I’ve just read a very long interview that Saul Alinsky did with Playboy Magazine did in 1972, just a few months before he died that June. My assessment? I want to read more, but –on the basis of what I’ve just read– Saul Alinsky was a Great American who dedicated his life to helping the oppressed and the downtrodden and the exploited.
Now that we’ve had our own uncaring and recklessly greedy induced Depression-Recession of 2008, we will suddenly (and very easily) realize that we , the 99%, have to step up and insist on justice and fairness from the establishment, the 1%. It’s our chance. Our window. It is easy to see that Saul Alinsky and his colleagues went through all of this before on our behalf.
To quote him again: “I love this g*dd*m country and we’re going to take it back!”
Rabbi Hillel had a huge effect on him and his sense of mission and his desire to make things better when he said:
“Where there are no men, be thou a man”.
“I never forgot it.” said Alinsky.
The wealthy Chicago liberal, Marshall Field III of the department store family, encouraged and backed Alinsky, the community organizer who was fighting for the rights of Blacks to employment in Chicago, and many other cities. (SA had been introduced to Marshall Field by the famous Chicago Catholic Bishop Sheil.
Summing up his organizing effects, Alinsky said:
“We gave The People a sense of Identity and Pride.”
For me the real sense of Saul Alinsky’s depth and his power comes from this quotation from the Playboy interview:
“PLAYBOY: Do you think much about death?
ALINSKY: No, not anymore. There was a period when I did, but then suddenly it came to me, not as an intellectual abstraction. but as a deep gut revelation, that someday I was going to die. That might sound silly, because it’s so obvious, but there are very few people under 40 who realize that there is really a final cutoff point to their existence, that no matter what they do their light is someday going to be snuffed out. But once you accept your own mortality on the deepest level, your life can take on a whole new meaning. If you’ve learned anything about life, you won’t care any more about how much money you’ve got or what people think of you, or whether you’re successful or unsuccessful, important or insignificant. You just care about living every day to the full, drinking in every new experience and sensation as eagerly as a child, and with the same sense of wonder. ”
[Read the interview: Saul Alinsky –in an important way– is The Man of The Moment. Now I understand why the right-wing shills attack him so fiercely and so relentlessly –and not one of them gives me any sense that they know the first thing about him!
The capitalism and free-market that is good and important for our lives should not at this point fear a debate with Saul Alinsky. Quite the reverse.
We are –as Clint Eastwood told us on Sunday– at halftime. What do we do? We do what we always do: we get up and dust ourselves off and get back in the game. Cliff, the libertarian, who was –he says– against the bail out but –unlike Mitt Romney– still thought it was right to save Chrysler and Detroit. We’re coming back!
Cliff sounded confused, but he spoke for all of us: we did the RIGHT THING. Please, right-wingers, step up and have a serious debate.
[That what was so noticeable about the Chrysler SuperBowl Ad. Something REAL! Something SERIOUS! Not Blame and Discord. The unpolarized clarity of it: “What matters is what lies ahead!]