Part 6: Means and Ends
The wisest thing Lennon (John, not Vladimir) said about revolutionaries was a line in the song which declared (sort of) his parting of the ways with them: “You say you want a revolution, well, you know, we’d all like to see your plan.” Lennon went on to say that radicals could count him out if they were preaching hate. (But then, the Beatles caved and changed the lyric so that it said both “you can count me out — in.” Well, who in in his right mind over the age of 30 looks for wisdom about reconstructing society to an art form in which “singing doo wah diddie diddie doo wah do” is regarded as genius? But don’t get me wrong, I love this stuff).
We’d all like to see your plan. Yes indeed we would.
The fact is that revolutionaries beginning with Rousseau and Robespierre and Marx have never had a plan. The ones who did and tried to build little utopian communities failed. But the really serious revolutionaries, the ones prepared to burn down the system and put their opponents up against the wall, they never have a plan. What they have is a vague idea of the heaven they propose to create on earth — in Marx’s case “the kingdom of freedom,” in Alinsky‘s “the open society” — which is sentimental and seductive enough to persuade their followers that it’s alright to commit mayhem and murder — usually in epic doses — to bring it about. Otherwise, revolutionaries never give two seconds to the problem of how to make a new society work. How to keep people from committing crimes against each other (the Alinsky answer: capitalism makes them criminals), and how to get people to actually work, to produce. From Marx to Mao toCastro, revolutionaries have never had a clue. (Their excuse for the monstrous poverty and human suffering they create? — the capitalists are responsible, it’s the U.S. embargo.)
So if there is no plan, the devil is in the detail of the methods you use to get there. Each step of the way constitutes another block in the foundations of the world you are creating. The means tell you what the ends will be.
Alinsky’s biographer with the following anecdote about Alinsky’s advice to students wishing to protest the appearance on their campus of the first George Bush, before he became president, because he was America’s representative to the UN during the Vietnam War:
“College student activists in the 1960s and 1970s sought out Alinsky for advice about tactics and strategy. On one such occasion in the spring of 1972 at Tulane University’s annual week-long series of events featuring leading public figures, students asked Alinsky to help plan a protest of a scheduled speech by George Bush, then U.S. representative to the United Nations, a speech likely to be a defense of the Nixon Administration’s Vietnam War policies [Note: the Nixon Administration was then negotiating with the North Vietnamese communists to arrive at a peace agreement-- DH] The students told Alinsky that they were thinking about picketing or disrupting Bush’s address. That’s the wrong approach, he rejoined — not very creative and besides, causing a disruption might get them thrown out of school. [Not likely -- DH.]
“He told them, instead, to go hear the speech dressed up as members of the Ku Klux Klan, and whenever Bush said something in defense of the Vietnam War, they should cheer and wave placards, reading ‘The K.K.K. supports Bush.’ And that is what the students did with very successful, attention-getting results.” (Let Them Call Me Rebel, pp. xv-xvi)
This anecdote tells you everything you really need to know about this mentor to Hillary Clintonand the Obamas, and the ACORN radicals. Lenin once said that purpose of a political argument is not to refute your opponent “but to wipe him from the face of the earth.” The mission of Alinsky radicals is a mission of destruction. It doesn’t matter that the Vietnam war was not a race war — that millions of South Vietnamese were against the Communists, that the South was eventually conquered by North Vietnamese armies because the Viet Cong failed to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese people. It doesn’t matter who George Bush actuually is or what he believes. Because your purpose is to erase him and the system he is alleged to represent. Therefore pick the symbol of the greatest evil that Americans — a small minority of Americans — were ever associated with, and use it to obliterate everything good they ever did in the service of your cause, which is to destroy the system which created them. If America’s cause in Vietnam is the Ku Klux Klan, it is evil and America is evil. If George Bush is the Ku Klux Klan, that’s it. Nobody needs to listen to him, he is non-person, a symbol of evil. Inside every radical is a Manichean at war with the forces of darkness and evil. In such war every means is justified, as we shall see. (To be continued…)