Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Found at one of the incomparable Al Giordiano's blogs, The Field

UPDATE: This Al Giordiano blog entry was censored. Al has moved The Field blog to this location. The original link has been replaced by a look alike but thoroughly bogus site called The Back Forty.

While it’s certain that Internet and technology in general have provided the networking and communications tools that made such massive “self-organization” so rapid the difference between the Obama campaign and all others before it comes down, for me, to a more human factor: that the candidate has studied, practiced and believes in community organizing.

Many commenters here have asked me to elaborate more on this suggestion. But how does one boil down a life’s study and praxis into a blog entry?

As an exercise in removing the curtain that blocks a fuller view, let’s pull on one early thread: Community organizer Saul Alinsky’s 1971 list of 13 Rules for Radicals

1 ) Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

2 ) Never go outside the experience of your people. It may result in confusion, fear and retreat.

3 ) Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear and retreat.

4 ) Make the enemy live up to his/her own book of rules.

5 ) Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.

6 ) A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

7 ) A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

8 ) Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.

9 ) The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

10 ) The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

11 ) If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.

12 ) The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

13 ) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.

Now, kind Field Hands, as an exercise in developing the narrative, pick one, just one, of those 13 “rules” published 37 years ago, and use the comments section to explain how that “rule” applied, or did not apply, to the 2008 campaign so far.

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