Rules for radicals

I am not sure how many here at Docudharma are familiar with Saul D. Alinsky.

He was an organizer in the middle of the last century.. he organized communities predominantly.   He was considered one of the best.  A great deal of what he said is pertinant to todays struggle…..

I am going to share parts from a book I have been reading and rereading lately…..

I do not offer this as some sort of truth rather as a point of diparture…

I think many of us r coming to the conclusion that to get the change we want we are going to have to do something different….

become uncomfortable……

so I offer this as food for thought…..

from this point on these r the words of Saul D. Alinsky


Tactics means doing what u can with what u have.  Tactics are those consciously deliberate acts by which human beings live with each other and deal with the world around them.  In the world of give and take,tactics is the art of how to take and give.  Here our concern is with the tactic of taking; how the Have-Nots can take power away from the Haves.


Always remember

the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what u have but what ur opponent thinks u have.


The second rule is: Never go outside of the experience of ur people.


The third rule is:whereever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.


The fourth rule is:make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.


The fifth rule is:ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.


The sixth rule is: a good tactic is one ur people enjoy.


The seventh rules is:a tactic which drags on too long becomes a drag.


The eigthth rule is:Keep the pressure on,with differrent tactics and actions,and utilize

all events of the period for ur purpose.


The nineth rule:The threat is usally more terrifing than the thing itself.


The tenth rule:The major premise of tactics is the developement of operations that will maintain a constant pressure on the opposition.


The eleventh rule:If u push a negative hard and deep enough it will break thro to its counterside.


The twelfth rule:The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.


The thirteenth rule:Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it,and polarize it.


How do u think these apply to today.  Is there anything there that u find interesting orpossibly utilizable…….

And if so how?


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  1. what will we do today….

    enact the story of powerlessness…….

    or enact another story of our choosing…..

  2. The seventh rules is:a tactic which drags on too long becomes a drag.

    good one.

  3. The thirteenth rule:Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it,and polarize it.

    The individual mandate is the cornerstone of the Rockefeller Republican version of health insurance exchanges that our Rockefeller Republican President got passed … by running in the primaries against it, then giving free reign to the Rockefeller Republicans in his Democratic Senate Caucus to put it in place, then “its an essential part of the system they designed”.

    When the same person has fingers pointing right and left, normally they are the author of the action.

    But because the Rockefeller Republicans were purged from the Republican Party, and are now Democrats, the Republicans will attack the Individual Mandate because it is a weak link in the system and they want to tear the whole system down. For their remaining corporate ownership, the current bill is the least of all evils, but better still for it to be left entirely to psychopathic corporations.

    So the path ahead is to punish/primary Conservadems whenever and however possible, get the Medicare Buy-In an opportunity to pass alongside a 4% employer mandate with payment to the health exchange account with next year’s budget resolution, and keep hammering until they give way on the policy or purge the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, leaving it free to build a new Progressive Party.

  4. get the system to stop resisting…..

    a commitment to a particular change is not necessary as much as……

    a recognition that change may be necessary…..

    perhaps that is were we r still stuck ;)……

    there still seems to be a good deal of resistance to the very notion of change out there by a very vocal and active minority of people…..

    how can we start to create the openness to the notion of change……

    • BobbyK on March 27, 2010 at 00:21

    as many in my family. I should raid the book shelf and catch up on that book.

    These days on one issue after another I feel betrayed.

    Be it- 2006 impeachment off the table, no accountability on war crimes, single payer off the table, the cave on public option, the don’t ask don’t tell hedging, fake financial reform, the continuation of no child left behind, war escalation etc. The betrayal list just keeps getting longer. This Republican Lite crap is intolerable.

    I honestly feel things need to get Much Worse Much Faster before the country wakes up and realizes we’re going in the wrong direction. The Dems are just taking us in the wrong direction slightly slower, under a supposed “progressive brand” banner.

    The only power I have to reform the Dems is to punish them for their betrayal with my vote in November.

    I’ve changed my voter reg. to independent and I may go the next step and switch to Repug and start showing up at my neighborhood tea parties.

    I might have some fun with it and show up with a sign saying “It’s not a war crime when we do it”

    Would that be working the 4th 5th or 6th rule?

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