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Americans for Conservative Training

Presents

Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”:


What the Left Knows
and What We Need to Learn
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.

—SAUL ALINSKY
 Who is Saul Alinsky?
 Why are his ideas so effective?
 Where have his tactics been used?
 What can conservatives learn from Alinsky?
Who is Saul Alinsky?
 Alinsky is a Marxist.
◦ “Marxist begins with his prime truth that all
evils are caused by the exploitation of the
proletariat by the capitalists”
◦ “From this he logically proceeds to the
revolution to end capitalism, then into the
third stage of reorganization into a new
social order or the dictatorship of the
proletariat, and finally the last stage—the
political paradise of communism”
Who is Saul Alinsky?
 Alinsky is a moral relativist.
◦ “Truth to him is relative and changing;
everything to him is relative and
changing.”
Who is Saul Alinsky?
 Alinsky believes that there is no fixed truth.
◦ “Each element with its positive and
converse sides is fused to other related
elements in an endless series of
everything, so that the converse of
revolution on one side is counterrevolution
and on the other side, reformation, and so
on in an endless chain of connected
converses.”
When did he develop his tactics?
 Class Trinity
◦ Have, have-nots, and have a little, want
mores
◦ Justice, morality, law and order are words
used by the Haves to maintain the status
quo.
Means and Ends
 THAT PERENNIAL QUESTION, "Does the end
justify the means?" is meaningless as it
stands; the real and only question regarding
the ethics of means and ends is, and always
has been, "Does this particular end justify
this particular means?"
The Rules of Means and Ends
 1. One’s concerns with the ethics of means
and ends varies inversely with one’s
personal interest in the issue. One’s
concerns with the ethics of means and ends
varies inversely with one’s distance from the
scene of conflict.
 2. The judgment of the ethics of means is
dependent on the political position of those
sitting in judgment.
 3. In war, the end justifies almost any
means.
The Rules of Means and Ends
 4. Judgment must be made in the context of
the times which in which the action occurred
and not from any other chronological
vantage point.
 5. Concern with ethics increases with the
number of means available and vice versa.
 6. The less important the end to be desired,
the more one can afford to engage in ethical
evaluations of means.
The Rules of Means and Ends
 7. Generally, success or failure is a mighty
determinant of ethics.
 8. The morality of means depends upon
whether the means is being employed at a
time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.
 9. Any effective means is automatically
judged by the opposition as being unethical.
 10. You do what you can with what you
have and clothe it with moral garments.
The Rules of Means and Ends
 10. Goals must be phrased in general terms
like “Liberty, equality, fraternity”, “Of the
common welfare”, “Pursuit of happiness”.
A Word About Words
 Power
 Self-Interest
 Compromise
 Conflict
Traits of an Effective Organizer
 Irreverence
 Imagination
A sense of humor
 A blurred vision of a better world
 A well-integrated political schizoid
 Ego
 A free and open mind and political relativity
 Creating new out of the old
Tactics
“We will either find a way, or make one” –Hannibal

1. Power is not only what you have, but what


your enemy thinks you have.
2. Never go outside the experience of your
people.
3. Whenever possible, go outside the
experience of your enemy.
4. Make the enemy live up to their own book
of rules.
5. Ridicule is mans most potent weapon.
Tactics
(continued)
1. A good tactic is one your people enjoy.
2. A tactic that drags on too long is a drag.
3. Keep the pressure on.
4. The threat is usually more terrifying than
the thing itself.
5. The major premise for tactics is the
development of operations that will
maintain a constant pressure upon the
opposition.
Tactics
(continued)
1. If you push a negative hard and deep
enough it will break through into its
counterside.
2. The price of a successful attack is a
constructive alternative.
3. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and
polarize it.
Where have his tactics been used?
 PublicSector Unions
 American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees
 Service Employees International Union
 Barack Obama’s campaign
 Michelle Obama’s rhetoric
 The Democratic National Convention
What can conservatives learn
from Alinsky?
 Learn and recognize the tactics of the left.
 Utilize the same tools.
 Alinsky’s rules apply to both sides.
◦ Make the enemy live up to their own book
of rules.
◦ A good tactic is one that people enjoy.
◦ A tactic that drags on too long are a drag.
◦ Keep the pressure on.
What YOU Can Do Locally
 Be informed.
 Get involved.
 Donate.