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Rule for Radicals: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules

coal mine
The fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity — Saul Alinsky

Sanders is using this as a tactic. Trump said during the campaign he would not touch Social Security and Medicare. Sanders is constantly and loudly reminding Trump of this and of other promises he made.

We can also make a point of pointing out when Trump cannot fulfill promises he made, like with dismantling Obamacare and bringing back factory jobs to the Rust belt and coal jobs to West Virginia. Republicans in Congress are now balking on killing Obamacare and the vast bulk of those jobs aren’t coming back.

Those jobs aren’t coming back because capitalism mandates things be done as cheaply as possible. Coal is in an irreversible decline because it’s being replaced by natural gas and renewable energy. No company will build a factory in the US to make widgets at a cost of, say, $100 each when they can be made in China and shipped here for $50. Trump threatens tariffs and trade wars. However, they don’t work. Unless he wants iPhones made here with a list price of $400 more than the current price.

So, make Trump live up to the promises he made that we like and point out when his promises never materialize, either because he never meant them in the first place or they simply can’t be done.

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Rule for Radicals. Go outside of the experience of the enemy

Rules for Radicals
We need to do whatever we can to baffle, derail, create splits in, and block the Trump presidency. One way is by attacks they never see coming and don’t know how to defend against. Protests and demonstrations baffle and enrage them, as witness their outrage at the spontaneous protests after the election and the comical accusation that the protests were funded by Soros. These protests were outside their experience and they didn’t have a clue what to do about them.  Also,  Trump, inexplicably, goes bonkers when satirized on Saturday Night Live and is clearly extraordinarily thin-skinned. So, the more protests the better, ditto for satire and lampooning Trump.

Sometimes street theater can be hugely effective. In 1967, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin snuck into the New York Stock Exchange and threw money off the balcony at traders. Some traders tried to grab money. Others screamed insults at them. Hoffman and Rubin got ejected, went outside and burned money on the sidewalk. It made headlines across the country. Playful antics like this certainly won’t bring down the Trump presidency on their own, but they can be effective and get publicity.

If we operate outside their experience, they won’t know how to counter what we do or their counter-reaction will be clumsy and ineffective.

Rules for Radicals:

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

Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat. General William T. Sherman, whose name still causes a frenzied reaction throughout the South, provided a classic example of going outside the enemy’s experience. Until Sherman, military tactics and strategies were based on standard patterns. All armies had fronts, rears, flanks, lines of communication, and lines of supply. Military campaigns were aimed at such standard objectives as rolling up the flanks of the enemy army or cutting the lines of supply or lines of communication, or moving around to attack from the rear. When Sherman cut loose on his famous March to the Sea, he had no front or rear lines of supplies or any other lines. He was on the loose and living on the land. The South, confronted with this new form of military invasion, reacted with confusion, panic, terror, and collapse. Sherman swept on to inevitable victory. It was the same tactic that, years later in the early days of World War II, the Nazi Panzer tank divisions emulated in their far-flung sweeps into enemy territory, as did our own General Patton with the American Third Armored Division.

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Rules for Radicals. Never go outside the experience of your people

Saul Alinsky

Never go outside the experience of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear, and retreat. It also means a collapse of communication, as we have noted —  Saul Alinsky – Rules for Radicals

My experience probably isn’t your experience. We need many groups and organizations applying pressure against Trump. Some will be in the streets, others working with NGOs, lobbyists, pressure groups. Still others could specialize in mass letter-writing and phone-calling campaigns to legislators, because this apparently does have an effect. There are multiple ways to oppose Trump.

People should do what they are comfortable doing. Some have no problem being in the streets confronting racist counter-protesters. (I’ve done this.) Others will prefer working behind the scenes blocking legislation, things like that. And of course, donating to and getting involved with organizations like ACLO, EFF, SPLC, etc. can also be hugely effective.

All of this implies there will be groups with plans, goals, and leaders. Forget leaderless resistance. It’s a quaint fantasy that only possibly works in you are deep underground. Nationwide mass protest needs leaders. Someone has to be in charge. Join a group you like. Become a leader, if you want. Determine what your group wants to do and what is within your experience. Then do it.

Do what you are comfortable doing. Build on that as the group gets more confidence.

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Winter solstice is not the earliest sunset!

The winter solstice is indeed the day with the least amount of sunlight. However it is not the earliest sunset which is generally around Dec 7. From about the 7th to the Solstice, the amount of daylight lessens however sunset is later.

The chart shows Las Vegas sunsets and day lengths.
Earliest sunset 4:26 Dec 1-10.
Least amount of daylight, Dec 21. Sunset is 4:30.
This pattern is true in northern hemisphere although times differ based on place.

Las Vegas sunset time. Dec 2016

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Using Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals for today

Saul Alinsky. Fight

Always remember the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have — Saul Alinsky – Rules for Radicals

Trump lost the popular vote. Trumpsters should be constantly reminded of this. They do not have a mandate. Left / liberals / progressives have thousands of organizations as well as congressmembers on its side. Silicon Valley and many large corporations mostly are too, at least as far as diversity, equal rights, and feminism goes. They aren’t going back.

In addition, many Trumpsters will soon enough become disillusioned with him. Some already are. They are potential short-term allies and can be highly effective because they can reach people the left can’t hope to.

The left also has the ability to put hundreds of thousands in the streets. Protests do have an effect. Richard Nixon said at the time that anti-Vietnam War protests had no effect of him. Years later it came out Nixon looked at an antiwar protest of one million in the streets of DC outside the White House and said to aides, we’re screwed. In current news, the South Korea president is about to resign in large part due to huge, unending protests against her. People in the streets is always a good idea when you are out of power and want to create change.

Beyond the actual power we have, which is considerable, is the power the enemy thinks we might have. Protest terrifies the right and they don’t understand, as witness the ludicrous claims that Soros financed the recent anti-Trump protests. If protest confuses them, we should certainly do much more of it.

Now is the time to figure out what power we have and how to use it. Please, no more terrified posts about how horrendous Trump might be. Instead, spend that time building power and organizations to oppose him. You’ll feel better when you do.

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