Tuesday, December 22, 2015
You may have noticed.......................
.............that we have posted more than several excerpts from Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals here of late. Noticing the curious nature of our readers, you are undoubtedly wondering when we are going to post said rules. Wonder no longer:
Always remember the first rule of power tactics:
Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
The second rule is: Never go outside of the experience of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear, and retreat. It also means a collapse of communication, as we have noted.
The third rule is: Whenever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat. (Alinsky now includes a very long paragraph - too long for the allotted typing time - on Sherman's march through The South).
The fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.
The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.
The sixth rule is: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. If your people are not having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.
The seventh rule is: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time, after which it becomes a ritualistic commitment, like going to church on Sunday mornings. New issues and crises are always developing, and one's reaction becomes, "Well, my heart bleeds for those people and I'm all for the boycott, but after all there are other important things in life" - and there it goes.
The eighth rule: Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
The ninth rule: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign. It should be remembered not only that the action is in the reaction but that action is itself the consequence of reaction and of reaction to the reaction, ad infinitum. The pressure produces the reaction, and constant pressure sustains action.
The eleventh rule: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through to its counterside; this is based on the principle that every positive has its negative. We have already seen the conversion of the negative into the positive, in Mahatma Gandhi's development of the tactic of passive resistance.
(Alinsky now offers several long paragraphs, also too long for inclusion, supporting the eleventh rule.)
The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying "You're right - we don't know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us."
The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.