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Alinsky

What can organizers learn from the founder of modern community organizing who is the whipping boy of the right wing?
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Who was Saul Alinsky?

Born and raised in Chicago. Studied sociology at the University of Chicago where he did "participant observation" of criminal organizations from street gangs to the Capone mafia.  Graduated during the Great Depression and "fell into" labor and then community organizing.

What did he do?
Alinsky's first big organizing effort was in the "Back of the Yards" neighborhood in Chicago which was largely documented in his first book Reveille for Radicals.
Worked with Fred Ross on organizing campaigns among Latinos in Los Angeles dates. Legacy to Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.
Returned to Chicago and formed a partnership with the Catholic
Diocese which resulted in the creation of the Industrial Areas Foundation, an organizing, consulting, training organization. Legacy: Barak Obama was an IAF trained organizer. Hillary Clinton wrote a senior thesis on Alinsky. Groups like ACORN and PICO were IAF clones.
Published Rules for Radicals which became a handbook for student activists in the 1960's. Profiled in Studies in Black and White along with other 1960's movement leaders.
Revived by Bill O'Reilly, right wing TV personality as a left wing nemesis. Picked up as a meme by other rightwingers.
 
What did he advocate in his writing?
Conflict
Coalition
Locality (not identify)
Structural inequality

Strengths
Home and neighborhood based organizing
Tactics
Aphorisms

Weaknesses
Strategy--all problems are nails to Alinsky
Transcending geographic base




 
Alinsky in the News

Hillary Haters’ Fixation on Saul Alinsky






 Learning from other organizers

Floryence Kennedy

Frances Fox Piven

Fred Ross


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