Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Taking another look at Alinsky

Richard Porter is a Trump supporter from Illinois who attended the DeploraBall last weekend. He writes at Real Clear Politics about the experience of "protesters"
thuggishly blocking traffic, shouting epithets at strangers, and making thousands walk in the cold.

Perhaps it's time to refresh Saul Alinsky's middle-aged "Rules for Radicals" (now in its 46th year), which has instructed this and prior generations of radicals who want to "burn the system down!"

But upon pulling a dog-eared copy up on my smartphone, I discovered that Alinsky's cookbook for how to upend the establishment (setting aside the awful, outdated Marxism) is more timeless than I realized—and that today’s protesters might want to read it themselves.

“This failure of many of our younger activists to understand the art of communication has been disastrous,” Alinsky wrote in explaining why some tactics invariably turn off many more Americans than they inspire. “Even the most elementary grasp of the fundamental idea that one communicates within the experience of his audience—and give full respect to the other’s values —would have ruled out attacks on the American flag….”

"These rules make the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one who uses the tired old words and slogans, calls the police ‘pig’ or ‘white fascist racist,’” he continued, “and has so stereotyped himself that others react by saying, ‘Oh, he's one of those,’ and then promptly turn off."

So there you have it: The anti-Trump crowd is so out-of-touch with the people and even their own principles for effective protesting that their efforts backfire and give aid and succor to their enemies. And, interestingly, the folks that seem to have best learned from Alinsky's instructions for how the powerless can seize power are Steve Bannon and others on the Trump team. Take the third of Alinsky’s rules: "Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear and retreat." Doesn’t that evoke Trump and Twitter?

Fourth rule: "Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules." Think Trump and Bill Clinton.

Fifth rule: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage." Think Trump and everyone from Jeb Bush to CNN.

Sixth rule: "A good tactic is one your people enjoy." We Deplorables get this -- the Trump campaign was fun. We embraced this absurd characterization of Americans who deplore a system in which a politicized and corrupt Justice Department gave Hillary Clinton a pass no other American would get and that protected the IRS as it abused groups that opposed the Obama administration. The chant "Lock her up! Lock her up!" was not the angry call of a mob, it was a gleeful catnip to a Clinton-loving media, which couldn't resist breathlessly reporting the chant, which then inadvertently served to highlight Obama's refusal to neutrally enforce the law, as well as Clinton's own profound corruption.

The seventh rule is a sage warning to Republicans: "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag." Republicans must move swiftly while we have momentum, for all too soon, as the ardor of the movement cools, Republicans will be judged on accomplishments and not tactics.
Read more here.

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