Friday, February 10, 2012

Politics:  Saul Alinsky, Who?

... just who was Alinsky, really? Born in 1909, in the ghetto of Chicago's South Side, he saw the worst of poverty and felt the ethnic prejudices that fester, then blast into violence when people are crowded into tenements and have too little to eat. He came to believe that working people, poor people, put down and stepped upon, had to organize if they were going to clean up the slums, fight the corruption that exploited them, and get a handhold on the first rung of the ladder up and out.

He became a protégé of labor leader John L. Lewis and took the principles of organizing into the streets, first in his hometown of Chicago, then across the country, showing citizens how to band together and non-violently fight for their rights, then training others to follow in his shoes. Along the way, Alinsky faced down the hatred of establishment politicians, attacks both verbal and physical, and jail time.

One thing Newt has right -- Saul Alinsky was a proud, self-professed radical. Just look at the titles of two of his books - Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals. But a communist or socialist he was not. He worked with them on behalf of social justice, just as he worked alongside the Catholic archdiocese in Chicago. When he went to Rochester, NY, to help organize the African American community there after a fatal race riot, he was first invited by the local Council of Churches. It was conscience they all had in common, not ideology.
... according to the Wall Street Journal, ... the one-time Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives, Dick Armey, whose FreedomWorks organization helps bankroll the Tea Party, gives copies of Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" to Tea Party leaders.

For more, see Saul Alinsky, Who? by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, February 6, 2012 at The Huffington Post.

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