Saul Alinsky & Back of the Yards: A pivotal labor strike

Credit: public domain

Saul Alinsky invented community organizing in Chicago in the 1930’s. Eastern European immigrants in the Back of the Yards area organized and went on strike against meatpacking plants. After pitched battles, both political and physical, the workers forced concessions and unionized the plants. This was the first time organizing had been done in a geographical area and it changed organizing forever.

Generations of organizers both on the left and the right have studied and learned from what Alinsky did. This includes right-wing videographer James O’Keefe who took down ACORN. He cites Alinsky as a major influence, as do countless others.

But first, let’s get rid of a major misconception.