Monday, January 30, 2012

Know Your Memes

The name strikes terror in the hearts of conservatives everywhere, so much so that you'd think Newt Gingrich believes he is running against him in the general election: Saul Alinksy
If you believe the picture painted of him, Alinksy is a Greek-fisherman cap wearing Leninist who wanted Americans to stand in bread lines for hours.
In truth, he was a community organizer. From Chicago. And there, the resemblence to Obama end.
Except for one: Neither Obama nor Alinsky was a Communist.
Alinsky was a radical who believed in the power of large numbers to overcome the influence of the numerically tiny elite. He has been the role model for the Tea Party(!) as well as an influence on the 99% Occupy Wall Street movement (the true heirs of Alinsky's idealogy.)
Alinsky worked with labor unions as an organizer first (this might be where the label "socialist" gets applied, but come on...really? American labor unions are as pro-capitalism as unions get,) but then moved onto to try to improve the lot of slum dwellers, those who really needed advocacy: better living conditions, better working conditions, better housing and better safety.
Hardly the socialist themes of the twentieth century.