Part 4: To Have and Have Not
For Alinsky and his Machiavellian radicals, politics is war. No matter what they say publicly or pretend to be, they are at war. They are at war even though no other factions in the political arena are at war, because everyone else embraces the System which commits all parties to compromise and peaceful resolutions of conflicts. For tactical reasons, the radicals will also make compromises, but their entire mentality and approach to politics is based on their dedication to conducting a war against the System itself. Don’t forget it (although if history is any indication, Republicans almost invariably will).
Because radicals see politics as a war, they perceive opponents of their causes as enemies on a battlefield and set out to destroy them by demonizing and discrediting them. Personally. Particularly dangerous in their eyes are opponents who are wise to their deceptions and realize what their agendas are; who understand that they are not the innocents they pretend to be but are actors whose reality is masked. (It is no coincidence that the pod people in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers were inspired by radicals in the Communist era). Thus it is precisely because Glenn Beck is on a mission to ferret them out, that they are determined to silence him and have organized a boycott to drive him off the air. Sarah Palin is another conservative they consider extremely dangerous and therefore have set out to destroy, personally. The list is as long as there are conservative leaders. This is because when you are in a war — when you think of yourself as being in a war — there is no middle ground.
A war by definition is a fight to the finish. It is waged against enemies who can’t be negotiated with but must be eliminated — either totally defeated or effectively destroyed. Conservatives don’t really have such an enemy and therefore are not mentally in the war at all, which is why they often seem so defenseless or willing to throw their fellow conservatives over the side when they are attacked.
The war Alinsky’s radicals conduct is for tactical reasons a guerilla war, as his manual is designed to explain. Conservatives are not at war with the system, but are determined to defend it, including its rules of fairness and inclusion, which provide a protective shield for cynical enemies willing to exploit them. Conservatives embrace the system and believe in the constitutional framework which guarantees opponents the right to declare war not only against them but against the system itself. Consequently, there is no real parallelism in this conflict. One side is fighting with a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners battle plan against the system, while the other is trying enforce its rules of fairness and pluralism (which of course does not mean that individual conservatives never break them).
What makes a war a war, is the existence of an enemy who cannot be negotiated with but has to be driven out of existence. For Alinsky and his radicals that enemy is the “oppressor,” the (alleged) “ruler” of the system, the Establishment, the ruling class (or race, or gender as it now happens), those who sit on the top of the “hierarchies” — the “Haves.” According to Alinsky, America is a “Have society.” His rules for radicals are rules for those who want to take the Haves’ power away.
“The setting for the drama of change,” Alinsky writes, “has never varied. Mankind has been and is divided into the Haves, the Have-Nots, and Have-a-Little, Want Mores.” (p.18)
This is the Manichean bedrock of radical belief, the foundation of its destructive agendas — that the world is divided into the Haves and the Have Nots, the exploiters and the exploited, the oppressors and the oppressed, and that liberation lies in the elimination of the former and the dissolution of the dyad. “In this book,” Alinsky explains, “we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people.” (p.3) Power has to be “seized” because the Haves will defend what they have (and thus deprive the Have-Nots of what they want). That is why radicals are organized for war.
This myth of the Haves and the Have-Nots is the radical version of the religious division of the world into Good and Evil. If all deprivations and all the social misery in the world are attributable to the greed and selfishness of one group — the Haves — radicals would have a righteous cause. But it happens to be false, and the radicals’ claim to be fighting in the cause of justice a lie. It is the precise lie with which Marx begins the Communist Manifesto.
The history of all previous societies, Marx declares, is the history of “class struggle.” He then describes this class warfare in this way:
“Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight,…”
In our epoch, according to Marx, capitalists are the oppressors and are pitted against proletarians who are the oppressed. But to compare capitalists to slaveowners, or feudal lords and serfs, as Marx and his disciples down to Alinsky do, is ludicrous. There are tens of millions of capitalists in America, and they rise and fall with every economic wave. Where are the Enrons of yesteryear, and where are their bosses? If proletarians can become capitalists, and capitalists can be ruined, there is no class struggle in the sense that Marx and his disciples claim, no system of oppression and no need for revolution.
The myth of the Haves and the Have-Nots is just that — a myth; and a religious one at that, the same, as I have said, as the myth advanced by Manicheaans who claim that the world is ruled by Darkness, and that history is a struggle between the forces of evil and the forces of light. The category “Haves” for secular radicals is like the category “Witches” for religious fanatics and serves the same function. It is to identify one’s enemies as servants of the devil and to justify the war against them.
It is true that there are some haves and some have-nots. But it is false to describe our social and economic divisions this way, and it malicious and socially destructive to attempt to reverse an imaginary hierarchy between them. In reality, 0ur social and economic divisions are between the Cans and the Can-Nots, the Dos and the Do-Nots, the Wills and the Will-Nots. But to describe them this way — that is, accurately — is to explode the whole religious fantasy that gives meaning to radical lives.
Because the radical agenda is based on a religious myth, a rational person reading any radical text, including Alinsky’s will constantly come across absurd statements, which only a co-religionist could read without laughing. Thus, according to Alinsky, “All societies discourage and penalize ideas and writings that threaten the status quo.” This statement of course is lifted directly from Marx’s German Ideology: “The ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class.” Alinsky then goes on to this howler: “It is understandable therefore, that the literature of a Have society is a veritable desert whenever we look for writings on social change.” According to Alinsky this is particularly true of our society which “has given us few words of advice, few suggestions on how to fertilize social change.” (p.7) On what planet did this man live and do his disciples now agitate, that they could miss the culture of “resistance” and “revolution” which is now actually the dominant theme of our culture?
Continues Alinsky : “From the Haves, on the other hand, there has come an unceasing flood of literature justifying the status quo.” Really? The curriculum of virtually every Women’s Studies department, Black Studies department, Peace Studies department, Gay and Lesbian Studies department, Asian and Native American and Chicano Studies department, virtually every anthropology and sociology and often English and comparative literature department in the country, is dedicated precisely to social change. Promoting social change is embedded in the mission statements of major universities and is the subject of innumerable commencement addresses which are often given by anti-capitalist radicals and even unrepentant American communists and terrorists (Angela Davis, Bernadine Dohrn), while the mission statements of virtually every college of education training teachers for our K-12 schools advocates social change and even explicitly promotes the radicals’ agenda of “social justice.”
And since we now live in an Internet age, we should not fail to mention massive websites such as Huffington Post and Daily Kos and MoveOn.org, which are dedicated to promoting the Alinsky program of seizing power from the Haves and giving it to the people. And then there is the inconvenient fact that our president, a radical organizer and leader of an Alinsky organization (ACORN) himself, and an intimate and comrade of revolutionary extremists, ran his successful campaign on a platform not of defending the status quo but of changing it.