Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rules for Radicals

I saw a blog post with the heading of Newspeak that discussed Saul Alinsky. The post wasn't very well written, but it reminded me of Rules of Radicals which is a fascinating book. I'll just summarize the point here:

When writing about street drama and actions, Alinsky describes, on page 125 of Rules for Radicals (1971 Vintage Books) tactics to beat the man—the institutions and the people who represent the hated establishment and culture. He speaks of the societal institutions and establishment persons as the enemy.
1. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
2. Never go outside the experience of your people.
3. Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. (cause confusion, fear, retreat)
4. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
5. 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.
6. A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
8. Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the time and space for your purpose.
9. The threat is usually more terrifying that the thing itself.
10. The Major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
11. If you push a negative hard enough it will break through into its counter side.
12. The price of the successful attack is a constructive alternative.
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it. 
And just for fun, here's an editorial cartoon that illustrates the rules.

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