Talk:Saul Alinsky

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Recent edits[edit]

(Breaking out substantive discussion of recent edits from previous section. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:04, 16 February 2012 (UTC))

Can you help me understand your objection to the sentence? You disagree with the word "nonsocialist"? -- Sailing to Byzantium (msg), 01:06, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
"Reprehensible" is a pretty strong term. Why such a reaction to this sentence? Gamaliel (talk) 18:05, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Presumably we are all talking about the recent series of edits (of which this diff is representative), involving the placement of the sentence that Alinsky 'has been compared to Thomas Paine as being "one of the great American leaders of the nonsocialist left.' These changes have not been about the sentence itself so much as its placement, either in the lede, or in the Legacy section.
That statement has been in the lede for several years, without objection, and its removal has been objected. Anyone feeling that it should be moved please explain why you think so. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:24, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
In my view, it's too questionable a comparison to be placed in the "lede", but still deserves a place in the article. It paints a sympathetic picture of a highly controversial figure in American history; hence, its placement slants the article.--Cyrrk (talk) 05:08, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, that's your view. Seeing how there has been no controversy about either the article or Alinsky himself until just the last few months, when a certain extremely partisan right-wing candidate for office starting flapping away on what a terrible socialist Alinsky was (and what a dangerous influence he is on the President), I can hardly doubt that is where you are coming from: a highly-partisan, non-neutral point of view. It seems to be true report that he has, indeed, been compared to Thomas Paine (even if you don't), and given such stature it would be slanting the article to diminish that. These seem to be plain facts, and so far you have not been persuasive otherwise. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:29, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't agree with J. Johnson (JJ)'s comments because I don't think he is assuming good faith. The arguments here should be evaluated on their merits and I find J. Johnson (JJ)'s comments partisan. That said, I don't find the argument that the placement of the Thomas Paine comparison in the ledge slants the article convincing. It is a comparison that has been made by a widely read publication and it is accurate to include this information. If there are other well sourced opinions of Saul Alinsky's legacy, I see no reason why these could not be included in the lede as well. But it is not proper to remove the comparison to Thomas Paine as it violates the guidelines for the lede paragraph. If you feel that there is a point of view being underrepresented, I suggest finding sources. -- Sailing to Byzantium (msg), 00:04, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry as well to see that J. Johnson felt the need to not only project his own deeply-rooted partisanship and non-neutrality on others, but to even resort to baseless attacks on my character and intentions in the absence of anything substantive or constructive to say. How about this to offer an alternative perspective: "Saul Alinsky was a radical, but a Tory radical or a radical conservative: a man with a libertarian sensibility who supported all the little men fighting against any large structure, whether it was the government, a corporation, or organized labor."[1]?--Cyrrk (talk) 01:26, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
If I understand the above correctly, it is Ronald Radosh's characterization of Nicholas von Hoffman's position in the book Radical: A Portrait of Saul Alinsky. The big government aspect of Radosh's characterization seems reasonable given that von Hoffman wrote: "in actuality big government worried [Alinsky]". The corporation part seems reasonable as well, as the article states that Alinsky fought to get more black workers hired at a company. But I see no evidence for the claim that Alinsky fought against organized labor. This position would be strengthened by quotes from the primary source under discussion.-- Sailing to Byzantium (msg), 20:21, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Is the basis of your allegation of "baseless attacks" (more than one?) where I said that "so far you have not been persuasive"? Or is it where I said you seem to be coming from "a highly-partisan, non-neutral point of view"? Note that I did not say that you are highly-partisan, only that the view you espouse seems to come from a highly-partisan source. None of this constitutes a personal attack; perhaps you should review WP:NPA#WHATIS. And note: "Accusing someone of making personal attacks without providing a justification for your accusation is also considered a form of personal attack." Now I have previously assumed good faith on your part, attributing your several missteps to simple ignorance of accepted procedure, or perhaps over-exuberance. But with this personal attack you have made on me I think you need to demonstrate your good faith by retracting your unjustified and ill-advised statement. (I presume you know how to strike out text.) ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:57, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think you are assuming good faith because of the following sentence: "Seeing how there has been no controversy about either the article or Alinsky himself until just the last few months, when a certain extremely partisan right-wing candidate for office starting flapping away on what a terrible socialist Alinsky was (and what a dangerous influence he is on the President), I can hardly doubt that is where you are coming from: a highly-partisan, non-neutral point of view." The implication here is that because this content dispute happened around the same time as when a conservative politician brought up Alinsky, the content dispute itself must be partisan. Is your theory possible? Yes. But it is improper to immediately question another editor's underlying motives. I find the distinction you attempt to draw between calling someone highly-partisan and their point of view highly-partisan unconvincing. -- Sailing to Byzantium (msg), 20:29, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
I was not impugning that editor's motives, and even suggested that they might be as innocent as mere over-exuberance. Nor was I suggesting that he (she?) is highly partisan, only the likely source of these sentiments. (Perhaps you are also unclear on the difference between wearing clothes, and being clothes?) Even if that was a fair (albeit mistaken) interpretation of what I said, it does not amount to "baseless attacks" on Cyrrk's character, personal or otherwise; he has no basis for his attack. Both of you are overly quick to charge me with failing to assume good faith with you, while failing to grant me the same courtesy. I think you both need to take a longer look at WP:NPA#WHATIS and see what real personal attacks look like, and stop this whining. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:26, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
With respect, you're misrepresenting my position in a few places. First, I never claimed a personal attack took place, so WP:NPA#WHATIS is not relevant to my position as you imply. Second, I have not been overly quick to charge you; I made my claim a full four days into the discussion. My singular claim was a WP:AGF issue regarding the content disput. I was with you and you were on rock solid ground all the way up until "when a certain extremely partisan right-wing candidate for office starting flapping away". In my view, this did not add anything to the discussion and you were attempting to link that statement with the underlying motives of another editor. WP:CIVIL is of help here, specifically: "do not assume any more intentional wrongdoing than the evidence clearly supports, and given equally plausible interpretations of the evidence, choose the most positive one." I didn't think this rule was followed here and that's why I brought it up. However, I will take you at your word here and assume you did not mean to use this statement in the way I suggested you did. It's still odd that the sentence made its way into this debate though; what you were you hoping to accomplish by bringing it up? The grounds for leaving the sentence in the lead had already been well established by you and others and I don't understand why you had to inject politics in the discussion. With respect to what Cyrrk has said about you, I do not stand by his position.-- Sailing to Byzantium (msg), 23:33, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
What I see as a personal attack would be Cyrrk's remark. My comment on that was over stretched in referring to you, and I apologise for that. I do take your remark on AGF as being hasty, in that you seemed to have judged me without asking for clarification. But possibly we are clear about that now, so no problem. I would reiterate that at no time have I assumed "intentional wrongdoing" by Cyrrk. For sure, his repeat edits were wrong (constituting edit-warring), but I think more properly attributed to lack of understanding or over-exuberance, and his cessation of that conduct is an adequate demonstration of good faith. (Though I think he still needs to retract some of his comments.)
As to the core issue, of whether I injected politics into the discussion: I say that the change Cyrrk wanted comes from, and reflects, a highly partisan political point of view. (Mind, I am not saying that he, or his motive, is highly partisan, only that the change he wanted is so tainted.) I raised that point because Cyrrk's specific complaint was that the existing arrangement painted "a sympathetic picture of a highly controversial figure". But the "highly controversial" characterization appears to be the doing of the single highly-partisan figure I've referred to, and both that and the objection about sympathy (or not) constitute a very non-neutral point of view. I don't believe pointing that out is either political or partisan. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:31, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I believe I understand your position now. I do see your point about being hasty and I will be sure to ask for clarification earlier in the discussion in the future. -- Sailing to Byzantium (msg), 01:11, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Why hide the fact that Alinski's most famous book was dedicated to "Lucifer?"[edit]

It is amazing that such a noteworthy fact as: Alinski dedicated his most important publication to Lucifer- is completely absent from this article!

Don't you find this a noteworthy point? If George W Bush dedicated "Decision Points" to "Lucifer," I'm sure we'd be reading about it in Wikipedia, that's for sure! But -poof!- no mention of the fact that this man on his own dedicated his seminal work to the Prince of Hell anywhere in this article! How come??

Such a glaring omission smacks of a bias in how this article is constructed. A fact is a fact, however, and such an interesting, unique and provocative fact should at the very least be included in any discussion about Saul Alinski. After all, if the man didn't wish to generate controversy, why did he dedicate his book to Lucifer in the first place?? You do a huge disservice to those seeking the truth by keeping this omission from Wikipedia's uninformed readers, IMHO. Thanks. 122.25.227.230 (talk) 14:32, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

I found no such dedication. What page is it on? NeoAdamite (talk) 20:37, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Rules for Radicals (1971) was not dedicated to Lucifer; it was dedicated to Irene, Alinsky's third wife. On the page following the dedication are three epigraphs, from Rabbi Hillel, Thomas Paine, and the third from Alinsky himself. In this third epigraph, which Alinsky describes as an "over-the-shoulder acknowledgement" (not a dedication), he characterizes Lucifer as "the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively he at least won his own kingdom." As conservative historian Ronald Radosh wrote in National Review Online, Alinsky's reference to Lucifer was done "clearly facetiously" and "tongue-in-cheek." This is a bogus controversy with little underlying significance. Dwalls (talk) 23:57, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
Bravo to Dwalls for this research and comment. Rostz (talk) 15:15, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, good work, Dwalls. As a bit of extra icing on the cake, would you perhaps have a citation handy for Radosh's comment? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:02, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Of course. It's titled "Saul Alinsky: A Complicated Radical," from the August 11, 2010 edition of National Review Online, at [2]. Dwalls (talk) 01:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Excellent. We could also refer to the epigraph's themselves for the plain text, but in regard of characterizations or interpretations it is best to rely on other reliable sources, as you have done. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:24, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
"You do a huge disservice to those seeking the truth" -- Snort. What would you know of such people? -- 96.248.226.133 (talk) 01:19, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

A Google-search provides this from Yahoo Answers, "Best Answer: Yes, he dedicated his book "Rules for Radicals" to Lucifer. The dedication says: “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.” . . . But who cares? At this point, what difference does it make? — Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 02:25, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, but Yahoo Answers is wrong on this. As I wrote above, and anyone can see for herself by looking at a copy of the book, Alinsky dedicated it to Irene, his third wife. Lucifer is mentioned on a separate page with three epigraphs, which are not dedications. Apparently it makes a difference to people with a bone to pick with Alinsky. Dwalls (talk) 17:42, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
The reference Saul Alinsky made to Lucifer is notable. How we include it will be challenging. I'd like to suggest we start by developing a list of suitable references that speak about the text itself. I'll see if I can find a few and start the list.--Nowa (talk) 01:31, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
I would suggest starting with neoconservative historian Ronald Radosh, "Saul Alinsky: A Complicated Radical," from the August 11, 2010 edition of National Review Online, at [3], where he terms the reference to Lucifer as done "clearly facetiously" and "tongue-in-cheek." Dwalls (talk) 12:41, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
This alleged dedication seems notable mainly for those on the right wing, not in the mainstream. But perhaps we could have a box noting how uninformed persons keep insisting on "that which is not"? (And then keep insisting that this evil person was a role model for Obama.) ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:56, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Dwalls - Thanks. Great reference. Are there any other references we should consider?--Nowa (talk) 23:59, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
JJ - I think the National Review Reference also supports what you are saying.--Nowa (talk) 00:21, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
I think the National Review piece establishes notability only within neocons. This matter does not appear to be notable in any larger population, so I think the matter would have to be treated as any other wp:fringe view. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:30, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
JJ: wp:fringe seems to be about fringe theories. The issue here is whether or not a particular quote by Saul Alinsky is notable, and if so, how that quote should be presented in the article. It seems to me that you are agreeing with the National Review that the quote is notable among conservatives. Did I capture your view correctly?--Nowa (talk) 00:27, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
You left out a word. The essence of my view is that this belief is notable only among conservatives. Which may suffice for inclusion in Conservapedia, but I question whether this is sufficiently notable for Wikipeidia. This belief that Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer (as stated in header of this section) is demonstrably false, and therefore fringe. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:29, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I think we've both made our positions clear. Let's see if any other editors wish to weigh in.--Nowa (talk) 21:38, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Here is another reference that speaks to the notability of the Lucifer quote from Wolfe, C.J. “Lessons from the Friendship of Jacques Maritain with Saul Alinsky” The Catholic Social Science Review 16 (2011): 229-240--Nowa (talk) 00:48, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Some of the shocking lines from Rules - such as the often quoted dedication to Lucifer, the “first radical”—were likely intended merely for their rhetorical shock value, and are not constitutive parts of Alinsky’s philosophy. Lucifer is not even mentioned for the remainder of the book, so it is unlikely that the dedication was anything more than a jest.

I don't think Alinsky's (supposed) dedication to Lucifer is to be taken seriously. Alinsky himself, was secular Jewish agnostic; who was known for doing (or saying) "shocking" things (in his time). We must take this fact into consideration. Yahoo Answers and blog-posts are not reliable sources for citing information. We must stay as neutral (while difficult as may be) as possible on this subject. If you want to include this alleged dedication, put it in the wiki-article "Rules for Radicals". This is just my opinion. Ninmacer20 (talk) 23:56, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks.--Nowa (talk) 01:08, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Steve Stockman[edit]

I wonder if this reference has generated any traffic? Stockman invite rode clown. Perhaps not worthy of inclusion, but is the reason I read the article having no prior knowledge. Good luck with neutrality regarding a person who seems to be a conservative's version of the anti-Christ! Cheers --JimmyButler (talk) 16:52, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Some WP:coatrack items.[edit]

I have just removed two of the external links. The first mentioned Whittaker Chambers for no evident reason at all (except possibly guilt by association?), and linked to a 1946 book review hidden behind a paywall.

The second link was to a review by Beherent of a book on Obama. The quote (and why would an external link need a quote?) was missing some context that changes its meaning. The link seems to be no more than a wp:coatrack for getting in "... Obama ... is a disciple of Alinsky". ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:41, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Question: Alinsky as a conservative bugbear[edit]

I think it would be useful to have a section covering the conservative movement's creation of "Alinsky" as a pejorative (e.g. "Alinsky-style") as well as a generalized bugbear reference.

As covered by comedian Bill Maher here: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bill-maher-wants-to-know-who-the-fk-is-saul-alinsky/

As covered by Salon: http://www.salon.com/2012/02/07/saul_alinsky_the_activist_who_terrifies_the_right/

Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/The-Vote/2012/0128/Who-is-Saul-Alinsky-and-why-is-Newt-Gingrich-so-obsessed-with-him

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/the-right-wing-resurrects_b_1663154.html

Blue Mass Group (also mirrored on DailyKos): http://bluemassgroup.com/2012/01/the-alinsky-obsession/

So I'd like some help coming up with a NPOV wording to satisfy covering this phenomenon. DavidPatrick70 (talk) 15:20, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

I have no problem with that. Be bold! Bearian (talk) 17:12, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the right's attempt to redefine Alinsky should be covered. "The Other Bill" (Moyers) has looked at this; see the links at the top of this page. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:00, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Dinesh D'Souza's recently released film, "America: Imagine the World Without Her" includes a segment on Alinsky that makes him seem like the devil incarnate. Zombiesturm (talk) 00:39, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

About what could be expected, Dinesh D'Souza being "affiliated with a number of conservative organizations and publications." ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:32, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Why No 'Criticism' Section?[edit]

Even with the people and ideologies I agree with I expect a "Criticism" section. But this doesn't have one. In fact I don't recall a single critical word about Saul Alinsky. There are even critical sections on people like Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela (two people who are venerated).

It's common knowledge that the entries on global warming and strongly censored, but this is ridiculous. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Reginald sniff-peters (talkcontribs) 10:58, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, but WP style specifically discourages separate "criticism" sections. If other articles have them, take it up on their talk pages, not this one. AgentOrangeTabby (talk) 22:12, 31 October 2014 (UTC)