Saul Alinsky and the Politics of Hell

After the fall of the Soviet Union, when the extent of its genocidal barbarity was made public, the uncritical support the regime had received from many of the most prominent leftist movements and intellectual buffoons suffered a serious setback. Nevertheless, Western comrades were not deterred and were soon engaged in quite a bit of self-reflection, reaching the conclusion that there were reasons why the Soviet “model” had failed. The consensus they arrived at was that it wasn’t Marxism (the doctrine) that was at fault, but those who interpreted it; the doctrine itself was beyond criticism.

It was then they embraced the idea of Leon Trotsky’s theory of internationalisation, in other words, of developing the framework for totalitarianism simultaneously in all Western countries, not from outside the institutions, but inside through what Trotsky called “permanent revolution”. Trotsky’s theory held that, historically, a socioeconomic system had to be seen as a world system rather than a national one. All national economic development was affected by the laws of the world market, even though such regional factors as location, population, available resources and pressure from surrounding countries made the rate of development different in each country. Thus, in Trotsky’s view, the permanentlsuccess of the Russian Revolution would have to depend on revolutions in other countries, particularly in Western Europe.

A brilliant strategy, yes, but one nevertheless with a very sketchy game-plan. In 1971, the hard-line totalitarian Marxist Saul Alinsky connected the dots when he wrote a book of subversive tactics based on the arts of infiltration, deception and lying, to empower future generations of activists to work together, no matter what political parties they belonged to, or what country they were in.

Alinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals, proved to be so popular that Hillary Rodham (later Clinton) wrote her graduate thesis on Alinsky and his work (she titled it “There is Only the Fight”) and later became friends with him. Apologists have attempted to water down the book’s content, saying that it is basically a harmless little “how to” book for social workers. But anyone who reads it will discover it is not—that, in fact, it advocates violent revolution when the time is opportune, by any means necessary, which may mean going against one’s conscience for the greater good.

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Rules for Radicals is a book anyone opposed to totalitarianism would do well to read if they want a glimpse into the devious, deeply irrational, cunning totalitarian mindset, and an understanding of contemporary leftist methodology. The purpose of Alinsky’s book was to exploit the weaknesses inherent in Western institutions, by pitting opposing forces against each other. It also opposed independent, critical, educated people because those individuals, especially in groups, can’t be manipulated too easily. Trotsky’s totalitarianism required mass support and unswerving obedience. Alinsky’s rules attempt to stifle free speech, individual rights, new ideas and any critique of Marxist (Trotskyist) ideology, gagging all opposition with consensus methods, political correctness, critical race theory, censorship, intimidation and, finally, violence. “They have the guns and therefore we are for peace and for reformation through the ballot. When we have the guns then it will be through the bullet …”

The methodology is incorporated in the form of social engineering, which aims to unfreeze a society using chaos and then refreeze it in a new predefined shape: the totalitarian state. The book is a guide to action for the imposition and gradual development of a dictatorship constructed from within the institutions of the West: “True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism,” Alinsky writes, “they cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system.” And also: “It is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be, which means working within the system.”

Alinsky’s book is a statement of principles and beliefs that most totalitarians on the Left hold close to their hearts and consider the raison d’être for their actions:

A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this, he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganisation into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage, the political paradise of communism …

It’s hard to imagine these days, after the catastrophic failure of one Marxist regime after another (and the accompanying genocide and suffering they produced), how many professors, artists and politicians actually still believe this clap-trap, which gives credence to the comedian George Carlin’s line that “intelligence doesn’t guarantee a person is not also stupid”.

Totalitarianism systems of Left and Right have more in common than not. For example, their propensity to lie and deceive in order to attain political power. Alinsky’s Rules demonstrate these points very clearly. For example, the use of truth in the struggle to implement the dictatorship should be given equal weight to that of a lie—it is their “use value” that is important, a kind of left-wing taqiyya (the Muslim belief that lying is necessary to gain the upper hand over an enemy).

Alinsky’s Ninth Rule of Ethics can be summed up by the phrase “anything goes”. Part of this logic is the use of ridicule and slander against one’s opponents. In other words, the subjection of someone or something to contemptuous and dismissive language or behaviour: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”
We see this strategy employed time after time by the Left, who rarely argue with their opponents, but rather, take measures to shut them down and discredit them by subjecting them to ad hominem attacks and the spread of misinformation.

Alinsky writes: “The third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means.” One can see how any atrocities can be justified when this kind of abhorrent logic is applied. But Alinsky was only echoing Marx’s sentiments in the November 1848 edition of Rheinische Zeitung: “There is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.” The world has certainly had more than a taste of that! And I fear there may be more to come.

The murderous history of Marxist dictatorships in the twentieth century is a factual illustration of what happens when Marxist logic and methodology are applied, following the victory of the revolution. That the Marxists consider themselves nationalists or internationalists is of little consequence. According to Alinsky, the goal of the radical who subverts the system from within is to infiltrate institutions, to recruit followers. “An organiser,” he tells us, “dreams, eats, breathes, sleeps only one thing, and that is to build the mass power base of what he calls the army.”

During these processes, Alinsky reminds his radical, it may be necessary for him or her to work against their own conscience, in other words, their moral sense of right and wrong: “In action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one’s individual conscience and the good of mankind.” The Marxist dictator Pol Pot gave living expression to this statement when he systematically murdered 1.7 million Cambodians over a period of barely four years (1975 to 1979) which he saw as a necessary prerequisite to creating the perfect communist state.

According to this logic, to achieve the greatest good a Marxist must be prepared to do the greatest evil, to lie, to cheat, to kill the innocent, to murder millions, whatever it takes. In other words, to combat evil, one must become evil. With this in mind, it stands to reason why Alinsky pays homage to the devil, whom he calls the first radical:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgement to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves and history begins—or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.

It’s revealing that he pays homage to the Judeo-Christian “father of evil” and holds him up as a role model for left-wing radicals. It seems to make sense when one considers the type of tactics he advocates in Rules for Radicals. There are also a few factual errors in Alinsky’s homage, namely, that the father of evil didn’t rebel “against the establishment”, he rebelled against God, the father of good. I’ll give the devil his due by saying that he did win his own kingdom—and it was called Hell.

Eugene Alexander Donnini is an Australian writer of poetry and prose

14 thoughts on “Saul Alinsky and the Politics of Hell

  • pgang says:

    Marxism is just Socialism with a false veneer of ‘scientific method’. A thing that more astute socialists understand is that socialist systems cannot survive in isolation, as has been proven historically. Socialist citizens are always entrapped within their borders lest they realise the true horror of their existence. Once those borders are breached from the outside, the socialist society always crumbles.
    It was always the goal of socialist leaders such as Lenin for an international socialism. Given that Socialism intentionally destroys and weakens social fabric, it must therefore occur everywhere for it to be truly viable.
    The 21st century is witnessing the remarkable success of this program. We really need a more widespread understanding of what socialism is, and to stop being surprised by the likes of Alinksy, as though this is something unexpected and new. It most certainly is not new. We have buried our heads in the sand for too long, believing in our own quasi-socialistic way that utopia is already here and that this ideal will see us through.
    The whole pupose of socialism is to destroy a culture perceived to be abjectly corrupt, to pave the way for the new utopia of equality. It is a very real thing – a belief held deeply and instincitvely within the human soul. It has already taken over Western culture – this is no longer a culture war but a rout.

    • David Isaac says:

      What you say may be true of international socialism which has enjoyed considerable elite support throughout its existence but socialism has always been a feature of traditional societies even as these societies enforced strict hierarchies. Our own society is deeply socialist, more and more internationalist with ever-weakening hierarchy apart from the position of the impersonal international corporation or UN-beholden state. Communism by the back door

      • Occidental says:

        “…but socialism has always been a feature of traditional societies even as these societies enforced strict hierarchies.”
        Sorry but do you care to elaborate. What do you mean by “traditional societies”, or “strict hierarchies”. The most traditional grouping of people would be the village, say in New Guinea, or Samoa or Fiji. Give me examples of socialism there. Now if you are referencing larger groupings say the city state, ie Athens or Rome or even Singapore, I am sure some elements of socialism exist, but not within a bulls roar of what socialists consider socialism.

  • Harry Lee says:

    Strong, significant points in this article. Question arises: What would be the nature of an effective counter-strategy to leftism and all its parts? These parts include: the climate thing, the fake equality thing, the BLM thing, the immigration/refugee thing, the thing about non-punishment of violence while taking guns off farmers and other law-abiding citizens, the infiltration by CCP agents thing, the Muslim infiltration thing, The Voice thing, the dumb-down of the education systems, the thing of the ABC and SBS only being channels of leftist ideology, these and many other similar leftist things, and the censorship of the destructive consequences of all leftist things.

    • ianl says:

      “What would be the nature of an effective counter-strategy to leftism and all its parts?” [from Harry Lee above].

      Asked many times, here as well as in multitudinous other venues, and never answered – not even only in part. It is likely rationally unanswerable.

      I have no answer except the most fearful one – yet another agonising, blood-drenched, widespread war. In short, nothing I could ever wish for.

      I have been persuaded for some time now that the species homo sapiens, through virtue of its’ evolved self-awareness and perceptive recognition of the precariousness of individual lives, is insane. Just as grief is the price of love, so fearful insanity is the price of cognisance. In evolution, one *never* gets something for nothing.

      Those who disagree with that (there will be many, I expect) first need to answer Harry Lee’s question.

  • J. Vernau says:

    ‘ “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”
    We see this strategy employed time after time by the Left… ‘
    To ridicule someone is to laugh at him, albeit perhaps scornfully. It seems to me that any kind of laughter is a rare commodity in today’s Left, of whom humourlessness is almost a defining characteristic. It is, after all, a most serious business to be saving humanity from itself.

    The earnest, sanctimonious misery of such martyrs is inherently funny. The performance of a certain veteran ABC staffer, reporting from Minneapolis on TV last night, reduced me to tears of helpless laughter. Those of us still capable of independent thought should be deploying the potent weapon of ridicule against the hypocritical warriors of ‘E-quolliddy and De-verziddy.’

  • weisman1951 says:

    It should be noted that Barack Obama has been an ardent devotee of Saul Alinsky and adroitly continues Alinsky’s tactics.

  • Harry Lee says:

    Seems very unlikely that the Left/Woke/Greenist forces can be overthrown by ridicule.
    These anti-Civ forces now dominate all.

  • ianl says:

    Collectivism is based on envy, which is why the “rich” are always a target, including the middle classes who desire at least to be comfortable. Doing the best for oneself and family as one can is classified as greed. Envy of power is an aspect of this too.
    Envy is essentially human, as much as any emotion. It is *ineradicable*. Increasing prosperity (a rising tide) dampens it, which is why Alinksy chose the infiltration method for his powerlust. A revolution of the proles would never happen if living standards were generally rising … and Alinsky was impatient enough.
    Corporate wokeness is a strategy to ringfence its’ wealth and influence from envy. The decay of the middle classes is necessary for this to work, and that includes useful education for the masses since well-educated individuals easily understand the purpose of corporate (lip service) wokeness.

    • David Isaac says:

      National collectivism is based on the cousinhood of a nation, an extended family. This is why the population replacement perpetrated over the last fifty years in this country is such a betrayal. Individualism is a particular trait of Europeans which has been exploited to convince them that it is either moral or of no import to allow themselves to be replaced. See Frank Salter’s ‘On Genetic Interests’.

      • ianl says:

        The comment attributed to me I made much earlier on a older, different thread. There’s nothing in it I would change but it is from an earlier thread. How it came to be repeated in this thread is beyond me. I did add a comment above in this current thread but it’s been s*n-binned for some obscure reason … who can know which word triggers censorship now ? (I just realised that the word s*n may itself trigger censorship).

        David Isaac – I’m afraid I can find nothing in your comment here but incoherence.

  • whitelaughter says:

    Is ridicule enough? Irrelevant. Can it help? The answer is yes, and so should be used. Other tools will probably be required, but let’s not fail to use those we have already.

    The title of the article is appropriate. It’s quite understandable that people don’t believe it life after death; fair enough. But remember that if there *is* life after death, then the likes of Mao, Stalin, Mohammad and Tamerlane have had centuries to inflict the evils they only had decades to perpetuate in life. The appropriate response to an afterlife should be fear, as the temporary hells of this world become a permanent Hell in the next.

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    The above article is a tad ahistorical. The modern Left grew out of the post-WW2 Colonial Revolution, which in turn was inspired in Asia by the Japanese defeat of the European colonial powers: the Dutch in what is now Indonesia, the British in Malaya and other possessions, who tried to take up where they had left off prior to their (rather humiliating) defeat by the Empire of Japan; but above all by the French defeat in Indochina (now Vietnam) and the American perception that Ho Chi Minh was just the spearhead of Chinese expansion south. (See Robert A. MacNamara The Fog of War. )
    The modern western Left, which so gets up the nose of Eugene Alexander Donnini, is largely a creature of the 1965-75 American war on a huge section of the Vietnamese peasant population. (Eisenhower’s intelligence sources estimated that at the outset to be 80% of the whole Vietnamese population.)
    As the English (1642 to 1651) and French (1789-1799) revolutionaries had in their times discovered, when you overthrow an ancien regime, you make an awful lot of enemies. That IMHO goes a long way towards explaining why the regimes coming out of those revolutions turned authoritarian.

  • Daffy says:

    Its modern version is at https://beautifultrouble.org/toolbox/ Good to get to know it too.

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