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Monday, December 31, 2012

Whatever happened to Saul Alinski?

What with everything going on today, it may strike you as strange that I'm thinking about Saul Alinski.

Remember Alinski-mania? It was all over the web about a year ago, and the madness lasted well into the summer. Satanic Saul was all that the right-wingers could talk about. As I said back in March:
What a bizarre situation! I've been chatting with lefties since the Carter administration, yet I've never run across anyone who said: "You've gotta read Rules For Radicals! Saul Alinksy is a friggin' genius!" The guy simply hasn't been on my radar, and my radar takes in a rather large amount of territory.
Yet if you wander into RightWingerLand, you'll soon see that the folks there believe that guys like me have spent the past forty years eating, drinking and breathing Alinksy. The right thinks that Alinkyism controls our every action and every utterance.
Oddly enough, if you type the name "Saul Alinsky" into Google, you'll see that only right-wing political sites make the front page. Very few people on the left care about Alinsky -- even though the reactionaries love to hallucinate otherwise.
If you repeat that experiment now, you'll find that most of the Google hits take you to material printed six or more months ago. Alinski-mania is over. The moment is gone. The blog devoted to combating the Alinski threat has not published a new story since August.

What I'm wondering is this: Was Alinski madness a real thing? I mean, the people who spread the fever -- were they sincerely worried about the murderous menace of Saul Alinski? Or did they know full well that they were playing the rubes for suckers? When right-wing bloggers worked together -- worked collectively, if you will -- to transform Saul Alinski into a scarecrow to frighten the gullible, did they do so disingenuously? Or did they really believe the shit they said?

Whenever the right fixates on a meme of this sort, I always wonder if their howlings express their legitimate feelings, or if they are simply engaging in political theater. Some of you may remember when we woke up one day last year to discover that every Breitbart-linked blogger was talking about the murderous menace of Brett Kimberlin, a former jailbird who allegedly did something bad. We were told that Brett was a leader of the left, that all liberals everywhere hung on his every word, that Brett was the boss, that we were all Crusaders for Kimberlin. And every actual liberal responded by saying: "Brett who?"

Does the right have a central planning office where they come up with these ersatz scandals? If so, the hysteria machine seems to have broken down...
Call for "Threat from the Right" Leadership Council (hat tip Riverdaughter)which will come up with some scary people on the right - we need more than Ayn Rand - and promulgate their scariness throughout the blogosphere!
Its all made up theatre. They get bored and then Susan Rice is the devil rather than a little less sharp than one might wish. Its not worth the pixels its written on.

Conservatism has long ago descended into shoddy performance art. They always require so fresh outrage to quicken the pork rind and chicken fat gravy laden blood of their adherents. See: Piven/Cloward, FEMA Camps, Agenda 21, Fast & Furious, Benghazi, et al.
The right-wing has become the party of rage and hate. It's all they have and is why I would never consider a GOP candidate until they purge the extremists from the tent. It's why a reasonable and intelligent candidate like Jon Huntsman couldn't get a foothold [although his campaign was admittedly lackluster overall].

They run from one scary, the sky is falling meme to the next. It's the reason Obama was reelected. Not for his performance as COC but because he was he only alternative to crazy.

Back in my high school, at least one possibly radicalized teacher had Alinsky's Reveille for Radicals as part of the syllabus, as one of several options. This was late '60s through to '71, somewhere in there, with anti-war marches in the street still going on (that book itself from 1946, but a second edition came out in '69).

You had Hillary Rodham's honor thesis at Wellesley written about Alinsky's methods, subtitled 'An Analysis of the Alinsky Model.' This served as a kind of Great White Whale for the anti-Clinton right for 8 years, priming the pump of right wing attention to Alinsky, if you will.

Then, Obama as a community organizer simply made that meme newly apparently relevant. (Gingrich said Alinskyism was the Rosetta Stone key to Obama, prior to his adoption of the the new Rosetta Stone of D'Souza's thesis of Kenyan anti-colonialism animating Obama's world view). And remember what other community organizers were targeted by the right? ACORN.

Finally, as it is said one may take on the characteristics of ones enemies, and certainly the GOP and the right project what they are doing onto the other side, we have Dick Armey's (former) FreedomWorks admittedly using Alinsky's materials to indoctrinate their side on tactics.

The right and left that are in charge are two sides of the same coin and both are going in the same direction. All the self described conservatives and liberals who do not see this are, unfortunately, being led down a false road.
Anon 12:33 -- do you have your ever-so-cliched message on auto-send? I'm just wondering if you could find some other way to word it. Y'know -- show at least SOME evidence of original thought.
Hi Joseph,

As the Anon 12:33 person, thank you for your typical response to my typical message. It seemed to me the elementary statement I made was what was called for based on the discussion so far.Step outside the paradigm and need to attack. Anyway, cheers from New Zealand and happy new year. It's already 1 Jan over here. :-)

Actually, Anon, you probably weren't around some years back when I labeled your sentiment the SIBPATS speech -- "Standard Issue Both Parties Are The Same."

Sorry, but I just think SIBPATS is boring. Has been boring since the first time I heard it, which, if memory serves, was in 1972.

It's also not true.
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