When I wrote a 1965 article on Saul Alinsky for Christianity and Crisis magazine - later anthologized in the book Witness to A Generation - Alinsky had seven years to live. By 1972 when he died at age 63, he was the dean of community organizers in the United States. He had largely overcome the objections of his critics. save for the most obdurate on the hard right.
Researching prior to the Obama run in 2008, I found two others had taken in-depth looks at Alinsky - Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Alinsky was clearly a major stop on the learning tour these two took before they decided that electoral politics is the best way to actually get things done in America.
And that's the story in a nutshell almost fifty years from the time I entered Alinsky's modest Michigan Avenue office and began an investigation of several months duration. The verdict then, which has not been contradicted, is that Saul Alinsky was a crack organizer whose basic values were tolerance, democracy and helpfulness. He applied these values to get things done in a country where the ultimate prize was and remains the control of governance itself.
That Alinsky championed a confrontational, in-your-face militancy is true, but the provocative things he did were like the Yippies, not their violent cousins. Alinsky was good at scaring media and ginning up controversy. These were weapons of the powerless and marginalized. Saul gained very least a voice at the table for such folk.
Alinsky also left a legacy that was explicit, the Industrial Areas Foundation which continues his work and extends his influence. Community organization was responsible for the ground game of the Obama operation and the various permutations of the Tea Party insofar as they have involve grass roots efforts. Even the now-hapless Karl Rove achieved some successes by assiduous grass roots organizing.
That's all we are talking about. Grass roots organizing with a patina of Yippie sensibility. If one looks back today, one would have to conclude that Alinsky helped to fashion in the American mind a role for the community organizer, a role that transcends political party or religious persuasion. Today and in the future, there will be no democratic politics or social movement that does not make an implicit bow to Saul.
That said, both President Obama and Secretary Clinton realized the clear and daunting limitations of community organizing. Both entered electoral politics precisely to get things done that cannot be achieved just by gaining some power at the grass roots. I went back and looked at one of the organizations Alinsky lofted into the stratosphere in the 1960s - the Woodlawn Organization (TWO) in Barack Obama's neighborhood in Chicago. At the time, Alinsky could stimulate apoplexy in the adjacent University of Chicago community with a few well-chosen sound bites. Today the conflict has morphed into what can only be called an arrangement in which both sides of the dispute have had successes. Suffice to say that without TWO things would have been worse over time.
I would hazard the guess that in the future Alinsky's methods and aims will be integral to American politics and determine both winners and losers, just as they did in November, 2012. The key to community organizing remains constant. Doing it and doing it well.
Frangoulis and Theodorakis are joined by musicians, including two bouzouki players, and a very large audience that is completely familiar with the words. The audience joins in at Frangoulis' prompt.
This is my very favorite Theodorakis melody. Those who know Theodorakis only for his "Zorba" music are in for a treat. When I was in Athens in 1966, for a short period of study with Constantinos Doxiadis, I knew nothing of Theodorakis. But about five years later, my friend Irene Vassos sang "Sto perigiali" to us. I have never gotten the tune out of my mind.
Later, when Irene joined our group to form a travelling company performing "New Rain", I learned to pick out a …
To counter the invidious efforts of Karl Rove and the Brothers Koch, simple videos of everyday people expressing gratitude for specific results from specific things that the President has achieved will create a signature response that will turn the tables on the Super PACs.
There could be an intro that flags lies distortions and anonymous attacks as unreal and even criminal and a cut to what is real, recognizable and not anonymous I am (name). I have lived here in (name) for (time). Thanks to (President Obama's (name) Act ... and so forth for ten seconds. Close with a continuation of the story narrated over evocative images and simple acoustic music.
This would be a fantastic way to counter the attacks on the President. For every specific attack, a video that shows the truth. And grass roots people who intend to vote for the President.