Saul Alinsky was an American and master tactician during the ‘underdog’ anti-establishment militant protest period in the 1960s. He was recently rediscovered by various think tanks and blogs of the modern right who now also use his tactical advice for their purposes.
Fas est ab hoste doceri. His first advice in a subversive fight was that “the issue is never the issue”. You may ask for free education, but the real issue is revolution and destroying the system. What follows are Alinsky’s 13 tactical principles which speak for themselves.
- Power is not only what you possess, but also that your enemy believes you have.
- Never leave the realm of experience of your own people. If one action or tactic lies beyond the realm of experience of the people, this results in confusion, fear, reservation and the breakdown of communication.
- Wherever possible, leave the realm of experience of the foe. There we want to cause confusion, fear and reservation.
- Force the foe to live according to his own rules. You can kill him with that, as he will never obey his own rules.
- Mockery is the strongest weapon of man. It is nearly impossible to fight mockery.
- A good tactic is fun for your own people. If the people are not being amused by the tactics they employ, something is wrong with the tactic.
- A too-hesitant tactic makes weak. Man can only develop a fighting spirit for a certain issue for a limited time.
- Pressure must never ease. It must be maintained by various tactics and actions and all events fit for this purpose, must be used.
- A threat has more deterrence effect than the case itself.
- The most important requirement for every tactic is developing a strategy with which constant pressure on the foe can be exercised.
- Even if something (seen or perceived as) negative is being driven strict and long enough its opposite may break through. That is based on the principle that every positive occupies a negative.
- The reward for a successful attack must be a constructive alternative (to the existing one which is attacked).
- Choose a target, nail it, personalize it and then start aiming at and shooting.
I would like to add some tactics from my own experience. It may appear a little bit hotchpotch, but every reader is invited to recommend his own system.
- Never be predictable. Achieved surprise is 80 percent of success.
- Activity, activity, vitesse not only in tactics but also in material considerations.
- If something goes according to plan, the plan is wrong.
- Molkte: The result of the first skirmish can destroy the most brilliant plan for a campaign.
- Remember Napoleon: “ordre, contreordre, disordre”.
- Whatever is not as simple as a clap does not work under combat or stress conditions.
- French proverb: “A corsaire corsaire et demi”.
- Bismarck: Politics does not deliver judgement or punishment, but practical and useful results. Politics is an art and not a science.
- Frederick the Great: Who wants to defend everything defends nothing. Be courageous enough to accept gaps.
- The only important thing are your interests and your needs. But recognize that the interests and needs of others, even of foes, may be part of your interests and needs.
- Resources are always limited. If you wait for perfect conditions, you wait for eternity.
- Never make an essential own decision dependent on possible, hypothetic and not influenceable decisions or acts of others.
- Even in analytical minds there is a lot of wishful thinking.
- You cannot wish or hope away facts. You cannot create facts by merely wishing and hoping. Wishing is for children before Christmas.
- To be careful, moderate, reserved is one thing. To be a coward, another. Cowardice brings misery.
- An old hunter’s saying: Not shooting also misses the aim.
- Who fights may lose. Who does not even start to fight has already lost.
- A horse rider’s wisdom: Throw your heart over the obstacle and the rest follows.
- A strategy without a main emphasis is like a man without character.
- Stick strictly to a decision made. But if there are compelling reasons, ask for a change but do it radical and quick.
- Remember Churchill: We fight them on the beaches, we fight them … we will never stop fighting.”
- “Never ever ever give up”. But also be prepared to cut losses and finish something totally derailed.
- You are not treated as you deserve to be treated, but as you allow others to treat you.
- We all tend to be too optimistic.
- Be very careful with ultimatums (remember the Serbian ultimatum trap of 1914). You may become a prisoner of your own ultimatum. You must have the will and the means to exercise all actions and threats. Everything must be prepared on your side if the foe does not accept the ultimatum.
What are the practical conclusions out of all these more or less erudite considerations?
The name of the game is power. The right, conservatives, libertarians, ordo-liberals, patriots and national thinkers should start taking lessons in tactics and strategy, learn from the foe and the ‘masters’. Intellectuals do not only have the duty to think, but also to fight. How is that done?
– Accept that we are not the ‘establishment’. The establishment is a complex cartel of political, financial and media power and influence.
– Fight for ‘right’ goals, with ‘left’ tactics. It’s our duty to learn from the foe.
– Forget the differences within the right. Discussing different interpretation of Von Hayek is not as important as propagating libertarian, patriotic and conservative thinkers.
– Organize ourselves and personal networking. Activite, activite, vitesse!
– Fight for every term in public discourse. Never concede a term or definition to the others. Dispute all and any deliberation of the foe.
– Never excuse yourself for being libertarian, right, white, male, privileged, or whatever. Qui excuse accuse!
– Network between organisations, blogs, and social media.
– We must set realistic aims, decide on the tactics, decide on the strategy and have always a timetable in mind.
– Approach and influence journalism. Journalists look for stories – something which will attract attention. The monkey asks for sugar, give him sugar. If that is not possible, organize alternative media.
– Beat the drum constantly. Let us be provocative, inventive, spectacular, provocative. We must make the pictures and visual compositions which are able to transport messages at a glance. Be clear, consistent and vivid.
– Advertise our positions. We can never be straightforward enough, repetitive enough and intense enough.
– Be active citizens who are willing to donate a certain amount of time per week to the cause. That still leaves enough time for beer, braai, babes and other hobbies.
– Appear hedonistic, optimistic, cheerful and energetic. Appear as winners. Nobody follows losers. The “bandwagon” is nearly always stronger than the “underdog”. Impress the snobs and nearly everyone is sometimes and somewhere a snob.
– To be serious, academic and correct does not mean being dull and boring.
– We have to get the babes. The elegant, beautiful, cultivated, interesting, sexy, trendy ladies of all ages must be on our side.
– Be vivid, concise and clear in discussions, interviews and verbal presentations.
– Walk the talk. Don’t be shy to appear elitist and elegant in your appearance and dress. Elegance, style, fanciness support right arguments.
– Accept that the foe may play dirty and know your tricks. The investment of energy, work, time and efforts cannot be avoided. Coute a coute! But never sink low.
– Recognize that we live in interesting and decisive times.
“In war: resolution, in defeat: defiance, in victory: magnanimity and in peace; good will.” – Winston Churchill
“Be fresh, my nation, the fire signals are shining.” – Theodor Koerner, poet from the Freedom Wars against Napoleon