Rules for Radicals (part 2)

This is part two of the talking points on Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.

Rules for Radicals (part 2)

#8: Keep the pressure on.

It’s easy to start to coast when you think things are going your way. Alinsky knew that success begat success and when you are winning, you need to keep the pressure on. He wrote:

Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilise all events of the period for your purpose.

Action comes from keeping the heat on, No politician can sit on a hot issue if you make it hot enough.

That’s what left do ….when they win, they instantly move onto their next target

#9: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

Any poker player knows that bluffing can be a useful tactic. If people believe you have a stronger hand they’ll give up because they are scared of losing. It’s the same in activism.  No one wants to be a loser so many will avoid the confrontation in the first place.

That’s how cancel culture works. The target is convinced that the threats are true and will be carried out. In effect they concoct worse case scenarios in their own minds and convince themselves of how bad things will be.

#10: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

This rules starts to tie the previous ones together. Winning a single battle is good but the goal is to win the war and to do that you need a well-oiled machine. The left have their organisations that are relentless in pursuing their goals and work together when it suits them. The right need to set up that same framework to effectively challenge the socialist narrative in politics and the media.

#11. If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.

Alinsky once told a story about when he was mounting a campaign, all his research documents were stolen by his opponents. Hundreds of hours of work was taken. Rather than let that deter him, he presented himself as the victim via a public reaction of shock, horror and moral outrage.

This cornered his opposition. If they persisted their public profile would be damaged. Retreat and contrition became their response.

Alinsky knew almost every negative can be turned into a positive with the right tactics.

#12: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

Being against something isn’t enough. You actually need to be campaigning for something.  Alinsky said, you’d better have an alternative to the policy you are opposing.

You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying ‘You’re right—we don’t know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us what to do’

#13: Pick the target, freeze it, personalise it, and polarise it.

The final rule is practical advice on campaigns targeting policy makers and bureaucrats.

a)       Pick the target – get the right person/company/organisation from the get go. It’s more work up front but saves embarrassment in the long-run.

b)      Freeze it – no target wants to be the target. They’ll always try to get way. Never let them deflect, diffuse or obfuscate. Make them accountable.

c)       Personalise it – blaming a large group or department only dilutes the pressure. Find the decision maker and focus your attention on them.

d)     Polarise it – make your issue a binary choice. Your side good, the other side bad. There is no middle ground.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Confidential Daily.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.