Playboy: Mobilizing middle-class America would seem quite a departure for you after years of working with poverty-stricken black and white slum dwellers. Do you expect suburbia to prove fertile ground for your organizational talents?
Alinsky: Yes, and it’s shaping up as the most challenging fight of my career.
And so the interview begins between Playboy Magazine and Saul Alinsky, just months before his death in 1972. The most important point of the interview isn’t whether his radical tactics worked, because they did, but whether the communities he organized were better off because of it.
Playboy: Mayor Daley’s presence in Back of the Yards symbolizes what some radicals consider the fatal flaw in your work: the tendency of communities you’ve organized eventually to join the establishment in return for their piece of the economic action. As a case in point, Back of the Yards is now one of the most vociferously segregationist areas of Chicago. Do you see this as a failure?
Alinsky: No, only as a challenge. It’s quite true that the Back of the Yards Council, which 20 years ago, was waving banners attacking all forms of discrimination and intolerance, today doesn’t want Negroes, just like other middle-class white communities. Over the years they’ve won victory after victory against poverty and exploitation and they’ve moved steadily up the ladder from the have-nots to the have-a-little-want-mores until today they’ve thrown in their lot with the haves. This is a recurring pattern; you can see it in the American labor movement.
There you have it. At the sunset of his life, Alinsky reveals the truth that in the end his community organizing doesn’t create a utopia. And having lived a life with no respect for money, this group of lazy haves he created by stepping on the backs of the middle class, whom he refers to as the “have-a-little-want-mores,” end up depriving the middle class of ever realizing the American dream.
Barack Obama learned his community organizing skills from an Alinsky disciple and refers to that time in his life as the best education he ever received. Indeed, it was some education, considering that he and the Radical Progressive Movement (RPM) skillfully used organizational tactics to ingrain a message of “hope and change” in the fertile grounds of suburbia. Alinsky would have been proud.
It can be argued that Alinksy, a Marxist, was the most effective and least-known manipulator of class struggle in the history of our nation. More importantly, he recognized that his end goal of communism wasn’t going to happen overnight. America wasn’t Russia in 1917 or China in 1946. He recognized that in America, radicals could not use force or the military to enact change.
Alinsky: [T]he only answer is to build up local power bases that can merge into a national power movement that will ultimately realize your goals. That takes time and hard work and all the tedium connected with hard work, which turns off a lot of today’s rhetorical radicals.
A perfect storm of the Pelosi-Reid Congress and a radical progressive White House have done more damage in a shorter time than any other in the history of our nation . The latest radical Obama act is the recess appointment of Maria del Carmen Aponte as Ambassador to El Salvador. She has been accused of working for the Cuban intelligence agency Dirección General de Inteligencia (DGI) while romantically involved with Cuban DGI agent Roberto Tamayo. She will represent Americans in a country that is not only a valuable ally but quietly nudging closer to communist control. She’s also aggressively pro-illegal immigration having served on the board of the pro-amnesty Hispanic group, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), of which Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor was also a member.
Another recess appointment, socialist Donald Berwick, will head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a key role in implementing Obamacare. What’s more, just as Alinsky considered jail time rewarding because it gave him time to himself to write and think, Robert Creamer wrote the template for Obamacare, Stand Up Straight, while doing time. Last but not least, we have another Obama recess appointment, Craig Becker. A former SEIU thug lawyer, Becker is currently under an ethics cloud. He was appointed to the National Labor Relations Board with the implicit mandate of making sure big labor has a seat at the table
In the 2008 presidential election, the 129 million votes cast were 53% for Obama and 46% for McCain, a margin of seven points comprising mostly independents. Americans have cleared the film of 2008 from their eyes, but it’s worth remembering that the Republicans are the reason we’re in this mess to begin with. Imagine if McCain and the neocons had won? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could possibly include Iran. And how much better would Hillary Clinton be than Obama in 2012, remembering that she’s not Bill and that she wrote her senior thesis on Saul Alinsky, who later offered her a job? The TEA party is gaining strength because it’s created from the ground up, and its Contract from America forces accountability. That’s a challenge lost by Saul Alinsky and Barack Obama.