Who Is Saul Alinsky, and Why Does the Right Hate Him So Much?
A primer on a man most liberals never heard of until Barack Obama ran for President. No doubt we’ll be hearing about this conservative boogeyman again in 2015 if Hillary Clinton runs again.
One of Alinsky’s insights was to realize how many stakeholders there were to organize. He saw that the same grievances connected ordinary citizens, labor unions, churches, small businesses, and more — and if you could somehow get all those groups together, they were almost unstoppable. And he did get them together.
Alinsky didn’t just theorize about organizing. He was, himself, an organizer. A criminologist by training, Alinsky lived in Chicago, and began his work in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in the 1930s. He created the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, a group bringing together unions, religious leaders, and other stakeholders in that area. At its first meeting, Alinsky biographer Sanford Horwitt writes, the council passed resolutions calling for a new recreation facility, for child nutrition and disease prevention programs, and to ask the Armour meatpacking company to compromise with the nascent meatpackers’ union. The council took on a permanent role in the community, and still exists.