Hillary Clinton has a written life plan, but there have been only two copies available to the public—until now. Written in 1969, and kept under lock and key during her years as First Lady, Hillary’s Wellesley College senior thesis has only been readable in person at the campus library and in a single microfilm copy made available to individual researchers on inter-library loan. Clinton lawyers have previously blocked people who sought to make it public.
A read of the 92-page thesis, titled “There is only the Fight, An Analysis of the Alinsky model” makes it clear why the Clintons wanted this document suppressed. Hillary doesn’t just want to pass laws or implement policy. Hillary explains: “If the ideals Alinsky espouses were actualized, the result would be social revolution.” Somehow, recent articles on the thesis by the Washington Post, Boston Globe and MSNBC all missed this little detail.
Read Hillary’s thesis here: http://gopublius.com/hillary-clintons-wellesley-thesis
In her alleged autobiography, Living History, Hillary explains the importance her thesis: “My senior year at Wellesley would further test and articulate my beliefs. For my thesis I analyzed the work of a Chicago native and community organizer named Saul Alinsky…I agreed with some of Alinsky’s ideas…but we had a fundamental disagreement. (Alinsky) believed you could change the system only from the outside. I didn’t.…my decision (to go to law school instead of training as an Alinsky organizer) was an expression of my belief that the system could be changed from within.” This is critical to understanding Hillary’s life plan. Also notable are the many things about Alinsky which did not cause Hillary to have “fundamental disagreement.”
Saul Alinsky (1909-1972) was one of the nation’s foremost community organizers, publishing several books and creating organizations which continue today. He gave a wide ranging Playboy Magazine interview shortly before his death. In it he gives a detailed description of his 1930s life as a communist fellow-traveler.
Alinsky told Playboy, “I knew plenty of Communists in those days, and I worked with them on a number of projects. Back in the Thirties, the Communists did a hell of a lot of good work…. Anybody who tells you he was active in progressive causes in those days and never worked with the Reds is a goddamn liar. Their platform stood for all the right things, and unlike many liberals, they were willing to put their bodies on the line. Without the Communists, for example, I doubt the C.I.O. could have won all the battles it did. I was also sympathetic to Russia in those days, not because I admired Stalin or the Soviet system but because it seemed to be the only country willing to stand up to Hitler. I was in charge of a big part of fund raising for the International Brigade and in that capacity I worked in close alliance with the Communist Party.
“When the Nazi-Soviet Pact came, though, and I refused to toe the party line and urged support for England and for American intervention in the war, the party turned on me tooth and nail. Chicago Reds plastered the Back of the Yards with big posters featuring a caricature of me with a snarling, slavering fanged mouth and wild eyes, labeled, ‘This is the face of a warmonger.’"
Alinsky’s roots, are in the corrupt machine politics of Chicago—also Hillary’s hometown. In the Playboy interview, Alinsky also describes his close work with mobster Frank Nitti and Al Capone’s gang and his relationship with the emerging CIO and the Roosevelt administration. He describes how he used these connections to make a 1930s deal with then-Chicago Mayor Edward Kelly to deliver a meatpackers’ union contract—one of his earliest “organizing” victories.
Interviewed about “A Woman in Charge”, his biography of Hillary Clinton, Carl Bernstein explains, “She chose Yale (in 1969) because, unlike Harvard, where she had also been accepted, it was an activist school that very much believed in the use of the law as an instrument for social change—in the mold of Thurgood Marshall…. This was the year of the Black Panther trial in New Haven. She monitored the trial to see if there were any abuses of the rights of the Panthers on trial, and helped schedule the monitors. Her reports were turned over to the ACLU.
“That summer she went to work at the most important radical law firm in America at that point: Truehaft, Walker and Bernstein in Oakland. They defended the Panthers. Two of their partners were members of the Communist Party—including Bob Truehaft, who was married to Jessica Mitford. I talked to Bob Truehaft not long before he died, and he said he was certain that Hillary came there because she subscribed to some of the kind of law they practiced and the kind of clients they defended. In her so-called autobiography, ‘Living History,’ she put in a couple of sentences about living in Berkeley with Bill that summer and working at that law firm, but she makes it sound like their work focused on postal rate increases. There’s not a word about radicals.”
In spite of the Clintons’ efforts to suppress information about this period, Hillary often refers back to it. In the July 23, 2007 Democrat presidential debate Hillary pointed out, “I have 35 years of being a change agent.” In a January 22, 2007 interview Hillary again referred to the same touchstone: “Bill and I started a conversation 35 years ago about our country.” In an 1993 Washington Post article, Hillary invoked her thesis in defense of nationalized health care and pointed out: “You know, I've been on this kick for 25 years.”
This probably explains the efforts by Clinton backers to deflect attention from the thesis. Wellesley emeritus professor Alan Schechter a Clinton donor and friend calls the idea that her thesis is a key to understanding her character, “moronic”. Interviewed earlier this year by MSNBC, his blustering semi-literate response is another clue to the thesis’ importance.
It is easy to label Alinsky “communist” and be done with it. But that would cost the reader the opportunity to study the inner nature of Alinsky’s activities. It is that inner nature which plays itself out over three decades later in Hillary’s quest for power. As Hillary explains: “Alinsky outlines American history focusing on men he would call ‘radical’, confronting his readers again with the ‘unique’ way Americans have synthesized the alien roots of radicalism, Marxism, Utopian socialism, syndicalism, the French revolution …”
Alinsky’s experience with the gangs and his lifelong symbiosis with Chicago machine are part of that synthesis. Alinsky believed that the end justified any means. This common amoral attitude has led many radicals over the cliff. The Alinsky difference? The Washington Post points out: “To mark his differences with the bomb-throwers, he subtitled his second book ‘A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.’" That pragmatism and the absolute belief in his own rightness were his only moral compasses as a community organizer.
In the MSNBC article, Schechter clumsily tries to distance Hillary from Alinsky: “…she's not a radical at all. I think she's very mainstream. She's a pragmatist. She's a much more thoughtful, cautious, careful, pragmatic person…” Of course Alinsky’s organizing technique was the application of pragmatism to radicalism. Schechter is perhaps laughing at an American public he sees as ignorant. But his arrogance is brittle. Given Hillary’s high negative poll ratings, it may be the American voter who has the last laugh. Clinton critic Peggy Noonan is exactly right when she describes Hillary’s senior thesis as the, “Rosetta stone of Hillary studies.”
While claiming radicals represent democracy, Hillary makes no bones about the connection between Alinsky’s successes and machine politics. Speaking of Alinsky’s signature community organizing effort in The Back of The Yards, a run-down Chicago neighborhood, Hillary explains: “… much of the community’s influence is traceable not to its ‘burning passion’ but to its most illustrious resident, Mayor Richard J. Daley. Mayor Dailey’s assumption of political power in the early 1950s curiously parallels the Council’s growth in power. Many of the mayor’s staff are also residents and share the mayor’s loyalty to the neighborhood.” (P 21-22)
In 2000, the late Barbara Olson got a copy of Hillary’s thesis and noted: “Perhaps the most prescient part of the thesis is a quote from a profile of Alinsky in The Economist: ‘His charm lies in his ability to commit himself completely to the people in the room with him. In a shrewd though subtle way, he often manipulates them while speaking directly to their experience.’ Although her thesis was written several years before she cornered Bill Clinton in the Yale Law School library, Hillary had come to recognize the potential power of a man of exceptional charm.”
Since it has remained effectively hidden for most of 38 years it cannot be said that the thesis guided anybody’s actions other than Hillary’s—but that makes the document more significant, not less. “There is only the fight” starts from the end of Alinsky’s life to anticipate the path her fellow radicals would soon begin taking from campus activism to positions of power as the bureaucrats, journalists, academics, and elected officials of today. Hillary then charts the course which will place her at the head of this transformed cultural, intellectual and power elite.
Communists seek to acquire power through social revolution and then re-shape man. Hillary’s theme is the same as Alinsky’s: Acquire power and use it to re-shape man through social revolution. For the past three and a half decades the radicals whose formative experiences were shaped by the year 1968 have been doing exactly that. As Hillary explains: “A Radical is one who advocates sweeping changes in existing laws and methods of government. These proposed changes are aimed at the roots of political problems which in Marxian terms are the attitudes and behaviors of men.” (P 10)
In Living History, Hillary explains: “He (Alinsky) believed you could change the system only from the outside. I didn’t. …my decision (to go to law school instead of training as an Alinsky organizer) was an expression of my belief that the system could be changed from within.” Graduating from Wellesley, Hillary went on to Yale Law School—perhaps the ultimate “insider” preparation. The path she chose not to take is appended to her thesis: a written invitation from Alinsky to join his “Industrial Areas Foundation Training Institute”.
The Washington Post also points out Alinsky as a point of reference for Hillary: “…She told an interviewer shortly after Bill Clinton became president that government programs were too often administered from on high, with too little effect. ‘I basically argued that [Alinsky] was right. Even at that early stage, I was against all these people who came up with these big government programs that were more supportive of bureaucracies than actually helpful to people. You know, I've been on this kick for 25 years.’”
Hillary’s thinking, described extensively in her thesis as part of a joint Hillary-Alinsky critique of the War on Poverty, may underlie the eventual Clinton acquiescence to the mid-1990s welfare reforms imposed by the Republican-controlled Congress. While free-marketers view social programs as stifling individual economic initiative, Hillary viewed the stultifying effects of dependency creating programs as an obstacle to radicalizing the recipients. Unlike small-government conservatives, Hillary does not oppose massive federal programs, she wants to use them in a way which polarizes and politicizes the nation.
Hillary quotes one Chicago official of Lyndon Johnson’s ‘War on poverty’ talking about the Temporary Woodlawn Organization, an Alinsky group: “We … believe it imperative that some means be developed to reclaim these poor, hard-core youth…to test whether the mechanisms of the gang structures could not assist in shifting attitudes toward productive adult citizenship.” She then quotes Nathan Glazer describing the involvement of gangs in Alinsky’s TWO group: “(it is as if) someone had been convinced by a sociologist that change and reform are spurred by conflict and decided that, since all good things can come from the American Government, it ought to provide conflict, too.” (p 34-35)
This is not the only connection between gang violence and Alinsky organizations. Hillary later notes, “The relationship between the Newark riots in the summer of 1967, and the local poverty agency which was one of the few in the country to operate autonomously, is still a matter of investigation.” It was these ‘polarizing’ events which transformed black voters from solid Republicans to being over 90% Democrats. As ethnic whites headed to the suburbs, American cities controlled by segregation-oriented Democrat political machines were transformed into political bastions of radicalism. Decades later the result can be seen in decaying, crime-riddled northern inner cities often represented by America’s most extreme elected leftists.
Hillary argues, “Alinsky claims a position of moral relativism, but his moral context is stabilized by a belief in the eventual manifestation of the goodness of man. … the main driving force behind his push for organization is the effect that belonging to a group working for a common purpose has on the men he has organized.” (p. 10) This rhetoric is familiar to anybody who has listened to leftist apologetics for the human rights abuses of socialist regimes. All means are justified by a theoretical end which is somehow never reached.
Hillary gushes orgasmicly: “The key word for an Alinsky-type organizing effort is ‘power.’ The question is how one acquires power, and Alinsky’s answer is through organization… For Alinsky, power is the ‘very essence of life, the dynamic of life’ and is found in ‘…active citizen participation pulsing upward providing a unified strength for a common purpose of organization….’” (P. 7-8)
What is the “social revolution” Hillary and the radicals-cum-insiders want? Hillary doesn’t want to merely make law or implement policy; she wants to re-shape humanity in her own image. She explains: “A radical is one who advocates sweeping changes in the existing laws and methods of government. These proposed changes are aimed at the roots of political problems which in Marxian terms are the attitudes and the behaviors of men.” (p. 6)
How will Hillary bring about the new man? Hillary -- currently the most polarizing figure in American politics -- wrote 38 years ago: “…polarization between those who believed in him and those who denounced him as a hate-monger delighted Alinsky: ‘In order to organize, you must first polarize. People think of controversy as negative; they think consensus is better. But to organize, you need a Bull Connor or a Jim Clark.’”
The purpose of organizing is not to achieve the stated goals of the organizers, but to create the new man. “…the main driving force behind his push for organization is the effect that belonging to a group working for a common purpose has on the men he has organized.” There is only the fight—any stated cause is secondary to the goal of creating the new man. This knowledge is necessary to any understanding of the left in America today.
If there indeed is “only the fight.” Then what else is left of life? In her 1969 commencement speech at Wellesley, Hillary said, “Every protest, every dissent… is unabashedly an attempt to forge an identity in this particular age. That attempt at forging for many of us over the past four years has meant coming to terms with our humanness.” For Hillary when she says “only” the fight, she really means it. “The fight” is her identity. In order to make “the fight” everyone’s identity, “political correctness” was invented.
Her 1969 commencement address, a denunciation of Republican Sen. Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, the first black US Senator elected in over 100 years, did forge Hillary’s identity. As Carl Bernstein points out, “When he finished, Hillary got up and extemporaneously excoriated him. As a result of that speech, she was featured in Life magazine as exemplary of this new generation of student leaders. They ran a picture of her in pedal pushers and her Coke-bottle glasses. That article made her well known in the student movement in the U.S. …When she arrived (at Yale), her reputation preceded her. It was perhaps greater than her real accomplishments. She was becoming a generational spokesperson, anointed by others. That’s when she met Bill; at that point she was much more famous that he was.”
Hillary describes an Alinsky speech: “‘Is There Life After Birth?’, presented before the Episcopal Theological Seminary in 1967…Alinsky concludes that what is at stake is our individual and collective sanity. Unlike the philosopher or artist, he looks for salvation in the political system.” (p. 68-69) Life itself flows from the political system. Believers may note where it is that Alinsky and Hillary do not look for ‘salvation’.
The view of life as political power may help explain Hillary’s recent proposal to create a national public service academy modeled on military academies. She wants to create an even-larger cadre of people whose entire existence revolves around the acquisition and use of power. Ironically, as Hillary made the announcement July 28 at a College Democrats conference in South Carolina, a heckler waving a sign reading, “She doesn't care, all she wants is the power” was hustled out of the auditorium.
Hillary’s point of departure from Alinsky is not really a difference. Like all socialists, Alinsky and Hillary find themselves starting from the ruins of past failures.
As Hillary explains: “One of the people who now recognizes (sic) the anachronistic nature of small autonomous conflict organizations is Alinsky himself. A critique of the power/conflict model for community organization in 1969 can no longer be a critique of the Alinsky-method because that method has undergone a significant evolution since its coalescence in 1939. Those who build models frequently leave their obsolescent ruins behind them for others to play with while they begin building anew. Alinsky’s evolution within the context of the last thirty years places in relief America’s great challenge: the search for a viable community….” (p. 61)
The post WW2 period was marked by massive wealth-creation and the establishment of the “viable communities” known as suburbs. Americans first voted with their feet and were then pushed by urban disturbances created in part by federal funds distributed under the ‘War on Poverty’.
Hillary and Alinsky focus not on this socio-economic transformation, but on the reduced opportunities for power based on radicalization of the shrunken population left behind in the cities. More than two decades of post-war economic prosperity literally yanked the poor out from under Alinsky leaving “ruins” of the former Alinsky model. Prosperity, founded on private property, undermines the potential for radical social revolution. Hillary quotes Alinsky: “The radical places human rights far above property rights.” (p 6)
Hillary’s plan to slip this trap leads her to desire massive Federal power to use as a post-industrial era replacement for community organizing. She explains: “A primary reason for the obsolescence of (Alinsky’s) power/conflict model is that the unit to which it applies, the territorially-defined community, is no longer a workable societal unit. … Accompanying the decline of the traditional neighborhood as a living unit were the massive centralization of power on the federal level and the growth of the suburbs. Federal centralization reduced local and state power…(p. 62)
“Alinsky, when asked by Daniel P. Moynihan to work with the new Nixon administration, grandiosely offered Moynihan his plans for solving the urban crisis, the destruction of the environment, and the dissatisfaction of the citizenry. He urged the establishment of work projects in the Southwest to bring water to that area, in the Middle West to save the Great Lakes, in the Mississippi Valley to prevent flooding and in any other part of the country where men and women are needed to counteract modernity’s assault on the land…. (p 73) (Apparently massive public works do not constitute ‘modernity’.)
“Alinsky's proposals carry obvious spin-off effects. The need for workers could be filled from among the un- and under-employed in the cities. The model integrated communities constructed to house the workers would be self-governing. The projects, administered by bureaucrats and staffed by credentialed experts, would provide attractive recompense and job satisfaction to lure people away from the megalopoli.” (p. 73)
For Hillary, even world war and economic depression are seen in terms of their political impact: “When one moves beyond the city and local issues, the idea of independent national organizing seems impossible. The Depression demonstrated the feasibility of federally controlled planning, and a massive war effort convinced us of its necessity.” (p. 72)
This should inform any understanding of the Clinton critique of President Bush’s handling of the War on Terror. Limited war does not convince anybody of the necessity of “federally controlled planning.” Those expecting her to bring peace may be in for a big surprise if she wins the Presidency in 2008.
Hillary’s life work has been to acquire and use Federal Power to polarize Americans and through conflict create the new man. A Hillary Presidency could be the last chance for her aging generation of campus radicals to remake America in their own image.