If you have "no place to go," come here!

Practical Agitating

Let's forget Saul Alinsky, shall we? This looks a lot more interesting! From page vii of Practical Agitation by John Jay Chapman:

The idea is, that we can always do more for mankind by following the good in a straight line than we can by making concessions to evil. The illusion that it is wise or necessary to suppress our instinctive love of truth comes from an imperfect understanding of what that instinctive love of truth represents, and of what damage happens both to ourselves and to others when we suppress it. The more closely we look at the facts, the more serious does this damage appear. And on the other hand, the more closely we look at the facts, the more trifling, inconsequent, and absurd do all those reasons appear which strive to make us accept, and thereby sanctify and preserve, some portion of the conceded evil in the world.

Contrast Saul Alinsky, who sounds like he sat at the feet of Leo Strauss:

"An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma to begin with, he does not have a fixed truth -- truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing.... To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations...." pp.10-11

Now, it's probably unfair to compare Chapman to Alinksky, since Chapman appears more of an essayist/historian than an organizer. Nevertheless, starting the book, he's got what reads like a useful (and hopeful) take on how the Boss Tweed organization was brought down -- surely a level of corruption comparable to our own.

NOTE Hat tip, Hugh and VastLeft in comments.

No votes yet


danps's picture
Submitted by danps on

is one of those things that mystifies me. How did the right end up latching on to him after being dormant for so long, and why is the interest sustained? It's very weird. I understand the Obama connection, but it's not like others in his past (like J. Wright, Ayers, etc.) are still active in the winger consciousness. Do not get.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Not only did Obama wrap himself in Chicago "community organizer" cred, HRC did her thesis on Alinsky.

To lefties, Obama's flimsy connection to Alinsky-style activism garners him an unearned halo.

To the right, tying Obama to Alinsky paints him as a schemer sent to undermine Reagan's Great America by planting commie ideas that sap our purity of essence. See also: the demonization of ACORN.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

...from page 4:

It is waste of time to expend learned argument on a judge who has been bought. The litigants must join forces and get rid of that judge before they can talk.

Submitted by Hugh on

I made once an 84 K zip file of Practical Agitation. It can be found here.

I have a newer text with a couple mistakes removed but have never gotten around to posting it.

One of my favorite quotes from it is around page 126-127:

The quarrel that the world has with its agitators is that they do really agitate. People express this by saying that the men are dangerous or have bad taste. The epithets vary with the age. They are intended to excite public contempt, and they embody the aversions of society. In a martial age the reformer is called a molly-coddle; in a commercial age an incompetent, a disturber of values; in a fanatical age, a heretic. If an agitator is not reviled, he is a quack.

If Obama and the Democrats didn't consider us the enemy, we wouldn't be doing our jobs.