I read a 19-page Playboy interview of Saul Alinsky. It was intriguing and frustrating. From it and the in-class discussion that followed, I’ve compiled a non-comprehensive list of questions:
- I am curious why the discussion/introduction to the history of community organizing often begins with Alinksy. Who is being left out and why?
- I understand Alinsky plays a big role and that his model was legitimated by the mainstream, but he was not the first. What does the legitimation of the Alinsky Model mean?
- Does it mean that he spoke a “language” that the mainstream could understand and recognize? If so, what does that mean about what the model offers community organizing?
- If the mainstream recognizes the model, does that lead to the co-optation of the model much like community organizers are co-opted into the system (as was discussed in the readings)? Some Conservative Right’s use the Alinsky model to support their organizing.
- While we know there’s no such thing as pure, what does it mean for a model intended for progress (or betterment?) to be used against itself? Is this akin to fighting fire with fire? (This is where I get very perplexed by the militaristic language/framing.)
- Was Alinksy and his model tokenized to serve a purpose that would ultimately reinforce the system perpetuating oppression? Is that what backsliding is born from?