This week we will turn our attention to Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky and his work, Rules for Radicals. As the paper syllabus says, students should come to class prepared to discuss Alinsky’s book in detail.
We’ll look at the sociology behind Alinsky’s community organizing formula, how he got his ideas from his work as a criminologist in the 1930s, and how he implemented his ideas into action.
We will also discuss Alinsky’s legacy after his death in 1972 and how his community organizer trainees transformed politics.
One of the take-aways from this class will be to apply Alinsky’s principles to present-day politico-military conflicts, particularly to insurgency and counterinsurgency.
- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals (Random House, 1971, Vintage, 1989). Read entire book.
- “Interview with Saul Alinsky,” Playboy, 1972 [month not available]. At Progress.org. Read the full text of the 12-part interview here, or at least the following parts below:
- David Horowitz, ed., “Saul Alinsky,” DiscovertheNetworks.org. This is a very important article that describes Alinsky, his development, his philosophy and his times, from the perspective of a critic. Horowitz is a former Marxist-Leninist and Alinsky follower who over the past two decades has devoted his life to describing the elements, individuals, structures and methods of the revolutionary left.
- Saul D. Alinsky, Reveille for Radicals (1946, 1969).
- “Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky and His Legacy,” a sympathetic website narrative and video narrated by Alec Baldwin.
- Noam Cohen, “Know Thine Enemy,” New York Times, August 22, 2009. A piece about how American conservatives are reading up on Alinsky and adopting his tactics against the present administration.