Thursday, March 31, 2011

Does major change always require causing a stink?

Just had a discussion regarding the tactics to use in bringing about change in a community. Can one act with derech eretz and a concern with truth or is the only effective way to be rude and abrasive and to have a blatant disregard of truth? The point of contention are the views of Saul Alinsky.


Saul Alinsky, the Chicago activist and writer whose street-smart tactics influenced generations of community organizers, most famously the current president, could not have been more clear about which side he was on. In his 1971 text, “Rules for Radicals,” Mr. Alinsky, who died in 1972, explains his purpose: “What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. ‘The Prince’ was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. ‘Rules for Radicals’ is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.” [...]

Make yourself look as big and scary as possible:

For an elementary illustration of tactics, take parts of your face as the point of reference; your eyes, your ears, and your nose. First the eyes; if you have organized a vast, mass-based people’s organization, you can parade it visibly before the enemy and openly show your power. Second the ears; if your organization is small in numbers, then do what Gideon did: conceal the members in the dark but raise a din and clamor that will make the listener believe that your organization numbers many more than it does. Third, the nose; if your organization is too tiny even for noise, stink up the place.

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