Saul Alinsky – Rules for Radicals

“In the beginning the organizer’s first job is to create the issues or problems.”

― Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals


“In any tactical scenario, knowing the opposition’s moves and methods beforehand gives an unprecedented advantage. The methods and simple rules found in this simple playbook have been the hidden force behind Progressive Leftist politics and media for the last fifty years.”   – John Loeffler

Saul Alinsky

In 1971, a hard Left, Progressive community organizer named Saul D. Alinsky, wrote a playbook of subversive tactics called “Rules for Radicals” to empower an upcoming generation of change agents and progressive tacticians. A few notable adherents to the “Alinsky Method” include: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven (the Cloward-Piven Strategy), Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, and Frank Marshall Davis, just to name a few.

Modern social justice and progressive advocacy groups who use modified Alinsky tactics include: the Justice Democrats, Brand New Congress, The Young Turks, Antifa, Youth Climate Strike, Green new Deal and others. Keep in mind these ‘rules for radicals’ were conceived in the 1960s and had a major influence on many young future politicians and policymakers. While these tactics have been useful for social justice warriors and change agents in the past, today’s progressives are using even more radical methods to accomplish their agendas. This history lesson is to show the foundations of today’s radical social justice movement, not necessarily to describe the methods they employ today.

Saul D. Alinsky

Progressive Activism and Social Justice Warrior Tactics

Remember president Barack Obama’s campaign slogan “Change we can believe in”and his constant proclamations of “hope and change”? How he was always advocating the “Fundamental transformation of America”? In Chicago in the 1980s as a community organizer, lawyer and “agent of change” himself, Barack Obama studied Saul Alinsky’s methods and made these rules a central part of his political identity and public policy.

In 1968, a young Hillary Clinton also corresponded with Saul Alinsky while in law school at Wellesley College. Alinsky was so impressed with her enthusiasm for social change that he offered her a job. She was so deeply inspired by Alinsky’s methods that she wrote her 92 page senior thesis “There Is Only the Fight …’: An Analysis of the Alinsky Model,”. Nobody could deny she has made “the fight” her most ardent political objective.

Progressives and social justice warriors exploit the weaknesses inherent in the system, made weaker by pitting opposing forces against one another. They favor to use malleable innocents as their poster-children (literally) for their causes. Often the platform is couched in emotional appeals and framed to make any opposition cringe in fear of being called a “-phobe” or “-ist”. They oppose independent, morally strong, educated people because those individuals, especially in groups, can’t be manipulated easily.  – John Loeffler

Activists and change agents attempt to end-run constitutional rights with social contract and dialectic consensus methods. Social justice warriors engage in large scale social engineering by unfreezing a society using chaos to create a legal precedent for change, then refreezing it in a new predefined shape. The dividing lines they polarize people on are most often racial, socioeconomic, religious, and political. Their most effective weapon is ridicule, but they won’t hesitate to use violence, threat of violence, shaming, bullying, doxxing, and similar strategies in order to silence their opposition.

Always in motion toward change or “progress”, the main goal of change agents is to cause social instability through subversive and divisive rhetoric. As adherents to the Cloward-Piven strategy, they use their collective force to appeal to, or coerce, sympathetic political platforms and those in higher authority. The endgame is to overload the bureaucracy with social spending programs and class warfare to the point that hatred and division cause social panic and a demand for change.

Once they’ve created a problem they propose themselves, or at least those in power with the same ideology, as the answer. Once the public demands change at the legislative level, they use the force of law through threat of lawsuits, imprisonment, censorship, wealth transfers and the trumping of certain rights in order to bring about “equality” in the slow and painful march toward Utopia.

History has shown us that these ideologies, and those who promote them for power, are great at tearing down the fabric of societies. However, once they have the power, they don’t have the solutions to real problems. Worse yet, because they are street fighters, they love the fight and are never content with the world they’ve created. There’s always a more radical contingent waiting in the wings to tear down whatever they can to scrap for the top of the hill. – John Loeffler

The purpose of exposing the Alinsky method is to equip the next generation to identify and defeat these divisive tactics. Many people aren’t even aware that they are being manipulated; in essence weaponized against their fellow man. The next time a Progressive opens his or her mouth, be armed with this playbook so you can spot the tactics they employ and from whom the argument originates. As Saul Alinsky said himself in the forward to his book:

“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”
― Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals


Saul Alinsky’s 13 Rules for Radicals

Excerpted from Saul Alinsky’s book: Rules For Radicals, published in 1971.

  1. Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.
    Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.
  2. Never go outside the expertise of your people.
    It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.
  3. Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.
    Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
  4. Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.
    If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
  5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
    There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
  6. A good tactic is one your people enjoy.
    They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
  7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
    Don’t become old news.
  8. Keep the pressure on. Never let up.
    Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
  9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
    Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.
  10. “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.
  11. If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.
    Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.
  12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
    Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.
  13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
    Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

Saul Alinsky’s 11 Rules on the Ethics of Means and Ends

Excerpted from Saul Alinsky’s book: Rules For Radicals, published in 1971.

  1. “One’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue.”
  2. “The judgment of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment.”
  3. “In war the ends justify almost any means.”
  4. “Judgment must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point.”
  5. “Concern with ethics increases with the number of means available and vice versa.”
  6. “The less important the end to be desired, the more one can afford to engage in ethical evaluations of means.”
  7. “Generally success or failure is a might determinant of ethics.”
  8. “Morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.”
  9. “Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.”
  10. “You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.”
  11. “Goals must be phrased in general terms like ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,’ ‘Of the Common Welfare,’ ‘Pursuit of Happiness,’ or ‘Bread and Peace.’”

About John Loeffler and Steel on Steel

For over 30 years, John Loeffler’s Steel on Steel program has been the ‘Rosetta Stone’ to help decode the rhetoric of the Progressive movement and defeat Dialectical Postmodernism. His command of history, science, economics and theology, combined with thoughtful and informed insights, cut through the fog of the other pundits’ narratives, right to the core issues plaguing society today. Learn more.

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