Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals are the playbook of the left. Alinsky, largely a nihilist himself, put together a set of rules on how to win power that contained not an ounce of policy. With the world not a perfect place and envy the single most powerful social force, he constructed guidelines on how to present a critique of others that have proven to be formidable in the midst of political debate.
What Alinsky would never have imagined is that the left would join forces with the media so that almost nothing said by a politician of the left is ever challenged in the popular press or network TV. For the left, it’s almost become too easy. The nature of the political battle for those with a more centralist and conservative perspective is now a minefield of potential explosives. If you are from a party of the centre or the right, these are rules you must know yourself, recognise and carefully think through how they can be dealt with since they will with certainty be used against you. In summary here are Alinsky’s rules but you should also read his book:
1) “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”
2) “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”
3) “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.”
4) “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”
5) “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
6) “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
7) “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”
8) “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.”
9) “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”
10) “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.”
11) “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.”
12) “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”
13) “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
I have an article at Quadrant Online that looks at these rules in relation to Rupert Murdoch who is the great villain of the left for no other reason than that he can be effectively used as part of the last of the rules on personalising a target. Rudd has not a constructive thing to say in this election, representing a party with no runs on the board. Every major aspect of policy has deteriorated over the past six years and there is no reason to think they would get better if he were re-elected. The economy is worse, social cohesion has deteriorated, our borders are a sieve, living standards are falling and a series moonbat ideas in a host of areas have been endorsed. Yet what do we hear time and again, that this criticism is evidence of a press conspiracy by the Murdoch papers to see this government thrown out. Forgotten and seen as irrelevant is that these same papers, disastrously, sought to install Rudd in the first place in 2007.
How to deal with this rules-based criticisms is difficult but the first thing is for everyone to know these rules when they see them in action so that they can say, there they go again, using that same old tired Alinsky rhetoric. They bring up Murdoch, you bring up policy. Put the question straight, are you trying to change the subject from these policy failures of yours to the irrelevancy of who sells the most newspapers. Point out that they are trying to change the subject because sticking to the subject will only point up just how little they offer, how empty their policies are.
And let me just finish with a bit of context. In thinking about Alinsky and his rules, it is worth remembering this:
Hillary Rodham as a student at Wellesley in 1969, interviewed Saul Alinsky and wrote her thesis on Alinsky’s theories and methods. She concludes her thesis by writing,
‘Alinsky is regarded by many as the proponent of a dangerous socio/political philosophy. As such he has been feared, just as Eugene Debs or Walt Whitman or Martin Luther King has been feared, because each embraced the most radical of political faiths, ‘democracy.”‘
Alinsky offered Hillary a job upon graduation from Wellesley but she decided to attend Yale Law School where she met her husband Bill Clinton.
And then there’s this from that same source:
Obama taught workshops on Alinsky’s theories and methods for years and in 1985, he started working as a community organizer for an Alinskyite group called, ‘Developing Community Projects.’ While building coalitions of black churches in Chicago, Obama was criticized for not attending church and decided to become an instant Christian. He then helped fund the Alinsky Academy. Obama was a paid director of the Woods Fund, which is a non-profit organization used to provide start-up funding and operating capital for Midwest Academy, which teaches the Alinsky tactics of community organization. Obama sat on the Woods Fund Board with William Ayers, the founder of the, ‘Weather Underground,’ a domestic terrorist organization.
The fact is that irrespective of which side of politics you are on, you are not in the game unless you have made a study of Alinsky’s rules, understand its tactics and if you are on the conservative side of politics, thought through how you will deal with these tactics when they inevitably are brought into play by the other side.