John Perazzo: Saul Alinsky Lives in Ferguson

If the late Saul Alinsky—the America-hating godfather of community organizing—had fathered a black son, he’d look like Barack Obama.[1]  Obama has embraced, revered, and employed Alinsky’s philosophy and tactics of social revolution for decades

Indeed, he eventaught Alinsky’s methods in community-organizing workshops and seminars in Chicago, when he was a much younger Marxist. As we witness the continuing racial unrest sparked by the shooting of Michael Brown and the Ferguson grand jury’s subsequent decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, it is vital to understand that everything the protesters/rioters are doing—in Ferguson and elsewhere—is straight out of Alinsky’s most famous publications, Rules For Radicals and Reveille For Radicals. And Obama has encouraged them, every step of the way.

Obama and Alinsky never actually met in person, as Alinsky died when Obama was just 11 years old. Happily for the future president, by that time he had already been introduced to the man who would mentor him throughout his adolescent years—the America-hating, pro-Soviet, pro-Stalin, Communist writer Frank Marshall Davis. Thus, when Obama eventually encountered Alinsky through the latter’s writings, the young community organizer was well prepared ideologically to soak up Alinsky’s message.

In his quest to cultivate the type of chaos that would spark social revolution against America’s capitalist system, Alinsky exhorted activists to constantly “rub raw the resentments of the people” and “fan the latent hostilities to the point of overt expression”—but to do this in measured tones, so as not to “scare off” middle-class Americans.

Thus did Obama dutifully and blandly call for “unity” and calm in the immediate aftermath of Michael Brown’s “heartbreaking and tragic” death, even as he repeatedly reminded us that: “police should not be bullying or arresting” anyone without cause; “in too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and left as objects to fear”; “there is no excuse for excessive force by police”; “the justice gap” between whites and nonwhites is unacceptable; “the criminal-justice system doesn’t treat people of all races equally”; and “too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement, guilty of walking while black, or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness.” And when the grand jury in Ferguson subsequently chose not to indict Darren Wilson because the officer obviously had shot Michael Brown in self-defense, Obama pronounced the black community’s indignation to be “an understandable reaction.”

Obama’s carefully chosen words—all delivered in the type of nonthreatening tenor advocated by Saul Alinsky—clearly communicated a single, foundational theme to African Americans: In the racist cesspool known as the United States, black people are routinely treated like second-class citizens, if not subhumans. Oh, and by the way, please remain calm. Wink, wink.

Alinsky also taught that in some cases activists must be completely willing—for the sake of the moral principles in whose name they profess to act—to turn up the proverbial heat and watch society descend into chaos and anarchy; to “go into a state of complete confusion and draw [their] opponent into the vortex of the same confusion.” “Wherever possible,” Alinsky counseled, “go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.”

Mobs of shouting protesters can accomplish that objective quite effectively—even if, as in the present case, they are oblivious to the irony that the poster-child of their crusade is a multiple felon who tried unsuccessfully to murder a police officer. Such demonstrations tend to give onlookers the impression that a mass movement is not only well underway, but may actually be preparing to shift into an even higher gear at any moment. A “mass impression,” said Alinsky, can be lasting and intimidating. Thus did President Obama recently meet at the White House with Al Sharpton, his leading advisor on race-related matters, and other protest leaders from Ferguson, urging them to “stay on course” with their activism.

Yet another highly noteworthy observation by Alinsky was this: “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.” “The threat,” he explained, “is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Thus, “if your organization is small in numbers,… raise a din and clamor that will make the listener believe that your organization numbers many more than it does.”

This can be well achieved by orchestrating a host of simultaneous demonstrations in multiple cities or venues, exactly as the highly organized Gentle Giant crusade has been doing. The stature of these rallies is magnified by the fact that they receive lots of media attention, while scores of millions of ordinary Americans who view them with contempt and dread are busy quietly going about their lives, caring for their families, working at their jobs, and pursuing their personal aspirations as they see fit. Such people are many thousands of times more numerous than the perpetually aggrieved rabble-rousers of the Left, but Alinsky understood—as Obama understands today—that a spraying skunk inevitably gets all the attention when it intrudes unexpectedly upon a picnic.

The America-hating Alinsky also taught that activists, in order to cast themselves as defenders of high-minded principles, must theatrically convey “shock, horror, and moral outrage” whenever any of their demands—however inconsequential—are not met. And no one conveys such emotions more convincingly than Obama’s aforementioned racial “advisor,” Al Sharpton, who vows to continue the Michael Brown/anti-police brutality crusade until the end of time if necessary. Alinsky understood quite well that even a pathetic moral degenerate like Sharpton can be an effective revolutionary if he is skilled in the otherwise worthless arts of bluster and righteous indignation.

Lest anyone think there might be a way to bridge the gap between civil society and the revolutionaries in the vanguard of the current Gentle Giant Brigades, a dose of reality is in order: Alinsky emphasized that the overarching objective of any crusade is never to promote peace or reconciliation, but rather to be unwaveringly “dedicated to an eternal war” in which “there are no rules of fair play” and “no compromise” whatsoever; to mercilessly “pulverize” people with “fear”; and ultimately to “force their capitulation.”

We got a glimpse of this mindset recently when we learned that two New Black Panther Party members were plotting not only to blow up St. Louis’s famed Gateway Arch, but also to assassinate Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson and the city’s prosecuting attorney Bob McCulloch. And a shrieking Louis Farrakhan, for his part, has been busy urging black Americans to throw Molotov cocktails at white people in order to fulfill a scriptural “law of retaliation”; condemning whites for allegedly “killing us” in large numbers; and warning that “we’ll tear this goddamn country up!”

Like all Marxists, Obama, Sharpton, Farrakhan, and the rest of their fellow revolutionaries seek to tear society apart by pitting the “races,” the “classes,” and the “genders” against one another—“rubbing raw” their respective “resentments” until hatred abounds in every person’s heart and mayhem fills the streets. Michael Brown’s corpse is merely a building block for these rabble rousers. They know that someday another African American will be killed by a white police officer and thus be anointed as their movement’s next martyred saint. Bit by bit, the inconvenient fact that Brown was a violent, abusive criminal whose death was brought about entirely by his own actions will be airbrushed out of public memory. And the grievance mongers of the “civil rights” movement will wistfully remember him as just another innocent black victim whose life was tragically cut short by white depravity.

Saul Alinsky would be proud.

NOTE:
[1] In March 2012, not long after the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, President Obama famously said: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”