Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Alinsky's Tactical: Rules for Radicals
I read Saul Alinsky’s _Rules for Radicals_ (published 1971) in the 1990s and wanted to remind myself of what my thought was then of what Alinsky wrote long before his name became a conservative slur. Alinsky was a successful organizer and a seasoned tactician. Alinsky, however, was not a strategist. The difference between strategy and tactics is often confused: Tactics are the means used to gain an objective and strategy is the general campaign plan or goal.
Here are some of the tactically radical rules of Saul Alinsky that I noted then and now note again:
Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
Never go outside the experience of your people.
Whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.
Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
Keep the pressure on.
The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.
The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
The real action is in the enemy's reaction.
The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction is your major strength.
Tactics, like organization, like life, require that you move with the action.