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Saul Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals Cheat Sheet by

rules     radicals     alinsky

Here is the complete list from Alinsky

RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-­Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.

RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.

RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecu­rity, anxiety and uncert­ainty.

RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.

RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrati­onal. It’s infuri­ating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into conces­sions.

RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.

RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news.

RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.

RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagin­ation and ego can dream up many more conseq­uences than any activist.

RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympat­hizes with the underdog.

RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constr­uctive altern­ative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, person­alize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not instit­utions; people hurt faster than instit­utions.

Commentary by Glenn Beck on Rules

RULE 1: These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corpor­ations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclus­ively with economic arguments.

RULE 2: Organi­zations under attack wonder why radicals don’t address the “real” issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.

RULE 3: This happens all the time. Watch how many organi­zations under attack are blind-­sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.

RULE 4: This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credib­ility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commit­ments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.

RULE 5: Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.

RULE 6: Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid “un-fun” activi­ties, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.

RULE 7: Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.

RULE 8: Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organi­zation a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-str­ate­gize.

RULE 9: Perception is reality. Large organi­zations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organi­zation will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclu­sions. The possib­ilities can easily poison the mind and result in demora­liz­ation.

RULE 10: Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demons­tra­tions during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred manage­ment’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.

RULE 11: Old saw:** If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Activist organi­zations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.

RULE 12: This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, person­alized criticism and ridicule works.

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