We're All Saul Alinsky Radicals Now

Iconic Chicago community organizer crafted today's political rules, standards
Newt Gingrich wants Saul Alinsky to be the bogeyman of the 2012 elections. Never mind that the Marxist agitator he invokes in debates and stump speeches bears little resemblance to the real Alinsky, and never mind that Gingrich himself has based his campaign strategy on Alinsky's tactics.

The Alinsky that exists in Gingrich's mind -- and now, thanks to him, in the minds of countless Republican voters -- is a socialist, a communist, a Marxist radical, and exactly like Barack Obama. Obama is "a Saul Alinsky radical"; this election is a choice between capitalism and "the radicalism of Saul Alinsky."

The Alinsky that actually existed was liberal, yes, and he fought to give the lower classes more power as a community organizer in Chicago. He also worked with communists on some community-organizing projects. ("Anybody who tells you he was active in progressive causes in those days and never worked with the Reds is a goddamn liar," he told Playboy in an interview shortly before his death in 1972.)

And Alinsky was a radical. He embraced that label; that much is obvious from the title of his book. But radicalism is not an ideology. It is a way of promoting an ideology, and it can be applied equally well to the left or the right.

Alinsky applied it to the left. The Tea Party applies it to the right. In fact, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) gives Tea Party leaders copies of "Rules for Radicals," and his conservative group FreedomWorks, which works closely with the Tea Party movement, distributes a condensed version to all of its members.

Yes, the Tea Party uses Alinsky's tactics. So does Gingrich himself.

"The job of the organizer is to maneuver and bait the establishment so that it will publicly attack him as a 'dangerous enemy,'" Alinsky wrote in "Rules for Radicals." "Today, my notoriety and the hysterical instant reaction of the establishment not only validate my credentials of competency but also ensure automatic popular invitation."

If that's not a description of Gingrich's campaign strategy, I don't know what is.
(full story at ibtimes.com)

Bonus links:
Summary of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'
AlinskyDefeater's Blog
Rules for Radicals at amazon.com
Rules for Radical Conservatives at at amazon.com

ERA: Putting Workers First

Outdated union thugs only make things worse
Regrettably, although most union officials are law-abiding and responsible, union corruption is a big problem. Between mid-1998 and the end of 2005, 1,238 cases of corruption were documented in 137 unions.

Even today, it’s not uncommon for union leaders to order a strike without a secret ballot vote of their members or to use mandatory union dues to support political candidates without member approval.

When union officials fail to fairly represent the interests of their members, they’re seldom held accountable. That’s because union leadership elections rarely, if ever, offer members a democratic choice between competing candidates. Most union elections just rubber-stamp the previous leadership. Worse, the choice offered to members is only continued union membership.

The Employee Rights Act would guarantee employees the democratic right to a secret vote on continuing the union once every three years. All employees would have the right to choose non-membership.

Nor could a labor union strike without a majority voting by secret ballot to do so. Here, the secret balloting helps prevent unwanted, unnecessary strikes – and lost wages and lost production.

In the case of current members, union dues could not be used for any action unrelated to collective bargaining without employees’ written agreement. Contributions to political campaigns and candidates, for instance, would be disallowed unless the employees formally agree to them.
(full story at jacksonville.com)

Benjamin Hooks, Leon Trotsky, Saigon

On this day: January 31
The U.S. orders all Native Americans to move into reservations (1876)

The Soviet Union exiles Leon Trotsky (1929)

President Harry S Truman announces a program to develop the hydrogen bomb (1950)

Viet Cong attack the U.S. embassy in Saigon (1968)

President Barack Obama speaks at the Alfalfa Club annual banquet (2009)

b: Anna Pavlova (1881), Benjamin Hooks (1925); d: Ernesto Miranda (1976), Molly Ivins (2007)

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