Saul Alinsky quotes

alinsky book
Alinksy is considered the founder of community organizing and his book, Rules for Radicals, has been widely read by organizers from all over the political spectrum. He started organizing in Chicago in the 1930’s in Back of the Yards, which he organized by forming a partnership with the Catholic Church. He was not Marxist, had little use for them, and could not have succeeded in that partnership if he had been, because the Church was strongly anti-communist. Obama, Hillary Clinton, Cesar Chavez and a zillion other organizers and politicians have been influenced by him. He died in 1972.

“Quotes from Mao, Castro, and Che Guevara… are as germane to our highly technological, computerized society as a stagecoach on a jet runway at Kennedy airport.

No matter how imaginative your tactics, how shrewd your strategy, you’re doomed before you even start if you don’t win the trust and respect of the people; and the only way to get that is for you to trust and respect them.

It’s just idiocy for the Panthers to talk about all power growing from the barrel of a gun when the other side has all the guns.

The dedication to Rules for Radicals, this is classic Alinsky

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), 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

Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict

Power goes to two poles: to those who’ve got money and those who’ve got people.

Society has good reason to fear the Radical. Every shaking advance of mankind toward equality and justice has come from the Radical. He hits, he hurts, he is dangerous.

Conservative interests know that while Liberals are most adept at breaking their own necks with their tongues, Radicals are most adept at breaking the necks of Conservatives.

Always remember the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have

Once you accept your own death, all of a sudden you’re free to live. You no longer care about your reputation. You no longer care except so far as your life can be used tactically to promote a cause you believe in.

Too many liberals and radicals have a tender-minded, overly romantic image of the poor; they glamorize the povertystricken slum dweller as a paragon of justice and expect him to behave like an angel the minute his shackles are removed. That’s crud. Poverty is ugly, evil and degrading, and the fact that have-nots exist in despair, discrimination and deprivation does not automatically endow them with any special qualities of charity, justice, wisdom, mercy or moral purity. They are people, with all the faults of people — greed, envy, suspicion, intolerance — and once they get on top they can be just as bigoted as the people who once oppressed them. But that doesn’t mean you leave them to rot. You just keep on fighting.

We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. We will see it when we believe it. “

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