Pretty Clear-Eyed About Power

 

Horwitt says that, when Alinsky would ask new students why they wanted to organize, they would invariably respond with selfless bromides about wanting to help others. Alinsky would then scream back at them that there was a one-word answer: “You want to organize for power!

This anecdote had stuck in my mind from whenever I had first read it.  Found it in a March 2017 New Republic piece about then-Senator and candidate Obama.

Hillary wrote her college thesis on Alinsky.  Both the last two Democratic nominees for president found the same man in Chicago to study. (And think of how many Bushies were said to learn from Leo Strauss?  And Milton Friedman! Chicago, dude).

How should the candidate approach his job?:

This is a tough, realistic worldview:

The Rules

  1. “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”

  2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”

  3. “Whenever possible go outside the expertise of the enemy.”

  4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

  5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

  6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”

  7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”

  8. “Keep the pressure on.”

  9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

  10. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.”

  11. “If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside”

  12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”

  13. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Using the world enemy is a little dangerous for me, unless you have a Zen-like transcendent understanding of the meaning of enemy and the mutability of enemies.

That TNR piece by the way written Ryan Lizza.

 



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