Obama's Alinsky Tactics Go into Overdrive
A carefully planned frenzy of radical organizing.
In back-to-back interviews with a pair of Spanish-language television networks last Wednesday, Barack Obama expressed confidence that an immigration-reform bill—i.e., a path-to amnesty for 10 to 20 million guaranteed Democratic voters—could be passed “certainly before the end of the summer.” The following day, Obama surrounded himself with surviving relatives of the Newtown massacre victims and issued a renewed call for “common-sense” gun-control measures that purportedly would save many innocent lives. Also on Thursday, our busy-as-a-beaver president signed an executive order establishing a special commission “to improve the voting experience in America,” particularly as regards such issues as the voter-ID requirements which Obama and his Justice Department view as discriminatory measures designed to disenfranchise African Americans.
So many crusades, so little time. One day it’s voting rights; the next day, gun control and immigration reform; then health care; then student loans; then climate change; then oil drilling; then the coal industry; then gay marriage; then minimum-wage and living-wage laws; then a brain research initiative. And of course, every so often we are treated to presidential sermons about the need for tax hikes on the loathsome “corporate-jet owners,” “fat-cat bankers,” and “millionaires and billionaires” who are “sitting pretty” at “the very top” of the economic hierarchy, largely as a result of their “breathtaking greed.”
The Washington Free Beacon notes precisely the same type of “hyperactivity” in the daily doings of the new big-money, pro-Obama advocacy group, Organizing for Action. “Not a day goes by without this grassroots organization inserting itself into another policy dispute,” observes the Beacon. “First it was the debate over gun control. Then Organizing for Action said it would become involved in the immigration debate. After that, the group banged the drum for legislation to reduce carbon emissions. And after that, Organizing for Action suddenly discovered a passionate interest in an obscure campaign finance battle in New York state that has nothing to do with the president’s agenda.”
So, what’s up with this merry-go-round of issues, crises, and calls-to-action? Above all, it is vital to understand that none of this “hyperactivity” is random or accidental. Every single, solitary bit of it has been carefully planned and orchestrated by Obama and his political allies, for the purpose of advancing the transformational change the president so zealously seeks to impose on America by means of the tactics taught by the late, famed godfather of community organizing, Saul Alinsky.
When Obama was coming of age as a socialist community organizer in Chicago, he was mentored by people who themselves had been trained at the Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation. Later on, Obama himself taught workshops on the Alinsky method. Alinsky was a communist fellow-traveler who helped establish the tactics of infiltration that have become central to left-wing activism in recent decades. In the Alinsky model, “community organizing” is a euphemism for “revolution” promoting the systematic redistribution of wealth and power, and the radical transformation of America’s social and economic structure. But Alinsky’s brand of revolution is not characterized by dramatic, sweeping, overnight changes. Rather, Alinsky advised organizers and their disciples to quietly, subtly gain influence within the decision-making ranks of existing institutions such as churches, schools, media outlets, labor unions, and political parties—and to remake them gradually and incrementally, as insiders.
Foreshadowing Obama, Alinsky despised “the larcenous pressures of a materialistic society,” preferring instead a socialist alternative that would place “human rights far above property rights” while “fight[ing] conservatives” and all their “privilege and power.” Moreover, Alinsky exhorted left-wing radicals to help society “advance from the jungle of laissez-faire capitalism to a world worthy of the name of human civilization,” where “the means of production will be owned by all of the people instead of just a comparative handful.”
Understanding the limits of the human attention span, Alinsky emphasized how vital it was for radical organizers to focus on multiple issues and adopt multiple approaches, just as we see Obama doing today. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag,” Alinsky wrote. “Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time … New issues and crises are always developing…” “Keep the pressure on,” he continued, “with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.”
Toward that end, Alinksy advised radical organizers to be sure that they always kept more than one “fight in the bank”—i.e., a stockpile of varied crusades to which they could instantly turn their attention at a moment’s notice. These “fights in the bank” work synergistically, Alinsky explained, serving to prevent one another from going “stale” as a result of excessive public exposure. “Multiple issues mean constant action and life,” he said.
This, in a nutshell, is why Barack Obama is constantly shifting our attention from one issue to another, to another, to another, to another. The Alinsky disciple learned his lessons well. It’s that simple.
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