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A Non-partisan Approach to Understanding Politics
Rules For Radicals
by Saul Alinsky
Copied from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_for_Radicals but reformatted for this page
- 1. “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”
- Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.
- 2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”
- It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.
- 3. “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.”
- Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
- 4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”
- If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
- 5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
- There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
- 6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
- They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
- 7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”
- Don’t become old news.
- 8. “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.”
- Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
- 9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”
- Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.
- 10. “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.”
- Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.
- 11. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”
- Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.
- 12. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
- Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions