What Are Some Rules Included in Saul Alinsky's "12 Rules for Radicals"?


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Some of the rules in Saul Alinsky's "12 Rules of Radicals" include defining power as what you have and what your enemy thinks you have and stating that the threat of doing something is often more scary than the thing itself. The rules instruct radical groups to always keep the pressure on their enemies and to never relent. They also advise them to use ridicule as a weapon against their enemy.

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Several analysts note that while Machiavelli's "Prince" was to help the haves hold on to power, Alinsky's "12 Rules of Radicals" was to help the have-nots take it away. According to Saul Alinsky, the sources of power are people and money. Furthermore, power consists of both what you have and what your enemy imagines you have.

Rule two advises radicals to never to go beyond their expertise, while rule three advises them to try and go beyond the expertise of their enemy. It is better for radicals to stick to what they know, as this creates a sense of security. Radicals should avoid issues of which they do not have sufficient knowledge. However, whenever possible, they should go outside the enemy's expertise. They can achieve this by blindsiding the enemy and forcing him to address their arguments.

Rule eight states that radicals should apply pressure consistently and never let up. They should pile pressure on the organization to make it difficult for it to regroup or restrategize. In rules six and seven, Alinsky advises radicals to use tactics that their followers enjoy but to never let these tactics drag on for too long. Rule five advises radicals to use ridicule as a weapon to put pressure on the enemy.

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