They weren’t personally home yesterday, but if John and Teresa* were angry that anti-war protestors were pounding on the door of their Beacon Hill townhouse, they might want to dust off their copy of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, or borrow a copy from Kerry’s boss, who trained under Alinsky acolytes in Chicago.
Alinsky recommended that radical protestors descend upon the homes of what the Occupy crowd dubbed the “One Percent” in 2011; apparently, the goal in Saul’s fevered mind was to apply pressure by sufficiently angering the protestee’s neighbors, thus indirectly roping them as well into Alinksy’s patented formula of the protest as a form of organized public psychotherapy, to borrow from Mark Judge’s recent article.
In its early history the organized black ghetto in the Woodlawn neighborhood in Chicago engaged in conflict with the slum landlords. It never picketed the local slum tenements or the landlord’s office. It selected its blackest blacks and bussed them out to the lily-white suburb of the slum landlords residence. Their picket signs, which said, “Did you know that Jones, your neighbor, is a slum land-lord?” were completely irrelevant; the point was that the pickets knew Jones would be inundated with phone calls from his neighbors.
JONES: Before you say a word let me tell you that those signs are a bunch of lies!
NEIGHBOR: Look, Jones, I don’t give a damn what you do for a living. All we know is that you get those goddam niggers out of here or you get out!
Jones came and signed.
The pressure that gave us our positive power was the negative of racism in a white society.
In the immediate wake of the 2008 Democrat National Convention, Alinsky’s son wrote an open letter to the Boston Globe praising Mr. Obama’s mastery of his father’s techniques:
Barack Obama’s training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.
I am proud to see that my father’s model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.
L. DAVID ALINSKY
I wonder if Alinksy’s heirs ever thought the old man’s techniques would boomerang against them? But then, the run-up to, well, whatever we’re going to do or not do in Syria has seen much of the left’s rhetoric of the past few years reflected through a funhouse mirror.
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