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An Alinsky for Conservatives? By: Bill Siegel
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 11, 2009


President Barack Obama is a graduate of the Saul Alinsky School for training far left wing radicals to further their agenda by causing various kinds of civil unrest. Since the election, Alinsky has begun to become somewhat of a household name. If Alinsky were alive today as a conservative, a Republican, or even a disillusioned Democrat (for ease loosely labeled “the Right” or “conservative”), what might we see as he channels his energies against the severe threat that Obama and his coterie of radicals presents to the future of our nation? 

Alinsky wrote two critical books, Rules for Radicals and Reveille for Radicals which sought to teach methods and principles effective in disrupting the hold that the so-called “Haves” have over the “Have-Nots.” This principle is reflected in Obama’s “spread the wealth around” redistribution approach to government—whether called socialist, communist, or otherwise. Alinsky’s techniques incorporate a number of “rules” which function as a roadmap as to how to force the transfer of power from those who seemingly have it to those who do not.  

Alinsky’s strategies are detailed and specific; some even illegal. But overall, they describe how to create such a nuisance and make matters so uncomfortable that the other side is forced to cave. Community organizing, Obama’s heritage and only true real world experience, is the use of these tactics on a large scale basis. Protests and boycotts, along with humiliating stunts, are all utilized with fiendish creativity. Playing the victim is particularly useful in extracting power from those often inappropriately framed as abusers. And ridicule holds a special place in Alinsky literature, as he is sensitive to its power when properly unleashed.  

Now that Obama and the Democrat Congress “Have” the power and appear more than willing to abuse it, the “Have-Nots,” being the Right, could take advantage of some of Alinsky’s style and methods. The Right is beginning to take responsibility for having allowed Obama et al to victimize the nation. The Tea Parties are an excellent start, allowing those who have never before communicated their disgust with their president to learn and experience different ways to do so. Expressing themselves freely at town halls has also contributed greatly towards possibly defeating Obamacare. And the 9/12 marches are vital motivators. Yet these, alone, are insufficient to combat the Obama machine which includes the multi-billion dollar financed ACORN, a variety of well funded private entities led by George Soros and others, not to mention the entire White House arsenal. Just as Alinsky recognized the value of marches on Washington and elsewhere in the 60’s, the real work came later in the form of more targeted attacks. 

So what else would a conservative Alinsky set out to do? Of course, Alinsky’s inherent hostility and deliberate pushing against limits (even when legal) are antithetical to much of what the Right fundamentally supports and how it would like to be perceived. But many on the Right, today, feel that their approach must be expanded in order to fight the overwhelming dishonesty put forward by the Left. As such, some on the Right appear ready to shape some Alinsky principles and insights to fit well within the legal, moral, and ethical scope of the Right. This can be accomplished in large part by organizing their own communities to recognize and marshal the value and power inherent in their purchasing and entertainment choices as well as in their sheer numbers. Many such Alinsky-styled approaches have recently begun to circulate across the internet and elsewhere. A collection of just some of these suggestions (presumably intended to be executed legally) may be useful in highlighting what appears to be a growing spirit within certain elements of the Right: 

1) It has been suggested that the Right could benefit from mimicking the dynamic duo of shakedown Reverends- Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. While not “Alinskyites” per se, these two, along with others, built a cottage industry (and lucrative careers for themselves) by threatening corporations with boycotts by the “black community.” Not only were the prospective economic losses potentially damaging to the target corporation, the exposure as immoral and “racist” was often socially foreboding. This pressure by “challengers,” as Shelby Steele describes, is a potent use of “white guilt.”  

Racism is not today’s issue for the Right, but freedom, economic strength, and security are. And one approach to combating Obama’s agenda is to boycott those who help Obama and hold him in place. If Sharpton and Jackson were on the Right today, they would be focusing upon a variety of targets. They perfected the pressuring of advertisers to forego purchasing advertising spots on television and radio programs in order to force broadcasters to change their programming. Just as was done to punish Don Imus a few years back, community organizers (such as the Color of Change co-founded by Van Jones, Obama’s radical former advisor for “Green Jobs”) have most recently pressured the advertisers on the Glenn Beck Show to punish Beck for calling Obama “racist.” Companies such as Procter & Gamble, Geico, AT&T, Progressive Insurance and others are said to have left the show (or, minimally, shifted ad budgets between shows) due to this pressure.   

Right-wing or conservative Alinskys might arrange the boycott of these very same companies precisely because they gave in to this pressure. The Right could organize their communities to refuse to purchase Charmin, Pampers, Tide, Metamucil and Cover Girl and many more products until P&G broke down and increased their advertising expenditures for Glenn Beck! Or, demand that Geico not only advertise but pay Beck an endorsement fee (the latter being a typical bit of humiliating fine so often demanded by the Sharptons of the Left simply to “rub it in”). That’s what Obama and his merry band of ACORN enforcers would have done in their early days. 

2) A related suggestion, recently floated in a viral email, focuses on the liberal television media without which Obama stood no chance of election or selling his agenda. It is not enough to try to apply pressure to liberal “tools” of Obama such as MSNBC and CNN. The recommendation was to hold “TeaV Parties”- to boycott ALL of the programming that the owners of the liberal television media broadcast. These companies are able to finance their “news” operations from the profits made on the other programming they televise. Conservative Sharptons could be whipping up support to boycott watching NBC, CBS, and ABC primetime shows, news shows, morning shows and so forth. The boycotts could be set for a particular night, week, ratings period, the new fall season shows, or indefinitely. If a few million conservatives would give up their Oprah Winfreys, David Lettermans, CSIs, Today Shows, The Office, Desperate Housewives, Survivors, Heroes, Ugly Bettys, Dancing with the Stars, Biggest Losers, and so forth, these companies would truly “feel it” and a clear message would be sent that much of the nation is fed up with their news coverage.  

Boycotting the “big three” networks is particularly meaningful as they have recently refused to air commercials critical of Obama’s healthcare reform. Omitting alternative views is at least as partisan as the airing all of the pro-Obama programming and commercials they have done.  

Boycotting the “big three” networks is even more meaningful in anticipation of an upcoming Obama effort to neuter the power of Right wing talk radio. While the “Fairness Doctrine” will likely not be directly touched, the “stealth” silencing effort has been tipped by another of Obama’s radicals, FCC diversity officer Mark Lloyd, who will seek to impose intolerable fees on Right wing talk radio station owners. Demonstrating that the Right can organize its forces against Left wing media will be a critical move in that future battle.

3) Alinsky would also demand that these liberal media companies fire various “news” personalities (Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and others), just as Sharpton demanded that Don Imus be let go. After all, to many on the Right, some of these “news personalities” have done the nation far more damage interfering with aims of the Right, failing to perform the most minimal due diligence on Obama, and selling Obama over these recent years than that created by the simple words “nappy-headed hos!” Alinsky often focused on “making it personal” and there is no reason these “personalities” should escape the same treatment that has been given to conservative voices such as Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and so on. 

4) The recently utilized “buycott” has also proved effective. The “buycott” of Whole Foods Market in St. Louis, encouraging purchases in support of CEO John Mackey’s stand against Obamacare, has become an effective rallying act. Buycotts, as a reward, can help motivate companies and CEOs to stand up against Obama and his radical agenda. 

5) Alinsky was “big on” ridicule. He would never miss the opportunity to make fun of the enemy. Throughout the campaign and long afterwards, Obama was off limits for ridicule. The Right has started to bust that ceiling, yet Alinsky would find much more to do. Obama has been minimally teased, particularly on the internet, for his coolness, his jeans, his “metrosexuality,” his wimpy baseball pitch, his poor inarticulate speech when deprived of a teleprompter, and so forth. Yet, the cruelty that was hurled at George Bush, Dick Cheney, and most recently, Sarah Palin has yet to emerge against Obama. 

That leaves an enormous opening. The Right needs to accept and grow comfortable with the anger it feels about how it perceives the country has put itself on a dangerous path with Obama. This anger is not an indication of immorality, lack of sophistication or unreasonableness; nor does it indicate a failure to properly mature for this new millennium of post racial, post partisan politics. Those charges, made by some liberals, are used to silence the Right while liberals themselves freely use every resource possible to ridicule, humiliate, and demonize. One need only look at what lies underneath their thin veneers of compassion, sensitivity, reasonableness, and respectability to see the viciousness of a Nancy Pelosi or Howard Dean or Rahm Emanuel. And despite his coolness, Obama hides the same precisely because he is the same. The Right could learn to use its anger creatively and to build a constant and repetitive ridicule of Obama. Should Obama not escape becoming the comic piñata that the Left turned Bush into for eight years? 

This leads to a related technique- splitting—to address the tendency to avoid the anger that so appropriately arises in those who realize how the nation has been conned by Obama and crew. Many conservative voices appropriately advocate responsible and mature behavior and they are correct—in part. Different parts of the Right are best addressed in different manners; There is no reason a Joe Scarborough, for instance, should become a screaming maniac; he can accomplish so much more by calmly and rationally addressing his audience which generally views itself as “elite” and “sophisticated” and must be addressed as such. Sticking with the facts, asking questions, arguing intelligently and reasonably are essential if the Right is to regain power. Nonetheless, Alinsky would ensure that others take on the role of the attention grabbing voice in order to get issues in front of those many voters who are less concerned about appearances, need to be shaken from their “spell,” and respond well to aggressive measures for making points.   

Obama, in true Alinsky form, utilizes this splitting or “good cop-bad cop” approach constantly. Whether he has Eric Holder engage in a vicious CIA investigatory action while Obama tries to sit above it all, claiming he has nothing to do with it; or whether Obama assembles a pre-election pack of advisors to include mature experienced persons such as Paul Volker and Warren Buffett only to essentially fail to consult them at all while transferring real power to his tribe of radicals including Van Jones, Jeff Jones, Mark Lloyd and so forth, Obama has employed splitting to its fullest extent. 

6) Stigma is a powerful weapon used constantly by Alinsky. For instance, what is commonly referred to as “the race card” essentially involves stigmatizing whites as “racists,” pressuring them to have to prove the negative that they are not, in fact, racist. The consequence is that the stigma holds almost endlessly as there is no clear way to conclusively prove such. (Interestingly, the Left went up in arms when Obama, himself, was accused of being a “racist” in connection with his automatic racial profiling of the actions of a white police officer.)  

Eyebrows were recently raised when the White House requested that individuals forward to it suspicious emails from those who oppose Obama. While it made a swift retreat after the request was exposed, many are convinced that the White House nonetheless maintains some form of an “enemies” list. Curiously, liberals to whom this would otherwise be of enormous concern have remained silent on the matter.  

Bush supporters were relentlessly stigmatized for their opinions by an unforgiving Left. The Right is, for the most part, unfamiliar with doing the same; yet there is a wide range available to it that can be kept within boundaries it considers respectable. 

And just recently, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC has sent out a request to everyone via The Daily Kos to provide any negative information on Glenn Beck and Roger Ailes and others of Fox News so that he can attack them directly. 

Another idea recently floated is that a similar central base be kept for those who “suspiciously” support Obama; including a website created to keep track of all of those who are participating in carrying out Obama’s agenda. Such a site would be constantly updated as new information became available. Just as sex offenders are posted locally, such a general posting could have powerful results and hold Obama supporters publically responsible for their actions. While this may be too extreme for many on the Right, some softened version might be acceptable while still accomplishing much of the objective. If the internet had been available to Alinsky, we could only imagine the extent of stigmatizing nuisance he would have created.  

7) Much power is derived from the size of the groups organized to fight. ACORN has grown into a nationwide force which has positioned itself to have allegedly contributed to the creation the Stimulus Bill which, in turn, authorizes billions of dollars allocated to community organizations including ACORN itself. 

The Right, therefore, needs to create parallel organizations which go head to head against ACORN, legally of course. These organizations need to plant themselves everywhere ACORN is and claim the same benefits for the people that ACORN advocates. The only difference should be in political objective, such that the government would have a difficult time favoring ACORN on those principles alone.  

Forming similar groups to meaningfully compete with ACORN for such funds will not only help finance the conservative cause and supply manpower to execute its strategies. It will also force light to be shed on exactly who and what is involved with ACORN itself.   

Alinsky was not interested in little battles, stunts, or making headlines. His vision was one of pure revolution. Unfortunately, many Americans are just now beginning to realize that Obama, in using the word “change,” meant nothing short of revolution as well. Serious efforts are required for serious times.   

These are just a few ideas that have recently emerged as some on the Right sense the hypnotic bubble that Obama placed over so many voters beginning to crack. The power in this country still lies with the people, and marshalling that power is critical for the Right now. Obama and his radical associates are well schooled in choosing powerful Alinsky-like techniques to further their causes. The Right is just beginning to realize that its behavior, including what television shows it watches and what products it chooses to purchase or forego, can have powerful consequences.   

One Alinsky rule commands to “keep the pressure on.” The recent victories from Tea Parties and town halls have made great strides but the pressure must be increased in order to offset the power of the Obama machine. Perhaps, some Alinsky-like actions (whether those collected above or otherwise) should be appropriated by the Right in order to further help protect this nation from itself. It would be true justice for Alinskyites. 




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