Home > Alinsky, General > Saul Alinsky Quotes

Saul Alinsky Quotes


“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”[ From the dedication page of Rules for Radicals]

“Radicals must be resilient, adaptable to shifting political circumstances, and sensitive enough to the process of action and reaction to avoid being trapped by their own tactics and forced to travel a road not of their choosing.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Last guys don’t finish nice.”

“A racially integrated community is a chronological term timed from the entrance of the first black family to the exit of the last white family.”

“The greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself.”

“A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage — the political paradise of communism.”

“The first step in community organization is community disorganization. The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are  to be displace by new patterns…. All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new.”

“An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent… He must create a mechanism that can drain off the underlying guilt for having accepted the previous situation for so long a time. Out of this mechanism, a new community organization arises….”

“The end is what you want, the means is how you get it. Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises. The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms. He has no other problem; he thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action. He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work. … The real arena is corrupt and bloody.”

“The third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means….”

“…the organizer must be able to split himself into two parts — one part in the arena of action where he polarizes the issue to 100 to nothing, and helps to lead his forces into conflict, while the other part knows that when the time comes for negotiations that it really is only a 10 percent difference.”

  1. Joe Clarke
    February 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Radical means root in Latin. American Radicals are those that go back to the root values of America – equality, justice, liberty. They’ve had to rise up against the human exploitation by big industry overtime: Ford, Pennslyvania Railroad, sweat shops. Hired thugs, the Pinkertons — similar to the ones seen recently disrupting protests in Cairo and other areas where the people are rising up to rule — were used against working people (the poor) who struck for wages, hours and rights, that most American workers take for granted today, were bought with the smashed skulls of men, women and children who dared oppose Big Interests.

  2. ML
    November 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Can’t wait to see the Muslim Brotherhood “ruling” now that Obama has botched the entire Middle East. We’ll soon see those countries go back to the 7th century, complete with swords, beheadings, women in veils behind windows, terrible oppression of half of the human race, church burnings, increase in rapes . . . it’s all coming. And for the record, the same “big industry” you are whining about is where how you got your toys that you can’t live without: computer, cell phone, iphone, ipad, closet bulging with clothes, flat-screen tv, most of your food in grocery stores, car, movies, CDs, shoes, printer, coffee maker, books, easy chair, comforter, couches–you name it, “big industry” made it. Your generation just takes it all for granted, so you whine about big bad corporate America all the while using those hundreds of PRODUCTS made by “Big Industry.” How about being grateful that someone is on a platform in the middle of the ocean, away from his family, bringing oil to our country to make hundreds of products that you use? Oil/petroleum is in tons of products; google it sometime. How about being grateful for farmers who work grueling hours to bring us food? How about being grateful that your dad, mom and grandfather and/or grandmother worked often 2 jobs to raise your family’s standard of living from poverty, and did it all without complaining? How about being grateful for the little things you take for granted every minute of your ungrateful life? Nothing is a right; everything must be worked for.

  3. June 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Amen brother ML, the Alinskyites and BaROKE OWEbumbler lovers are at war with civil society and America. They are invested in the gospel of Karl Marx–hate the man who is better off than they are. They blame his success on exploitation or cheating others instead of his own efforts or ambition to succeed. Pulp writer Lester Dent once wrote: “Poor people and liberals always blame rich people for poverty, the last thing a stupid or lazy man will admit is that he’s stupid and lazy.”

  1. January 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

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