Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Working Inside the Neo-Con Republicon "bubble."

These days, the Republican Party appears to be obsessed about a "new" radical icon with whom they hope to link Obama..a Russian Jew named Saul Alinsky who has been dead for over forty years. So what did Saul Alinsky do to earn such opprobrium from the Republican Party?? He worked as a community organizer (most famously) in an area of Chicago called "The Back of the Yards." The Back of the Yards area (still called Armourtown in the 30s in recognition of its primary economic work as a meatpacking community) was a slum community, with extraordinarily high rates of infant mortality, high levels of juvenile delinquency, terrible wage conditions among workers, and a pervasive sense of hopelessness throughout the area. This was the very community which Upton Sinclair wrote about thirty years earlier in 1906 and characterized as "Packingtown" in his tabloid novel The Jungle thirty years earlier.

But Alinsky used conflict-oriented tactics to "get things done." He had absolutely no use for either Democrats or Republicans. "Liberals he saw as mostly hypocritical people who espoused his [Alinsky's values] but did not live according to them....For Alinsky liberals paralyzed themselves into immobility by their inability to take a stand for social and economic justice based on true democracy..Alinsky did not try to explain conservatives..He thought they were not worth explaining because they did NOT accept the American values that he saw as essential to democracy." (

Alinsky was fully prepared to use outrageously creative conflict techniques (like threatening to recruit 2500 people to occupy the toilets at O'Hare airport, making it impossible for deplaning passengers to find an accessible toilet (a strategy which prevented Mayor Daley from backing out of important agreements the Mayor had signed); like threatening Kodak Corporation in Rochester, N.Y. that his protest group would partake of an enormous pre-show banquet of baked beans in the Symphony Hall (a "fart-in") which he used to secure concessions for workers at Kodak.

Is it any wonder that Republicans detest him even as the Tea Party adopts his techniques? His version of American political life is a truer reflection of what democracy means than the majority of elective officials today could ever acknowledge - Democrat or Republican. It's just too dangerous !! And, by the way, I'm not really sure that Obama can withstand a proper comparison with Saul Alinsky - viewed through the lens of a democratic citizen.

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