The Real Tea Party Story: Community Builders vs. Community Organizers

In less than a year, the MSM has gone from ignoring Tea Parties to mocking and insulting their participants to grudging coverage with ridiculing overtones. Finally it has arrived at giving wide attention to the movement, albeit grudgingly and ungraciously. A once-highly esteemed fourth estate, they have become talking-head dilettantes on a mission to save the disgruntled masses from democracy itself.   

David Brooks, token toy conservative at the NYT, wrote his explanation for the Tea Parties without ever mentioning them by name, even. He wrote a whole diatribe on the meaning of it all. It's a knee-jerk reaction by us commoners, you see, against the "educated class." It has nothing to do with real issues, don't you know. This whole wave of discontent is simply a revolt by the common man against his intellectual betters.

What a bunch of myopic poppycock. 

The real Tea Party story is quite simple and an eloquent tribute to democracy: a genuine movement of ordinary people rising to the demands of their all-American principles. It represents a fundamental difference between those who seek to provide for themselves and those who see government as provider of all material goods. The Tea Party movement is a valiant resistance to decades of profligate entitlement spending, which has had the real effect of worsening every problem it was intended to fix, landing the country, at last, in a sea of impossible debt. Tea Partiers, like the Liberty Boys of 1776, stand steadfast on the principle of equality in the rule of law, not government-ordered equality in material-world goods. 

Basically, the resistance boils down to a contest between community builders and community organizers.

How Alinsky Counterfeited Community-Building Associations

Up until this presidential election, when hearing the term "community organizations," most Americans probably assumed that these were the traditional community-building, volunteer civic and altruistic groups, giving tirelessly of their spare time and dollars to improve their own and others' communities.

The list of genuine, all-American volunteer citizens' groups is endless. As Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his mid-19th century treatise Democracy in America, one of the most exceptional qualities of this country was her vast proliferation of purely voluntary civic and altruistic associations. 

Americans of all ages, conditions, and all dispositions constantly unite together.  Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations to which all belong but also a thousand other kinds, religious, moral, serious, futile, very general and very specialized, large and small.  Americans group together to hold fetes, found seminaries, build inns, construct churches, establish hospitals, prisons, schools by the same method.

De Tocqueville insisted that this vast array of purely voluntary associations was peculiar to American democracy and drew its possibilities from equality of all citizens under rule of self-made law. Of course, at the time de Tocqueville was writing -- the mid-1800s -- all American citizens were not, in fact, equal under the rule of law or in the vote. But as de Tocqueville also wisely surmised, another dimension of American exceptionalism was the manner built into her Constitution to "right itself," to fix former errors through the Constitutional amendment process, which in truth, granted the majority its right to change those things it later decided made good sense.

As one of the hallmarks of peculiarly American democracy had always been the forming of free associations to accomplish all manner of good in local communities, Saul Alinsky hatched a truly brilliant plan to counterfeit these altruistic associations for political revolution. So it's no wonder that unaware Americans were fooled for so many years, that they accepted Alinsky's revolutionary "community organizations" as just another type of the associations with which they were so familiar.

But as we have so painfully learned from the ACORN exposés, Alinsky had far different aims from improving any communities.

And to alert his own acolytes to the real difference between his own vision for "people's organizations" and the traditional, Alinsky spelled out the difference in his first manifesto, Reveille for Radicals, in 1946:

A People's Organization is not a philanthropic plaything or a social service's ameliorative gesture.  It is a deep, hard-driving force, striking and cutting at the very roots of all the evils which beset the people ... It thinks and acts in terms of social surgery and not cosmetic cover-ups.

Alinsky went on to explain that he was declaring war on the status quo, which allowed some to grow wealthy while others remained poor. He declared that in war, such as he was declaring, there was no such thing as "rules of fair play," and he encouraged his followers to proudly seek "self-interest" while cloaking their aims in rhetorical "moral garments." The insiders were to be well-informed on their revolutionary objectives, while the public was to be kept intentionally deceived.     

Alinsky formulated a set of tactics for massive organizations of "have-nots" to seize power and material goods from the "haves."

And therein lies the rub. In order for the "haves" to have anything, they must have built something and acquired some things through their efforts, smarts, and sweat which are worth taking away from them. These "haves" of American society were first and foremost community builders. Their ideas, their investments, their risks, their civic mindedness and charities actually built the communities which Alinsky desired to "organize" into a class of legally sanctioned thieves. 

A secular Jew working as an outsider, Alinsky convinced an Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago's Catholic Church that his vision for redistribution of wealth coincided perfectly with the Church's own doctrines on social justice. Alinsky artfully played on the Catholic Church's own long, tainted history of mixing its spiritual mission with worldly power and managed to bring both the public clout of the Church and vast amounts of funding on board for his mission to organize America's masses for revolution.

In his first treatise (Reveille for Radicals) on the People's Organization movement he was building, Alinsky tried to address critics who accused him of mounting a revolution against America. "It may be true," he wrote, "that it is revolution, but it is orderly revolution."

At this point, Alinsky joined his grain of truth -- an admission that he was promoting revolution -- with a deceptive false choice, writing:

To reject orderly revolution is to be hemmed in by two hellish alternatives:  disorderly, sudden, stormy, bloody revolution or a further deterioration of the mass foundation of democracy to the point of inevitable dictatorship. (Reveille for Radicals, p. 198)

Now, dear readers, one must admit that these words are truly priceless. It must be remembered that Saul Alinsky wrote this little "orderly revolution" manifesto, Reveille for Radicals, in 1946, just one year after the might of American industrial strength and the valiant sacrifices of millions had brought Nazism and eastern imperialism to their knees. America was anything but on the verge of "deterioration of the mass foundation of democracy to the point of inevitable dictatorship" in 1946. America was in actuality on its way to unparalleled prosperity for more of its citizens than had ever been achieved in the entire history of human civilization.

What Saul Alinsky offered his justifiably concerned critics was simply a false choice so easily refuted that it's a wonder anyone with an ounce of real sense fell for his cheap lure.

But fall they did -- hook, line and sinker.

Alinsky went on in Reveille for Radicals to address another concern which had evidently been put to him in the early stages of his "orderly revolution," calling the concern a "fear" which "stems from distrust of power in the hands of the people":

They fear that the development and building of People's Organizations is the building of a vast power group which may fall prey to a fascistic demagogue who will seize leadership and turn an organization into a Frankenstein's monster against democracy. (Reveille for Radicals, p. 198)

Alinsky then went on to write that this would be an utterly impossible eventuality, insisting that the "road to fascism and dictatorship is paved with apathy, hopelessness, frustration, futility, and despair in the masses of the people."

Yet in Alinsky's second treatise on "orderly revolution," Rules for Radicals, he advised his acolytes on the utmost necessity of cultivating these very conditions among the masses in order to bring about the "change" required for his revolution to succeed.

Writing in Rules for Radicals (1971), Alinsky set up his development of power tactics with his idea of how "revolutionary change" is actually realized:

Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people.  They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future.  This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. (Rules for Radicals; p. xix)

And this overall belief in the failure of the American system of free enterprise and limited government to fix all that ails mankind is precisely the idea behind the attitudes fostered by the entire network of Alinsky-fathered "community" organizations from ACORN to PICO to the SEIU to the gargantuan tree of religious-left political entities. The very attitudes which Alinsky rightly said in 1946 would lead to fascism and dictatorship are the attitudes he taught his community organizers to foster.

The most evident difference between traditional American community-builders and Alinskyite community organizers is spelled out in Rules for Radicals under the heading "The Process of Power." Alinsky, like both Marx and Mussolini before him, saw individuals working to build their own communities as tacky, piecemeal efforts unworthy of those with grander, bolder schemes to fix the entire world. Alinsky, therefore, recognized that revolution against this ordinary American idea of community-building was necessary if the "organizer" was to reach his true destination: "the highest level for which man can reach -- to create, to be a 'great creator,' to play God" (Rules for Radicals; p. 61).

When Evan Thomas blithely remarked last year that Barack Obama was "sort of like God," it should be no wonder. For in Barack Obama's intensive Alinskyite training, he was carefully tutored on indulging this very delusion. Alinsky planted the seed. Reverend Wright fertilized it for twenty years. And Barack Obama exhibits all the signs of believing he can indeed bring his Alinsky-inspired godhood to fruition.

Toward the goal of destroying Americans' ideas of community-building, Alinsky taught his organizers to dissuade the people from believing that there was any hope outside a mother state. He taught his organizers to intentionally and continually sow discontent with the "status quo":

The organizer dedicated to changing the life of a particular community must first rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; fan the latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expression.  He must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them, for unless there is controversy people are not concerned enough to act.

Now that we've had a year of a proud Alinskyite community organizer as president, it's not at all hard to see that Obama is much, much closer to being a "fascistic demagogue" than he is to being the grand conciliator for whom his befuddled followers fell into willing sway.

From the Stimulus package of political payoffs to the power grab of car companies "too big to fail," to the climate bill rewards for privileged corporate interests, to the health care takeover in the same vein, we see a man dedicated to destroying the very foundations of America's community-builders and replacing them with the grand social-engineers' paradise, which Saul Alinsky -- and Mussolini, Hitler, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, and others -- have envisioned.

This is not rocket science. It's just ordinary logic and a smidgen of research. 

The real Tea Party story is as simple as this. Genuine community-builders do not wish to be robbed blind and see their children in the shackles of debt so that the modern version of tyranny -- community organizers -- can split up a pie they didn't bake.

The message from Tea Partiers is that Alinsky has not succeeded any better than his more illustrious revolutionary peers. Rather than losing all hope in the American system of liberty, justice and limited government, these community-builders -- the Tea Partiers -- are rallying to express their firm commitment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees equality under the law, not equality of material-world goods. The Constitution is designed to preserve liberty, not "empathy," for as any sentient person knows, empathy is entirely dependent upon which type of tyrant is sitting in the seat of judgment.

We are witnessing a clash of worldviews in which, as the Tea Partiers have recognized, fence-sitting is simply not an option. Americans will now either rise to reverse the tides of socialist tyranny, which have taken root for decades, or they will oversee the bitter end of our grand experiment in democracy.

Kyle-Anne Shiver welcomes your comments at
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