Thursday, July 3, 2014

Myths About Saul Alinsky (and Obama)

  [NOTE: Current latest tRTP posting:]
Lately, right wing sources have been circulating a fictitious set of 8 "levels of control"  or "How to create a social state" that Saul Alinsky was supposed to have written, which led off with
  1) Healthcare – Control healthcare and you control the people

This myth is so thoroughly digested and accepted that will spit it out as the answer to "What are the 8 levels of control as outlined by Saul Alinsky?" (last time checked: 2014-08-18).
Yet is very easily shown to be a total fiction.

Alinsky has been dead for over 40 years, yet the phoney connection between Alinsky and his supposed "How to create a social state" only appears on web pages from 2013 on, which probably means it is scuttlebutt generated for the post-election renewal of the war on Obama.

If you Google { alinsky "Control healthcare and you control the people" }
with a custom date range 1/1/2000-1/1/2013 you get 9 hits which all seem to not really be that old; but an unrestricted search gives 85,600 results (note that Google gives different results for different people based on their records of what you've shown interest in -- so your mileage may vary)

So, apparently nobody ever heard of Alinsky saying  "Control healthcare and you control the people" before 2013, though he's been dead since 1972.

If you truly put yourself into a pre-1972 mindframe, "Control healthcare and you control the people" would seem to have come out of left field (or right field).  But the natural explanation is it's tailored to support the myth that Alinsky was Obama's "mentor", which has been building steam since 2007 or 2008.  The origin of this myth in 2013 suggests "Obamacare" helped motivate the rewriting of the long dead Alinsky's life story.

Apparently, somebody around the start of 2013 decided the ploy was underperforming because Alinsky had not been adequately demonized.

 I don't think there is anything in Dreams from My Father,  to suggest that Obama ever thought about Alinsky, which I don't think can be ascribed to "caginess" as it was written long before Obama sought any public office, and does mention such political no-nos as the use of marijuana and cocaine before he "got serious" in college.  In fact I think the book is written as if he doesn't care too much whether the reader admires him or not, though he did want you to admire his grandmother.  It's just "Here I am, a sort of poor black kid raised mostly by my white grandparents who did right by me, who's graduated Harvard Law school and been the first black president of the Harvard Law Review" - the exact narrative that lead acquaintances to urge him to write his story.

Obama and Alinsky were both community organizers but the similarity seems to end there.  Alinsky sounds like a fairly serious rabble-rouser (in good causes I think), while Obama seemed calm and fairly modest in his aims.  He only did it for a couple of years and according to the book, it seems struggle to get the city to get asbestos removed from some public housing was the highlight of his Community Organizer years.  I'm not sure he did anything much more dramatic than that.

Since Hillary Clinton did in fact write a senior thesis on Alinsky, I think it very possible that the whole strategy of demonizing Alinsky was developed with her in mind, but once Obama took the lead it was too good not to use just because Obama was a Community Organizer.

 Here is an item posted since February 2014, around the time says such lists began to show up.  This is probably just one of many.  I am posting it with some comments to give some idea how accurate it is.  As some rough gauge of its prevalence, as I noted earlier,
Google { alinsky "Control healthcare and you control the people" }
produces 85,600 results.

 Who was Sol(sic) Alinsky? Here is short summary

The phrase "social state" does not appear in either of Alinsky's major books.
There are eight levels of control that must be obtained before you are able to create a social state. The first is the most important.
The phrase "levels of control" do not appear in any of Alinsky's books. When "control" is mentioned in these books it seems to generally be something to be avoided.

1) Healthcare – Control healthcare and you control the people
Neither the word "healthcare" nor the phrase "health care" appear in either of Alinsky's major books. He apparently had little or no interest in health care.

2) Poverty – Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.
The word "poverty" occurs 3 times in Rules (for Radicals) and 4 times in Reveille (for Radicals). There is no hint that to "Increase the Poverty level" would be a good idea.

3) Debt – Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.
The word "debt" once in Reveille (a mention that someone was in debt) and never appears in Rules.

4) Gun Control – Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.
The phrase "gun control" does not occur in either book. Nor is there any reference to the 2nd Amendment.

5) Welfare – Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income)

The phrase "take control" does not occur in either book.
6) Education – Take control of what people read and listen to – take control of what children learn in school.
The phrase "take control" does not occur in either book.

7) Religion – Remove the belief in the God from the Government and schools

Neither "belief in God" nor "belief in the God" occur in either book.
8) Class Warfare – Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.
Neither "class warfare" nor "divide the people" occur in either book. Discontent is barely mentioned.


The way Newt Gingrich refers to the connection between Barack Obama and Saul Alinsky, one might think the president and the community organizer were golf buddies… except for the stubborn fact Alinsky died in 1972 when Obama was 10.
Among Gingrich’s quotes: “Obama believes in Saul Alinsky and secular European socialist bureaucracy.” And “Saul Alinsky radicalism is at the heart of Obama.”

Who links to my website?  


  1. Thanks for the article. Saved me a lot of work trying to figure out where this came from.

  2. i never read the book or books but i know many people who have and say that is true, is owned by the gov and it usually comes up dirst as false to make pple believe cuz this website said it. well look at the owners and u will be amazed that its all a sham to make pple not look further .


  3. I post below the short list of Alinski's rules which I got from Snope. They are tactics on how to get power without having to convince someone of the truth of your position. Obama is like all progressives who cannot conceive that they could possibly be wrong in their judgement of what is justice. They assume anyone who disagrees with them is evil, or too stupid to see what is best for them. Hence, any tactic is ok to achieve their goals. This is evident in the admission and even boasting by Johnathan Gruber of the deception and lies used to push through Obamacare.

    Quoted from Snopes:
    Always remember the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
    The second rule is: Never go outside the experience of your people. When an action is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear, and retreat.
    The third rule is: Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.
    The fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.
    The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.
    The sixth rule is: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. If your people are not having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.
    The seventh rule: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time, after which it becomes a ritualistic commitment, like going to church on Sunday mornings.
    The eighth rule: Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
    The ninth rule: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
    The tenth rule: 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.
    The eleventh rule is: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside; this is based on the principle that every positive has its negative.
    The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying "You're right — we don't know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us."
    The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

    1. Right, but that could have been written by Newt Gingrich, who is personally not very important at the moment, but who set the standard for right wing disinformation. In fact, some Tea Party groups made a study of Rules for Radicals as a source of ideas for their own tactics.

  4. Replies
    1. All I really know is someone who wanted you to think Alinsky wrote it.

  5. Here's the problem. Someone did write that list, yet this piece is more of a Alinsky saving story than a research story. It tries too hard to clear Alinsky instead of trying to find out who did write the list. That makes this piece biased. If you want some credibility, find out who initiated this list instead of protecting an anti-American, hateful anarchist.

    1. Whoever wrote it obviously doesn't want you to know who wrote it; they want you to believe Alinski wrote it, and all I've done is search his main writings for any interest in anything said of this fake list, and found none.

  6. I have a better understanding of Alinsky but would still like to know who wrote it.

    1. Whoever wrote it obviously doesn't want you to know who wrote it; they want you to believe Alinski wrote it, and all I've done is search his main writings for any interest in anything said of this fake list, and found none.