Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rules for Radicals - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Purpose

The first chapter of Rules for Radicals states the exact purpose of the book. Alinsky began with the statement "what follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be." He continued by breaking down the class structures in America during that time and introduced the three main socioeconomic levels of society. First are the “Haves” or upper class who want to preserve the status quo, under which they possess the money and power in society. The “Haves” are the smallest group in Alinsky’s social structure, but despite this, they remain the most powerful due to the vast amount of resources available to them. The second group is the “Have-little, Want-mores” which represent the middle class, the largest class of people in America at the time. Alinsky believed this group to have the greatest potential power in the current social climate but were also the hardest to sway to a cause due to their overall contentment compared to the poorer classes. Last are the “Have-nots” or those in poverty. Alinsky saw this class as the most volatile and easy to organize and spent the majority of his career working with the “Have-nots” to implement change in communities across the United States. The discontent and general lack of resources within this class of people made presenting a common issue for them to change simpler for Alinsky because all people within a community would be unhappy with issues detrimentally affecting the entirety of the community. After introducing his socioeconomic class structure, Alinsky finished the chapter with a lesson on morality, in which he warned community organizers of the peril of wealth and material distractions from achieving greater welfare for society as a whole. The first chapter acts as a history lesson. It sets up the scenario organizers will be dealing with and explains to them the various characteristics of it.

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