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Rules for Radicals

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« on: July 13, 2010, 11:08:22 am »

Thom Hartmann's July Exclusive "Independent Thinker" Review for BuzzFlash: "Rules for Radicals"
By Saul Alinsky's Review (excerpt)
July 2010 "Rules for Radicals"

Each month or so, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash. See other progressive premiums at The BuzzFlash Progressive Marketplace. See all of Thom's reviews for BuzzFlash at "Independent Thinker"

Thom Hartmann's Review -- Exclusively for BuzzFlash -- for July 2010:

Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals"

With any book, one of the most important pieces of that work is its frame or context. In “Rules for Radicals,” Saul Alinsky lays out his largest frame brilliantly in his chapter “The Purpose” when he talks about class distinctions.

“The setting for the drama of change has never varied. Mankind has been and is divided into three parts: the Haves and Have-Nots, and the Have-A-Little, Want Mores.”

Alinsky then includes a social critique worthy of writers from Thomas Hobbes to John Locke to Thomas Malthus to Karl Marx. In many ways, he summarizes the meta-story of most of Charles Dickens’ novels (Dickens’ father had spent time in a debtors prison). For example:

“On the top of the Haves with power, money, food, security, and luxury. They suffocate in their surpluses while the Have-Nots starve. Numerically, the Haves have always been the fewest. The Haves want to keep things as they are and are opposed to change....Politically they are cold and determined to freeze the status quo.

“On the bottom are the world’s Have-Nots. On the world scene, they are by far the greatest numbers. They are chained together by the common misery of poverty, rotten housing, disease, ignorance, political impotence, and despair. When they are employed, their jobs pay the least and they are deprived in all areas basic to human growth. Caged by color, physical or political, they are barred from an opportunity to represent themselves in the politics of life. The Have want to keep; the Have-Nots want to get....Politically, they are a mass of cold ashes of resignation and fatalism, But inside there are glowing embers of hope which can be fanned by the building of means of obtaining power. Once the fever begins the flame will follow areas they have nowhere to go but up.”

In “Rules for Radicals,” Alinsky lays out his famous 13 tactics. The first 11 include: “power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have; never go outside the experience of your people; wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy; make the enemy live up to their own book of rules; ridicule is man’s most potent weapon; a good tactic is one your people enjoy; a tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag; keep the pressure on; the threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself; the major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition; and, if you push the negative hard and deep enough it will breakthrough into its counter side.”

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