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Saul Alinsky: "Coach"
A Review of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals
March 10, 2010
March 10, 2010
radicals have had as much influence over American politics as Saul Alinsky
(1909-1972). Born to Russian Jewish immigrants, he graduated from the
known more as a tactician than an ideologue. His most famous book was
Rules for Radicals, published a year
before his death. It’s still valuable reading today for its political
insights and what it tells us about the transformation that has happened in
To Alinsky, the world is divided into the Haves, the Have-Nots and the Have-a-little, Want Mores.
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.
One thing that differentiates Alinsky’s thought from that of conventional leftists is his more sophisticated understanding of human nature. To him, it isn’t rational to hope that one day people will behave morally based on altruistic motives. Also, Alinsky didn’t believe that we’ll one day reach a utopia where all works of social justice have been done and people can live happily ever after. Every political victory brings new problems, and conflict is a permanent feature of life. Of course, you don’t tell the people you’re trying to organize that because they would lose the will to act.
Another important part of human nature is our need to rationalize our actions. Once a young radical has forced a corporation or government into a certain direction, expect that the establishment will invent moral reasons for why it acted the way it did. Once again, getting people to do the right things for the wrong reasons with a moral gloss invented afterwards is the best we can hope for. “This is the low road to morality. There is no other.”
When it comes to motivating people, an organizer must convince them that they’re 100% in the right. Imagine if the Declaration of Independence started out by listing all the benefits of colonial rule and all the help that the Americans had gotten from the mother country in fighting the Indians. It then went on to say that since objectively the case was 60% for revolution and 40% against, the colonialists had decided to break away. In that case there would’ve been no revolution. It’s vital that one have his side convinced of its own moral purity and the depravity of the enemy.
One of Alinsky’s greatest insights is that change has to be cloaked in the language of tradition. Liberals who burned the American flag were fools who were more interested in striking a posture for radicalism than actually changing the world. Such actions were counterproductive and turned many Americans away from the left. Let this be a lesson to any White nationalists that feel the need to periodically dress up as Nazis.
Alinsky’s analysis of the white lower middle class, whom by the 1970s he hoped to radicalize, could’ve been written today. He points out that they saw the unemployed as “parasitical” and were turned off by the “liberal, democratic, holier-than-thou position” of those above them. Alinsky worried about demagogues moving them far to the right. The same section could be published today and all you would have to do is replace the “John Birch Society” and “George Wallace” with “Rush Limbaugh” and “Glenn Beck.” While we may or may not be finally seeing the counterrevolution to the 60s in the Tea Party movement, we can at least be certain that Alinsky’s dream of the White masses swinging to the left is long dead.
While shrewd and practical, Rules reveals that Alinsky was like all radical leftists a disturbed man. He does little more than project his own misery when he talks about the pathologies of the American middle class and certainly doesn’t present any evidence for his claims. His danger stemmed from the fact that he loved the process of liberal activism more than anything.
The chapter titled Tactics shows the shamelessness of Jewish radicals and those they organized. To put pressure on a bank, Alinsky recommends getting a thousand or more people to paralyze the institution by each opening up a $5 or $10 savings accounts on the same day. Part of the fun would be “the general enjoyment of seeing the discomfiture and confusion on the part of the establishment.” The bank would be ready to negotiate in order to be able to get back to business.
One time Alinsky almost did put this “people power” to use was when he wanted to pressure a large department store. He planned to bus 3,000 Blacks to the store and have them overwhelm the clerks as they shopped for shirts and underwear. The business of any whites would be lost for that day. Such a tactic is legal and there would’ve been nothing anyone could’ve done to stop it. Alinsky made sure that word of the plan leaked to the store and after that 186 positions opened up and “for the first time, Blacks were on the sales floor and in executive training.”
a time the author suggested to a group of low class Blacks in
I suggested that we might buy one hundred seats for one of Rochester’s symphony concerts. We would select a concert in which the music was relatively quiet. The hundred Blacks who would be given the tickets would first be treated to a three-hour pre-concert dinner in the community, in which they would be fed nothing but baked beans, and lots of them; then the people would go to the symphony hall-with obvious consequences. Imagine the scene when the action began! The concert would be over before the first movement! (If this be a Freudian slip-so be it!)
Once again, this is a completely legal tactic. While a stink bomb will get you arrested, a fart can’t. No law could possibly change that. The city would’ve had its symphony destroyed until it gave in to whatever arbitrary demands the community organizer made.
goes on to describe the threat of a different “tactic involving bodily
functions” which he used against the city of
One can see children yelling at their parents, “Mommy, I’ve got to go,” and desperate mothers surrendering, “All right-well, do it. Do it right here.”...The whole scene would become unbelievable and the laughter and ridicule would be nationwide.
Alinsky spends relatively few pages on his standard liberal references to his love for humanity and many more in enjoyment of sick imagined scenes like this. It seems that it took both Jews and Blacks to create the modern PC state. There needed to be an outgroup hostile to White society that was unusually intelligent and spiteful, and another which was uniquely deficient in intelligence and a sense of dignity.
Jared Taylor is fond of saying that for white nationalists to succeed they must show themselves to be better than their enemies. It’s hard to see how one can read Rules and agree with that. Blacks and their Jewish mentors have been able to get their way by being incredibly shameless and without any concern for self respect. Blacks were and still are completely willing to use Whites’ desire to avoid them as a political tool. Such a thing is incomprehensible to the European mind. Jewish radicals fantasized about the embarrassment White parents had over their children not being able to find a toilet, presumably picturing families hiding in corners as O’Hare airport was turned into a Liberian slum.
don’t think it’s desirable or possible for Whites to ever use such tactics,
knowing about what ethnic competitors are capable of should make us more
forgiving of the at least honorable methods Europeans used in centuries past to
deal with their enemies.
Richard Hoste (email him) writes on race, immigration, political correctness and modern conservatism. His articles have appeared at VDARE.com, The Occidental Observer, The Occidental Quarterly and TakiMag among other places. His writes the HBD blog at Alternative Right, where he regularly reviews classic and modern works on these topics.