[COMM-ORG] query: Newt Gingrich and Saul Alinsky

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Tue Jan 31 15:40:39 CST 2012

[ed:  thanks to James for the Link.  I also heard a soundbite from an
interview with Gingrich where he basically said that, because Romney is
so rich, Gingrich supporters have to organize to counter the power of
money with people power.  Some organizer should sue him for copyright

From: James Tracy <jamestracysf at gmail.com>

Pretty funny.


On 1/29/2012 2:16 PM, Discussion list for COMM-ORG wrote:
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> [ed: Peter is posting independently of the discussion, but I'm including
> it in this thread just to make it more easily searchable.]
> From: dreier at oxy.edu
> Friends and Colleagues:
> Is Capitalism on Trial? -- The Occupiers have been evicted from their
> encampments, but the movement continues to have a huge impact on our
> culture and politics. More than three-quarters of Americans – and more
> than half of Republicans -- agree that “there is too much power in the
> hands of a few rich people and corporations.” And 61 percent of
> Americans believed that “the economic system in this country unfairly
> favors the wealthy.” President Obama gave a speech in Kansas last month
> criticizing the “breathtaking greed” that has led to a widening income
> divide, and repeated that theme in his State of the Union speech this
> week. The GOP primary has turned into a debate over Romney’s corporate
> business practices and over capitalism itself. A new Pew Research Center
> survey finds that roughly the same number of eighteen-to-twenty-nine
> year old Americans have positive views of socialism as of capitalism. In
> my new piece in Dissent, I ask “Is Capitalism on Trial?” You can read it
> here: http://dissentmagazine.org/online.php?id=578
> Newt, the Nutty Professor – On the campaign trail, Gingrich constantly
> refers to himself as a “former professor,” a “scholar,” and as an
> “historian,” as though that gives him credibility for saying the
> outrageous things he says. He even claims that Freddie Mac paid him $1.6
> million as an “historian,” rather than as the lobbyist and
> influence-peddler he was. Media stories about Gingrich repeat his
> self-description and suggest that he’s brilliant and erudite. So far,
> the media have failed to inform voters that Gingrich’s short career as a
> history professor was a failure. He didn’t publish anything and he was
> denied tenure at West Georgia College. Over the years, Gingrich has
> changed his story about why he didn’t get tenure. The media – and the
> moderators at the presidential debates -- give Gingrich a free pass,
> allowing him to bloviate about his academic credentials, without
> challenging him to explain his less-than-stellar academic career (and
> then to correct him once he lies about it, as he no doubt would do). A
> few media outlets, however, have dug into Gingrich’s past, interviewed
> his former colleagues at West Georgia College, and examined his academic
> career. Myra MacPherson takes down Gingrich a few notches in her article
> on the Nieman Fellows blog: http://blog.niemanwatchdog.org/?p=2530. On
> the GQ website earlier this month, Trent Macnamara interviewed the
> professor who was chair of West Georgia College’s history department
> when Gingrich was teaching there:
> http://www.gq.com/news-politics/blogs/death-race/2012/01/newt-the-early-years.html.
> And in the Wall Street Journal last week, reporter Elizabeth Williamson
> digs into Gingrich’s academic career and finds that the traits we now
> identify with him – his grandiosity and self-importance – were evident
> back then:
> http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203735304577167041714568630.html#project%3DPROFNEWT0117%26articleTabs%3Dinteractive
> Gingrich Puts Saul Alinsky is Back in the News – It looks like Gingrich
> is now using the late Saul Alinsky (often called the founder of
> community organizing) to attack Barack Obama. In doing so, he’s engaging
> in the same kind of red-baiting that Sarah Palin (with the help of Rudy
> Giuliani) used against Obama in the 2008 election (as David Moberg and I
> described in an article at the time:
> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/palin-attacks-on-communit_b_129568.html).
> At the 2008 GOP convention, Palin and Giuliani attacked Obama for his
> years as a community organizer. The following Sunday, on "Meet the
> Press," Giuliani added to the attack by claiming -- wrongly -- that "the
> group that recruited [Obama] was a Saul Alinsky group that has all kinds
> of questions with regard to their outlook on the economy, their outlook
> on capitalism." Giuliani then tried to link Obama to what he called "a
> very core Saul Alinsky kind of almost socialist notion that [government]
> should be used for redistribution of wealth." During the rest of the
> 2008 campaign, and after Obama took office, extreme right wingers like
> Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, the Tea Party, and others,
> consistently linked Obama to Alinsky as a way of labeling the president
> as a dangerous radical. Over the years, Gingrich picked up this theme
> and used it to defame Obama, including in his 2010 book, To Save
> America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine. In a 2010 interview
> with a right-wing website, Gingrich said: “Alinsky had a deep contempt
> for the American system. Classic Alinsky is deceit, dishonesty, and
> deception. Any level of dishonesty is appropriate if it undermines the
> bourgeois middle class.” Gingrich repeated this line of attack on Obama
> in a recent South Carolina debate: "And we disdain the Saul Alinsky
> European secular socialism advocated by those who would change our
> country on behalf of a different view." (Reported here by Charles
> Pierce:
> http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/newt-gingrich-south-carolina-campaign-6641357#ixzz1knoEPyUD).
> At a campaign stop in South Carolina, Gingrich also said: “Obama
> believes in a Saul Alinsky radicalism which the press corps was never
> willing to look at. When he said he was a community organizer, it wasn’t
> Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. It was radicalism taught on the south side
> of Chicago by Saul Alinsky.” (Reported in the National Journal:
> http://nationaljournal.com/2012-presidential-campaign/gingrich-revives-questions-about-obama-s-community-organizing-20111130).
> The Washington Post published a analysis of the Alinsky-Obama frame:
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/post/saul-alinsky-would-so-disappointed-sotu-breaks-rules-for-radicals/2012/01/24/gIQAt1cVPQ_blog.html.
> And although the story poked some holes in Gingrich’s efforts to link
> Obama with Alinsky, the fact that we’re discussing the connection at all
> means that Gingrich and other conservatives have framed the debate.
> In a recent posting on the Community Organizing website, Dave Beckwith
> (a former community organizer who is now the Executive Director of The
> Needmor Fund), had some interesting insights about why Gingrich is
> resorting to the Alinsky-Obama attack. Beckwith wrote:
> I tracked the last debate. Gingrich mentioned Alinsky more often than
> Reagan! Demonizing with a Jewish-sounding name, a secret knowledge -
> like blaming the Masons or the Illuminati... another "dog whistle".
> These secret knowledge attacks are very exciting to the true believers,
> and the audience for the talk show hosts and Fox News. Just as the
> "insiders" of the inverse side like to show how much we know about the
> real story by talking about the origins of the Tea Party in the John
> Birch Society, and the money from the Koch Brothers. Not to be equating
> the "two sides", but I don't think the narrative plays very far beyond
> the core in either case, but it energizes that core, confirms their
> insider status and keeps them insulated from rational argument. I think.
> Hull House Closes Its Doors -- If Alinsky was the “father” of community
> organizing, then Jane Addams was its “mother.” One of the greatest
> Americans in our nation’s history, Addams founded Hull House in Chicago
> in 1889 in a low-income immigrant neighborhood to help organize and
> uplift the poor. Hull House became a hotbed of progressive activism in
> Chicago and helped inspire the settlement house movement around the
> country. Unfortunately, as Addams’ biographer, Louise Knight, reports in
> The Nation this week, Hull House has had to close its door because of
> lack of funding. Read Knight’s report on Hull House’s history and its
> continuing relevance:
> http://www.thenation.com/article/165848/chicagos-hull-house-closes-its-doors-time-revive-settlement-mod
> Union Gains in 2011 -- The GOP’s attacks on Obama for the country’s high
> joblessness rate are ridiculous, since it is the Republicans who have
> consistently opposed the President’s efforts to pass a jobs bill to
> invest in public works and public sector jobs, including teachers, cops,
> and firefighters. The government’s monthly reports on overall job growth
> are also misleading, unless you separate private and public sector jobs.
> Private sector jobs have increased significantly, but much of that good
> news has been offset by cuts in public sector jobs. That, of course, is
> exactly what conservative and Republicans want – they want, as Grover
> Norquist once said, to make government so small you can drown it in the
> bathtub. In particular, we’ve seen in the past year an attack on public
> sector unions, particularly by several Republican governors and state
> legislatures. So it should come as no surprise that union membership
> among government employees declined in 2011. As economists John Schmitt
> and Janelle Jones of the Center for Economic and Policy Research report,
> the total number of union members in the public sector declined 61,000,
> as squeezed federal, state, and local governments cut back employment.
> What’s remarkable is that union membership in the private sector
> increased by about 110,000. And union density (the percentage of all
> workers in unions) in the private sector held steady at 6.9 percent,
> because the rate of private sector job growth increased at about the
> same pace as union increases. Read their report here:
> http://www.cepr.net/index.php/data-bytes/union-membership-bytes/union-membership-holds-steady-in-2011.
> Organizing Wal-Mart Workers -- Wal-Mart has used a variety of repressive
> and illegal tactics to keep unions out of their stores, the warehouses
> where they store their goods (mostly in the Inland Empire outside Los
> Angeles), and the factories that make those goods (mostly in Asia). So
> far, the labor movement has been unsuccessful at organizing workers at
> Wal-Mart, the world’s largest employer. But the United Food and
> Commercial Workers has now embarked on a new long-term effort to
> organize Wal-Mart employees, learning from past failures and utilizing
> new strategies. You can read about it in this article by Spencer Woodman
> from the January 23 issue of The Nation:
> http://www.thenation.com/article/165437/labor-takes-aim-walmart-again.
> The workers who load and unload goods headed for Wal-Mart and other
> big-box stores work in unsafe conditions for miserable pay. An
> organizing drive among warehouse workers is now underway, led by Change
> to Win. Read about the “Warehouse Workers United” organizing campaign
> here
> http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/18/news/la-state-fines-warehouse-companies-for-safety-violations-20120118
> and here:
> http://labornotes.org/blogs/2012/01/california-warehouse-workers-fight-retaliation.
> Apple’s Chinese Sweatshops: The New York Times just ran a remarkable
> series of front-page articles about the working and living conditions of
> Chinese workers who make Apple’s Ipad and other electronics products
> sold in the United States. These outrageous conditions should give pause
> to anyone who thinks that “free trade” is a great idea. Here is one of
> those article, describing these outrageous conditions, that should give
> pause to anyone who thinks that “free trade” is a great idea or that
> consumers’ obsession with the latest electronics devises improves
> conditions for the workers who produce them:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china.html?_r=1&emc=eta1.
> You can also listen to an NPR interview with one of the NY Times
> reporters who uncovered this story:
> http://www.marketplace.org/topics/tech/apples-china-supply-chain-exposed. Not
> surprisingly, the Times also ran a story last week on its business page:
> “Apple’s Profits Soars”:
> http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/25/daily-report-apples-profit-soars.
> The San Francisco Chronicle recently published a Bloomberg News story
> entitled “Apple CEO's Stock Awards Lift Compensation to $378 Million” --
> http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/01/10/bloomberg_articlesLXLOLS6K50XY.DTL#ixzz1ko0a252m.
> Bill Moyers on the Fight Against Corporate “Personhood” -- Corporate
> money and campaign contributions from the super-rich has long corrupted
> American democracy. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling –
> effectively eliminating limits to corporate cash in campaigns by saying
> that corporations have free speech rights, just like people -- has made
> this corruption much worse, as we’ve seen in the current elections, with
> the rise of the so-called Super-PACs. Over the past few election cycles,
> business has outspent labor unions by more than 10 to 1 in campaign
> contributions. Now that gap will get even wider. Read Bill Moyers
> article for Truthout about the battle over corporate “personhood”
> http://www.truth-out.org/bill-moyers-fighting-back/1327630978. Moyers is
> back with a new weekly TV show, “Moyers and Company,” and it is off to a
> great start over the past three weeks. Find out where you can see his
> show in your local area by going to his website: http://billmoyers.com
> Muhammad Ali Turns 70: Muhammad Ali turned 70 earlier this month. He is
> one of the most important public figures since the 1960s, not only for
> his exploits in the boxing, but also – and more importantly – for his
> political stances and human rights activism. I recently recounted Ali’s
> life and legacy in an article for Huffington Post:
> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/the-greatest-muhammad-ali_b_1211828.html
> Dave Zirin on Joe Paterno and Phil Knight: On the other end of the
> sports spectrum is the sordid story of child abuse by a Penn State
> assistant football coach, the cover-up by the University’s authorities,
> and the moral fence-sitting of Joe Paterno, the beloved football coach
> who died a few days ago. Some Penn Staters rallied to Paterno’s defense,
> but the most outrageous defense was by Phil Knight, CEO of Nike, who
> makes millions by supplying athletic uniforms, t-shirts, sweatshops and
> other items to teams and students at Penn State and other universities.
> Read sportswriter Dave Zirin’s critique of Knight in this column in The
> Nation:
> http://www.thenation.com/blog/165916/final-insult-nike-ceo-phil-knight-eulogizes-joe-paterno.
> You can subscribe to Zirin’s weekly sports column – where he combines
> love of sports with insightful political analysis – at his website:
> http://www.edgeofsports.com/bio.html. Also check out Zirin’s books about
> sports and politics, including Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the
> Games We Love and A People’s History of Sports in the United States
> Apologizing for Rick Santorum and Ron Paul’s Bigotry: The New Republic
> has an excellent editorial this week, criticizing pundits, left and
> right, who say supportive things about Rick Santorum and Ron Paul’s
> stances on some issues, which gives them legitimacy as candidates to
> espouse racist, sexist, and homophobic views. These views aren’t just
> impolite. They are, as the New Republic points out, repugnant and
> outside the boundaries of civil discussion.
> http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/magazine/99514/santorum-paul-2012-bigotry.
> But then, a few pages later, the New Republic falls into the same trap!
> In an article called “The Catch-Up Campaign” about Santorum’s campaign
> staff, Alec MacGillis refers to Santorum as an “advocate for heartland
> morality.”
> http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/magazine/99519/santorum-campaign-primary-surge.
> By that, MacGillis appears to equate “heartland morality” with
> Santorum’s extremely bigoted views about homosexuals and women. But
> polls show that even in such “heartland” states as Kansas and Iowa,
> public opinion about gay and lesbian rights and abortion is split, and
> that few people hold the extreme retrograde views that Santorum has been
> spouting throughout his political career, and that the New Republic
> rightly criticized in its editorial.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> Peter Dreier
> Dr. E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics
> Chair, Urban & Environmental Policy Department
> Occidental College
> 1600 Campus Road
> Los Angeles, CA 90041
> Phone: (323) 259-2913
> FAX: (323) 259-2734
> Website: http://employees.oxy.edu/dreier
> Next book: The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social
> Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books) - coming out in Spring 2012
> "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great
> moral crises maintain their neutrality" - Dante
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