Saul Alinsky‘s work is an important reference point for thinking about community organizing and community development. His books Reveille for Radicals (1946) and Rules for Radicals (1971) were both classic explorations of organizing and remain popular today. Mike Seal examines Alinsky’s continuing relevance to the activities of informal educators, community organizers and animateurs.
Saul Alinsky’s ideas could be seen as controversial, but he was effective and practical as a community activist, and his work and writing deserves to be more widely known among those involved in informal education, community development work and social pedagogy. Not that his principles and rules are unquestionable or right for every situation, but they are a practical toolkit to effect change though leverage in those with power, potentially of great worth to those engaged in community work and education. In addition, next time one hears someone make a moral judgment about another, or make a claim to be a radical, I would encourage the reader to think about Saul Alinsky’s ideas.