By Brannon S. Howse
A young Italian Marxist by the name of Antonio Gramsci advised World War II dictator Mussolini that violence was not the way to bring about a lasting revolution people would embrace and maintain. Gramsci wrote eloquently of a "quiet" revolution—one that would transform a culture from within by changing the basic worldview of each and every institution in society. He also cautioned that this revolution would be "a long march through the institutions," not a blitzkrieg of change. And so clear was his strategic thinking that Gramsci targeted Christianity specifically as the greatest philosophical adversary along the way.
Later in the twentieth century, Gramsci’s vision captivated another rising neo-Marxist who codified the Gramsci dream in a 1971 book, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. There, Saul Alinsky detailed the need to penetrate the middle class and re-organize from within. Alinksy articulated tactics for infiltrating every conceivable social institution—including churches.
Phyllis Schlafly connected current events to the Alinsky program in her timely and insightful February 2, 2009 Investor’s Business Daily article, “Alinski’s Rules: Must Reading in Obama Era”:
Alinsky's worldview was that mankind is divided into three parts: "the haves, the have-nots and the have-a-little, want mores." His purpose was to teach the have-nots how to take power and money away from the haves by creating mass organizations to seize power, and he admitted "this means revolution."
He wanted a radical change of America's social and economic structure, and he planned to achieve that through creating public discontent and moral confusion. Alinsky developed strategies to achieve power through mass organization, and organizing was his word for revolution.
He wanted to move the U.S. from capitalism to socialism, where the means of production would be owned by all the people (i.e., the government). A believer in economic determinism, he viewed unemployment, disease, crime and bigotry as byproducts of capitalism. "Change" was Alinsky's favorite word, used on page after page. "I will argue," he wrote, "that man's hopes lie in the acceptance of the great law of change."
Class envy, race-baiting, anti-Christian bigotry, and redistribution of wealth describe the change for which Alinksy was calling. It would not be a stretch—and in fact it is Schlafly’s point—to suggest that Alinsky was the source for candidate Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan. Scripture also warns of the wrong kinds of change: “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law” (Daniel 9:25,NJKV).
Saul Alinsky has no compunction about speaking “against the Most High” because his allegiance lay elsewhere. The depth of Alinsky’s evil intent is clear from the dedication page of his book:
Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgement 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.
Here you see a rare, forthright declaration of the basic force behind all the thinkers described in this book. Alinsky betrays the secret that the globalist vision is threaded through a diverse assembly of influencers thanks to a strategy created by the Devil himself. It explains succinctly the hatred of Christians and the Biblical worldview. It also reaffirms the point I’ve from the beginning of this book: we are in a spiritual battle, and the prize is hearts and minds.
The Underlying, Undermining Strategy
Before we look at the many national leaders who have adopted Alinky's worldview, I want to make crystal clear exactly what Alinksy's worldview was all about. Here are a few excerpts from Rules for Radicals:
A 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 of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage…the political paradise of communism. (p. 10)
An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma to begin with, he does not have a fixed truth…truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing…To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations… (pp. 10-11)
From the moment the organizer enters a community he lives, dreams... only one thing and that is to build the mass power base of what he calls the army. Until he has developed that mass power base, he confronts no major issues.... Until he has those means and power instruments, his “tactics” are very different from power tactics. Therefore, every move revolves around one central point: how many recruits will this bring into the organization, whether by means of local organizations, churches, service groups, labor Unions, corner gangs, or as individuals… Change comes from power, and power comes from organization. (p.113)
The first step in community organization is community disorganization. The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are to be displaced by new patterns.... All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new. (p.116)
An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent... He must create a mechanism that can drain off the underlying guilt for having accepted the previous situation for so long a time. Out of this mechanism, a new community organization arises....The job then is getting the people to move, to act, to participate; in short, to develop and harness the necessary power to effectively conflict with the prevailing patterns and change them. When those prominent in the status quo turn and label you an “agitator” they are completely correct, for that is, in one word, your function—to agitate to the point of conflict. (p.117)
Alinsky has influenced many of our nation's leaders, and now you can see where they desire to take our nation—to becoming a socialist state. Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley College on Alinsky's strategies. President Obama, while at Harvard, attended the Industrial Areas Foundation, a group founded by Alinsky, and when he returned to Chicago, Obama taught Saul Alinsky's worldview and strategies.
Alinksky’s influence extends beyond elected officials to radical activists and college professors. After studying Alinsky, for instance, Professor Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven wrote an article in the May 2, 1966, far-left magazine, The Nation. This husband-and-wife pair of radical socialists from Columbia University developed the Cloward-Piven Strategy, which advocates implementing socialism by swamping the welfare system of states as well as the federal government with new recipients.
Cloward and Piven also called for a protest movement, marches, and rallies to put extreme pressure on politicians to create new benefits. Once the resulting financial crisis becomes reality, the collapse of state and federal budgets would spawn a socialist state and the nationalizing of failed financial institutions such as mortgage lenders.
Among their many accomplishments, Cloward and Piven inspired an activist named George Wiley to found a liberal organization that set in motion a startling chain reaction. Wiley’s work influenced Wade Rathke who, along with Bill Ayers, as a member of the Radical Students for a Democratic Society. Rathke, in turn, started Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now to employ the Cloward-Piven strategy.
He was so successful in Arkansas that the organization expanded and changed the “A” in its name from Arkansas to Association, and it became known as the Association of Community Organizers for Reform— the now infamous ACORN.
James Simpson, writing for worldviewtimes.com, noted:
As a young attorney in the 1990s, Barack Obama represented ACORN in Washington in their successful efforts to expand Community Reinvestment Act authority. In addition to making it easier for ACORN groups to force banks into making risky loans, this also paved the way for banks like Superior to package mortgages as investments, and for the government sponsored enterprise Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to underwrite them.
The financial housing crisis that made headlines in 2007 was brought on through Saul Alinksy's ideas, via the Cloward-Piven Strategy of implementing socialism through big government destruction of contract law and free market principles. This "economic sabotage" was first tried in New York City, and by 1975, the city was on verge of financial devastation. Although New York had a manageable 150,000 welfare cases in 1960, a decade later the number had soared past the 1.5 million mark.
Barack Obama was a community organizer with Project Vote, an affiliate of the ACORN, before he entered public service. His “organizing” was built on the model of Saul Alinsky.
Obama’s activities come right from the Alinsky playbook. In Rules for Radicals, Alinsky describes his purpose:
In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace.... "Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.” This means revolution.
In an obvious plug for socialism, Alinksy said radicals "hope for a future….where the means of production will be owned by all of the people instead of just a comparative handful.” In Rules for Radicals, Alinksy admitted that his goal was to “present an arrangement of certain facts and general concepts of change, a step toward a science of revolution.” He also reflected on the book The Prince which he said “was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold onto power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”
Many conservatives have joked that President Obama thinks himself to be God. Alinsky probably wouldn’t argue since he thinks that of any community organizer. According to Alinsky, an organizer “is in a true sense reaching for the highest level for which man can reach—to create, to be a ‘great creator,’ to play God.”
One of the rules that distinguishes an Alinsky radical from a run-of-the-mill liberal is action. Alinsky tells us:
Liberals protest; radicals rebel. Liberals become indignant; radicals become fighting mad and go into action. Liberals do not modify their personal lives[,] and what they give to a cause is a small part of their lives; radicals give themselves to the cause. Liberals give and take oral arguments; radicals give and take the hard, dirty, bitter way of life.
It is the radicals that will bring about the ultimate goal. For Saul Alinsky, it is communism:
A 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 of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage—the political paradise of communism.
Alinsky and his ilk buy into moral relativism, the end-justifies-the-means thinking, and thus do not eschew even lying to accomplish their goals:
An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma to begin with, he does not have a fixed truth—truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing.... To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations....
The third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means....
As did Marx, Alinsky understood the techniques of Hegel's dialectic for community organizing. Alinsky’s version is to create conflict and become an agitator:
"...the organizer is constantly creating new out of the old. He knows that all new ideas arise from conflict; that every time man as had a new idea it has been a challenge to the sacred ideas of the past and the present and inevitably a conflict has raged."
"An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent... He must create a mechanism that can drain off the underlying guilt for having accepted the previous situation for so long a time. Out of this mechanism, a new community organization arises....
"The job then is getting the people to move, to act, to participate; in short, to develop and harness the necessary power to effectively conflict with the prevailing patterns and change them. When those prominent in the status quo turn and label you an 'agitator' they are completely correct, for that is, in one word, your function—to agitate to the point of conflict." p.117
In case anyone misses the point, Alinsky is clear that he and his kind must “crush the opposition, bit by bit.”
And now, thanks to President Obama, America has agitators in some very high places. Consider, for example, the background of President Obama's former green jobs czar, Van Jones. Trevor Louden, researcher and a columnist for me at worldview times.com, is credited with breaking the news story about Van Jones’s controversial background. Louden writes:
Van Jones first moved to San Francisco in the spring of 1992, while studying law at Yale, when the leftist Lawyers Committee for Human Rights hired several law students to act as legal observers during the trial of policemen charged with assaulting Rodney King. Not guilty verdicts in the King case led to mass rioting—which Jones joined in. Arrested and jailed, Van Jones met a whole new circle of friends.
Years after the Rodney King event, the East Bay Express newspaper featured an interview with Jones on November 2, 2005, in which Jones describes these new friends:
I met all these young radical people of color—I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, 'This is what I need to be a part of... I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary...I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th…By August, I was a communist.
Jones went on to lead an organization called Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM). Then in March 2009 President Obama took him off the streets to become our country’s Green Jobs Czar until his controversial past came to light and he was forced to resign in September 2009.
President Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton, and other socialist radicals have spent their elected years pushing legislation that uses government money to hire militant people who will swell the welfare rolls, register illegals to vote, and carry out the Cloward-Piven/Alinsky strategy at taxpayer expense. But Clinton and Obama are not the first national leaders to embrace Alinsky. In his November 2007 article “Hillary, Obama, and the Cult of Alinsky,” Richard Lawrence Poe shows the impact of Alinsky's worldview on President Truman and Senator Robert Kennedy as well:
One Alinsky benefactor was Wall Street investment banker Eugene Meyer, who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1930 to 1933. Meyer and his wife Agnes co-owned The Washington Post. They used their newspaper to promote Alinsky.
Agnes Meyer personally wrote a six-part series in 1945, praising Alinsky’s work in Chicago slums. Her series, called “The Orderly Revolution,” made Alinsky famous. President Truman ordered 100 reprints of it.
During the Sixties, Alinsky wielded tremendous power behind the scenes.
When President Johnson launched his War on Poverty in 1964, Alinsky allies infiltrated the program, steering federal money into Alinsky projects.
In 1966, Senator Robert Kennedy allied himself with union leader Cesar Chavez, an Alinsky disciple. Chavez had worked ten years for Alinsky, beginning in 1952. Kennedy soon drifted into Alinsky’s circle.
Many leftists view Hillary as a sell-out because she claims to hold moderate views on some issues. However, Hillary is simply following Alinsky’s counsel to do and say whatever it takes to gain power.
Barack Obama is also an Alinskyite. Trained by Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation, Obama spent years teaching workshops on the Alinsky method. In 1985 he began a four-year stint as a community organizer in Chicago, working for an Alinskyite group called the Developing Communities Project. Later, he worked with ACORN and its offshoot Project Vote, both creations of the Alinsky network.
Camouflage is key to Alinsky-style organizing. While trying to build coalitions of black churches in Chicago, Obama caught flak for not attending church himself. He became an instant churchgoer.
That Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama share an Alinskyite background tells us two things. First, they are leftists, dedicated to overthrowing our Constitutional system. Second, they will go to any length to conceal their radicalism from the public.
The connection is no secret. In the Boston Globe, Alinsky's son praised the impact of his father's worldview on President Obama and his campaign:
All the elements were present: the individual stories told by real people of their situations and hardships, the packed-to-the rafters crowd, the crowd's chanting of key phrases and names, the action on the spot of texting and phoning to show instant support and commitment to jump into the political battle, the rallying selections of music, the setting of the agenda by the power people. The Democratic National Convention had all the elements of the perfectly organized event, Saul Alinsky style.
Barack Obama's training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.
I am proud to see that my father's model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.
Some experts believe America is experiencing the revolution called for by Saul Alinksy. Herbert E. Meyer served during the Reagan Administration as special assistant to the director of Central Intelligence and vice chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council. He holds the U.S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the intelligence community's highest honor. In a May 20, 2009 article Mr. Meyer wrote that America is experiencing a revolution, even if most Americans don’t recognize what is happening. Even though there’s no civil war in progress, Mr. Meyer explains that a revolution occurs when leaders change the laws to suit themselves and garner power otherwise not allowed by the U.S. Constitution:
…you cannot claim to have the rule of law if the government can set aside the rule of law when it decides that "special circumstances" have arisen that warrant illegality. When the President and his aides handed ownership of Chrysler Corp. to the United Auto Workers union, they tried to avoid sending that beleaguered company into bankruptcy by muscling its bondholders into accepting less money for their assets than the law entitled them to collect. These contracts, and the law under which they were signed, were mere obstacles to a thuggish President bent on paying off his political supporters.
Mr. Meyer supports a point I’ve made numerous times that the Democrats have not destroyed our nation alone. Many Republican have helped simply by “going along” or by not standing up for truth. You can have either socialist party R or socialist party D. They’re moving at different speeds, but the destination is the same. The worst, of course, are Republicans like Arlen Specter "the defector" who wore a Republican uniform for years before switching jerseys and joining the Democrats. President George W. Bush and his team had supported Specter for re-election in his last campaign as a Republican primary in 2004—despite the fact that the alternative appeared to be a genuine conservative who was gaining fast in the polls. The Bush support helped Specter edge out his rival with a 51% majority in the primary contest.
Meyer explains exactly how Republicans facilitate the revolution:
This revolution won't be stopped, and our country won't be rescued, by the Republicans in Washington. This isn't because they lack the votes. It's because most of them are careerist hacks who've been playing footsie with the Democrats for too long; with very few exceptions they lack the intellectual firepower to articulate the present danger, and the political courage to stand up to this Administration and really fight. But for the absence of frock coats and pince-nez glasses, these Republicans in Washington remind me of those bumbling Weimar Republic politicians in Berlin who never grasped where Hitler and the Nazis were going until it was too late to stop them, or of those hapless Mensheviks in Moscow's Duma who let themselves be tossed into history's dustbin by Lenin and his Bolsheviks. (Yes, of course I realize it's explosive to keep bringing up the Nazis and the Bolsheviks in an essay about the Democrats. I'm not doing this to be incendiary; I'm doing this to be accurate.)…It was only after the Nazis had secured their grip on power in Germany, and only after the Bolsheviks had seized control of Russia, that they set out to disarm and destroy the vast numbers of ordinary citizens who—to the astonishment and fury of the revolutionaries—just wouldn't go along.
Not everyone goes along with the Alinsky revolution, and the result is revolutionary thinking in the other direction. Ellis Goodwin reported in The Express-Star an August 2009 town hall meeting with Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe:
In late August of 2009, U.S. Senator from Oklahoma Jim Inhofe, speaking at a town hall meeting on the actions of the Obama Administration, said that, "People are not buying these concepts that are completely foreign to America," Inhofe said. "We're almost reaching a revolution in this country."
The reality of an Alinsky-inspired revolution, though, is that it does not end pretty for dissenters. The few true conservatives in the Republican Party or elsewhere are often characterized and marginalized by their own party. And it could get much worse.
In one respect, I have to tip my hat to Saul Alinksy. He knew what he believed, and why he believed it, and he made disciples. As Alinsky demonstrates, the radical, godless left is often more committed to making disciples than are we Christians. And regrettably, his disciples have ended up in some very high places.
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