Friday, March 2, 2007

Rules for Radicals

The mystery surrounding Senator Hillary Clinton's Wesleyan College dissertation, "sealed" during the Clinton Presidency, on mid-century organizer and intellectual Saul Alinsky has sparked a renewal of interest in his writings and his school of community organizing that trained the likes of Cesar Chavez. Long called a Communist by his detractors, Alinsky was never actually a member of any party - but would work with whomever would join his efforts in the blighted and exploited communities he organized. In the 30s, that often included young members of the American Communist Party. He is still so controversial that the "neutrality" of his entry in Wikipedia is being challenged.

Alinsky spoke to disaffected and rebellious youth in his well-read tome: Rules for Radicals. Designed to speak directly to the next generation of activists, it is still a great read -regardless of political persuasion. In the book's prologue, Alinsky explains: "What I have to say in this book is not the arrogance of unsolicited advice. It is the experience and counsel that so many young people have questioned me about through all-night sessions on hundreds of campuses in America. It is for those young radicals who are committed to the fight, committed to life."

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