Monday, May 22, 2017

The Rev Reads It For You: Lock, Stock, and Proxies (Rules for Radicals)

In this chapter, Alinsky tackles two subjects: first, thinking on your feet; second, using stock shares to put pressure on corporations. This will be a shorter post than usual, as will be the next and final.

Why? Two reasons. First, because thinking on your feet is something that can't be fully taught in a logical manner because at a certain point, you're going to have to go beyond logic. So there's a limit to what you can say on the subject! Second, because proxies are simply one example of many different forms of improvosational tactics one can employ. The point isn't "buy stock to push your social agenda," the point is "have your eyes open for holes to exploit."

"The greatest barrier to communication between myself and would be organizers arises when I try to get across the concept that tactics are not the product of careful cold reason, that they do not follow a table of organization or plan of attack...the tactic itself comes out of the free flow of action and reaction, and requires on the part of the organizer an easy acceptance of apparent disorganization."
Cold reason is wonderful when you have time to plan and prepare and tweak, but it's mostly useless in the heat of battle. Having a manual of Accepted Tactics that you learn by rote and perform by rote is a great way to get your robot ass killed. Think of it in video game terms - no matter how powerful the boss, once you observe and understand their attack patterns, they're basically dead. When you can't think intuitively, you become the boss monster with the flashing red weakness.

So remember, if Alinsky could teach any one thing to your enemies, it is the value of coming up with tactics on the fly.

We continue after the jump.

"A great pragmatist, Abraham Lincoln, told his secretary in the month the war began: "My policy is to have no policy." Three years later, in a letter to a Kentucky friend, he confessed plainly: "I have been controlled by events."
Now I'm not sure if Lincoln's handling of the war is exactly a model of success, but there is an important lesson there. As long as the Union stayed within the Confederacy's experience (ie, armies marching back and forth and mostly keeping civilians out of it), the Union got trounced. What broke the Confederate forces was not fighting the same war better, but going off-script and burning everything to the ground.

"For anyone to understand what anyone else is doing, he has got to understand it in terms of logic, rational decision, and deliberate conscious action. Therefore when you try to communicate the whys and wherefores of your actions you are compelled to fabricate these logical, rational, structured reasons to rationalizations. This is not how it is in real life."
I would somewhat disagree with Alinsky here - you can teach intuition, just not by logical means. Perhaps this is a weakness of Alinsky; he thinks that other people can only understand things rationally while preaching the importance of intuition. You teach intuition intuitively, not rationally.

"I persuaded the president of this college to get me a copy of this examination and when I answered the questions the departmental head graded my paper, knowing only that I was an anonymous friend of the president. Three of the questions were on the philosophy and motivations of Saul Alinsky. I answered two of them incorrectly. I did not know what my philosophy or motivations were; but they did!"
Lol. Universities can't even effectively teach Radicalism effectively.

"I remember that when I organized the Back of the Yards in Chicago I made many moves almost intuitively. But when I was asked to explain what I had done and why, I had to come up with reasons. Reasons that were not present at the time."
As neuroscience tells us, rationalization comes after the action, not before it.

"I couldn't help noting the irony that churches, having sold their spiritual birthright in exchange for donations of stock, could now go straight again by giving their proxies to the poor."
Ah, Alinsky. I'm very sure that those donations of proxies really changed your mind about Christianity, eh?

By the way, proxies are people who go to shareholder meetings as representatives of stockholders. Alinsky used these proxies to gain access to these meetings and bring up social justice issues.

"You could begin to play the whole Wall Street Board up and down. You could go to, say, Corporation Z, point out your proxy holding there, mention that there were certain grievances you had against them for some of their bad policy operations, but that you were willing to forget about them (for the time being) if they would use their stock to put pressure on Corporation Q for the sake of influencing Corporation X. The same muscle could be applied to Corporation Q itself. You could make your deals up and down. Always operating in your favor was the self-interest of the corporations and the fact that they hate each other. This is what I would call corporate jujitsu."
Look for the principle here rather than the specifics.

"Recently I was at a luncheon meeting with a number of presidents of major corporations where one of them expressed his fear that I saw things only in terms of power rather than from the point of view of good will and reason. I replied that when he and his corporation approached other corporations in terms of reason, good will, and cooperation, instead of going for the jugular, that would be the day that I would be happy to pursue the conversation. The subject was dropped."
Another intuitive ploy - using rhetoric. Do you think Alinsky would really drop it if Corporations joined hands and sang "We Are The World"? Well, yes, but only because he could no longer play them off against each other, making it tactically useless.

"One letter read, "I have $10,000 to invest. What kind of stock should I buy? What kind of proxies do you need? Should I buy Dow Chemical?"
Ah, dumb people.

"These people, the vast majority of Americans, who feel helpless in the huge corporate economy, who don't know which way to turn, have begun to turn away from America, to abdicate as citizens. They rationalize their action by saying that, after all, the experts and the government will take care of it all. They are like the Have-Nots who, when unorganized and powerless, simply resign themselves to a sad scene."
Coming back to intuition, note the powerlessness that comes from working in existing structures and patterns of behavior. "We've tried voting and it didn't work, so ho hum."

"There will even be "fringe benefits." Trips to stockholders' meetings will bring drama and adventure into otherwise colorless and sedentary suburban lives. Proxy organizations will help bridge the generation gap, as parents and children join in the battle against the Pentagon and the corporations."
In the last chapter, Alinsky mentioned that the wealthy would finance a revolution on Friday to make a few dollars, even if they know they would be executed by the revolutionaries on Monday.

The Middle Class will do it for lunch and a sense of self-importance.

"Proxies can be the effective path to the path to the Pentagon. The late General Douglas MacArthur in his farewell speech to the Congress uttered a half truth; "Old generals never die, they just fade away." General MacArthur should have completed his statement by saying "they fade away to Lockheed, Boeing, General Dynamics, and other corporations." Two years before retirement a general will be found already scouting and setting up his "fade-away" corporation sanctuary."
It really would not surprise me if the pressure on the various branches of the military to let gay women and transvestites hold sacred circles in combat zones was coming from the private sector. After all, Boeing doesn't want to hire a general who has made himself toxic by publicly opposing whatever the issue of the moment is.

"People power is the real objective; the proxies are simply a means to that end."
This is why I've mostly glossed over the details of proxies: it's a mere example, not something you need to logical charts and graphs to memorize.

And as always, remember that with Alinsky, "People Power" is not really the real objective. It's the first objective in getting Power Power and implementing the Communist revolutionary agenda.

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