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Saul Alinsky

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Activist and Writer.

Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was an American community organizer and writer. He is generally considered to be the founder of modern community organizing, and has been compared to Thomas Paine as being "one of the great American leaders of the nonsocialist left." He is often noted for his book Rules for Radicals.

In the course of nearly four decades of political organizing, Alinsky received much criticism, but also gained praise from many public figures. His organizing skills were focused on improving the living conditions of poor communities across North America. In the 1950s, he began turning his attention to improving conditions of the African-American ghettos, beginning with Chicago's and later traveling to other ghettos in California, Michigan, New York City, and a dozen other "trouble spots".

His ideas were later adapted by some U.S. college students and other young organizers in the late 1960s and formed part of their strategies for organizing on campus and beyond. Time magazine once wrote that "American democracy is being altered by Alinsky's ideas," and conservative author William F. Buckley said he was "very close to being an organizational genius."


Sources:

1.) Nicholas Von Hoffman (2010). Radical: A Portrait of Saul Alinsky. Nation Books. pp. 108–109. ISBN 9781568586250. "He passed the word in the Back of the Yards that this Jewish agnostic was okay, which at least ensured that he would not be kicked out the door."

2.) Charles E. Curran (2011). The Social Mission of the U.S. Catholic Church: A Theological Perspective. Georgetown University Press. p. 32. ISBN 9781589017436. "Saul D. Alinsky, an agnostic Jew, organized the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago in the late 1930s and started the Industrial Areas Foundation in 1940 to promote community organizations and to train community organizers."

3.) Deal Wyatt Hudson (1987). Deal Wyatt Hudson, Matthew J. Mancini. ed. Understanding Maritain: Philosopher and Friend. Mercer University Press. p. 40. ISBN 9780865542792. "Saul Alinsky was an agnostic Jew for whom religion of any kind held very little importance and just as little relation to the focus of his life's work: the struggle for economic and social justice, for human dignity and human rights, and for the alleviation of the sufferings of the poor and downtrodden."