Hillary, Obama and the cult of Alinsky
January 15, 2008
Most Americans never heard of Saul Alinsky. Yet his shadow darkens our coming election. Democrat frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both worship at the altar of Alinskyism.In a 1971 book called Rules for Radicals, Alinsky scolded the Sixties Left for scaring off potential converts in Middle America. True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism, Alinsky taught. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within.
Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties.
In his native Chicago, Alinsky courted power wherever he found it. His alliance with prominent Catholic clerics, such as Bishop Bernard Sheil, gave him respectability. His friendship with crime bosses such as Frank Nitti -- Al Capone’s second-in-command -- gave Alinsky clout on the street.
In our book The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party, my co-author David Horowitz and I trace the rise of Alinsky’s political influence since the 1930s.
He excelled at wooing wealthy funders. Start-up money for his Industrial Areas Foundation -- a training school for radical organizers -- came from department-store mogul Marshall Field III, Sears Roebuck heiress Adele Rosenwald Levy, and Gardiner Howland Shaw, an assistant secretary of state for Franklin Roosevelt.
Alinsky once boasted, “I feel confident that I could persuade a millionaire on a Friday to subsidize a revolution for Saturday out of which he would make a huge profit on Sunday even though he was certain to be executed on Monday.”
One Alinsky benefactor was Wall Street investment banker Eugene Meyer, who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1930 to 1933. Meyer and his wife Agnes co-owned The Washington Post. They used their newspaper to promote Alinsky.
Agnes Meyer personally wrote a six-part series in 1945, praising Alinsky’s work in Chicago slums. Her series, called “The Orderly Revolution”, made Alinsky famous. President Truman ordered 100 reprints of it.
During the Sixties, Alinsky wielded tremendous power behind the scenes.
When President Johnson launched his War on Poverty in 1964, Alinsky allies infiltrated the program, steering federal money into Alinsky projects.
In 1966, Senator Robert Kennedy allied himself with union leader Cesar Chavez, an Alinsky disciple. Chavez had worked ten years for Alinsky, beginning in 1952. Kennedy soon drifted into Alinsky’s circle.
After race riots shook Rochester, New York, Alinsky descended on the city and began pressuring Eastman-Kodak to hire more blacks. Kennedy supported Alinsky’s shakedown. The two men had an “understanding”, Alinsky later wrote.
Alinsky’s crowning achievement was his recruitment of a young high school student named Hillary Rodham. She met Alinsky through a radical church group. Hillary wrote an analysis of Alinsky’s methods for her senior thesis at Wellesley College. They remained friends until Alinsky’s death in 1972.
Alinsky tried to hire Hillary as a community organizer, but she chose instead to attend Yale Law School. Nonetheless, Alinsky’s network continued guiding Hillary’s career.
Fresh out of law school at age 26, Hillary received a prestigious appointment to the House Judiciary Committee’s Watergate investigative team in 1974. She got the job on the recommendation of Peter and Marian Wright Edelman.
The Edelmans have been trusted mentors of Hillary since 1969. New Republic editor Martin Peretz called Marian “Hillary’s closest sister and ideological soulmate”. Marian Wright Edelman also happens to be an Alinskyite, having served on the Board of Trustees of Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation.
Many leftists view Hillary as a sell-out because she claims to hold moderate views on some issues. However, Hillary is simply following Alinsky’s counsel to do and say whatever it takes to gain power.
Barack Obama is also an Alinskyite. Trained by Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation, Obama spent years teaching workshops on the Alinsky method. In 1985 he began a four-year stint as a community organizer in Chicago, working for an Alinskyite group called the Developing Communities Project. Later, he worked with ACORN and its offshoot Project Vote, both creations of the Alinsky network.
Camouflage is key to Alinsky-style organizing. While trying to build coalitions of black churches in Chicago, Obama caught flak for not attending church himself. He became an instant churchgoer.
That Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama share an Alinskyite background tells us two things. First, they are leftists, dedicated to overthrowing our Constitutional system. Second, they will go to any length to conceal their radicalism from the public.
That is the Alinsky method. And that is today’s Democratic Party.