Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals

Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals

by Saul Alinsky
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Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals by Saul Alinsky

First published in 1971, Rules for Radicals is Saul Alinsky's impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know “the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one.” Written in the midst of radical political developments whose direction Alinsky was one of the first to question, this volume exhibits his style at its best. Like Thomas Paine before him, Alinsky was able to combine, both in his person and his writing, the intensity of political engagement with an absolute insistence on rational political discourse and adherence to the American democratic tradition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679721130
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/28/1989
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 36,946
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Saul Alinsky was born in Chicago in 1909 and educated first in the streets of that city and then in its university. Graduate work at the University of Chicago in criminology introduced him to the Capone gang, and later to Joliet State Prison, where he studied prison life. 
He founded what is known today as the Alinsky ideology and Alinsky concepts of mass organization for power. His work in organizing the poor to fight for their rights as citizens has been internationally recognized. In the late 1930s he organized the Back of the Yards area in Chicago (the neighborhood made famous in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle). Subsequently, through the Industrial Areas Foundation which he began in 1940, Mr. Alinsky and his staff helped to organize communities not only in Chicago but throughout the country. He later turned his attentions to the middle class, creating a training institute for organizers. He died in 1972.

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Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
BillA More than 1 year ago
Every citizen should read this, if he or she is concerned about the direction our political system is going. It provides outstanding insights into the mind-set of the "community organizer", and gives enlightenment into the background and the thinking of our latest president. This is not encouraging, in my view, but it is important to understand. The prescription for change is, in effect, work within the system to destroy the system so that a new (basically undefined) system can emerge from the ashes. The principles are not really "communistic", but more anarchistic or chaotic. It is a sophisticated explanation of the thinking of the radical left, exemplified by SDS, the 60's radicals, the Weathermen, et al. It becomes quite easy to understand the reasons behind the past associations of our president, and the ways in which he has almost wholly absorbed and endorsed Alinsky's views. In my view, Alinsky was a highly-intelligent and shrewd observer of the political and social scene, but suffered from the common disease of all radicals, in seeking to create beauty with the use of ugliness and deceptiveness.
StPeteBuzz More than 1 year ago
If you are interested in politics, this book is a must read. Battle plan is the correct term. This book explains exactly the actions of the O Bama administration. As a professor Barrack O Bama taught this book and established this network of activist for his political network. The tactics of direction and misdirection are all followed with incredible precision. The book in detail describes how to prepare and operate as a community organizer, how to redefine and control the communication, and how to use the issues people have to combine them into a force that works for you even against their own issues. In general the mechanics are incredible and convincing. I found this book extremely slow read reading, but completely absorbing. This book will open your eyes to the back stage of politics. It will explain how carefully worded speeches can leave every one hearing what they want to hear. The author believes his system is unstoppable.
behonest47 More than 1 year ago
This book is something I wouldn't dare 2 years ago let in my home let alone in my hands, But let me tell you to defeat the enemy you must know how the enemy thinks and acts. I always say you are never too old to learn. I am a 62 year old Grandmom of 10 I am one of the awakened Giants May God bless this great country Arizona
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an eye opener. It's basically the communists guide to gaining power. It does have some useful things inside though. You will understand freedom's enemy better and be able to defend yourself and the USA from these thugs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a good and interesting read. Alinsky basically advocates a guerrilla approach bordering on pre-terrorism; he uses masses of people (some would say mobs) to achieve results. I consider it pre-terrorism because in the examples he uses the people being opposed usually cave to the masses, most likely out of fear of possible mob revolt and violence (thus it's the FEAR of terrorism that inspires change) more than because they were defeated. Still a good and interesting read, with much to think about.
buddhabill More than 1 year ago
I bought this only to better understand the present administrations plan and how they maneuver. They are the enemy, and in war, it's good to know the enemy.
LoreneK More than 1 year ago
The old adage "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer" is appropriate for this instruction manual, which is a how-to on changing our freedom-loving, democratic republic into a socialistic society. If you believe "A Communist Manifesto" is the Bible of the liberal left, this book is their game plan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hope everyone out there is brave enough to read this fascinating book...I am a fourteen year old eigth grader and i enjoyed it!
Pickersenior More than 1 year ago
This average written book outlines how to spread the wealth around, and how to organize the have nots to steal from the halves. If one wants an insight to the socialist (perhaps Marxist) motivation and organizational abilities to the political left, read this book. It is scary times we live in and this generational writer is the hero to Obama and Hillary. This makes these times more scary, and motivates the opposition to all things left.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have read in several years. It is as relevant today as it must have been in 1971, a timeless clasic. It is still the best handbook on how to effect positive social change regardless of ones ideology. Do not believe the Glen Beck paranoiacs.
Rondo1 More than 1 year ago
This will show the reader the guidelines Obama is using to change the country. Allinsky's rules for Radicals is what Obama taught while a community organizer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just purchased this to have a better understanding of those who want to destroy the USA
DanielB911 More than 1 year ago
The author is one of President Obama's mentors. The author not only dedicated this book to Satan, he does an excellent job explaining how we should destroy America through the same courses of action Obama is taking today!!! An American patriot should read this book to better understand the thinking and planning of an enemy. The author Saul Alinsky was also highly favored by Hilary Clinton. Sort of explains what's happening now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I find it hilarious that anyone would claim this book is for the "every man" philosophy. They obviously have not read it. This book explains how to manipulate the masses so you or your ideological group can achieve your political goals, in this case for liberals and progressives.
Mia0418 More than 1 year ago
I was interested in learning more about the psyche of President Obama as he started his office and what and how his decisions are made and what his purpose is. I was reading another book and it referred Obama's teaching by Saul Alinsky and how President adulated Alinsky and considered him a great teacher. I picked up this book...and it clearly lays out number of things. Firstly, Alinsky has a penchant for words and symbolism, and creating one in someone's mind. He understands the meaning behind some controversial words like " power" and he dissects it, and how someone can use that knowledge to communicate his/ her will. He gives a different interpretation of words we use everyday that have negative connotation, but breathes a different life to it. The early chapters are dedicated on a noble concept- that we should live with our highest human ideals...and very Marxist utopian feel. It later directs the reader how to "create" that utopia and he designs a program that is based on division of classes- "haves' and the Have nots", etc. He also coined is the basis of Obama's work as the "community organizer"...and to wield influence over people, and change their current being, the core fundamental method is 1) speak the same language as the listener;2) create a "base"; 3) create a dialogue; 4) provide empathy, and so on...until the organizer obtains power for wielding his power and will on others. In short, it's a book about how to manipulate in order to obtain a goal. For the intellectual reader or learned, they will question these ideas, but Alinsky writes for his base- which are the "have nots". The later chapters unfold where his ideas come from. His ideas or as he called "tactic rules" are taken out from the Art of War. There is no difference here, but he applies that political and war tactics toward the community organisations. As Alinsky calls life, life is war and therefore, his means are justified by the end result. Anyone who has read the Art of War will clearly know this. This book almost is like taking a glimpse into Obama's real thought proces. It's a guide book written just for President Obama. It's an interesting read, I admit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is remarkable it left me with a new idea of how to function in a democracy.Not being a big fan of politics in general this book left my thirsty for more and get active in democracy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just garbage.
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FredsRead More than 1 year ago
Through community organizing Alinsky advocated reformation-a change in thinking in people-then revolution-the overthrow of the status quo. The reformation leads to power, since it's now a community of people with the same thoughts, and with this power the ability to overthrow (revolution) the status quo. He defined the status quo as any ideology including but not limited to democracy, socialism, communism, any and all religion. Reformation and revolution are perpetual because as the result of a revolution a status quo is established and therefore another reformation and revolution are necessary. Much of the book is taken up with describing the "rules" and these were presented in means-ends statements all related to the overthrow of the status quo. Since he stated that there are no absolutes and therefore everything is relative related to existing conditions at any present time all means are acceptable to achieve the identified ends. This book is about continuous revolution but Alinsky was very careful to only use his community organization techniques to achieve that end. "I propose...a step toward a science of revolution." Page 21, Nook Book
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Psyco More than 1 year ago
Why is it we are "enemies" when we old a differing view than others? What is wrong with America today? This is a GREAT book. It tells how to organize and work for the "common good." This is not a "communistic" thought; this is a "Christian" thought. Greed has overtaken our society and only when we stand up for the "Have-Nots" will society ever change, and change for the BETTER. I applaud Saul Alinsky for his philosophy and good works.
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