When I first read Saul Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’ a long time ago, I was impacted by a little paragraph at the beginning of the book. Saul Alinsky (1909-1972), left wing leader, despised by the radical right even today, considered the father of community activism in the US, was recalling his answers to angry students in 1968 to his proposals to ‘work within the system’.
The father of rules for radicalization and activism, which for years have been perceived by the right as the evil of all evils, and have haunted Obama and Clinton under the accusation of being ‘followers of those rules’, actually said the following: ‘Do one of three things: One, go find a wailing wall and feel sorry for yourselves. Two, go psycho and start bombing – but this will only swing people to the right. Three, learn a lesson. Go home, organize, build power and at the next convention, you be the delegates’. He was referring to the next Democratic convention which his angry students complained it had not listened or learnt.
I think there is a big lesson here. The Black Swans have landed. Trump’s triumph had been dismissed (he is so this and so that, nobody will pay attention, you know, there are not black swans) via the greatest groupthink phenomena in history, the map of the US is almost completely red, unless you cut it by age and then, below some age, it is completely blue; and the candidate who won the popular vote (the one most people wanted) will not be elected President of the USA. This is a tsunami, and we are noticing the waves miles and miles away.
But, we need to fight the value system behind the winning anti-decency rhetoric. And it’s not on the streets. Well, some streets.
I went back to Churchill’s one of his three key speeches given to the UK parliament between May and June of 1940. And I have taken the liberty of editing Winston… and adding my bits in bold.
We shall fight on the schools and the education beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds of our organizations, our jobs, our communities, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets of our civic society, we shall fight in the hills of our leadership development programmes and change management; we shall never surrender to the imposition of post-truth and inhumanity as the new normal.
PS. Your organization has no immunity barrier.
Would you like to comment?