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Saul Alinsky Shocks Us Like an Electric Eel, Targeted Middle Class

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Posted on August 26 2009 5:17 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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Communist fellow traveler Saul Alinsky was in interviewed in 1972 by Playboy Magazine:

PLAYBOY: Mobilizing middle-class America would seem quite a departure for you after years of working with poverty-stricken black and white slum dwellers. Do you expect suburbia to prove fertile ground for your organizational talents?

ALINSKY: Yes, and it’s shaping up as the most challenging fight of my career, and certainly the one with the highest stakes. Remember, people are people whether they’re living in ghettos, reservations or barrios, and the suburbs are just another kind of reservation — a gilded ghetto. One thing I’ve come to realize is that any positive action for radical social change will have to be focused on the white middle class, for the simple reason that this is where the real power lies. Today, three fourths of our population is middle class, either through actual earning power or through value identification. Take the lower-lower middle class, the blue-collar or hard-hat group; there you’ve got over 70,000,000 people earning between $5000 and $10,000 a year, people who don’t consider themselves poor or lower class at all and who espouse the dominant middle class ethos even more fiercely than the rich do. For the first time in history, you have a country where the poor are in the minority, where the majority are dieting while the have-nots are going to bed hungry every night.

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Christ, even if we could manage to organize all the exploited low-income groups — all the blacks, chicanos, Puerto Ricans, poor whites — and then, through some kind of organizational miracle, weld them all together into a viable coalition, what would you have? At the most optimistic estimate, 55,000,000 people by the end of this decade — but by then the total population will be over 225,000,000, of whom the overwhelming majority will be middle class. This is the so-called Silent Majority that our great Greek philosopher in Washington is trying to galvanize, and it’s here that the die will be cast and this country’s future decided for the next 50 years. Pragmatically, the only hope for genuine minority progress is to seek out allies within the majority and to organize that majority itself as part of a national movement for change. If we just give up and let the middle classes go to the likes of Agnew and Nixon by default, then you might as well call the whole ball game. But they’re still up for grabs — and we’re gonna grab ’em.

“Shock Me Like an Electric Eel” is a NewsReal feature highlighting shockingly stupid, misguided, offensive, and Anti-American quotes from various figures in the political culture.

The feature is named after a lyric from the fourth track of rock band MGMT’s album “Oracular Spectacular.”

If you would like to submit a quote or video for this feature then please email it to DavidSwindle {@} Gmail.com. Please include:

  1. “Shock Me Like An Electric Eel” in subject line.
  2. A link to where the quote is from. (Or a link to the video on youtube.)
  3. Any remarks you’d like published.
  4. Your name as you’d like it published as well as a link to your website or blog (if you have one.)

(Quotes relating to subjects discussed on the cable news shows and in NewsReal blog posts are more likely to be selected.)

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