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Friday, August 26, 2016

Conservative Tactics versus Alinsky

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE VICTORY, the resistance must employ a series of actions against the oppressors.  These strategies are a combination of various tactics that are designed to take the power away from the statists.  Power is powerless without action, and in order to act, one must have a quiver full of tactics.
            According to Saul Alinsky, the tactics we may employ begins with the senses.  Be visible to the opposition, raise a clamor to deceive the enemy regarding your numbers, and if your organization is small, stink up the place.
            Rule number one: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
          In a discussion with a successful candidate for city council, I asked what was among his most successful tactics.  He told me that his campaign had limited money, so he searched out the addresses of the existing city council members, key members of the staff, and any newspaper reporters in his city.  Once he discovered their addresses, he blanketed their immediate neighborhoods with flyers and signs in the yards of their neighbors.  They did not know that his flyers and signs were not appearing throughout the rest of the city, but for all they saw, his name was all over where they lived.  They asked each other, and each said to the other, “Yes, my neighborhood is filled with his flyers and signs, too.”  The reporters, after hearing this, and noticing that in their own neighborhoods, the candidate had covered much ground, wrote about the incredible campaign the candidate was having, and how his name was everywhere.  The free publicity in the newspapers, and the other candidates talking about him out of fear in earshot of the public, gave the candidate just the boost he needed to win.  While everyone thought he had launched a massive campaign that covered the entire city, none of them ever realized that he had raised zero funds, and had little of his own money to spend on his campaign.  The signs and flyers they saw was but a small percentage compared to the other candidates, but the strategic locations made his opponents believe he was well-funded, and that his election to office was inevitable.  He didn’t have to have a massive campaign.  He only needed to convince the right people that he had a massive campaign.
            Imagine if we used this tactic in the form of boycotts.  Two-thirds of this country identify as Christians, and surely a large percentage of those people consider themselves conservatives.  If these people were to threaten boycotts against movies, products, or cancel subscriptions, the impact would be tremendous.  As with all of our tactics and strategies, however, if we don’t utilize our numbers, the tactic will not be successful.
            Rule number two: Never go outside the experience of your people.
            There is an unwritten rule in golf.  Don’t play the other guys game.  Play your own game.  The moment you begin to try to drive the ball in a manner similar to your opponent, hitting the ball harder than you are accustomed, the end result will be disaster every time.  If your game is one hundred yards, one hundred yards, pop it up on the green, and putt it in one or two strokes, then so be it.  Play that game.  This is not to say that you should not work to improve your game, but never play beyond your capabilities.  In the end, patience, and sticking to what you know, will bring you victory.
            Going beyond one’s capabilities often leads to confusion, fear, and retreat.  Then, communication collapses.
            One way Republicans go outside their experience is when they try to reach out to minorities.  Identity politics is generally something that white conservatives are opposed to, so they are unable to reach out to minorities without seeming disingenuous.  We use terms like “color blind” and the liberal left uses our use of such phrases to ridicule the Right.  Rather than go outside our experience, why don’t we use the tools available to us.  There are many minorities who are conservatives who would love to do the heavy lifting in that department.
The scene emerges on the television screen.  It’s a fine day in America, perhaps a scene at a park, or the street corner of a busy community, and a black man walks up to the camera saying, “I used to vote Democrat, but then I realized their policies are detrimental to the opportunities for black people.  Now, I vote Republican.”
            Rule number three: Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy.
            If going beyond the experience of your own group can be damaging to your own efforts, than surely forcing the enemy to reach beyond their experience will cause them the same confusion.  Creating confusion, fear, and retreat in the opposition is a desired outcome.
            During the American Revolution, the experience of the minutemen was their own landscape, and they used it to their advantage.  They took shots at the British from behind the trees, around the edges of hillsides, and in the case of Lexington and Concord, used these tactics to literally chase the British forces all the way back to Boston Town.
            Saul Alinsky provides another military example, but used General Sherman in his example.
            “General William T. Sherman, whose name still causes a frenzied reaction throughout the South, provided a classic example of going outside  the enemy's experience. Until Sherman, military tactics and strategies were based on standard patterns. All armies had fronts, rears, flanks, lines of communication, and lines of supply. Military campaigns were aimed at such standard objectives as rolling up the flanks of the enemy army or cutting the  lines of supply or lines of communication, or moving around to attack from the rear. When Sherman cut loose on his famous March to the Sea, he had no front or rear lines of supplies or any other lines. He was on the loose and living on the land. The South, confronted with this new form of military invasion, reacted with confusion, panic, terror, and collapse.”
            Alinsky goes on to explain in the next paragraph that “It was the same tactic that, years later in the early days of World War II, the Nazi Panzer tank divisions emulated in their far-flung sweeps into enemy territory, as did our own General Patton with the American Third Armored Division.”
            Social issues pose such an opportunity for us.  They are winning issues, and the liberal left have no answer to the truth.  They have us convinced that we must shy away from the social issues, but with a country that is three-quarters Christian, is just makes sense to hammer away on these issues.  The trick is not deciding whether or not to talk about the social issues, but discovering how best to fashion our arguments.
            Rule number four: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
Alinsky explains, “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”
            This is a common tactic used by the statists, especially when it comes to battling the social issues.
            We need to be pointing out when anti-gun advocates are arrested for illegal gun smuggling, tax cheats advocate for higher taxes, and climate change defenders fly in big jets, drive fossil fuel burning cars, or live in homes that have larger carbon footprints than most industrial cities.
            Rule number five: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
            Ridicule can be defeated by logic, and truth.
            A liberal left homosexual used to frequently comment on my blog, Political Pistachio.  He would pick apart my writing, make fun of my mistakes if I made any, and would ridicule me as much as possible.  Knowing that I am a Christian, he would also try to pick apart my writing by questioning my Christian values.  Usually, logic, statistics, and appropriate Bible verses worked wonders against his attacks.  Nonetheless, statists are determined creatures, and the attacks became so ferocious that I began to do what I could to block him from commenting on my site.  His day job involves computers, and he would always find a way around my attempts to block him.  The attacks against my “book of rules,” and attempts to “ridicule me into silence” didn’t stop until his boyfriend died, and the grief drove him from participating in the blogging community.
            The difficulty with rules four and five, as provided by Saul Alinsky, is that “conservatives” do not know how to turn these tactics around and against the statists.  We are moral people by nature, and so we cannot bring ourselves to fight dirty like the statists do.  So, we continue to bring knives to a gun fight, and then wonder why we keep losing.
            Every human being has a weakness, a book of rules of their own, and like us, they cannot be one hundred percent in line with their book of rules at all times.  We simply need to discover what those rules are, and pay attention so that we can call them out for betraying those rules.
            This goes back to my statement a few chapters ago about how the death of Lavoy Finicum was an opportunity wasted for our side.  The statists claim to be peace-loving, but they shot a man dead because he dared to oppose them.  The continuous accusations of “murderers” and “freedom killers” should have been so loud that the public sat up and took notice.  How is it that the liberal left is so successful in doing this, and we are not?  We say all of the time that we need to learn how to use their own rules against them, but when the opportunity arises, our good nature holds us back because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  We cower when we should be on the offensive.
            When I was younger, I did not like to fist fight, but if the other person was intent on hurting me, the rules went out the window.  They had to, for the sake of survival.  For us, logic and truth usually prevails – if we are willing to wield those weapons.
            Rule number six: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
            The difference between the statists and the constitutionalists is that they enjoy destruction, deception, and being agitators.  The “conservative” minded people are not fond of these kinds of tactics.  But, that does not mean that Alinsky’s rule number six cannot be taken advantage of.  Why can’t we be creative?  I hold Constitution Classes at a gun shop.  What about fundraisers at gun ranges?  One time a group I am associated with went to a Ted Nugent concert.  Some of the more elderly members of the group weren’t so sure about if they enjoyed it by the time it ended, but it was definitely a great chance for us to spend time together.
On Constitution Day my group will have a picnic at the Independence Hall replica at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.  It’s a great way to get out the message, and an opportunity to reach out to curious onlookers.
Tea Party rallies have been among the most enjoyable events I have attended, as well.  Standing up to city council members with the force of many members of my group behind me is something I enjoy.  Standing against statism can be enjoyable, and it is those enjoyable events that keep us focused, and coming back for more.
            Among the most enjoyable was a situation regarding an underground bunker in the City of Menifee, California.  A resident with about an acre and a half of land decided he wanted to build an underground bunker.  He said it was for the safety of his family.  Considering that Southern Californians constantly live in fear of the next big earthquake, and at the time the San Onofre nuclear power plant was still active, it made all of the sense in the world.  The bunker was not going to just be a cement box covered with dirt and grass, either.  This bunker was going to be an engineered living space equipped with bedroom, living facilities, and much more.
            As a good citizen, the landowner went to the city to get his permits, and it turned out that there were no ordinances on the books regarding underground bunkers.  So, the resident was required to make a request directly to the city council.  When he went before the council, one of the members was missing, and the four in attendance said, “No.”  They accused him of being some kind of survivalist, or wanting the bunker to hide guns, or molest little boys.
            Word got back to me about the situation from the company who had been hired to build the bunker.  The local business, at the time, was an advertiser on my radio show, as well.  So, I told them to send out emails, have the landowner do the same, and I would also do so, that we were going to swarm the city council at the next meeting and demand they reconsider.  Faced with large numbers, they would like give in and do was we say.
            As I drove to the location after work the day of the city council meeting, I was imagining in my mind fifty citizens standing firm in support of the property owner, demanding that he be allowed to build his bunker.  When I got to the location, the number was at least double that, with the auditorium, lobby, and nearby parking lot packed with supporters of the man who wanted to build an underground bunker.
            A number of people, including myself, gave our presentations to the council during public comments, and the arrogance of the councilmembers was no longer present.  The councilman who had been missing from the previous meeting motioned that they revisit the issue, and it was on the agenda for the next meeting – at which they voted to allow the man to build his bunker.
            That was a tactic I enjoyed, as did everyone else that was present.  Making a difference, and standing up against tyranny has a special enjoyment that goes with it.
            Rule number seven: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
The various meats and vegetables on the table at the feast must always be changing.  New crises and new opportunities to stand against statism must always be sought out.  If a group becomes nothing more than a club that meets, eats, and complains, they lose their effectiveness.  If new challenges are constantly arising, and new opportunities are being sought out, the warriors remain interested, and fresh.
Rule number eight: Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
Remember the candidate who strategically placed his flyers and signs where the opposition would see them?  If we keep the pressure on, and are constantly at various events, gatherings, and media opportunities, the same nervousness is planted.  “They’re everywhere,” will become a common exclamation of fear.  Keep the pressure on, and you keep them guessing.  We want them to worry, we want them to think we are coming for them, and by keeping the pressure on, the statists will begin to believe we are bigger than we are – and as a result we will become bigger than we are.
Unfortunately, conservatives fail on this one all of the time.  We ease up when we should push harder, or when the liberal left attacks back, we get offended, and let it go.
Rule number nine: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
This is why the republicans continuously fold under the threat of a government shutdown.  They know the threat, and so they shy away from the action.  You know how it goes.  If the GOP causes a government shutdown, the republicans get blamed for it.  If the democrats causes a government shutdown, the republicans still get blamed for it.  So, the Right shies away from confrontation because the threat of the consequences by the democrats is enough to scare the conservatives away from it.  Until we match leftist tactics with our own, and are willing to throw down with them when they pull their garbage, we will continue to be beaten.  Rather than cower in the corner, it is time to match them blow by blow.  It is time to set aside being well-behaved, every once in a while, and make some noise.  I am not talking about burning down bridges, but I am suggesting that we learn to rattle bridges, and shake bushes.  We may be surprised by how many frightened liberal left rabbits come running out, and away.
Rule number ten: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
Unceasing pressure is essential to the success of our efforts.  I suppose you could call it a game of political chicken, but we also have to remember that to every action there is a reaction – and if we can get the statists to react foolishly, it will be a point in our favor.  But, even then, the constant pressure must remain, causing them to react, and react, and react, until finally they either give in, or move in our direction.
The pressure must be applied through every outlet possible; internet, social media, radio, television, print ads, letters to the editor, and so on and so forth.  Eventually, even the uninformed will begin to take notice.
Rule number eleven: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.
Alinsky says that every positive has its negative, and I suppose the opposite could also be true.  Slinging mud is effective, and as in chess, you must go on the offense to win.  The problem is, conservatives spend more time refuting attacks, and going after their own for stepping out of line, that we never go on offense.  If we are playing defense all of the time, in the end, we will lose to a check-mate.  Sure, we have to defend sometimes, but we should be attacking relentlessly.
Rule number twelve: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
Republicans believe this means they must always have a replacement ready for liberal left policies.  Often, the constructive alternative is not another big government policy, but repeal, and then working back towards constitutional limits and State sovereignty.
The Affordable Care Act is a great example, here.  The rallying cry of the Republican Party regarding Obamacare has been “repeal and replace.”  After all, they will tell us, we have to have a “constructive alternative.”  From a constitutional viewpoint, replacing an unconstitutional federal intrusion into health care with a different unconstitutional federal intrusion into health care just doesn’t seem constructive, as an alternative.  The alternative, in the case of the Affordable Care Act should be “less federal government interference,” and a stronger patient/provider relationship.
Rule number thirteen: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Polarization comes easy for collectivists and statists.  They have a good portion of the population believing that anything right-of-center is automatically racist, sexist, against the poor, and in the pockets of the wealthy.  The reality is, the opposite is true.  The Right, however, seems to have a problem polarizing the Democrats.  Why not point out how the Democrat Party is hostile towards Christianity, military veterans, southerners, success, entrepreneurs, and whites?  Why didn’t we spend more time polarizing the Democrats of struggling over whether or not to keep God on their platform, or Michelle Obama’s exclamation about how she was proud of the country for the first time in her life because it looked like Barry was going to win?  We seem to recognize the target, but we can’t seem to freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
We tend to be too nice to fight.  That has got to stop.
These tactics we discussed are simply ones provided by Saul Alinsky in his book, Rules for Radicals.  How many other tactics can we create to achieve victory?
Tactics without action are meaningless.  Sitting on the couch complaining is not an effective strategy.  And out tactics cannot be simply defensive in nature.  As we engage the enemy in this fight, we must be on the offense.  We must take the fight to them, and use their own tactics against them.
Tactics change with the calendar.  When Alinsky wrote Rules for Radicals, he had no idea regarding the technology that was on the horizon.  Twitter and Texting were definitely not words they were using fifty years ago.  So, while Alinsky’s list is a good one, and something we can use to plan our resistance against statism, we must be creative enough to come up with our own, as well.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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