T Nation

What's so wrong with Alinsky's rules?

So looking at them alone they seem to be an effective means to power for those on the outside of the current structure.

Is most of the vitriol against him simply because of his ethos? Or the rules themselves?

While I don’t think they are necessarily the poor man’s Machiavelli they make sense.

RULE 1: Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have. Power is derived from 2 main sources  money and people. Have-Nots must build power from flesh and blood.
RULE 2: Never go outside the expertise of your people. It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.
RULE 3: Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
RULE 4: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
RULE 5: Ridicule is mans most potent weapon. There is no defense. Its irrational. Its infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
RULE 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. Theyll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. Theyre doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
RULE 7: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Dont become old news.
RULE 8: Keep the pressure on. Never let up. Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
RULE 9: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself. Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.
RULE 10: "The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition." It is the unceasing pressure that will result in the reaction of the opposition that is essential for the success of the campaign.
RULE 11: If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive. Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.
RULE 12: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Never let the enemy score points because youre caught without a solution to the problem.
RULE 13: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

Yeah well, that may be all fine, but it could be this opening page dedication
below in his “Rules For Radicals” Book that makes a lot of people uneasy.

From RULES FOR RADICALS.

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… 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.

[quote]Karado wrote:
Yeah well, that may be all fine, but it could be this opening page dedication
below in his “Rules For Radicals” Book that makes a lot of people uneasy.

From RULES FOR RADICALS.

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… 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.

[/quote]’

Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven

[quote]Karado wrote:
Yeah well, that may be all fine, but it could be this opening page dedication
below in his “Rules For Radicals” Book that makes a lot of people uneasy.

From RULES FOR RADICALS.

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… 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.

[/quote]

LOL

[quote]florelius wrote:

[quote]Karado wrote:
Yeah well, that may be all fine, but it could be this opening page dedication
below in his “Rules For Radicals” Book that makes a lot of people uneasy.

From RULES FOR RADICALS.

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… 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.

[/quote]

LOL

[/quote]

You are aware that there are quite a few “legends, mythologies, and history” that predates the conception of Lucifer, aren’t you?

[quote]Legionary wrote:

[quote]florelius wrote:

[quote]Karado wrote:
Yeah well, that may be all fine, but it could be this opening page dedication
below in his “Rules For Radicals” Book that makes a lot of people uneasy.

From RULES FOR RADICALS.

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… 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.

[/quote]

LOL

[/quote]

You are aware that there are quite a few “legends, mythologies, and history” that predates the conception of Lucifer, aren’t you?[/quote]

Is this directed at me or Karado?

[quote]Legionary wrote:

You are aware that there are quite a few “legends, mythologies, and history” that predates the conception of Lucifer, aren’t you?[/quote]

Pretty sure Alinsky was aware of this. You’re missing his (Alinsky’s) message.

As to his rules: it is the total lack of ethics and morals that gets me. Yes these work and work well (See Bam, B. Obam). The rub comes in with the price tag. Price tag, no integrity, no moral code, no ethics…

Ah. I didn’t realize that he had quoted the text. My mistake.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]Legionary wrote:

You are aware that there are quite a few “legends, mythologies, and history” that predates the conception of Lucifer, aren’t you?[/quote]

Pretty sure Alinsky was aware of this. You’re missing his (Alinsky’s) message.

As to his rules: it is the total lack of ethics and morals that gets me. Yes these work and work well (See Bam, B. Obam). The rub comes in with the price tag. Price tag, no integrity, no moral code, no ethics…
[/quote]

I’ve never understood this particular claim. How have Obama’s political machinations differed substantively from those of every other ideological stripe?

In other words, I see exactly nothing better or worse about about Obama’s two national campaigns (with regard to those of his opponents). Unless you’ve studied his earlier history,of which I know very little.

I’m not arguing, I’m curious.

I don’t think the rules themselves are anything immoral. They pretty much point out some truths and how to work them. Not every truth but some. They certainly could be used to do good things. Now obviously people are going to have different opinions on how Obama has used them. I think after he was president he probably should have taken a page from Machiavelli as opposed to Alinsky.

If you truly thought the moral position was held by the majority of people instead of the majority of wealth then the rules would be perfectly moral.

Now I could see someone arguing Obama is immoral but certainly not because he used Alinsky’s model.

I think my governor said it best right here…

Damn “Legionary”, I alluded in my post not once but TWICE that the “Lucifer” dedication was
in Alinsky’s RFR, yet you you STILL thought that quote was mine.
'Glad you figured it out.

I know nothing of this man, but some of those rub me wrong

The rest lack context

I imagine he had a context tho - that’s probably where he mostly rubs people wrong

Some of those seem pretty powerful too.

[quote] RULE 4: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. [/quote]Just an example of one of what I mean. No one can possibly obey all of their own rules?

That rubs me wrong - to be honest I believe it is meant to. It does also mean to not worry too much about “the rules” - it also advocates a mindset where that bit supposedly belongs in quotations. Sort of like saying there ARE no REAL rules - only psychological tricks your enemy uses to hold you back!!

I read all of that in the piece I quoted - however it is subtle. I would imagine this is by design - slowly win over your audience to something you couldn’t quickly/directly teach or instill.

sigh

I naturally tend towards similarly slippery tactics as well - I see it plainly - couldn’t miss it if I tried

A part of your mind reads all of that too - just maybe not your conscious part(s).

Anyways in summation it is meant to rub me wrong but still pull me in with teachings of power and effectiveness and logic so that I change in who I am* to where the concept of there being no such things as real rules doesn’t even bother me anymore. You think that’s bullshit and I’m reaching? Maybe - I admit that I could, its the way I read it. It also makes sense of the Lucifer bit

I imagine that it’s probably not exactly meant to be immoral - just amoral. To many people they are the same, so maybe that is your answer I guess

  • (its probably not targeted to me, but my point or lack thereof still holds)

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]Legionary wrote:

You are aware that there are quite a few “legends, mythologies, and history” that predates the conception of Lucifer, aren’t you?[/quote]

Pretty sure Alinsky was aware of this. You’re missing his (Alinsky’s) message.

As to his rules: it is the total lack of ethics and morals that gets me. Yes these work and work well (See Bam, B. Obam). The rub comes in with the price tag. Price tag, no integrity, no moral code, no ethics…
[/quote]

I’ve never understood this particular claim. How have Obama’s political machinations differed substantively from those of every other ideological stripe?

In other words, I see exactly nothing better or worse about about Obama’s two national campaigns (with regard to those of his opponents). Unless you’ve studied his earlier history,of which I know very little.

I’m not arguing, I’m curious.[/quote]

There is a lot here, too much for me to answer. You’d have to do some serious reading.

The left and moderates worship this guy, that is why it all seems so normal and common place. You have to look at the fact that Alinsky took the Frankfurt School from boring intelectual thinking and turned it into actions, that are inspiring if the ends are described correctly.

[quote]groo wrote:
I don’t think the rules themselves are anything immoral. [/quote]

Really? Are you a moral relativtist?

Not unless you believe the ends justify the means.

There is a difference between accepting the immoral means and embracing them. People accept war’s horror, but don’t embrace it.

Alinsky would have you embrace immoral actions.

[quote]If you truly thought the moral position was held by the majority of people instead of the majority of wealth then the rules would be perfectly moral.
[/quote]

This answers my relativtist question.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]Legionary wrote:

You are aware that there are quite a few “legends, mythologies, and history” that predates the conception of Lucifer, aren’t you?[/quote]

Pretty sure Alinsky was aware of this. You’re missing his (Alinsky’s) message.

As to his rules: it is the total lack of ethics and morals that gets me. Yes these work and work well (See Bam, B. Obam). The rub comes in with the price tag. Price tag, no integrity, no moral code, no ethics…
[/quote]

I’ve never understood this particular claim. How have Obama’s political machinations differed substantively from those of every other ideological stripe?

In other words, I see exactly nothing better or worse about about Obama’s two national campaigns (with regard to those of his opponents). Unless you’ve studied his earlier history,of which I know very little.

I’m not arguing, I’m curious.[/quote]

There is a lot here, too much for me to answer. You’d have to do some serious reading.

The left and moderates worship this guy, that is why it all seems so normal and common place. You have to look at the fact that Alinsky took the Frankfurt School from boring intelectual thinking and turned it into actions, that are inspiring if the ends are described correctly. [/quote]

Believe me, I know why you have policy-related issues with the guy. And I know how frustrating it is when a dissident has to go up against devout acolytes.

But if we’re talking Alisnky, we’re talking political tactics. And my question is–what about Obama’s political tactics are any more or less offensive than anybody else’s? Frank Luntz, for example.

I’d also point out that Obama’s national campaigns were not devised and executed by he himself, but by Axelrod and Messina. And they are really nothing more than extremely effective establishment political operatives.

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]Legionary wrote:

You are aware that there are quite a few “legends, mythologies, and history” that predates the conception of Lucifer, aren’t you?[/quote]

Pretty sure Alinsky was aware of this. You’re missing his (Alinsky’s) message.

As to his rules: it is the total lack of ethics and morals that gets me. Yes these work and work well (See Bam, B. Obam). The rub comes in with the price tag. Price tag, no integrity, no moral code, no ethics…
[/quote]

I’ve never understood this particular claim. How have Obama’s political machinations differed substantively from those of every other ideological stripe?

In other words, I see exactly nothing better or worse about about Obama’s two national campaigns (with regard to those of his opponents). Unless you’ve studied his earlier history,of which I know very little.

I’m not arguing, I’m curious.[/quote]

There is a lot here, too much for me to answer. You’d have to do some serious reading.

The left and moderates worship this guy, that is why it all seems so normal and common place. You have to look at the fact that Alinsky took the Frankfurt School from boring intelectual thinking and turned it into actions, that are inspiring if the ends are described correctly. [/quote]

Believe me, I know why you have policy-related issues with the guy. And I know how frustrating it is when a dissident has to go up against devout acolytes.

But if we’re talking Alisnky, we’re talking political tactics. And my question is–what about Obama’s political tactics are any more or less offensive than anybody else’s? Frank Luntz, for example.

I’d also point out that Obama’s national campaigns were not devised and executed by he himself, but by Axelrod and Messina. And they are really nothing more than extremely effective establishment political operatives.[/quote]

There are literally books on this subject… I mean I can’t break it all down in this thread.

And no, he isn’t the only one to use them, but if you don’t see how he is using them, you’re not paying enough attention.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]Legionary wrote:

You are aware that there are quite a few “legends, mythologies, and history” that predates the conception of Lucifer, aren’t you?[/quote]

Pretty sure Alinsky was aware of this. You’re missing his (Alinsky’s) message.

As to his rules: it is the total lack of ethics and morals that gets me. Yes these work and work well (See Bam, B. Obam). The rub comes in with the price tag. Price tag, no integrity, no moral code, no ethics…
[/quote]

I’ve never understood this particular claim. How have Obama’s political machinations differed substantively from those of every other ideological stripe?

In other words, I see exactly nothing better or worse about about Obama’s two national campaigns (with regard to those of his opponents). Unless you’ve studied his earlier history,of which I know very little.

I’m not arguing, I’m curious.[/quote]

There is a lot here, too much for me to answer. You’d have to do some serious reading.

The left and moderates worship this guy, that is why it all seems so normal and common place. You have to look at the fact that Alinsky took the Frankfurt School from boring intelectual thinking and turned it into actions, that are inspiring if the ends are described correctly. [/quote]

Believe me, I know why you have policy-related issues with the guy. And I know how frustrating it is when a dissident has to go up against devout acolytes.

But if we’re talking Alisnky, we’re talking political tactics. And my question is–what about Obama’s political tactics are any more or less offensive than anybody else’s? Frank Luntz, for example.

I’d also point out that Obama’s national campaigns were not devised and executed by he himself, but by Axelrod and Messina. And they are really nothing more than extremely effective establishment political operatives.[/quote]

There are literally books on this subject… I mean I can’t break it all down in this thread.

And no, he isn’t the only one to use them, but if you don’t see how he is using them, you’re not paying enough attention. [/quote]

I’m looking for like, one example.

The tactics that the left and right use are generally exactly the same. The message is a little different, but you could interchange all of the political operatives of either party and barely notice any kind of difference at all.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]groo wrote:
I don’t think the rules themselves are anything immoral. [/quote]

Really? Are you a moral relativtist?

Not unless you believe the ends justify the means.

There is a difference between accepting the immoral means and embracing them. People accept war’s horror, but don’t embrace it.

Alinsky would have you embrace immoral actions.

[quote]If you truly thought the moral position was held by the majority of people instead of the majority of wealth then the rules would be perfectly moral.
[/quote]

This answers my relativtist question. [/quote]
Not a relatavist nor a utilitarian
But the status quo isn’t. Always. Or even often necessarily. The moral position.

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]Legionary wrote:

You are aware that there are quite a few “legends, mythologies, and history” that predates the conception of Lucifer, aren’t you?[/quote]

Pretty sure Alinsky was aware of this. You’re missing his (Alinsky’s) message.

As to his rules: it is the total lack of ethics and morals that gets me. Yes these work and work well (See Bam, B. Obam). The rub comes in with the price tag. Price tag, no integrity, no moral code, no ethics…
[/quote]

I’ve never understood this particular claim. How have Obama’s political machinations differed substantively from those of every other ideological stripe?

In other words, I see exactly nothing better or worse about about Obama’s two national campaigns (with regard to those of his opponents). Unless you’ve studied his earlier history,of which I know very little.

I’m not arguing, I’m curious.[/quote]

There is a lot here, too much for me to answer. You’d have to do some serious reading.

The left and moderates worship this guy, that is why it all seems so normal and common place. You have to look at the fact that Alinsky took the Frankfurt School from boring intelectual thinking and turned it into actions, that are inspiring if the ends are described correctly. [/quote]

Believe me, I know why you have policy-related issues with the guy. And I know how frustrating it is when a dissident has to go up against devout acolytes.

But if we’re talking Alisnky, we’re talking political tactics. And my question is–what about Obama’s political tactics are any more or less offensive than anybody else’s? Frank Luntz, for example.

I’d also point out that Obama’s national campaigns were not devised and executed by he himself, but by Axelrod and Messina. And they are really nothing more than extremely effective establishment political operatives.[/quote]

There are literally books on this subject… I mean I can’t break it all down in this thread.

And no, he isn’t the only one to use them, but if you don’t see how he is using them, you’re not paying enough attention. [/quote]

I’m looking for like, one example.

The tactics that the left and right use are generally exactly the same. The message is a little different, but you could interchange all of the political operatives of either party and barely notice any kind of difference at all.[/quote]

rule 5: Countless examples, but for one: Binders, and the OFA/Scoial Media push. The “birthers” jokes and “Skeeters” comments

rule 13: Rush