Few know it today, but Chicago was the birthplace of a powerful grassroots social movement that changed political activism in this country. “Community Organizing” was pioneered in Chicago’s old stockyards neighborhood by the soberly realistic, unabashedly radical Saul Alinsky.
Alinsky pioneered community organizing. Until then, organizing was mostly done within trade unions or for specific causes. Alinsky was the first to organize within an area. He started in the Back of the Yards meatpacking area of Chicago in the 30’s, mobilizing the mostly eastern European immigrants into a cohesive unit. One of his main goals always was to create new organizers who came out of the community.
He started training schools for organizers, one of which recruited a young crop picker from California named Cesar Chavez. He invented the stock proxy ploy of buying a few shares, then raising Hell at the stockholders meetings. His Rules for Radicals has influenced generations of organizers.
There can be no such thing as a successful traitor, for if one succeeds he becomes a founding father.
Revolution by the have-nots has a way of inducing a moral revelation among the haves.
Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
The first thing you’ve got to do in a community is listen, not talk.
One’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue … Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.
I could persuade a millionaire on a Friday to subsidize a revolution for Saturday out of which he would make a huge profit on Sunday even though he was certain to be executed on Monday.
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.
From the dedication to Rules for Radicals.
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.
Some of his rules for radicals were
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.
The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.
A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.
Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.