Saul Alinsky has long played a key role in narratives that flow from the turgid waters of far right wing demonology. Now he looms ever larger in a formulation that goes as follows:
Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, Rudy Giuliani, Rush Limbaugh hammer away in diverse media outlets - social, print, digital and more. Aggregated their audience is huge - tens of millions. Their efforts have produced a legion of local echoes including the one excerpted below from a recent piece written by H E Glenn to the readers of the Midland Daily News:
To the editor:
We in the United States of America are living in perilous times. If we do not anchor ourselves onto truth, we are on the brink of being swept into an immeasurable depth of chaos that will take decades from which to escape. I am World War II vintage and my heart grieves for the men and women who gave their lives for this great nation, which is being taken apart piece by piece by the Alinsky-trained president — and permitted to do so by the Republican establishment in Washington, D. C.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were and are students of Saul Alinsky. Hillary wrote a 92-page senior honors paper on the radical community organizer. She met with Alinsky several times when she was writing her thesis. After his death in 1972, she maintained a long relationship extending into the 1990s with Alinsky’s main community organizing group called the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF).
Alinsky authored a famous book titled “Rules for Radicals” that became the handbook for the radical left on how to take over America’s governing and educational institutions. (See any progress in these areas in the past eight years?)
Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer with this grim inscription:
“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first Radical: from all our legends, mythology and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom - Lucifer”
Hillary, as well as Obama, has been especially skilled at following this Alinsky rule for radicals: “True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism; the trick is to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions, political parties.”
Signed: H E Glenn
To be sure the angle of vision of Alinsky bashers shifts along with the primary locus of the perceived threat - the state of the nation, the state of the church, the state of educational institutions, the coming civil war, the communist conspiracy - but the broad plot line remains in tact.
Self styled defenders of the Roman Catholic Church have authored several of the most voluminous attacks. A Catholic laywoman - Stephanie Block - wrote and self published a four volume Jeremiad that took twenty years and four volumes to complete. The Church Militant fires up regularly against Alinsky, streaming on line. Now, just released is a new movie - “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: The Disguised Socialism of Saul Alinsky” - by the National Catholic Register and EWTN, a Catholic TV network (whose most famous public presence until her passing has been Sr Angelica).
The Alinsky bashers, trafficking in systemic falsehoods, commit sins of both commission and omission.
Sins of Commission: They fabricate claims about Alinsky
Sins of Omission: They ignore the lasting fruits of Saul Alinsky’s work - a network of broad based citizen organizations affiliated with his seminal creation, the Industrial Areas Foundation. The Alinsky inspired IAF network has succeeded in building over sixty five organizations in 27 states and five countries that are typically deep, multi faceted and locally grounded. This phenomenon (which remains relatively hidden despite despite a 75 year history) and its attendant large scale constructive community impacts lies at the vital center of any honest evaluation of Saul Alinsky’s legacy. For more visit: www.alinskynow.com.
Frank C. Pierson, Jr.
Frank Pierson retired after forty years of work with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) as a professional organizer. He began his career in 1971 in Chicago, moved to Queens, New York City and migrated west to work in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado. He resides with his wife, Mary Ellen Kazda, in Oracle, Arizona. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org