Rules for Radicals

Rules for Radicals

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  • Say something like 'harnessing energy' rather than power.
  • Ohhh...
  • Rules for Radicals, written by Saul Alinsky in 1971, focuses on the ways to effectively start a movement. This book and its tactics have been primarily used in counter-culture movements as well as community organizing, but they can be used in any type of social change.
  • "Life and how you live it is the story of means and ends... Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to  play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life" (p.40).
  • #1 RULE
  • "The same discolorations attach to other words prevalent in the language of politics, words like power, self-interest, compromise, and conflict. They become twisted and warped, viewed as evil. Nowhere is the prevailing political illiteracy more clearly revealed than in these typical interpretations of words" (p.61). 
  • "One can lack any of the qualities of an organizer— with one exception—and still be effective and successful. That exception is the art of communication. It does not matter what you know about anything if you cannot communicate to your people. In that event you are not even a failure. You're just not there" (p.90).
  • "Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have" (p.131).
  • "Organization for action will now and in the decade ahead center upon America's white middle class. That is where the power is... it is obvious that their action or inaction will determine the direction of change... the silent majority must be activated; action and articulation are one, as are silence and surrender" (p.184).
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