Talk:Saul Alinsky

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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)

This is hand in hand tithe lefts attempts to redefine Alinsky status by ignoring valid criticisms. Both the right and the left are off the mark, the reality is that there are unsavory aspects of Alinsky and legacy which are not mentioned by either and should be given light.

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)
Agree, current text fails to convey what a bogey he is for the right, and instead indicates the opposite, that insurgencies of all kinds equally honor him, conservatives in particular, and doesn't make clear in just a tactical way. 108.183.102.223 (talk) 23:10, 2 June 2016 (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)

There are strong material references to the negative effects he learned in the the studied tutelage of Al Capone, which made it into Rules for Radicals. All of the negative aspects of that book were from Alinsky and people have the right to know what Alinksy followers are doing with his tactics and strategies, including disrupting Democracy and breaking the law. There are many victims and they deserve a voice here on this page. There should be a section and list of tactics and strategies deployed. And there should be a list of Associations under the Industrial Areas Foundation, which is across the US and number above 30. They have their own run in's using Alinsky methodology, even spotlight dissenters who are in their way, even media hosts. Outlining criticism and the behavior is warranted. He is a public figure engaging in political process, so Wiki supports criticism of public figures, even historical ones.

The Wiki entry includes "..Alinsky received much criticism.." contributors and readers have a right to know what those are, the criticism section is merited.

Re "Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton"[edit]

Regarding the comment "Seeing how there has been no controversy about either the article or Alinsky himself until just the last few months" This is simply not true. There are fact based controversies regarding the victimization that occurs as the results of Alinsky's organization rules. That includes harassment as means to alienate. This a neutral fact. That there is an increase in the reporting of these facts means that Wiki has the obligation to capture this development. It is known that the leading Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton did her thesis on Alinsky, and this is a major area of interest for the public since it adds understanding to the views, associations and politics. Especially where the topic quotes he is controversial and with criticism. Just because something is not flattering does't mean it's not true or no neutral.

The "last few months" referred to are from 2012, the comment from the #Recent edits discussion of three years ago. I've moved this comment here as with Clinton's announcement we can expect a continuation of this campaign to villify Alinsky ("add understanding") as the devil incarnate, while portraying the Clintons, Obama, and any other notable Democrats as disciples, or at least fellow travellers, of Alinsky. While this is blatantly partisan, yet I wonder if that in itself sufficiently notable to warrant some treatment in the article. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:51, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
I almost hate to ask, but are there any sources for this stuff? Has there been any credible connection to Clinton's 45-year-old thesis and her current political activity? I mean, I know there are sources, but are there usable sources? Grayfell (talk) 22:00, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
Which "stuff"? The material about Clinton just added to the article cites today's edition of Counterpunch which has this article by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. Curiously, Cockburn died in 2012; the article is a reprint from 2007. It's rather, shall we say, emotional? I would not use it without corroboration. Or better sources. Regarding the "Alinsky Card", the WSJ article might be a good place to start. Definitely look at http://billmoyers.com/content/who-is-saul-alinsky/. There is also John Hawkin's 12 Ways To Use Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals Against Liberals. (Alinsky was "Evil, but brilliant. ... everyone on the Left from the President on down is playing by his rules in the political arena.") ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:11, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Cool, thanks. Those sources make a good case that the Clinton connection is minor, and other than the odd choice to prevent its release, old history. The IP's comments implied that this is significant to understanding Clinton, and it is, but I just don't see it being worthy of even more attention than it's already got. It has its own article, which we link to, and it's explained on her article. Her thesis was itself moderately critical of his methods (I've slightly expanded the paragraph to mention that) and as far as I can tell, the only people implying this thesis is vitally important to her current views are on the fringe. It's very likely this could change, of course. I'm not trying to imply that Alinsky isn't influential, I'm just concerned that his recent influence is being overstated. It's easy to find sources demonizing him as the worst thing since unsliced bread, (rightwingnews.com is just John Hawkins' blog, if I'm not mistaken) but political noise is making it tricky to get a clear understanding of his real influence. Grayfell (talk) 22:11, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
According to many on the right this connection is significant to understanding Clinton: Alinsky was the devil ("evil"), and she caries on. Never mind (as you noticed) that she was actually criticial. If those on the right insist on mentioning this, then I would say fine, but present it for what it is: an attempt to villify Clinton. (And also Obama. And, hey, the entire left!) ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:53, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Okay, I'll accept that. So how do we present it? I've found a lot of content about it from WND, Brietbart, Rush Limbaugh and others, but I don't think we want to rely exclusively on non-WP:RS. I suppose we could, since it would be presented as opinion, but I would prefer it if we could find an outside source that comments on the... controversy, I guess, rather than give partisan blogs a platform to express a viewpoint which is not supported by facts.
Another thing that might be worth mentioning is Newt Gingrich's obsession with Alinsky in 2012. This source makes the case that Gingrich used Alinsky's tactics while accusing Obama of being a follower of Alinsky. It's weird stuff, and it would be easy to add more about it (another one). Grayfell (talk) 23:47, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes. I think this campaign of villification is sufficiently notable that we should add a section after "Legacy", or even "Death"): "Conservative bugbear". The POV should be clearly not that Alinsky was evil and his methods (the "rules") despicable (as the right-wing says), but that the right-wing says so. That the right-wing (as exemplied by Gingrich, Rove, Hawkins, etc.) says this is readily and properly established by their own words, and confirmed by comments in the main-line media. Likewise for how they connect this to Obama and Clinton. If there are any good sources on Clinton's thesis it could be pointed out that she was actually critical. And of course it should be noted that even as the right villifies Alinsky's methods they are also adopting them. As you seem to have gotten your arms around much of this already perhaps you'd like to run up a draft? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:55, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Sure, I'll have a go at it in a while. Grayfell (talk) 20:18, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

I've made some of the discussed changes. I'll likely come back to this again in the near future. Grayfell (talk) 01:37, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Looks good. While the right's adoption of his methods are properly part of Alinsky's legacy, I still think the villification campaign should be in a separate section. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:13, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Hillary Clinton's College Thesis[edit]

The section about Hillary Clinton's thesis, in the legacy and honors section is flawed. What is true is that she wrote her thesis about Saul Alinsky, and received help from him personally. What has not been proven, but has been stated as fact, is that her thesis criticized Alinsky. The references link to articles which contain conjecture from writers pushing this as truth. The only legitimate references would be the thesis itself, or quotes from the thesis. The articles do contain quotes, but none that contain criticism of Alinsky's methods and dogmatism. In fact one of the quotes which is dishonestly described as critical is actually praise, calling his beliefs not really radical. I have tried to remove the flawed section and the illogical references; however it keeps being reverted. The first time it was done by "CAPTAIN RAJU" who sent me a message after the reversion. He said my edit was "not constructive." Are incorrect information and illogical references constructive? How is making the page more accurate not constructive? The page now contains what is essentially pro-Clinton propaganda, downplaying her admiration of Alinsky. All I have tried to do was remove something that is simply factually unproven from the page. If someone actually has a reference from the thesis containing criticism of Alinsky then please add it to the page. At this point, the references don't prove the assertion. There is no purpose in requiring a reference for a statement if the reference doesn't even need to prove the statement's accuracy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:196:4900:FEE0:59EA:D416:8DC:AAF0 (talk) 21:25, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

That's not how Wikipedia works. We summarize reliable sources, with a strong preference for independent sources, and to make contentious claims about the thesis based on our own readings of it would be original research. The sources cited say that Clinton was critical of Alinksy. If you know of reliable sources saying she wasn't critical, please bring them forth for discussion. Grayfell (talk) 22:18, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
So making false statements with insufficient references is how Wikipedia works? I said nothing about original research. What I said is if someone has a legitimate reference they should post it. If you take the time to look into the references you will see they do not back up the statement they are supposed to. Why should an unproven statement be listed as fact? Something has to be proven to be called legitimate. It's not assumed true until disproved. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:196:4900:FEE0:59EA:D416:8DC:AAF0 (talk) 00:02, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
To be specific, the authors of the articles make the claim that Clinton was critical of Alinsky, without actually backing it up. They may as well have said "we have access to the thesis and she was critical of him, just take our word for it." These aren't legitimate references, just opinions of writers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:196:4900:FEE0:59EA:D416:8DC:AAF0 (talk) 00:16, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Again, Wikipedia doesn't work that way, but even setting that aside, the opinions of professional journalists are far more useful and relevant than the opinions of anonymous Wikipedia editors. Grayfell (talk) 01:46, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
You're being vague. You're saying that Wikipedia can contain information known to be inaccurate? Why don't you tell me exactly how this isn't how it works? The point is a reference is supposed to be factual. It doesn't matter who's opinion it is if there's nothing backing it up. Also, your opinion is no more valid than mine, even if I don't have a made up name on Wikipedia. Regardless, what I've been saying isn't based on opinion. I've been using facts and basic logic. If you actually read the articles, you will see they simply don't prove what they are assumed to. You're implying that anyone can put statements on Wikipedia, find inaccurate articles (of which there are myriad examples), use those as references, then have people like you bar the statements from being removed. Is that how Wikipedia works? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:196:4900:FEE0:59EA:D416:8DC:AAF0 (talk) 04:14, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
I've read the articles, and they seem clear enough, with multiple direct quotes from the thesis, that she had ambivalent feelings about Alinsky's methods. I think I was the one who put them there in the first place, actually, as discussed in the above section. The Boston Globe source says but a closer look at the text, which has been available to the public since 2001, paints a more complex portrait. While Clinton defends Alinsky, she is also dispassionate, disappointed, and amused by his divisive methods and dogmatic ideology. The article quotes Clinton from the end of the thesis: "but after spending a year trying to make sense out of his inconsistency, I need three years of legal rigor." in reference to her going to law school and turning down Alinksy's offer to work with his foundation.[1] How is that not clear? She had, as a 21-year-old graduate student, mixed feeling about Alinksy.
The specific guidelines, which I've already linked above, are WP:RS and WP:OR (specifically WP:PRIMARY). You say "known to be inaccurate". Known to who? I don't see how this 'knowledge' trumps NBC News and the Boston Globe. Grayfell (talk) 05:16, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
What the Boston Globe source says doesn't matter. That is a claim made without evidence. The quote you mentioned is more of a joke than actual criticism. One line of text does not prove overall ambivalence. If the journalists wanted to be honest and transparent they could have linked the thesis that they had access to, or at least provided more quotes. Instead they make claims about it and try to back it up with weak quotes. And once again, it doesn't matter who makes a claim, whether it be NBC, the Boston Globe, the President or a five-year-old, if there isn't sufficient evidence to prove it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:196:4900:FEE0:59EA:D416:8DC:AAF0 (talk) 16:17, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
What reliable sources say doesn't matter? As I've been trying to tell you, that's not how Wikipedia works. The site goes by sources, and if you don't trust a particular sources, you can take it up with WP:RSN. That would be kind of funny to watch, but it would be a big waste of everyone's time. The Boston Globe has no obligation to link to a copyrighted work or to provide X number of quotes, and neither does any other source in order to be considered reliable. Grayfell (talk) 21:00, 22 July 2016 (UTC)