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“Action is for mass salvation. He who sacrifices the mass good for his personal conscience has a peculiar conception of ‘personal salvation’; he doesn’t care enough for people to be ‘corrupted’ for them.” — Saul Alinsky

“The hell with charity. The only thing you’ll get is what you’re strong enough to get.” — Saul Alinsky

Parents rightly admire and appreciate their children’s teachers, but they don’t always understand the radical labor organizations running the plays behind the scenes in negotiations with their local school boards. Unfortunately, beloved teachers sometimes get caught up in the guerrilla tactics championed by Saul Alinsky and other radical community organizers.

Alinsky, considered the founder of the modern community-organizing movement, is in many ways the leader of modern-day teachers’ unions. His 1971 book Rules for Radicals has influenced negotiations between unions and school boards for 40 years, and whether parents realize it or not, their communities have often been at the mercy of his radical organizing methods. Alinsky’s main goal was to strip power from the “haves” and give it to the “have nots” based on his notion of fairness and social justice.

Gaining power is a zero-sum game in Rules for Radicals. Either you have it or you don’t. If you don’t have it all, you must continue to work until you do, using whatever means available to you, while maintaining the illusion of the moral high ground. “You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments,” Alinsky said. More:

It is a world not of angels but of angles, where men speak of moral principles but act on power principles; a world where we are always moral and our enemies always immoral; a world where “reconciliation” means that when one side gets the power and the other side gets reconciled to it, then we have reconciliation.

Until his death in 1972, Alinsky conducted training for NEA UniServ personnel. Ten years later, during a strike in Ravenna, Ohio, that dragged on for five long months (the longest in the state’s history), strike manuals were found titled “Strategy Uniserv Directors” that outlined the Alinsky-style program for negotiations. The same strategies are still in use today.