…BUT, the reviews by customers still let you in on what this book has done to American society. Here’s a favorite from the top of the list:
Appalling, Disturbing and Eye-Opening August 25, 2014
First off, unlike most of the negative reviewers, I’m a pretty liberal guy. I first flipped through this book 12 years ago when I was involved in some progressive/anti-war groups in college. I was disturbed then, but I didn’t pay it much mind, I just put the book away and found other ones that spoke to me. Several years later, I was working in the non-profit sector working with local community service organizations and someone recommended it to me. I knew that it had now gotten more mainstream attention since its affiliation with Obama, so I decided to take another look. Again, I was immediately turned off.
Now with the situation in Ferguson, I happened to read this book mentioned in my news feed. This time, I decided to read the whole thing. I was disgusted & appalled. What’s most disturbing is how influential this book has been in leftist circles.
The book isn’t about building communities, eliminating poverty and achieving social and economic justice. It’s simply a guide on how to manipulate disempowered people by getting them angry at some external source, setting people up as “enemies” to be the object of people’s hatred, whether they deserve it or not, and exploiting poor people for political gain rather doing a single thing that actually addresses their poverty.
I realize now, that this book is the worst thing to happen to the American left. The income gap has widened, schools are becoming as segregated as they were prior to Brown v. Board, and more poor people are in prison than ever. Dreams of a college education and home ownership, something that we made great progress in the 1960’s are quickly becoming a fading fantasy. Part of this has to do with the push for privatization, and the rise of the prison-industrial complex, for sure. But now I, also believe it is indicative of the failure of the “new left”, made up of privileged, white college students in the 1970’s, many who followed this book to the letter.
Decades of social and economic progress have been undone in the past 20 years, and I think the tactics in this book share a significant part of the blame. The “divide and conquer” philosophy, the focus on hating the opposition at all costs, on smug self-righteousness, and ridicule has turned so many people off of politics and activism, it’s no wonder most people don’t want to get involved. I heard from numerous teachers and professors when I was younger, how our generation was “apathetic” and “cynical”. But now it all makes sense. This terrible book would turn off any well-meaning liberal, create distrust amongst urban communities, and resentment from people who might be unfairly targeted by it. So many “activist” organizations, used this book as a blueprint along with the non-profit model, and end up accomplishing nothing except taking money from poor people to pay the salaries of executive directors and high level staff.
Liberals and leftists need to stop reading this garbage and look for constructive, practical solutions to the real world problems of poverty. This should be looked at with the same disdain as Mein Kampf, a historical curiosity that is pretty much total garbage, but only interesting in how influential it was to a society. But first, we need to break free from its terrible grasp.
For the record, I do recommend that you get a copy of this book — while it’s up to you to decide whether it’s important to know your ideological opponent, I strongly urge you to become familiar with your ideological enemies. Here’s a link to the Kindle version: “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky; and here’s a very brief synopsis of the author’s amoral tactics (that Obama infamously ‘taught’ and was praised for as a ‘Community Organizer’ earlier in his career): “Know Thine Enemy: Tactics from Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals”