Saul Alinsky Essays

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In 1965, Syracuse University opened the Community Action Training Center (CATC) under the guidance of Professor Warren Haggstrom.

Using this funding, Haggstrom hired Saul Alinsky as a consultant, who also brought in the assistance of Fred Ross.

He wanted reform inside the system by pressuring government officials to take into account the needs and wants of neighborhood residents, and he believed that the end justified any means.

He was opposed by far-left radicals who wanted to destroy capitalism and who feared that Alinsky was strengthening it by resolving the issues most important to the poor, and was nicknamed "The Red" for his radicalism—his book was dedicated tongue-in-cheek to Lucifer, the first radical.

Alinsky produced notable results like the Back of the Yard and the Woodlawn organizations in Chicago, which led him to spend the next decade spreading his methods across the entire nation, "from Kansas City and Detroit to the barrios of Southern California." The panic-stricken city council of Oakland, California, introduced a resolution banning him from the city.

Using the funding from Marshall Field III, Alinsky and his Industrial Areas Foundation utilized confrontational tactics and dramatic protests to help members gain bargaining status and a larger share of the local pie.He disavowed with increasing vigor any national issue strategy or ideological outlook.The weakness of his emphasis on the organizer as a tactician only and the granting of control to those organized was that racist goals could be chosen by the membership as a whole.In the 1960s, the Temporary Woodlawn Organization (TWO) was formed on behalf of local churches to confront a plan by the University of Chicago to expand in the area, as well as work toward better neighborhood schools.Woodlawn organized a series of protests, using negative publicity to its advantage.George Higgins' Labor Day message was authored by a protege of Alinsky, P. Alinsky's first priest intern was Jack Egan, and the "Friends of CHD" was modeled on an Alinsky strategy designed ten years earlier known as "Friends of FIGHT".Bernardin stated that the great work of community organizing began in Chicago, which is a reference to the BYNC, as is the reference to the "important networks" in the area - all of these organizations based their methodologies on the Alinsky model.All the guys who funded the field trips were being scraped off Wall Street sidewalks." While he was attending the University of Chicago, he met Helene Simon, his first wife.Edward Chambers, a director for the Industrial Areas Foundation noted that Alinsky's principles for organizing are contained in his autobiography of John Lewis.When he finally graduated college it was in the midst of the Great Depression, and found it hard to find work in his field of study.He said: "Archaeologists were in about as much demand as horses and buggies.

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