Thursday, April 08, 2010

Saul Alinsky

Saul Alinsky (January 30, 1909, Chicago, Illinois – June 12, 1972, Carmel, California) was an American community organizer and writer. He is generally considered to be the founder of modern community organizing.

A year before his death in 1972, from the prologue his book Rules for Radicals (his final work, published in 1971), he wrote:

“There’s another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevski said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so future-less in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. To bring on this reformation requires that the organizer work inside the system, among not only the middle class but the 40 per cent of American families — more than seventy million people — whose income range from $5,000 to $10,000 a year [in 1971]. They cannot be dismissed by labeling them blue collar or hard hat. They will not continue to be relatively passive and slightly challenging. If we fail to communicate with them, if we don’t encourage them to form alliances with us, they will move to the right. Maybe they will anyway, but let’s not let it happen by default.”





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