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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rules For Radicals 3

Tactics from Rules For Radicals

“Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul…”

Thomas Paine

As quoted in Alinsky 1971

Saul Alinsky wrote the book Rules For Radicals (Alinsky, Saul, 1971). The time is right to remember and implement his tactics for social change. The dominant ideological strategy employed today for students who are most at risk of exclusion is a higher order and more complex system of exclusion than has ever existed before. This paper promotes the use of Saul Alinsky’s 13 tactics for success in implementing inclusion for vulnerable people in everyday life. Understanding and using Alinsky’s 13 rules with a view toward action and high-energy systemic change will cause positive change.


Rules For Radicals, Saul Alinsky

We will either find a way or make one. --Hannibal

1) Always remember the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks your have.

2) The second rule is: Never go out side the experience of your people.

3) The third rule is: Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.

4) The forth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

5) The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.

6) The sixth rule is: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

7) The seventh rule: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

8) The eighth rule: Keep the pressure on.

9) The ninth rule: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

10) The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

11) The eleventh rule is: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.

12) The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

13) The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rules For Radicals 2

The Ingredients of Peace

The clarity of the emerging inclusive movement has primitive theological roots. The actions call for clarity and must literally give testimony to non-violence and peace. Peace is a required ingredient here due to the need for radical tactics. Those who are convinced about the moral correctness of inclusion (convinced inclusionists) may start by making a declaration that notes that exclusion and harmful conflict proceeds from the passionate and overmastering desire to apply segregating scientific methods to a perceived need to cure (professional lust). In this context, professional lust refers not particularly to sexual desires, but more broadly to covetousness and greed. Greed is a subtle unconscious collection of power and control. A person steeped in professional lust may come to see that they themselves are future fodder for the “curemasters” of elder care. In this sense, (s)he that lives by professional lust, shall perish by professional lust. A convinced inclusionist will cause individual and institutional inclusivity not by might, nor power, but by peaceful and community spirit.

The fact that people who act toward inclusion are peaceful (pacifists) does not mean they are passive. The gentle battles for institutions of inclusion are battles fought with the spirit of pervading thoughts of welcome, not weapons of secular science. Led by the spirit of gentle battles for inclusion, all schools would be transformed (Samuel, Bill 2005)

The Ingredients of Peace

1) Hospitality:

“We must be ever vigilant that our egocentrism, our strong adherence to how things are properly done, and our clannish need to protect our group does not interfere with our obligation to love another as ourselves” (Fennell, Nancy 2005. Hospitality in The Manner of Friends. Friends Journal, October 2005).

a. When a guest walks through the door, some reflection or revelation of spirit has arrived in the midst. A gift has been sent.

b. Offer an open and hospitable space where strangers can cast off their strangeness and become fellow human beings (Nouwen, Henri. Reaching Out).

c. Start by making an honest appraisal of what is being done about hospitality. Hospitality involves action, it is doing three actions;

i. Preparation

ii. Sharing

iii. Serving

2) Justice

a. The quality of being just.

b. Equitableness that is characterized by the quality of being fair or impartial.

c. The moral principle determining just conduct and conformity to this principle as manifested in conduct, just conduct and treatment.

3) Equality

a. The state or quality that tends to result in privilege being dispensed in like quantity, degree and value.

4) Institutional structures that expect and develop:

a. Peace Builders

A Peace Builder is one who "does good things" on a small everyday level to make the world more peaceful (e.g., the child who returns a lost wallet to its owners or befriends a new student.)

b. Peacekeepers

A Peacekeeper is one who protects the rights of others by peacefully enforcing the laws and rules we live by; e.g., the teacher on recess duty, the corner police officer, the umpire in a baseball game, even a comic book hero.

c. Social Activist

A Social Activist is one who takes a stand against social injustice in an organized way to bring about a more just and peaceful world.

d. Visionary

A Visionary is one who inspires others with his/her vision for a more peaceful future; e.g., certain writers, artists, musicians and religious leaders, such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr.


Recall the face of the poorest and most helpless person you have seen and ask yourself if the next step you contemplate is going to be of any use to that person.” M.K.Gandhi

a. Nonviolent action is a technique by which people that reject passivity and submission, and who see struggle as essential, can wage their conflict without violence. Nonviolent action is not an attempt to avoid or ignore conflict. It is one response to the problem of how to act effectively in politics, especially how to wield power effectively. (Sharp, 1973, p. 64)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rules For Radicals

Rules For Radicals: Waging Peace For Full Inclusion.

We live in times that call for change and improvement. Much like the 1960’s and the 1920’s before that, but in our times, the specific changes called for are unclear. The move towards inclusion and peace is blocked by vision that is not so muddied as it is false in its clarity. My colleague David Schwartz says that we live in a world that is consistently projecting clear messages aimed at creating a loss of vision to human realities, while, at the same time convincing the viewer they can see clearly. Will Rogers said; “It’s not what people know that scares me, it’s what they know that just ain’t so” ( I am sure that this is quite relevant today and that David Schwartz hit it right on the head when he says that we are visionless but are certain that we can see. By creating space for citizens to gather together and incorporate the steps for inclusion, the Ingredients of Peace and Saul Alinsky’s Tactics, our collective vision will return and result in reformation, and perhaps revolution.

The dominant ideological strategy employed today for students at risk of exclusion is a higher order, more complex system of exclusion. Full inclusion is not getting more likely; we just talk as if it is. Students with disabilities are not getting better equipped for life; it just looks as though they are. Schools and teachers are not improving processes and strategies; they just believe they are. In the virtual world of, “things are not as they seem”, the time is ripe for a blast of peaceful tactics. The time is now to do what we can, with what we have for the realization of full inclusion.

Steps Toward Inclusion

Perhaps the steps toward inclusion are straightforward and obvious: Simply stop excluding people in the first place. However, exclusion as an idea has had the opportunity to institutionalize itself in the hearts, minds and hands of professionals, parents and even the students. Exclusion has won by convincing us it does not exist. Few would agree that certain students have been shut out and kept out from consideration and privilege. The lack of exclusionary vision calls for the following ten steps to be overtly institutionalized. These steps have been created through conversation with friends like Bill Henderson (2005) in Boston and writings from colleagues at the Whole School Consortium such as Michael Peterson (2003). The steps are not meant to be all-encompassing or immediately understood. Individuals and groups must work together in order to generate new steps and cause sufficient insight to take actions that are relevant to them.

10 Essential Elements of Mindful Inclusion

1) Seek first to understand, then to be understood (Covey).

We have such a propensity to sprint in, to fix things up with first-class counsel. But time and again, fail to take time to analyze, and to truly and deeply recognize the person and circumstances first.

a. Understand Authentically.

If you wish for effective relations and influential communication, you first must understand. It is not merely method. Method alone will generate a sense of betrayal, manipulation, and veiled motives. Create an atmosphere of well-being to encourage people to reveal themselves and thus be understood, and to encourage both seeing and being seen.

b. Empathetic Listening

You have to construct the competencies of empathic listening on a foundation of disposition that inspires openness and trust. The emotional bank accounts that create commerce between the hearts must be built.

2) Create Collaborative classrooms (Attachment A) and Democratic Processes (Attachment B).

a. Authentic genuine learning communities.

b. Age appropriate Popular Education.

3) Schools should not be a factory for the factory.

a. Compliance and conformity should not be the primary objective.

b. Use resources and professionals that understand the intent of standards and standardization and center methods on unique people, places and cultures (a capacity building ecology).

c. Educational purpose should be built on nurturing healthy people, not willing workers (i.e. “They must be prepared for the real world”).

4) Remember that robustness abounds. (Attachment C)

a. Robustness as the most common variable toward a contributing person.

b. Extreme measures are required to overcome the institutionalized personal impact of exclusion.

5) If you live there, you learn there.

a. Create responsible districts and open schools.

b. There should be no third party sub-contracted responsibility.

6) Be a “committed inclusionist” (Samuel, Bill 2005).

a. It will take great fervor and clarity to overcome the forces of segregation and separation.

b. Hatred is an unconscious driving force behind segregation and congregation.

7) There must be teachers who work from their head, heart and hands.

a. Feel it: working from foundations of meaning and from their hearts.

b. Know it; knowing the right tool for the right job, which is used in the extraordinarily right way (e.g. Differentiated Instruction). Head.

c. Do it: Seeking evidence of becoming, belonging and learning. The former maybe exemplified by a new phrase, “Those who can do, really teach well”.

8) Work to create a culture and then enhance it and renew it by building capacity.

a. Institutional, student and professional learning and growth are symbiotic (Attachment D).

9) Work to immerse in and emerge with the deepest gift and contribution that each person has to offer (theory of Supreme Excellence Attachment E).

a. Discover with passion.

b. Discover with commitment.

c. Discover with creativity.

10) Engender a comprehensive all-embracing disposition that provokes;

a. Hard work.

b. Flexibility.

c. Trying ideas that are consistent with positive means and meaningful ends.

©Neuville 2005

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fundamental Assumptions

As Special Education is founded on the biological scientific model the assumptions carried by professionals are aligned with a biological / medical model of production. The doctors, who ran the institutions, defined the best procedures to serve (cure) the "patients". Following world war I & II the newly skilled doctors returned with a zeal to carry on what they learned curing the wounded. The result was a strong, assumption creating,  foundation for Special Education and rehabilitation. A minority force, social rehabilitationists, saw the environment as in need of repair and advocated for such improvements as public awareness and environmental accessibility (a robust component of this group are made up of conscientious objectors serving in institutions---watch for future blog). The resulting set of beliefs, assumptions and scientific ideals was a biological model with social agendas. This model is the core of the Special Education field today and represents the core of the problems. 

When PL 94-142 was passed in 1975 improvement was generated not toward new models and ways of knowing. Improvement was generated within the narrow confines of the biological model. In some ways the new law cemented a set of assumptions and beliefs that have become an unconscious battle cry for well educated and skilled practitioners. When these assumptions are articulated and challenged as assumptions and not personal identifiers (professionals may declare; "this is who I am") true progress will be available. Just what are these well established assumptions that are now held as truths?