Column 455        May 17, 2024The Bosses of the Senate

There’s no question that Saul Alinsky is still a polarizing figure even though he died in 1972 shortly after publishing “Rules for Radicals.” That was 52 years ago. Famously, Hillary Clinton and Barrick Obama were Alinsky followers which means conservatives are generally very critical of Alinsky.

Some historians say Alinsky wasn’t a communist but rather a community organizer. Looking back to 1970 we know that even the left was far more conservative than it is today, although many politicians in both parties were still corrupt. And Alinsky saw himself as an organizer of poor or suppressed people with a goal to improve their lot in life by joining together in protest. Did that actually make him a populist that spoke for Radicals? The conclusion below helps you answer that question.

In referring to what it means to be a Radical, Alinsky said: “The Radical believes that all peoples should have a high standard of food, housing, and health … The Radical places human rights far above property rights. He is for universal, free public education and recognizes this as fundamental to the democratic way of life … The Radical believes completely in real equality of opportunity for all peoples regardless of race, color, or creed. He insists on full employment for economic security but is just as insistent that man's work should not only provide economic security but also be such as to satisfy the creative desires within all men.”1

I don’t know who was to provide for those beliefs such as everyone should have “a high standard of food, housing, and health?” But to me, Alinsky’s wish list sure sounded a lot like what Castro may have promised the citizens of Cuba in 1959. That kind of talk appeals to all people who feel like their lack of success was because society is rigged against them rather than due to their lack of ambition.

Interestingly, in 1970 “Realized CEO” compensation was 23.5 times the pay of workers. Today, depending on the source, CEOs are paid anywhere from 300 to more than 600 times more than their workers! Obviously, 50 years of a political shift to the left has benefitted CEOs way more than it has in spreading the wealth to the common folk.2

Based on the times and the overall prosperity of many people during the 1950s and 1960s, one would think most Americans generally had it quite well while Alinsky thought otherwise. Sure there are always pockets of poverty, yet even in the black communities, before segregation was outlawed, people had decent standards of living. Many owned their own small businesses and worked in their own neighborhoods. It was the War on Poverty that did more damage to the black communities than anything else. So I wonder what was motivating Alinsky to think America needed Radicals to foment change? Especially since the change that was attributed to his followers resulted in today’s current state of affairs where elitists are far more powerful than ever in our country’s history.3

“Rules for Radicals” laid out Alinsky’s organizing philosophy in detail. Its centerpiece is a list of rules of "power tactics," meant as basic guidelines for organizers and community activists:

1.  Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
2.  Never go outside the experience of your people.
3.  Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.
4.  Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
5.  Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
6.  A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
7.  A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
8.  Keep the pressure on.
9.  The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
10. The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
11. If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.
12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

The book goes deeper into each point. For example, on #5 above, Alinsky points out that, "It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage."

Alinsky also had 11 rules of "means and ends." This is where ethics or rules of law are flexible depending on the radical’s goals. It’s also the basis for changing the Constitution and/or Bill of Rights based on what depends. Maybe it’s also why Alinsky said: “Let’s say that if there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell.”

                                                                     11 Rules of Means and Ends
● One's concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one's personal interest in the issue.
● The judgment of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment.
● In war, the end justifies almost any means.
● Judgment must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point.
● Concern with ethics increases with the number of means available and vice versa.
● The less important the end to be desired, the more one can afford to engage in ethical evaluations of means.
● The ethics of means and ends is that generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics.
● The morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.
● Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.
● You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.
● Goals must be phrased in general terms like "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," "Of the Common Welfare," "Pursuit of Happiness" or "Bread and Peace."

The general idea here is that purity about tactics is a luxury that only the already powerful can afford; that doesn't mean anything goes, but it does mean that the undesirability of a particular means has to be weighed against the gravity of the injustice being fought.1

To me this sounds like “the end justifies the means.” Over the years the Democrats, deep state government types, and elitists have embraced this tactic as they shifted to the left and sought out more power for power’s sake. Election denial in 2016, the suppression of speech, wanting to change the Constitution and Bill of Rights, setting up Trump with Russian collusion and phoney impeachments, changing beliefs in what is right and wrong, stuffing the ballot boxes in 2020, ignoring border laws, introducing debauchery into the national fabric, utilizing lawfare, rewriting history, ignoring Supreme Court rulings, promoting the agenda of the elitists, and perpetual gaslighting is just a short list of their tactics.4

Obviously, participants in both political parties use some or all of Alinsky’s tactics and rules in organizing their followers. Just think about the various Alinsky’s tactics and rules and pick a politician. Of course, there are actually a few politicians who have some ethics. The more ethics they have the more selective they are in which tactics and rules they use. For instance, Trump uses less gaslighting than Biden. But he uses some. Most politicians use ridicule. Some are so hypocritical it’s mind blowing what they are capable of saying.

Using Alinsky’s tactics and rules is universal in politics. Therefore what’s most important are the speakers’ goals. Many on the left and the RINOs are pushing harder than ever for perpetuating and expanding the influence of the elitists while claiming they help the downtrodden. Yet they literally don’t care for the poor or suppressed people other than in making them more dependent on government.

On the political right there is a push to roll back government regulations because regulations tie the hands of smaller businessmen while being more easily navigated by the huge businesses controlled by the elitists. Also, the idea that corporations can continue to buy out other companies and focus on markets and production all over the world without an allegiance to their homeland is now seen for what it is. It’s world domination based on elitists working hand in hand with deep states to control the masses. It’s known as Corporatocracy where corporations are swallowing up the world.5

The political right also wants a return to law and order based on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They want a subservient government, fewer regulations, lower taxes, greater states rights, free markets based on many smaller businesses rather than industries dominated but giant multinationals. In other words, a much smaller government that is more focused on defense, law and order, and representing the will of the people.

Consequently, even though both sides of the aisle use some or all of Alinsky’s tactics and rules it’s still up to the people to exercise their knowledge of history, their wisdom, and their common sense to determine which side is actually best for our nation. A great example of the two-sided debate is Oxford’s recent Populism Debate between Nancy Pelosi and Winston Marshall. The debaters answer the question whether Alinsky was a populist or a communionist? Don’t miss their arguments for and against populism.6 7

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

For additional reading:

1. Who Is Saul Alinsky, and Why Does the Right Hate Him So Much? by Dylan Matthews from

2. One Chart Shows Just How Much CEO Pay Has Outstripped Workers' Wages by Juliana Kaplan and Madison Hoff from Business Insider

3. Precarious: One Misfortune Away From Insolvency by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds blog

4. The Political Left Has Proven Beyond A Doubt That They Are Authoritarians by Brandon Smith via

5. Corporatocracy from Wikipedia

6. Nancy Pelosi's Corpse Rolled Out at Oxford Union to Denounce Populism by Ben Bartee from Armageddon Prose

7. Winston Marshall: Populism Is The Voice Of The Voiceless, The Real Threat To Democracy Is From The Elites Posted by Tim Hains from Real Clear Politics