“We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” – Barack Obama, election eve 2008
Barack Obama is an enigma. He won the 2008 presidential election claiming to be a moderate and wanting to bring Americans together and govern from the center. But since he took office, his actions have been far from moderate. He has apologized to foreign dictators abroad for sins he alleges his own country committed and appointed a self-described communist (Van Jones) and an admirer of Mao Zedong to top White House posts. He has used the economic crisis to take over whole industries and has attempted to nationalized the health care system. In his first nine months in office, these actions had already made his presidency one of the most polarizing in history.
Many Americans have gone from hopefulness, through unease, to a state of alarm as the President shows a RADICAL SIDE that was only partially visible during his campaign. To understand Obama’s presidency, Americans need to know more about the man and the nature of his political ideas. In particular, they need to become familiar with a Chicago organizer named Saul Alinsky and the strategy of DECEPTION he devised to promote social change.
Of no other occupant of the White House can it be said that he owed his understanding of the political process to a man and a philosophy so outside the American mainstream, or so explicitly dedicated to opposing it. Alinsky’s book Rules for Revolution, trained Obama how to fundamentally transform the United States of America.
Saul Alinsky was born in Chicago in 1909 and died in California in 1972. His preferred self-description was “rebel” and his entire life was devoted to organizing a revolution to destroy a system he regarded as oppressive and unjust. By profession he was a “community organizer,” the same term employed by his most famous disciple, Barack Obama, to describe himself.
Alinsky came of age in the 1930s and was drawn to the world of Chicago gangsters, whom he had encountered professionally as a sociologist. He sought out and became a social intimate of the Al Capone mob and of Capone enforcer Frank Nitti who took the reins when Capone was sent to prison for tax evasion in 1931. Later Alinsky said, “[Nitti] took me under his wing, I called him the Professor and I became his student.” While Alinsky was not oblivious to the fact that criminals were dangerous, like a good leftist [communist] he held “society” – and capitalist society in particular – responsible for creating them. In his view, criminality was not a character problem but a result of the social environment, in particular the system of private property and individual rights, which radicals like him were determined to CHANGE.
Alinsky’s career as an organizer spanned the period in which the Communist Party was the major political force on the American left. Although he was never formally a Communist and did not share their tactical views on how to organize a revolution, his attitude towards the Communists was fraternal, and he saw them as political allies. In the 1969 “Afterword” to his book Reveille for Radicals he explained his attitude in these words: “Communism itself is irrelevant. The issue is whether they are on our side …” Alinsky’s unwillingness to condemn Communists extended to the Soviet empire – a regime which murdered more leftists than all their political opponents put together. This failure to condemn communism contrasts dramatically with the extreme terms in which he was willing to condemn his own country [America] as a system worth “burning.”
Communists played a formative role in the creation of the CIO – the “progressive” coalition of industrial unions – led by John L. Lewis and then Walter Reuther. In the late 1940s, Reuther purged the Communists from the CIO. Reuther was a socialist, but, unlike Alinsky, an anti-Communist and an American patriot. In Rules for Radicals, Alinsky, a deracinated Jew, refers to the ferreting out of Communists who were in practice Soviet agents as a “holocaust,” even though in the McCarthy era only a handful of Communists ever went to jail.
By his own account, Alinsky was too independent to join the Communist Party but became a forerunner of the left that emerged in the wake of the Communist fall. Like leftists who came of age after the Soviet collapse, Alinsky understood that Communism had a flaw!