Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Who Is Saul Alinsky?

Dear Madame L,

Sorry if this question sounds like the opening line of a really bad novel, but I hear all these Republicans accusing everyone else of being like Saul Alinsky, and I've never heard of this guy, so I'm wondering: Who is he, and why do the Republicans dislike him so much?


Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Dear Inquiring,

Saul Alinsky was a community organizer who taught the same tactics many Republicans are now using against each other. Here's a short answer from someone more familiar with his work. 

Madame L used to have a book by Saul Alinsky, titled "Rules for Radicals." She read it for a sociology class in college and kept it because it was so interesting. She liked it especially because it claimed to be radical, but its radicalism consisted entirely of teaching democratic principles based on the teachings of the Bible. 

Here's a quote from the book, from the link above: 
"Believing in people, the radical has the job of organizing them so that they will have the power and opportunity to best meet each unforeseeable future crisis as they move ahead in their eternal search for those values of equality, justice, freedom, peace, a deep concern for the preciousness of human life, and all those rights and values propounded by Judaeo-Christianity and the democratic political tradition. Democracy is not an end but the best means toward achieving these values. This is my credo for which I live and, if need be, die." [Page 12, Rules for Radicals, by Saul Alinsky]

Calling these principles "radical" was in itself a pretty radical thing. And it still is, as evidenced by the fact that some conservative Republicans hate the idea of using democracy to establish equality, justice, freedom, peace, and the valuing of human life.

As to why Gingrich and others accuse Pres. Obama and everyone else they dislike of being "Saul Alinsky radicals," Madame L can only suppose that it's part of Gingrich's attempts to make Obama seem like "Other" while throwing around epithets calculated to inflame his base electoral base of racist insular ignorant lowlives.

Oops, now, Dear Readers, you see why Madame L has to stop writing about Gingrich every once in awhile. You can get "Rules for Radicals" from Amazon.com for $9.73, and Madame L recommends this book highly, even if you're not taking a sociology class.


Madame L

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

An old tactical strategy used by Hitler and Josef Goebbels was to accuse others of being what you, in fact, are. In He-Who-Should-Be-Neutered's case, it's a sociopath calling someone a sociopath. The pot calling the kettle black.