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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why the right was able to put the country in such deep Kimchee

Someone was asking me about why the Right has been so successful and what we can do to put things right, and that reminded me of some comments I'd heard on the Thom Hartman show. So tonight I'm listening to a "Democracy Now Interview" and they are talking about Caesar Chavez and his mentor, whose mentor had been "Saul Alinsky." So I had my laptop going and I googled "Saul Alinsky" and what do I find, pretty much the Right took their instruction from Saul Alinsky and other leftists. Of course they ignored the chapter about analyzing whether the "end justifies the means" but Glen Beck and other Righties organized the Tea Party as the culmination of organizing based on (and aimed at) the efforts of Union Activists like Ceasar Chavez who'd been trying to do something to help workers. Glen Beck has a book that is a homage to Saul Alinsky;, so they demonize Saul Alinsky and then take pages out of his book. Essentially the modus operandi of the right is to hijack any strategies or rhetoric they can focus group test to work for them.

So the leaders of the far right read Saul Alinsky, love his ideas, and then try to warn folks to not actually read him in his own words because he's "Evil, but brilliant." John Hawkins quotes his ideas and how to "use [them] against "liberals" He's not the first but here's the list he uses:, only he makes it 13 rules and kind of ignores Alinsky's own words to make him a straw devil:
Always remember the first rule of power tactics:
Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
The second rule is: Never go outside the experience of your people.
…The third rule is: Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.
…the fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
…the fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
…the sixth rule is: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
…the seventh rule is: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
…the eighth rule: Keep the pressure on.
…the ninth rule: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
…The eleventh rule is: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.
…The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
…The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. — Rules for Radicals

He doesn't mention Alinsky's commandment to consider ends versus means, and he doesn't note that the Tea Party considers his book a bible. Wikipedia reports:

"Adam Brandon, a spokesman for the conservative non-profit organization FreedomWorks, one of several groups involved in organizing Tea Party protests, says the group gives Alinsky's Rules for Radicals to its top leadership members. A shortened guide called Rules for Patriots is distributed to its entire network. In a January 2012 story that appeared in The Wall Street Journal, citing the organization's tactic of sending activists to town-hall meetings, Brandon explained, "his [Alinsky's] tactics when it comes to grass-roots organizing are incredibly effective." Former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey also gives copies of Alinsky's book Rules for Radicals to Tea Party leaders."

The Tea Party is really the culmination of a movement that goes way back, but got it's formation in the "Right to Life Movement." Those members read Saul Alinsky. They run for office to offices from Dog Catcher to Party jobs. And they follow Saul Alinsky's advice. When the Republicans organized the Tea Party they were focused on Economic issues. They were using social issues like abortion as a means to get "simple people" to vote against their economic interests. The Right to life Activists were then recruited (With lots of money from a few billionaires) to fight against Barack Obama when he was elected by forming the Tea Party.. So the Tea Party is essentially an anti-Left, anti-Labor, anti-women's rights brand of radicalism. Unfortunately they get their energy from racism, fighting women's rights, and other social issues -- and that irritates their funders whose real concern is effing workers. So when John calls Alinsky "evil" he's really engaging in projectionism.

So to fight the Tea Party and the right's appropriation of Alinsky. The best thing we can do is to read him and adopt his strategies.

Further Reading:


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