Alinsky’s Power Tactics

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SAUL ALINSKY (1909-1972)

Saul Alinsky, the epitome of the outside agitator, gave the anti-Establishment activists of the 1960-70s a pragmatic guide for achieving their goals.

Published  a year before his death, Rules For Radicals describes the thirteen “power tactics” of Alinsky. These make up a single chapter in his book but their simple strategies have guided social activists and grassroots organizations for two generations. The man has been respected and demonized and both judgements show the power of his influence in this new century.

FIRST RULE:

Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

SECOND RULE:

Never go outside the experience of your people.

THIRD RULE:

Whenever possible go outside the experience of your enemy.

FOURTH RULE:

Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

FIFTH RULE:

Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.

SIXTH RULE:

A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

SEVENTH RULE:

A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

EIGHTH RULE:

Keep the pressure on.

NINTH RULE:

The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

TENTH RULE:

The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

ELEVENTH RULE:

If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.

TWELFTH RULE:

The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

THIRTEENTH RULE:

Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.


READ THE FULL TEXT OF RULES FOR RADICALS HERE.


SEE HOW ALINSKY INFLUENCED THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS OF HILLARY CLINTON & BERNIE SANDERS HERE and HERE.


 

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