Saul David Alinsky Quotes

Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.

Saul David Alinsky

Men don't like to step abruptly out of the security of familiar experience; they need a bridge to cross from their own experience to a new way. A revolutionary organizer must shake up the prevailing patterns of their lives -- agitate, create disenchantment and discontent with the current values, to produce, if not a passion for change, at least a passive, affirmative, non-challenging climate.

Saul David Alinsky

The end is what you want and the means is how you get it.

Saul David Alinsky

Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.

Saul David Alinsky

Always remember the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have. The second rule is: Never go outside the experience of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, it results in confusion, fear, and retreat. [...] The third rule is: Whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

Saul David Alinsky

For an elementary illustration of tactics, take parts of your face as the point of reference; your eyes, your ears, and your nose. First the eyes; if you have organized a vast, mass-based peoples organization, you can parade it visibly before the enemy and openly show your power. Second the ears; if your organization is small in numbers, then do what Gideon did: conceal the members in the dark but raise a din and clamor that will make the listener believe that your organization numbers many more than it does. Third, the nose; if your organization is too tiny even for noise, stink up the place.

Saul David Alinsky

Change comes from power, and power comes from organization. In order to act, people must get together.

Saul David Alinsky

It does not matter what you know about anything if you cannot communicate to your people. In that event you are not even a failure. You're just not there.

Saul David Alinsky

The Ninth Rule of the ethics of means and ends is that any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.

Saul David Alinsky

To say that corrupt means corrupt the ends is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles. The real arena is corrupt and bloody. Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life.

Saul David Alinsky

Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.

Saul David Alinsky

In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace, cooperation, equal and full opportunities for education, full and useful employment, health, and the creation of those circumstances in which man can have the chance to live by values that give meaning to life.

Saul David Alinsky

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.

Saul David Alinsky

Dostoevski said that taking a new step is what people fear the most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution.

Saul David Alinsky

Asking a sociologist to solve a problem is like prescribing an enema for diarrhea.

Saul David Alinsky
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