Sunday, July 12, 2009

Anti-"Rules for Radicals"

These Anti-rules are not about strategy; they are about how you can fight the tactics of gangsters and radicals in the communities in which you run your business. A real strategy has to take a broader look beyond tactics and find the principles that must be fought for in order to create a viable society. A real strategy involves a specific set of ideas that you advance on a consistent basis; it is not about defending yourself against the dogma of your attackers. These suggested tactics below are about fighting small-time chiselers and defending your business against their control.

I’ve always hesitated to buy books by my philosophical enemies because I don’t want to support the publishers who bring us lies. This applies especially to progressives who publish books and produce movies. I won’t buy anything by Michael Moore or Nancy Pelosi for instance because I don’t want to create the illusion that their materials are even worthy of an honest man’s attention. In addition, I know enough about what they think to see that they are liars and propagandists for a philosophy that I abhor.

So when the decision came to buying a copy of “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky, I knew that I needed to understand his methods and learn why his ideas were wrong; but I realized that he is a Marxist and most of the “Rules” he created have been practiced by social progressives for decades. So I settled for an Adobe Acrobat document that I found on the Internet. I found it to provide the exact information that I sought. It is called “Alinsky's Rules for Radicals” By Craig Miyamoto. The following is an extensive quote from the document, but I’m going to provide what I consider to be the best antidote for each rule, the Anti-Rules for Radicals, so to speak. You will find these “Anti-rules” following the words “My comment” after each Alinsky rule.

“Known as the "father of modern American radicalism," Saul D. Alinsky (1909-1972) developed strategies and tactics that take the enormous, unfocused emotional energy of grassroots groups and transform it into effective anti-government and anti-corporate activism. Activist organizations teach his ideas widely taught today as a set of model behaviors, and they use these principles to create an emotional commitment to victory - no matter what.

Grassroots pressure on large organizations is reality, and there is every indication that it will grow. Because the conflicts manifest in high-profile public debate and often-panicked decision-making, studying Alinsky's rules will help organizations develop counteractive strategies that can level the playing field.

Governments and corporations have inherent weaknesses. And, time and again, they repeat mistakes that other large organizations have made, even repeating their OWN mistakes. Alinsky's out-of-print book - "Rules for Radicals" - illustrates why opposition groups take on large organizations with utter glee, and why these governments and corporations fail to win.

Large organizations have learned to stonewall and not empower activists. In other words, they try to ignore radical activists and are never as committed to victory as their opposition is committed to defeating them. Result? They are unprepared for the hailstorm of brutal tactics that severely damage their reputation and send them running with their tails between their legs.

Some of these rules are ruthless, but they work. Here are the rules to be aware of:

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. (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.)”

My comment: Anti-rule 1. Realize that radicals attack your business because you have economic power that they want to steal from you.

Never appease a radical by agreeing that he is correct. Find out where he is wrong and take a firm stand based on the facts. If they lie about your company, correct the lie. If they picket you, picket them back. If they come to your organization, send volunteers to their organizations. Don’t use economic arguments; argue on the basis of the fundamental individual rights of the company, the employees and the management. Never argue that you have a fundamental obligation to make bad business decisions based upon their demands. Defend your business decisions based on sound business practices. Refuse to grant them the power to harm your organization and do not capitulate by donating to them. If they scream they are just trying to help the poor, argue that you help your customers by bringing them good products and services at a reasonable price and that is your only obligation. Defend your right to make a profit and don’t give in to their demands.

You must recognize that these radical groups seek power for power’s sake, not to make things better. The flesh and blood that has to pay for that power consists of corporations and their employees that are forced, through bad publicity imposed upon them, to deal with and appease the radicals. The idea that the corporation has an obligation to accommodate the demands of radicals, for fear of bad publicity, is the source of their push for power.

They want you to pay for their meal ticket out of the prices you charge your customers and that means you will not be able to compete effectively against other companies. If you did not have economic power, they would have no desire to shake you down. Use your economic power by insisting that you have a right to exist as a profit-making company. If they violate your property rights, tell them that they are on private property, ask them to leave if they are not there to conduct business, take pictures, get video, identify the individuals and press charges.

“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. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don't address the "real" issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)”

My comment: Anti-rule 2. Embarrass them by forcing them outside their expertise.

Ask them how much they know about the reasons for their protests and tape the answers they give. Expose the ignorance of the protestors, not the organizers. Most of these people do not know what they are doing which means you must be competent to spell out the issues, criticize the coercive tactics and put them on the defensive in a quiet dispassionate way. Here you can use video to tape these people. If you can ask these people questions and get answers from them you can use these videos with the media to show that they have no idea what it takes to run a business and that they are phonies.

The purpose of this rule is give their protesters the confidence to take a stand against you. If the people show confidence in their protests, it appears that they know that they are right and this instills fear in you. Remember all they want is for you to be afraid of them and for the public to be ignorant about their lies. Show them to be incapable of discussing the real issues.

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

My comment: Anti-rule #3. Be prepared to defend against spurious attacks based on bogus information.

When they tell lies or use spurious accusations and bogus studies, you must be sure that you are ready with the correct responses that will discredit their statements. If they are telling lies, then call them lies. Remember, they are prepared to accomplish a singular goal in the protest and that is to make you capitulate.

This approach was used by ACORN successfully in the 90s when some studies purported to “prove” that banks were discriminating against minorities in their lending practices. The study was bogus but it gained so much traction and got so much national attention that many banks bent over backwards to prove they were not discriminating by giving minorities more loans. This harmed the banks and eventually led to the sub-prime catastrophe. The goal of these tactics is to re-distribute your profits to people who do not qualify for them otherwise. Do not allow them to force you to violate sound business practices and be prepared to defend that policy with clear argument.

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. (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.)

My comment: Anti-rule #4. Never apologize for making a profit and put out a position statement that you can repeat whenever necessary. The only way to fight this is to assert the value and importance of making a profit and insist that you and your stockholders be able to keep those profits without having them extorted under threat of protest.

“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. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)”

My comment: Anti-radical Rule #5. If they ridicule you, point out that ridicule is not an argument and insist that they provide a clear statement that explains their goals. If they continue to ridicule you, expose that ridicule as being illogical and unclear.

Ad hominem attacks are not valid forms of argument and they violate clear thinking. Ridicule is what charlatans do in order to imply that the opponent does not deserve to be dealt with in a civil way. Ridicule is the barbarian’s way of winning an argument. It only reveals the utter bankruptcy of the radical movement. They can be defeated by a large dose of what they can’t argue against: logic and reason.

“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. (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.)”

My comment: Anti-radical Rule #6. Tell the truth and you will fight successfully against any tactic of deception.

This tactic essentially says that there is no content to their arguments except worn out saws used by Marxists of the past about capitalism and the profit motive. It says they are not able to justify the protest except to say they are “fighting against corporate greed”. So, in order to ensure that people continue to protest, the organizers must make it fun, perhaps feed the people, take them to a park, have a party, etc. This rule can be easily mitigated by a simple explanation to these people that they are really not accomplishing their goals of helping anyone and are in fact hurting the very people they claim to represent.

“RULE 7: "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag." Don't become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)”

My comment: Anti-rule #7. Radical tactics can be easily defeated by a strong philosophical argument that refutes the basis of the tactic.

This is a philosophical struggle and the best term for it is “the individual versus the collective.” It is a battle that seeks to destroy an economic system based upon rational self-interest in favor of collective solutions for individual problems. If you focus on the fact that individual problems cannot be solved by collectives, that collectives wipe out the individual and leave him without a solution; that individual problems can only be solved by individual action; such as education, hard work, good life planning and good decision-making, you can actually be helpful to people where the radicals are harmful.

“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. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)”

My comment: Anti-radical Rule #8. Keep the pressure on the radicals. Never let up and never capitulate. Disagree with and fight their coercive tactics.

This rule for radicals assumes that you are wrong and they are right. Do not allow them to get away with this view. Insist that you are right and that you refuse to be coerced. Never grant a semblance of credit to them for thinking that they are doing good. Insist that they are doing wrong to your company and this country. Give them no quarter that they can use to further attack you.

The best way to disagree is to make a statement of principles to support your economic activities. Ensure that these principles are based on Constitutional freedoms and fight for the right to exist as a businessman, an employee or as a private citizen. Find ways to express your statement of principles through advertising, pamphleteering, speeches and other public appearances and stand your ground.

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

My comment: Anti-radical Rule #9. Remember you are not guilty of anything immoral and you must fight for the moral high ground.

As a businessman, you are the moral agent who has taken an idea and made it work. You offer services and products that people need and you have earned the business of your customers. Your best argument is your competence. Their best argument is that you are not sure of yourself against their assertion of moral authority. Do not be morally intimidated; be morally certain.

The radicals are trying to muscle in on your hard work. Never allow them an opportunity to declare moral equivalency with you. They are immoral and you should treat them that way.

“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. (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.)”

My comment: Anti-Rule #10. Never respond in kind to a provocation.

Stand up for property rights and the rights of individuals to do business with you. Speak out only against their real goals, their methods and their unfair tactics but do so with the highest language and base your speech on enduring principles.

Remember, they are always going to try to provoke a response in order to gin up public support. The media will help them. This tactic is vicious and they have no moral compunction against creating incidents that they can use against you. Never react emotionally but when the law is violated by them obtain the help of law enforcement and prosecute. For them, prosecution means having to defend themselves in court and being labeled a criminal. The more businesses fight back legally against them; better, the more businesses take the legal initiative against them, the fewer people will they be able to enlist as protestors. Who wants to go to jail?

“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. (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.)”

My comment: Anti-rule #11. Never compromise with gangster tactics. Do not give them a seat at the table. Don’t invite them to your meetings, don’t pay protection money and do use the law to fight them at every opportunity.

If you are being extorted, say so openly and fight in the name of your rights first and in the name of civilized behavior second. Finally, fight in the name of the people they claim to be helping and point out that they are not helping. Also, fight in the name of the neighborhood that is being corrupted by gangster tactics, and speak out about the harm it is doing by scaring away other businesses.

“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. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)”

My comment: Anti-rule #12. Let their tactics of polarization work against them by pointing them out. Be ready to defend yourself against unearned attacks that seek to paint you into a moral corner. You can also pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. You can stand for civility and reason while they stand for shakedown and extortion. Don’t be afraid to polarize them for what they are doing.

They need to make you into the bad guy so they can obtain the moral high ground. This has been the tactic of Marxists and fascists for decades. They claim that they are the true defenders of the people and they use this idea to paint themselves as the good guys. Take the moral high ground away from them by fighting for your individual rights to property, good business practices, the profit motive and mutual trade to mutual benefit. These are the proper moral principles in a proper society. Do not let them turn this into a re-distribution of guilt where you give in to them because they say you are a corrupt capitalist. You have to defend your legal and moral rights. You cannot allow them to take the moral high ground.

Other points:

These radicals are not about making communities better; they are about gaining control of your business and forcing it to pay money to them. They are gangsters operating under the cover of charitable organizations looking to extort money from you; they are trying to find ways to launder money through legitimate organizations. If you capitulate to them, your business cannot thrive and neither can the community.

Some of these people will stop at nothing in order to get their way. Some are fully capable of violence and murder. If your business or your life is threatened, these people are poisoning your community and trying to turn it into a territory where they control. If you feel that you cannot do business in a community without living in fear, it is time to close the business and find a better community.

Educate yourself on proper government and proper community relations. Fight against the idea that you have an obligation to accept the moral authority of an extortion gang in a community. Learn to defend your rights by reading the history of our nation, understand the principles of free trade, the pursuit of happiness and civilized behavior and recognize that we must either have a society that defends individual rights or we have no society at all. You may have to become a philosopher to defend yourself but these radicals count on you not knowing how to fight for your rights. They need for you to be weak in order to control you.

I would appreciate any comments or other suggestions on how to fight the tactics of Marxist community organizers.


  1. I got into this post. I liked it a lot. Here are my comments. I comment on each rule except 10 where nothing came to mind.

    Rule 1:

    The protestors operate on two main principles although there is one underlying them.
    1. This ain’t right! (Moral)
    2. We’re not going to answer you. (Moral and Epistemological) (In other words, “Reason won’t work on us.”)

    Both seem to rest on “Life ain’t fair and we’re not equal.” (Metaphysical)

    You counsel to not use economic arguments. I agree. The question is, “Why not?” The reason is they are mounting a moral attack and economic arguments do not answer them in kind. They are beside the point.

    Their point is that you owe them something. That your duty is to take care of the least among society’s members. You have to stand on your life being an end in itself and not the means to them or anyone else. You get to live it and use it the way you choose.

    You say that “…radical groups seek power for power’s sake,…” This is true. They sound like they want to fix things, but that is not their motive. There are countless examples of this which should be compiled to show that this is, in fact, true of them. There probably could be a small book published entitled, Do Community Organizers Help Their Communities?

    Rule 2:

    Feeling secure is not the same thing as being secure. Cheerleading oneself or others into feeling secure, even if you think it is the most important thing in the world, is not lasting as anyone screaming for a basketball team that ends up losing knows.

    There have got to be some wins on the side of property rights. When this occurs, the protesters will return under the rocks where they belong.

    It would be good to show this is true and call attention to this fact. I’ve noticed that ACORN has sent a few people to anti-protest the Tea Party protesters who are against Universal Health Care and Cap and Trade. The honest protesters have outnumbered them in multiples of 10 to 20 to 1 or even ∞ to 1 when there are no anti-protesters.

    Rule 3:

    You say, “The goal of these tactics is to re-distribute your profits to people who do not qualify.” The moral term is “deserve” or “earn.” The battle and its terminology needs to be kept on moral terms. It has to go head to head on the moral issue. They are counting on you to not confront them on these terms and if you don’t rise to the occasion, you will lose, as Alinsky understood.

    One thing that could be done is to organize the attacked corporations or businesses. The particular issue is less important in its details than the moral arguments and tactics that unite all of the Alinsky-ites. Thus this can be united into one large voice that welcomes anyone who is attacked by the Alinsky-ites.

    Rule 4:

    I agree with your comment. A tactic which the corporation or business should use is to collect the names of the protesters. They should be treated as individuals (i.e., a capitalist principle), which they are, and not allow them to lose their identity by hiding out in the group/collective (i.e., a socialist principle). If they are violating the business’s property, then the police should be called and they should be booked and identified. Another way to do this is to infiltrate their groups and learn the identities of the individuals involved.

    This, after all, is a war of the most vital kind. They are not just a nuisance. If it is within the law, the names of the protesters should be made public so that the sunlight is cast on that which is intended to remain shady.

    Rule 5:

    Ridicule is one way of the Alinsky-ites not answering a valid complaint against the protesters. There may be a way to fight ridicule in subversive ways. Get comedians to do routines using satire and jokes people laugh at. Write plays which expose their superficial folly. One could ridicule the protesters for not being men since they do not use their minds and that being a man is a choice, etc.

    (This comment continues to the next comment window.)

  2. Rule 6:

    Here one could publish facts of people being hurt by what the Alinsky-ites have accomplished. E.g., Obama’s law in Illinois preventing cops from stopping blacks in bad neighborhoods because it was “profiling” resulted in increased crime for those communities. Easy mortgages led to many of those people losing their new homes. Affirmative action has caused many students who got student loans to go to school and did not meet the requirements of the profession they studied for (bar exam and other professional hurdles) to be left with a debt of 100s of thousands of dollars. Thus Affirmative Action hurt the people it was designed to help. The examples of this are all over the place and they need to be laid at the protesters' doorstep.

    This could be a book too. One that can be used as a reference in the battle of the corporations/businesses against the Alinsky-ite thugs and chiselers. Jesse Jackson needs to be taken to task for this. So does Obama. So does Al Sharpton. All of these people have been in the business of shaking down businesses for money in order for them to keep doing what they are doing.

    Rule 7:

    The move from tactic to tactic shows two things – the underlying motive and the lack of depth of their protest at the visible level. A sit-in stopping all business transactions needs to be shown for what it is – an interruption and inconvenience of the customers of that business and a violation of the property rights of the owners of that business. A comedian shtick or a play on these tactics could be created to really show their effects. Also documentaries. E.g., I’m sure that people have suffered material as well as spiritual injury due to these tactics – perhaps some protest that prevented an injured person from getting to a hospital in time to save his life, etc.

    Rule 8:

    You say, “Insist that you are right and that you refuse to be coerced.” I agree. Further you have to tell them all the way to the root why you are right. At a minimum, you have to know and know that you know that you are right.

    You see this all the time on TV where people want to give the benefit of the doubt to someone – especially the President or a Senator. It’s a lie to give them credit when they are advocating or doing something that is not at all good. Drawing this line is critically important for success and one that attacked companies have got to learn.

    This is a great opportunity for making speeches establishing and supporting the moral basis of capitalism and business. I could see whole speeches on the heroism of the businessman – the most unsung hero in America.

    Rule 9:

    Perception is reality, thus one has to create a new perception of what works and is moral.

    You mention “moral certainty.” I agree. There is philosophical work to be done. One must have a moral tap root. This is another opportunity for speakers.

    You say “Never allow them an opportunity to declare moral equivalency with you.” This is right on. Further, never allow a person to create moral equivalence of anything. What does that mean really? Is one moral act equivalent to another? How would one know that? In what sense maybe and in what sense never? That is a separate conversation in itself that needs a philosophical discussion.

    Rule 11:

    You mention, “Fight in the name of the neighborhood that is being corrupted by gangster tactics, and speak out about the harm it is doing by scaring away other businesses.” Beyond that, individuals are being threatened – as Obama’s “pitchforks” did with the employees of A.I.G.