Who is Saul Alinsky and Why is Newt Saying Nasty Things About Him?

The leftist media are mystified as to why Newt Gingrich is conjuring up the specter of the long-dead radical “community organizer” Saul Alinsky (1909–1972). The Christian Science Monitor is arguing that those in the Tea Party are the real Alinsky followers. Just for the record, Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, the handbook for a leftist takeover strategy, included this dedication:

“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… 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.”

This is hardly Tea Party fare.

Liberals are always feigning ignorance about the sources for their radicalism. They ask, “What’s the Communist Manifesto?” every time someone points out that one of its planks is a progressive income tax, the very thing liberals champion.

The American Left is trying to destroy our nation in hopes of building a new one by undermining its core values. Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals has been one of the playbooks for the radical suit-and-tie revolution.

It was Alinsky who wrote, “Do one of three things. One, go find a wailing wall and feel sorry for yourselves. Two, go psycho and start bombing — but this will only swing people to the right. Three, learn a lesson. Go home, organize, build power and at the next convention, you be the delegates.”1 Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are students of Alinsky’s methods.

Hillary had met Alinsky at a Methodist church outing when she was a teenager. They were impressed with one another. In late 1968, Alinsky offered Hillary Rodham a job working for him. She had insider aspirations. She wrote her senior thesis on Alinsky in 1969: “There is Only the Fight . . .”: An Analysis of the Alinsky Model.

While Alinsky believed that “the system” could only be changed from the outside, Hillary believed it could be changed from the inside. She, and many others like her (e.g., husband and wife team Bill Ayers, co-founded the Weather Underground, a self-described communist revolutionary group and Bernardine Dohrn, a former leader of the Weather Underground), took Alinsky’s “radical” methods and made them mainstream.

Enter Barack Obama:

“Seventeen years later, another young honor student was offered a job as an organizer in Chicago. By then, Alinsky had died, but a group of his disciples hired Barack Obama, a 23-year-old Columbia University graduate, to organize black residents on the South Side, while learning and applying Alinsky’s philosophy of street-level democracy. The recruiter called the $13,000-a-year job ‘very romantic, until you do it.’”

Those pushing for an overthrow of the establishment in the 1960s through violent means learned a lot when their radical agenda failed to accomplish their stated goals and turned the majority of the population against them. In Rules for Radicals, Alinsky proposed a different strategy:

“Power comes out of the barrel of a gun!” is an absurd rallying cry when the other side has all the guns. Lenin was a pragmatist; when he returned . . . from exile, he said that the Bolsheviks stood for getting power through the ballot but would reconsider after they got the guns. Militant mouthings? Spouting quotes from Mao, Castro, and Che Guevara, which are as germane to our highly technological, computerized, cybernetic, nuclear-powered, mass media society as a stagecoach on a jet runway at Kennedy airport?”

The radicals knew it would be necessary to capture the institutions without ever firing a shot or blowing up another building. Roger Kimball captures the tactic well in his book The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America: “The long march through the institutions signified in the words of [Herbert] Marcuse, ‘working against the established institutions while working in them’. By this means — by insinuation and infiltration rather than by confrontation—the counter-cultural dreams of radicals like Marcuse have triumphed.”2

The rest, as they say, is history.

  1. Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals (New York: Vintage Books, [1971] 1989), xxiii. []
  2. Roger Kimball, The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America (San Franciso: Encounter Books, 2000), 15. []