Did Alinsky Dedicate Rules For Radicals to Lucifer?
Saul Alinsky wasn’t a satanist, nor did he dedicate Rules for Radicals to Lucifer. Alinsky simply used Lucifer as a literary device to teach community organizing. This, and his generally radical message, has led to some mischaracterizing him over the years.
Alinsky is no different than Dante in his use of Lucifer as metaphor when he says in his 1971 book Rules for Radicals (Amazon) when he says:
“Lest we forget the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom”. – Saul Alinsky Father of Community Organizing
The single Lucifer quote from the book describes fighting for the “have-nots” against the establishment (whether they are short on money; Or on virtue). It can be compared to a 1966 TV interview titled I’d Organize Hell (featured below), and to a 1972 Playboy interview that he gave shortly before his death (also featured below).
The TV interview featured below offers a useful frame for understanding Alinsky’s quote in the context of his message of political realism. His message is aimed at lifting up “the have-nots” by facing life’s gritty truths head on. He uses the Biblical imagery as a metaphor for “have-nots” and radicals; it is not a comment on religion.
There is nothing I can say that this video doesn’t say better. So watch and decide for yourself.
“I’d Organize Hell” – Saul Alinsky TV interview 1966. The part about Alinsky’s religious views starts about 16:17 minutes into the video.
“If given a choice i’d pick hell, the reason i’d pick hell is because that is where all the have-nots are. The currency of the realm shifts, over here its money, over there its virtue. Either way if you haven’t got it you’re stuck. And i’ve spent all my life with the “have-nots”. Once I got into hell i’d start organizing, just like I do down here. Then i’d be in heaven personally, as this is the thing that gives me the greatest happiness in life. So look out heaven, here I come… – Saul Alinsky TV interview 1966
The have-nots, they are my kind of people”. – Saul Alinsky 1972 Playboy Interview
Why Do People Say Alinsky is a Model for Left-Wing Satanists?
Alinsky was a Russian Jewish-born second generation immigrant, a community organizer in poor black neighborhoods in the 50’s. He literally wrote the book on Community Organizing tactics, a work of political realism that laid out tactics for radicals (specifically radical progressives and the oppressed).
His intentions are laid out plainly in all his work and interviews; he always stands up for the little guy, and he doesn’t pull any punches.
Alinsky is a left-wing hero, especially for progressives. This has also made him a favorite target of right-wing conservatives from the 1960’s to today. A favorite talking point includes using the lucifer reference to paint him, and thus every progressive who admires him, as “a left-wing satanist.”
First, to illustrate the point, let’s look at a clip from an interview with the great conservative thinker William F. Buckley Jr. and Alinsky.
Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. “Mobilizing the Poor.” The right-wing hero debating the left-wing hero. Back in Buckley’s day, it was considered respectful to face your opponent head on.
As you can tell from the video above, and especially from the videos below, the American right-wing likes to paint Alinsky in a bad light.
This at least partly because his Rules for Radicals teach “the have-nots” “cast out of society” how to rebel against oppression… and that is pretty much the opposite of classical conservatism by definition. Although, to be fair, the message is one of standing up against the establishment for the natural rights of the sick, tired, and the poor; so it’s a bit odd more American conservatives don’t embrace it and that as many more centered progressives do.
Ben Carson rails against Hillary Clinton, Lucifer. – From the video description: “Ben Carson wanted to get one thing straight right away in his Tuesday speech to Republican convention delegates: “I am not politically correct.” With that out of the way, the retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate went on the offensive against “secular progressives,” the “political elite,” the media, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton — and Saul Alinsky and Lucifer.”
Hillary Clinton mirroring the message of Saul Alinsky. Hear Clinton’s words; those are like Alinsky’s. See the SCARY comments over the video trying to convince you her kind words are somehow evil? That is like the propaganda spread against Alinsky and other community organizers who stand up for the have-nots. People who stand up for the little guy are worth defending, and we have to judge people based on their words and actions, not what others tell us to think about them (Judge not, that ye be not judged; Matthew 7:1-3). So then, read Rules for Radicals (Amazon) yourself.
Alinsky never backed down from his claims about the first radical, nor did he back down from the many other radical claims he made or his commitment to fighting for social justice. Instead, he doubled down on them loudly.
Let’s end with a 1972 interview with Playboy, followed by a few quotes.
ALINSKY: Sometimes it seems to me that the question people should ask is not “Is there life after death?” but “Is there life after birth?” I don’t know whether there’s anything after this or not. I haven’t seen the evidence one way or the other and I don’t think anybody else has either. But I do know that man’s obsession with the question comes out of his stubborn refusal to face up to his own mortality. Let’s say that if there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell.
ALINSKY: Hell would be heaven for me. All my life I’ve been with the have-nots. Over here, if you’re a have-not, you’re short of dough. If you’re a have-not in hell, you’re short of virtue. Once I get into hell, I’ll start organizing the have-nots over there.
PLAYBOY: Why them?
ALINSKY: They’re my kind of people.
Rules for Radicals: An Analysis.
“Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul. . . ” —THOMAS PAINE
Consider your origin; you were not born to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge. – DANTE