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HAD LAUDED ALINSKY’S PLAN FOR ATTAINING “ECONOMIC JUSTICE”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 14, 2012) — In November 2009, the National Education Association (NEA) had published an endorsement of Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, a writer and activist who founded “community organizing” and advocated the formation of a “mass army” to effect social change, but the recommendation has since been removed from its website.
Links to the former review of both Rules for Radicals and another of Alinksy’s works, Reveille for Radicals, now lead to a “page not found” message. When searching for references to the books on the NEA website, only discussion comments left by members of the public, some of whom indicated that they withdrew from the NEA as a result of its recommendations, appear.
Alinsky grew up in Chicago and was a member of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). He later became active in poor communities with the purpose of ushering in change by using confrontational techniques. Some of his activities were reportedly tied to the Communist Party USA. Part of his strategy was “to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.” He dedicated Rules for Radicals to Lucifer, “the first radical known to man.”
Another of Alinsky’s recommendations to his followers was, “If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.”
According to a blog post dated November 17, 2009, the NEA’s recommendation had read:
An inspiration to anyone contemplating action in their community! And to every organizer! *** Saul Alinsky wrote the book on American radicalism – two books, in fact: a 1945 best-seller, “Reveille for Radicals” and “Rules for Radicals” in 1971. The “Reveille” title page quotes Thomas Paine… “Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul.” *** Saul Alinsky, who was a labor and civil-rights activist from the 1910’s until he died in 1972, has written here a guidebook for those who are out to change things. He sets down what the goal is: a society where people are free to live, and also aren’t starving in the streets. A society where there is legal and economic justice. Then he sets out to say how to get there. *** Alinsky spends a lot of time critiquing the idea that “The end does not justify the means.” What end? What means? He feels that there are circumstances where one can and should use means that in other circumstances would be unethical. I am not sure I agree, but Alinsky certainly speaks with the voice of experience.
An article published by WorldNetDaily on November 3, 2009 quoted the NEA as having said:
Alinsky’s goal seems to be to encourage positive social change by equipping activists with a realistic view of the world, a kind of preemptive disillusionment. If a person already knows what evil the world is capable of, then perhaps the surprise factor can be eliminated, making the person a more effective activist.
The error message page contained a link so that readers could “report the missing page,” so The Post & Email contacted the NEA by phone to inquire as to why. The person who answered the phone was experiencing trouble hearing us and gave us her email address. We then sent the following inquiry:
Thank you for taking my call a few minutes ago. I operate an electronic newspaper, The Post & Email, which reports on all levels of government.
My question is this:
Several news reports in November 2009 had linked to your page here: http://www.nea.org/tools/17231.htm , which is now non-functional, referencing that your organization had recommended two books by community organizer and socialism proponent Saul Alinsky. As the page appears to have been removed from your website, has the NEA ceased to recommend Alinsky’s books, or is there another reason why the information is no longer there?
Thank you very much.
Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
The National Education Association is a labor union founded in 1857 which describes itself as “a single clear voice for America’s teachers.” In 1966, the NEA completed an “historic merger” with the American Teachers Association, terming it a union “that forever changed the face and course of the National Education Association.” President Lyndon B. Johnson was made an honorary member. The organization “continued to hold a Human and Civil Rights Awards Program to honor individuals and affiliates who expanded educational opportunities for minority students and educators” and contains a Human and Civil Rights Division with “working task forces that later morphed into four caucuses representing a range of racial and ethnic minorities.”
Our mission is to advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.
Some of the NEA’s “partnerships” include “Green Schools,” “Solar Decathlon,” and “Mom Congress.” The NEA Almanac of Higher Education covers such topics as “faculty salaries and benefits, the economic conditions in the states, faculty workload, trends in bargaining, and information on non-faculty professionals on campus.”
Some of its headlines include news about education policy regarding the sexual orientation of students, National Teacher Day on May 8, and National School Nurse Day on May 11. March 2 was Read Across America Day, which included a presidential proclamation.
Alinsky’s last “Rule for Radicals” is to “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.” Alinsky advised prospective infiltrators to disguise themselves as members of the group which they intended to penetrate.
Following the Democrat National Convention in August 2008, Alinsky’s son wrote:
Barack Obama’s training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.
As of press time, we had not yet received a response to our inquiry from the NEA.