Saul Alinsky

"Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have. The greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself."

Saul Alinsky was a Jewish American community organizer and writer from Chicago. He is perhaps best known for his writings, including his first book,"Reveille for Radicals" , first published in 1946, and "Rules for Radicals", which was published shortly before his 1972 death.

He is widely conceived to be the father of "community organization". In the 1930s and throughout his life he was focussed on the empowerment of the poor and dis-enfranchised. To him everything flowed from power. In Community Education we talked about power sharing. Alinsky talked more about how to wrest power from those who hold it and will only share it if enough force is applied. Conflict was inherent in the redistribution of power.

Until his untimely death in 1972, his organizing skills were focused on improving the living conditions of poor communities across North America. In the 1950s, he began turning his attention to improving conditions in the African-American ghettos, beginning with Chicago's and later traveling to other troubled areas in California, Michigan, New York City, and many other locations.

He became a guru at the time not because you believed everything he had to say but because he caused you to think and question and see. He had the ability to open minds. Today, he would be shocked and horrified by the seduction of the individual throughout society. Something is very wrong. As Alinsky would have said. You can smell it! You can hear it!. What is clear is you aren't supposed to see it! If whatever it is raises its ugly head. It is quickly buried and spun into a positive beneficent light. We are taught to believe that manufactured fallacies are the truth, scientifically proven truths.

Propositions are designed like advertising slogans. So-called data is collected and massaged to prove that these propositions are true. This process is labelled scientific. Scientific, it isn't! Ass backwards it is! Dishonest it is! People know and believe according to what they are fed. What they are fed must feel right like advertising copy. It must have what Stephen Colbert refers to as "truthiness".

Alinsky would pop this balloon. He'd urge us to look under the rug!