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by Debra Mullins

Born in 1909, Saul Alinsky began his "community organizing" in Chicago in the 1950s

(Apr. 30, 2010) — On January 20, 2009, the real Barack Obama stepped out from the shadows and made it all too clear that Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals would be his playbook for governing. Long gone are the false promises of post-partisanship, and an open, and transparent government. Obama’s soaring rhetoric which still mesmerizes millions of Americans, including the media, is incongruent with the Chicago-style thuggery he has effectively used in his “remaking of America” in his own image. His faithful followers are either too blinded by the rhetoric, or they are secretly beginning to have doubts but cannot bring themselves to admit they made a mistake when casting their vote at the polls, or in the case of the media, its fumbling when it failed to investigate and report who this opaque man is, and what he actually stands for.

A significant portion of the electorate naively voted for Obama on the false premise that the hope and change he promised was for the collective good of the average American. Little did these voters know that they were in effect signing a pledge of servitude to the government, or perhaps more accurately, enslavement, unless they were already entrenched within the new establishment through government or union-based employment. Those who represent the far left and who are the true disciples of Alinsky also were perhaps misled; they may have believed that Obama would advocate the use of Rules for Radicals as Alinsky envisioned.

While Obama has quite effectively used Alinsky’s tactics to “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it” in order to ramrod his radical agenda, his motive for using them is not a reflection of Alinsky’s intended outcome.

The core of Alinsky’s philosophy is to train and empower people to organize and to collectively turn establishment upside-down as a means to strive for the “democratic ideal that springs from the ideas of liberty, equality, majority rule through free elections, protection of the rights of minorities, and the freedom to subscribe to multiple loyalties in the matters of religion, economics, and politics rather than to a total loyalty to the state.”

Furthermore, Alinsky makes reference to Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America”:

One hundred and thirty five years ago, Tocqueville gravely warned that unless individuals were regularly involved in the action of governing themselves, self government would pass from the scene. Citizen participation is the animating spirit and force in a society predicated on volunteerism.

Rules for Radicals was designed as a “bottom up” methodology for the disadvantaged social, ethnic, and economic classes to obtain a seat at the table and to participate in government on equal footing with the rest of the citizenry. It was never intended to be used to advance a government executive’s agenda in a manner that borders on the edge of tyranny.

Alinsky also wrote:

The spirit of democracy is the idea of importance and worth in the individual, and faith in the kind of world where the individual can achieve as much of his potential as possible.


Dogma is the enemy of human freedom.

Obama and his ilk have instead used Rules for Radicals to preach leftist dogma and to polarize the nation for his and the Democratic Party’s own political gain by implementing policies which create dependence rather independence, and in such a manner in which some people feel they have no choice but to cast their vote for the continuance of such policies as a means of survival. The ultimate goal is to demoralize people and to make them so dependent on the government that they too feel they have no choice but to continue on the same destructive path.

This is the antithesis of what Alinsky envisioned as the ideal; his goal was to remove the political and economic barriers between what he perceived as the right-winged middle class and bourgeoisie, and the disadvantaged classes, to level the playing field in the name of equality and equal opportunity. Obama often speaks of this ideology, but it is not his or the hard left’s true agenda. Every official appointment, every policy implemented, every choice of words that is shrouded in Alinsky’s vision is nothing more than political posturing and maneuvering in order to create a nanny state and to keep the power of government out of the hands of those who still believe in limited government, free markets, and in the Constitution and what it actually stands for. Thus, this is where Alinsky and Obama begin to part ways.

Obama is not only using Rules for Radicals as a means to entrench both his radical policies and a Democratic Party majority, he uses them to further his own self-aggrandizement. Obama’s world view and view of himself is tainted as a result of childhood abandonment and neglect, his mentors such as Frank Marshall Davis, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, his mother and grandparents, all of whom were either card-carrying communists, or close to it.

It has been well-documented that Obama possesses the traits of a person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). How many times has he said, or read from the teleprompter, “I” or “let me be clear” since he was elected? Never in history has there been a man in the White House who has demanded so much unadulterated attention from the media. He is in front of the cameras on a daily basis to berate the opposition, or on the campaign trail to perpetuate the myth that he is governing from the center and his policies are a reflection of the wishes of the majority of Americans, regardless of what the polls indicate. Obama has an insatiable need for attention, and he also bristles at the slightest criticism, both of which are classic traits of NPD. Persons suffering from NPD also perceive themselves as “special” or “unique,” and therefore the rules do not apply. In Obama’s case, the Constitution and the Rule of Law are an impediment to his aggrandizement, and not revered and respected as they should be.

Alinsky drew a fine line between the requisite qualities of an organizer as they relate to ego and egotism:

The ego of the organizer is stronger and more monumental than the ego of the leader. The leader is driven by the desire for power, while the organizer is driven by the desire to create. The organizer is in a true sense reaching for the highest level for which man can reach; to create, to be a “great creator”, to play God.

An infection of egotism would make it impossible to respect the dignity of individuals, to understand people, or to strive to develop the other elements that make the ideal organizer. Egotism is mainly a defensive reaction of feelings of personal inadequacy; ego is a positive conviction and belief in one’s behavior, with no need for egotistical behavior.


Among all the organizers I trained and failed with, there were some who memorized the words and the related experiences and concepts. Listening to them was like listening to a tape playing back my presentation word for word. Clearly there was little understanding; clearly they could not do more than elementary organization. The problem with so many of them was and is failure to understand that a statement of a specific situation is significant only in its relationship to and its illumination of a general concept. Instead they see a specific situation as a terminal point. They find it difficult to grasp the fact that no situation ever repeats itself, that no tactic can be precisely the same.

Obama has a grandiose view himself as the supreme community organizer, but according to Alinsky, he lacks the personal traits of even an elementary one.

This should not be construed as an endorsement of Alinsky’s narrow and intolerant view of the middle class and bourgeoisie or his deplorable tactics to create organized chaos as a means to force an organizer’s vision of equality and equal opportunity. There are far more civil ways to be heard and effect change than the methods Alinsky advocated.

In less than 17 months, Obama has managed to polarize Americans more than at any time in recent history. Those who stand in opposition to his radical agenda are marginalized and ridiculed as “fringe” or “racist,” and the establishment media has become nothing more than a propaganda machine for his regime.  And there is still the unanswered question about his eligibility to be where he is in the first place.

Given Obama’s debasement of Alinsky’s ideology and his narcissistic tendencies, he would have likely given the “Organizer-In-Chief” an “F” in RFR 101. It was never Alinsky’s intent to destroy the United States from within or to create a nanny state, but rather to teach disadvantaged communities to organize and use radical tactics to redress what he perceived as social, ethnic, and economic inequalities so everyone has an opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential.

We as a country have come a long way since 1971 when Rules for Radicals was first published. Perhaps it is time to put away this worn-out playbook, to set aside hidden agendas, and look to the Constitution to find the cure for what ails us. It isn’t inequality or lack of equal opportunity; it is government at all levels which has abused the boundaries of limited and enumerated powers that are granted by “we the people.”

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  1. For at least the past month I can’t even stand to look at his picture. For fear of getting PTSD or going apoplectic. Likewise for the fawning mainstream media. Plus right now he is trolling the Republicans for a traitor, to reach 60 willing Senators for amnesty. Simply put Obama plans to tank the dollar. Just like happened in the US in the 1970s and in Russia in the 1990s and Weimar Germany in the 1920s. Plus of course, with the Bolsheviks too.

  2. Anyone who has read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals knows that the altruistic motives attached to Saul Alinsky in this essay is a crock. Saul Alinsky’s goals were social revolution and he outlined rules and principles of how to deceive the middle class to vote in the champion of the under class who would then redistribute the wealth of the nation to the under class. Classic Marxism of which Saul Alinsky believed in. As David Alinsky said of Obama in an article in the Boston Globe his father Saul would be proud of Obama as a master of Saul Alinsky’s tactics. Thus Saul Alinsky would not give Obama an F. He would be visiting him at the White House praising him.

    CDR Kerchner

    1. Commander Kerchner,

      I read RFR, and while you may be correct in your assessment, it does not glaringly stand out as such in the book’s content. In principle, he writes as if he really cares about democracy, individualism, freedom and liberty, which is the antithesis of Marxism. However, what he did or advocated in actual practice may have been entirely different. If the disadvantaged read and adopted RFR as their modus operandi, then they were equally deceived in regard to Alinsky’s true motive as the middle class they were supposed to “dupe” into voting for the underdog. No one gets a better life under Marxism unless you are on the inside. It is not a redistribution of wealth; it is a redistribution of misery. There is not nearly enough room on the inside to accommodate everyone, including most of the underclass.

      Given the rate at which Obama is blazing through his radical revolution, there will soon be no wealth to redistribute, only misery. Obama thinks, “at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” That threshold is dropping like a rock unless of course you are a government employee or a like-minded pal like George Soros, Oprah, etc., as a card-carrying member of the left’s bourgeoisie.

      You, sir, btw, are a true patriot and I hold you and the sacrifices you have made for our country in the highest regard.

  3. In a way, I’m glad that Obama showed his true colors early, like the little kid finally rewarded with the coveted candy bar that he immediately rips into to devour. That’s how I see Obama when he reached his goal of ‘king’ to the US. If he had followed those before him, taking it slow and easy, causing no ripples in the water, yet implementing his agenda in a stealth manner, there’s no telling where we would be. The fact that he ran flat out, showing his thuggish, marxist leanings, snatching all he could grasp as fast as he could from the very beginning, made even the most avid couch potatoes sit up and take notice. I truly hate the thought of him in our white house, but can’t help but think that he accomplished getting a LOT of Americans involved in what’s happening in their country. That’s a good thing. Now that we are awake, can we get rid of him AND his puppet masters and adoring administration before it’s too late?

    1. Barry, and those who are aiding him in his destruction of the America we know and love, all know that he is not Constitutionally eligible to be president. This has made them run wide open to do as much damage in as short a time as possible. They know their time is limited…and that whatever is done is very hard to undo.

      1. Bob1943 – you are exactly right in what you say, and if we don’t get serious about arresting these thugs, we will not be able to salvage enough to ever recognize America again. It will make the Venezuelan take-over by Chavez look like child’s play.

  4. I believe that obama started out with rules for radicals but as the people and certain talk show hosts, be it tv or radio began reporting on this, he changed his game plan to follow the NWO, which in turn would ultimately end up the same.

    Obama is nothing but the puppet for the NWO, his shadow govt heads. We must find a way to do away with all of them, each corrupt money laundering organization that has imprisoned us for years before the devastation is so great to America that it is irreversible.