Change We Can Believe In?


In her speech before the Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama said she was so impressed with the words of the man who would later become her husband when he talked about “the world as it is and the world as it should be.”


The words that Barack Obama used that so impressed her that she made a specific point to repeat them to the millions of people watching her that night are taken from another community activist, Saul Alinsky.  In the second chapter of his book, Rules for Radicals, Alinsky wrote, “The standards of judgment must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be.


Chicagowas the birthplace of a powerful grassroots social movement that changed political activism in this country.  “Community Organizing” was pioneered in Chicago’s old stockyards neighborhood by Saul Alinsky.


Senator Obama was trained by Chicago’s Industrial Areas Foundation, founded in 1940 by the radical organizer Alinsky.  In the 1980s, Obama spent years as director of the Developing Communities Project, which operated using Alinsky’s strategies, and was involved with two other Alinsky-oriented entities, Acorn and Project Vote.


Alinsky believed in sacrificing ethics and morals for the great cause. “Ethical standards must be elastic to stretch with the times,” Alinsky wrote in his last book, Rules for Radicals, adding that “all values are relative in a world of political relativity.”


In Rules for Radicals Alinsky writes, “There’s another reason for working inside the system.  Dostoevsky said that taking a new step is what people fear most.  Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution.”This is where Senator Barack Obama’s campaign about “Change” comes from.  He is not talking about positive change but rather the change outlined by his mentor Saul Alinsky.  Revolutionary change.  Socialist change.



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