Monday, June 12, 2017

The Rev Reads It For You: The Way Ahead in 1971 (Rules for Radicals)

As we reach the end of Saul Alinsky's 1971 work, we also reach his take on the future. So the fun here lies in seeing how 2017 stacks up with 1971.
"With rare exceptions, our activists and radicals are products of and rebels against our middle-class society."
This was largely true through the mid 2000s, but with the falling out of the Middle Class, it would be more accurate in our times to say "products of and those denied our middle-class society." Those who were raised in the middle class but are unable to achieve that life-style. There's also a fine layer of upper-class shitlibs on top and a crust of lower-class rioters at the bottom.
" is useless self-indulgence for an activist to put his past behind him. Instead, he should realize the priceless value of his middle-class experience...Instead of the infantile dramatics of rejection, he will now begin to dissect and examine that way of life as he never has before. He will know that a "square" is no longer to be dismissed as such—instead, his own approach must be "square" enough to get the action started."
I'm torn on this one. There's definitely still an attitude of "infantile dramatics," but that itself has become part of the middle-class experience. It is dramatics for attention-grabbing rather than rejection of middle-class values. What values are really left with the middle-class anyway?

"Turning back to the middle class as an organizer, he will find that everything now has a different meaning and purpose. He learns to view actions outside of the experience of people as serving only to confuse and antagonize them others. He will view with strategic sensitivity the nature of middle-class behavior with its hangups over rudeness or aggressive, insulting, profane actions. All this and more must be grasped and used to radicalize parts of the middle class."
If anything, effectively communicating with the middle class requires skillful manipulation of rudeness, aggression, insults, and profanity. You want just enough to seem urbane but not so much as to seem uneducated.

We'll continue with the White working class after the jump.

"they dread the possibility of property devaluation from non-whites moving into their neighborhood."
In this section, Alinsky turns his eye to the White working class and how to approach their concerns. As we'll see, this is the area where contemporary libs most painfully fail Alinsky's vision.

"They look at the unemployed poor as parasitical dependents, recipients of a vast variety of massive public programs all paid for by them, "the public." They see the poor going to colleges with the waiving of admission requirements and given special financial aid. In many cases the lower middle class were denied the opportunity of college by these very circumstances."
Or for borderline working-class middle-class, they go into debt to attend college and then get passed over for employment opportunities.

"To reject them is to lose them by default. They will not shrivel and disappear. You can't switch channels and get rid of them. This is what you have been doing in your radicalized dream world but they are here and will be. be. If we don't win them Wallace or Spiro T. Nixon will."
How gentle Alinsky appears now! The plan, as I understand it, is to force out the White working class by any means necessary and then celebrate their shriveling. But indeed, in failing to win them and working to get rid of them, the libs handed them to Trump.

"People must be "reformed"—so they cannot be de-formed into dependency and driven through desperation to dictatorship and the death of freedom...These emotions can go either to the far right of totalitarianism or forward to Act II of the American Revolution."
Ah, how without honor is this prophet in his own company. Note the emphasis on "reformation" and thought control.

"Many have lost their children—they dropped out of sight into something called the generation gap. They have seen values they held sacred sneered at and found themselves ridiculed as squares or relics of a dead world."
Again, Alinsky hits the nail on the head. When you see people cheering your replacement, you get a bit nervous.

"The days when corporate public relations worked to keep the corporation out of controversy, days of playing it safe, of not offending Democratic or Republican customers, advertisers or associates—those days are done. If the same predatory drives for profits can be partially transmuted for progress, then we will have opened a whole new ball game. I suggest here that this new policy will give its executives a reason for what they are doing—a chance for a meaningful life."
This is the new world where everything is political, where the "predatory drive" is turned on thought criminals instead of profits.

"Tom Paine's words, "These are the times that try men's souls," are more relevant to Part II of the American Revolution than the beginning. This is literally the revolution of the soul."
The end product is, as always, the creation of the New Soviet Man. Alinsky, in his soft-heartedness, simply prefers bloodless revolution and re-education. He decries the chants of "racist, sexist, homophobe" because he wants to win people over/outmaneuver them instead of cudgeling them to death.

Today, the strategy seems to be adopting the broad organizational strategies of Alinsky while removing his strategic compassion. There is no more attempt to reach out and meet people where they are, but only screeching fury and the assumption of guilt.

While Rules for Radicals has been described as a "playbook" for the Left, it is clear that it's poorly understood playbook at best. Alinsky, of course, saw the failure of his allies to understand his thinking within his own lifetime. The critical thinking, the active reading of developing battlefields, the recognition of the importance of not alienating the normies in incidentals, have all been lost.

Is there a way ahead in 2017? The Left desperately needs to get its head out of its ass in terms of not freaking out the normies, but its sole reason for existence seems to be freaking out the normies. This is the dirty underbelly to Alinskyism: it thrives off of chaos and yet needs stability to cause chaos inside.

At a certain point, you reach Entropy. Society has already been broken down into so many small pieces that there's very little energy to be gained in breaking that last piece. A split in the Roman Catholic Church would be a huge deal, but no one blinks an eye when Billy Bob's Independent Baptist Church breaks into five different churches.

If anything, the future of the Left lies in the principles Alinsky was desperately trying to avoid - those of Lenin, Castro, and Mao. That is to say, strategies the bind people together by violent force and terror. It's still a bit early in the game for this - build your supplies and networks for another decade or two to let the American Empire really crumble, and then act.

The strategies of Alinsky can only work in a relatively healthy and free society. Once these strategies have reduced that society to a mass of mutually warring enemies, all that is left is the gun and the boot.

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