Saul Alinsky

Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was an American community activist and political theorist. His work through the Chicago-based Industrial Areas Foundation helping poor communities organize to press demands upon landlords, politicians, economists, bankers and business leaders won him national recognition and notoriety. Responding to the impatience of a New Left generation of activists in the 1960s, Alinsky – in his widely cited Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer (1971) – defended the arts both of confrontation and of compromise involved in community organizing as keys to the struggle for social justice. Beginning in the 1990s, Alinsky’s reputation was revived by commentators on the political Right as a source of tactical inspiration for the Republican Tea Party Movement and, subsequently, by virtue of indirect associations with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, as the alleged source of a radical Democratic political agenda. While criticised on the political Left for an aversion to broad ideological goals, Alinksy has also been identified as an inspiration for the Occupy movement and campaigns for climate action. … Alinsky never became a direct target of McCarthyism. He was never called before a congressional investigating committee nor had to endure a determined press campaign to identify and exclude him as a communistfellow traveler‘. Alinsky liked to think this because of his toughness and the ridicule he would have heaped upon his persecutors. Herb March, the most prominent Communist Party member with the Packinghouse Workers in Chicago, said he would ‘place a little more emphasis … on the Church influence’, but also allowed that, as the government ‘undoubtedly must have had him under close surveillance’, they cannot have had ‘anything’ on him. Yet Alinsky was not ‘untouched by the climate of fear, suspicion and innuendo’. Rumors of communist associations and Red-baiting would follow him into the 1960s, and, once his name was associated with leading Democratic-Party presidential contenders, would follow his legacy into the new century. …”
Guardian – Saul Alinsky: who is he and why does Newt Gingrich keep mentioning him? (Video)
Vox: Who is Saul Alinsky, and why does the right hate him so much? (Video)
NY Times: Know Thine Enemy (Aug. 2009)
1960s: Days of Rage Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals (1971), July 10, 2017

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