rudd’s flashing sabre of Alinskyesque audacity and skill is Abbott’s rock of integrity and conviction, upon which mere sabres bend and break. (Four years as opposition leader…yikes, you need to be tough.)

    There is the counter to Alinsky. Walk the talk. Be real. If you can’t be real, don’t stand. If you have no purchase points for an Alinskyite to latch onto, you win.

    Unfortunately my LNP candidate in the seat of Charlton got thoroughly Alinskied a couple weeks ago, when, just after the AEC cut off for nominations, it came out he had a rather juvenile website to his name. He resigned on the spot, but without the LNP being able to replace him, so his wretched name is still on the ballot. So I no longer have the pleasure either of voting against Combet the Sir Robin of the ALP, or voting for a candidate from the LNP. Instead Combet’s staffer is about to waltz in. Sigh.

    So why did my silly LNP wannabe MP stand if he had this skeleton in the closet? I have no idea, but politicians’ ambition and their judgement seem to be at opposite ends of the universe (Anthony Weiner, QED).

    I do however think Dr Burchall has the wrong historical figure. Caesar he is not. No, he is a greasy little French come-back artiste about to meet his Waterloo on 18 June 1815 7 Sept 2013.

  13. MT Isa Miner

    Why does it slide off teflon when I tell some of the “i just don’t like Abbott”ladies the long list of Abbott realalities to counter the Rudd fakeries? They can see my lips moving but what I am saying doesn’t penetrate. I’m buggered if I understand.

  14. MT Isa Miner

    I second that Q Bruce, where the hell is the vetting by the Liberals? I’m the first to slag off at Rudd doing sweet FA in his years in the wilderness. What the F were the Lib’s doing- obviously NOT checking or preping the candidates! Which crew owns Mr Diaz ?

    And your mate with the blog- FM are the Libs really that stupid that in 2013 they don’t have one guy checking all the computer stuff EVERYWHERE? There’s a sign off for the brainless sheet for you.

  15. The Pugilist

    Gillard/McTurdman certainly got caught out by rule 11 with the misogyny schtick…

  16. MT Isa Miner

    Pugalist, seeing as they are both ring-ins from England I think we can safely call that a boomarang.

    JH what I do not know about everything constantly slaps me right in the face. You are kidding me! I know you can’t be- But why did they use other names? It can’t be because they were ashamed of being murderous bastards because they never stopped. Thanks muchly mate. I’ve got to know.Now I’ve got to go and read pages of wiki-shit with weirdo names again…

  17. The Pugilist

    Given the shit that they were pouring onto Mary Jo Fisher…

    That really was a disgrace Miner. Also I know the kleptos like to disown him when convenient, but Latham’s treatment of Andrew Robb was also disgraceful. Yet it seems to be standard fare for the left and the right rarely, if ever retaliates.

  18. Tinta

    Why does it slide off teflon when I tell some of the “i just don’t like Abbott”ladies the long list of Abbott realalities to counter the Rudd fakeries? They can see my lips moving but what I am saying doesn’t penetrate. I’m buggered if I understand.

    I’m with you on that one — I have three siblings — two are Labor through and through, one proudly boasts of only ever listening to or watching the ABC — the other is a unionist — one I was telling all about TLS character flaws — and was treated to a tirade to end all tirades and hung up on, the other I was having a quiet conversation with viz a viz ” I can’t stand Tony Abbott – and in my quiet way asked why? — and no response, then I went on to ask what do you know about Abbott — not much — then I went on and asked if I could say a few things about Abbott and told about his good deeds, how he’s written to well-regarded books, his academic achievements, his Rhodes scholarship, his Oxford blue, his charitable works, his works with aboriginal people, etc…. by the end I was able to persuade at least one sibling of the value of finding out about the person, then I asked why my sibling knew of Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard – SFA really

    the other sibling is just like me — sensible, hardworking, Italian and humble, and boy it’s hard to be humble when you’re Italian.

  19. Rabz

    “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

    Keating did this to Hewson in 1993.

  20. Rabz

    Four years as opposition leader…yikes, you need to be tough.

    Abbott most certainly is – the abuse he’s been subjected over the last four years has strengthened him almost beyond measure. When did you last see him take a false step?

    He’s been subjected to a freezing, personalizing and polarizing that would have destroyed most mere mortals. As noted above, Hewson, for example, couldn’t hack it.

    Abbott has been tempered in the furnace. He will prevail and labor will see their own tactics turned against them again and again.

  21. Tom

    Alinsky lived in an era before the left, a protest movement in Western democracy, became the Modern Left, a fascist movement that attempts to manipulate democracy by avoiding it. On September 7, the Australian left will simply lose one of the five pillars of power: parliament, bureaucracy, judiciary, media, academia — and it will still have control of two state parliaments. It controls 100% of the other four pillars, which the left manipulates by using regulation, precedent, think tanks, “studies” and other propaganda presented as “news”. The non-left is being eaten by the left, virtually without protest. As a big government party, the LNP has no interest in rolling back the left’s welfare dependency and handouts for the luvvies (the 2013-14 budget aims to spend around $420 billion compared with $219 in 2006-07, the last budget over which the LNP had full control); Hockey will spend about $390 billion in 2013-14, which is Labor’s binge minus the deficit — a 78% increase on 2006-07. The LNP is well on the way to becoming a left-of-centre party.

  22. Crossie

    Forgotten and seen as irrelevant is that these same papers, disastrously, sought to install Rudd in the first place in 2007.

    I can understand that Murdoch just wanted to be on the winning side but his journalists should have done a better job of profiling Kevni. Nobody took any notice of Piers Akerman who tried his best to warn about Pixie Rudd, as he was known then.

  23. Crossie

    “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

    Keating did this to Hewson in 1993.

    Hewson was a lightweight and he had some personal dirty laundry which Keating exploited to the full.

  24. Crossie

    … how can the Americans elect a guy that was brought up commie and taught commie and ran with the commies and terrorists?

    The Yanks have an idealistic, romantic streak that gets them into trouble. We have a much better bullshit detector and that’s why the hung Parliament in 2010 and Julia’s unholy alliance. It also helps that we have three year terms, even if you make a mistake the second time the end is in sight in six years instead of eight.

  25. Toiling Mass

    ‘Pixie’ Rudd. I had fair forgotten about that one.

    Abbott has a bit too much of a habit of seeing the power of the state righting wrongs for my taste, although he has also a few times dropped hints that he understands the primacy of ordinary people (instead of government) making Australia prosperous.

    (I would love to hear him actually come out and explain to the citizenry that they own GDP, that when they go to work in the morning it is they keeping the country afloat, that when they do a bit of overtime to make more money to take the family on a holiday they are giving a gift to everyone – ah, dare to dream.)

    But, importantly, I think Abbott is consultative, and approachable. It will be possible, over the next few years, for smart people to introduce him to good ideas. Something Rudd and Gillard were never able to do due to temperment, political obligations, obstinacy, ignorance, obduracy, fear of the ALP, tkiness, and resemblance to human pudenda.

  26. Toiling Mass

    tkiness -> tackiness

  27. Blogstrop

    Good summary, Tom. We all have to be worried about the other pillars having been white-anted fairly comprehensively.

  28. The Greens have white anted the CWA through the “Close the Gate “campaign.
    The CWA? FFS I couldn’t believe it until I saw the poster. Farmers want to pay less for fertiliser, but the Country Womens Association, aka The Cranky Womens Association, is in bed with an organisation that makes it more expensive!

  29. Max

    Alinskys rules = 13 reasons to sell the ABC

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