“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history... the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.” (Saul Alinsky's dedication of his book "Rules for radicals")

"What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be.  The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power.  Rules For Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away."

"A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage -- the political paradise of communism." p.10

"The tenth rule... is you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments....
"An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent

"Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.

"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Though we can't fault people for fighting for what they believe in, we can say that there might be better, more constructive ways to work on something. 

The problem is that what is most ethical (the greatest total good for all involved) is not in the self-interest of the person - who wants to win a short term victory, such as keeping power or having a short term benefit to his/her cause - the long term, however, suffers.  While we can bemoan this reality, it is largely useless to do so.  It will continue, despite our efforts against irrationality, being right, and hostility.  But we can, as individuals, not buy into it and instead use Rational Decision-Making.

Note that politicians use many of these same methods, throwing lots of false mud knowing some of it will stick, using guilt by association, polarizing groups against a competitor, making the "other people" be evilized.   (Gingrich did this with his false attacks on Romney's business career and other things - see the script series for the skits that are part of The Real World News With John Coldbear, look in the Menu.  He has studied Alinsky and mastered the techniques - just watch what he does and says and make your own conclusions).

Obama taught a class on Alinsky as part of his community organizer role.  Notice how he does the blaming the other party for the obstruction (when he was on the other side of the negotiation and also failed to agree), using guilt by association, taking groups and pitting them against others (the "fat cats", unfairness of the 1%, inequality of income caused by the rich [not true, see Inequality, Poverty), making general promises for big things and obscuring whether they are actually done and/or blaming something else, etc.  Uses ridicule and agitation. (Article and picture of him teaching and writing the principles.)



The process involves playing one part of the group against another, the "divide and conquer" technique. Anyone who is not clearly in accord with the Facilitator’s agenda is made to appear ridiculous, inarticulate, ignorant or dogmatic. The idea is to make these members of the group angry thus escalating tensions. The end object being to shut opposition voices out of the group.
The "targets" of such manipulation rarely, if ever, realize how they are being manipulated. If they do suspect, they generally have no idea how to defeat the process.

This method is being used at all levels of government to force meetings toward PRESET conclusions. There are three steps to defeating this process. They are simple to learn, if not always easy to put into practice since the Facilitators are well trained in agitation techniques.

The first rule is: Always be charming, pleasant and courteous. SMILE! Speak in a normal voice to avoid seeming to be belligerent or aggressive.

Rule No. 2 is to STAY FOCUSED! Write your question or statement down in advance to help you stay on track. These Change Agents are trained to twist the conversation around to make the questioner appear foolish or belligerent or aggressive. The idea being to put the questioner on the defensive. Be careful! As mentioned in Rule 1, always be charming, pleasant and courteous (if it kills you to do so!) Often an attempt will be made to change the subject, digress or distort your intent. Always bring them back to the question you asked! If they distort your question into what amounts to an accusation of them, simply state clearly and precisely: "That is NOT what I stated. What I asked was..."(here repeat your original question.) Do not be distracted or angered by their efforts to make you look bad.

Rule No. 3: BE PERSISTENT! When the Facilitator realizes that putting you on the defensive is not going to work, quite often he, or she, will go into some long drawn out discussion of some unrelated or only vaguely related subject. Such a discussion may drag on for a number of minutes. The intent being to have the crowd become bored and forget what the original question was. Let them run on, then very calmly, quietly but with determination drag them back to the subject by saying: "But you didn’t answer my question! My question was..."(again repeat your question.)

Never, NEVER allow yourself to become angry. Anger directed toward the Change Agent makes him or her the victim. Their object is to become liked by the crowd, to be seen as a friend by a majority of those present to convince that majority the ideas of the Facilitator are correct and acceptable.

Source, though I think both sides do it:  What The Heck Is The Alinsky Method?

Obama Teaching Alinsky In Class (scroll down to picture of him writing power rules on the chalkboard) 

See also: Axelrod Tactics.