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Saul Alinsky/IAF and Dorothy Day

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  • Robert Waldrop
    A huge controversy is presently roiling the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. The Industrial Areas Foundation was invited to send an organizer to town, and a
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 8, 2009
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      A huge controversy is presently roiling the Archdiocese of Oklahoma
      City. The Industrial Areas Foundation was invited to send an organizer
      to town, and a faith-based organization, the Oklahoma Sponsoring
      Committee, has begun to come together to do community organizing work.
      Several Catholic parishes have joined. But then, a conservative
      reaction set in and some parishes withdrew. Much of the initial
      opposition was ginned up by a shlocky (and mostly anti-Catholic) local
      talk radio host, and a lot of the anti-IAF propaganda has been basically
      guilt-by-association and ad hominem. However, there is one segment of
      the opposition that has presented a thoughtful and intellectual critique
      of the "Alinsky movement".

      I am working on a response, and I was wondering if anyone knows anything
      about what Dorothy Day thought about Saul Alinsky and his methods? My
      understanding is that the IAF has changed its method of operation and no
      longer runs campaigns involving demonization and etc such as were common
      in Alinsky's times and recommended in his famous book Rules for
      Radicals. Indeed, one of the odd things about the opposition is that
      they seem to be using the original Rules for Radicals book as their
      playbook.

      So any thoughts about Saul Alinsky/Industrial Areas Foundation/Dorothy
      Day/Peter Maurin/early CWers etc?

      Bob Waldrop, Romero House, Okie City
    • John Médaille
      Bob, you might point out to Catholics in the area that one of the greatest supporters and friends of Saul Alinksky was the great Catholic Theologian, Jacques
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 8, 2009
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        Bob, you might point out to Catholics in the area that one of the
        greatest supporters and friends of Saul Alinksky was the great Catholic
        Theologian, Jacques Maritan. And by the way, I report with some pride
        that I will be a plenary speaker at the American Maritan Association
        convention in Houston next month.

        Some of the correspondence between the two can be found at
        *http://tinyurl.com/m7rs5e

        *in a book by Deal Hudson, no less. If you google them, you can find a
        lot of information on the relationship.

        John


        Robert Waldrop wrote:
        > A huge controversy is presently roiling the Archdiocese of Oklahoma
        > City. The Industrial Areas Foundation was invited to send an organizer
        > to town, and a faith-based organization, the Oklahoma Sponsoring
        > Committee, has begun to come together to do community organizing work.
        > Several Catholic parishes have joined. But then, a conservative
        > reaction set in and some parishes withdrew. Much of the initial
        > opposition was ginned up by a shlocky (and mostly anti-Catholic) local
        > talk radio host, and a lot of the anti-IAF propaganda has been basically
        > guilt-by-association and ad hominem. However, there is one segment of
        > the opposition that has presented a thoughtful and intellectual critique
        > of the "Alinsky movement".
        >
        > I am working on a response, and I was wondering if anyone knows anything
        > about what Dorothy Day thought about Saul Alinsky and his methods? My
        > understanding is that the IAF has changed its method of operation and no
        > longer runs campaigns involving demonization and etc such as were common
        > in Alinsky's times and recommended in his famous book Rules for
        > Radicals. Indeed, one of the odd things about the opposition is that
        > they seem to be using the original Rules for Radicals book as their
        > playbook.
        >
        > So any thoughts about Saul Alinsky/Industrial Areas Foundation/Dorothy
        > Day/Peter Maurin/early CWers etc?
        >
        > Bob Waldrop, Romero House, Okie City
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > More information about the Catholic Worker movement may be found online at http://www.catholicworker.org .Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >


        --

        John C. Médaille

        /A dead thing can go with the stream...
        but only a living thing can go against it./
        -G. K. Chesterton
        The Vocation of Business: Social Justice in the Marketplace <http://tinyurl.com/2pxdug>
        /The Distributist Review/ <http://distributism.blogspot.com/>
      • brian terrell
        This is an interesting topic, Robert.   I don t know what Dorothy thought about Alinsky and his methods but I remember reading Rules for Radicals in the
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 9, 2009
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          This is an interesting topic, Robert.
           
          I don't know what Dorothy thought about Alinsky and his methods but I remember reading "Rules for Radicals" in the seventies after reading "easy essays" and it seemed clear that if Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day were radicals, then Saul Alinsky was not one and vice versa. The most striking difference is the ethical connection between ends and means. Does the end justify the means? For Alinsky the answer is clearly and emphatically yes, for Day and Maurin, the answer is just as clearly no.
           
          I looked at the Industrial Areas Foundation website and it affirmed my memory of what I read long ago and of my experience working along side community organizations here and there. The scourge of war is not mentioned at all in their long list of social concerns. the CW, on the other hand, always gets back to the works of war being the opposite of the works of mercy. The CW repeatedly echos the words of Paul VI and of D Eisenhower, that building warships, bombers, missiles and maintaining standing armies is a theft from the poor. Community improvement, from the CW perspective, requires the abolition of war. It seems to me that talk of issues of war and peace are a distraction to the "Alinskyite" community organizer.
           
          "Community organizations" as inspired by Alinsky seem to want to take on the symptoms, working effectively on issues like housing, health care, employment, schools, without acknowledging, much less resisting, the core problem. We see this today with community organizations working on health care reform without condemning US war crimes in Afghanistan. This seems nonsense from the CW perspective but just good organizing technique from a community organizing perspective.
           
          A local community organizing group (I don't think is affiliated with the IAF) that we have worked with especially on the issue of hog confinement, avoids talk of US wars of aggression and their impact on the issues that they choose to work on. In 07 they invited James Lawson, the civil rights leader, to speak at their annual convention. Rev Lawson praised their work on many economic and social problems they take on but told them that the one thing that they lacked was nonviolent resistance to the war and he implored them to add this to their agenda. It fell on deaf ears, as those of us who encouraged this organization to follow up on Lawson's appeal found.
           
          These are good people doing good work and I would never pass on working along with them when I can. Dorothy often spoke of finding common ground and working along side all kinds of people; working with communists, for example, on labor even when they took differing or opposing sides on other issues. The Alinsky analysis and approach to the world's problems seems to me to be something quite different from the CWs.
           
          Brian
           
           
           
           

          "Where will I be when the dark falls and the dragons come and there is no more beer?" Thomas Merton

          --- On Tue, 9/8/09, Robert Waldrop <bwaldrop@...> wrote:


          From: Robert Waldrop <bwaldrop@...>
          Subject: [cathworker] Saul Alinsky/IAF and Dorothy Day
          To: cathworker@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Tuesday, September 8, 2009, 5:40 PM


           



          A huge controversy is presently roiling the Archdiocese of Oklahoma
          City. The Industrial Areas Foundation was invited to send an organizer
          to town, and a faith-based organization, the Oklahoma Sponsoring
          Committee, has begun to come together to do community organizing work.
          Several Catholic parishes have joined. But then, a conservative
          reaction set in and some parishes withdrew. Much of the initial
          opposition was ginned up by a shlocky (and mostly anti-Catholic) local
          talk radio host, and a lot of the anti-IAF propaganda has been basically
          guilt-by-associatio n and ad hominem. However, there is one segment of
          the opposition that has presented a thoughtful and intellectual critique
          of the "Alinsky movement".

          I am working on a response, and I was wondering if anyone knows anything
          about what Dorothy Day thought about Saul Alinsky and his methods? My
          understanding is that the IAF has changed its method of operation and no
          longer runs campaigns involving demonization and etc such as were common
          in Alinsky's times and recommended in his famous book Rules for
          Radicals. Indeed, one of the odd things about the opposition is that
          they seem to be using the original Rules for Radicals book as their
          playbook.

          So any thoughts about Saul Alinsky/Industrial Areas Foundation/Dorothy
          Day/Peter Maurin/early CWers etc?

          Bob Waldrop, Romero House, Okie City



















          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Robert Waldrop
          Thanks for your thoughts on this, Brian. One of the major attacks being levied against the IAF-related Oklahoma Sponsoring Committee by conservative is
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 12, 2009
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            Thanks for your thoughts on this, Brian. One of the major attacks being
            levied against the IAF-related "Oklahoma Sponsoring Committee" by
            conservative is ineed the "end justifies the means" argument. OF
            course, for conservatives to make such an argument is a bit of a
            stretch. Besides war, the IAF also doesn't touch pro-life issues, and
            that is a bone of contention too, although there again, how anyone can
            claim with a straight face that the Republican party is pro-life is
            beyond me.

            Robert Waldrop, Okie City


            brian terrell wrote:
            >
            >
            > This is an interesting topic, Robert.
            >
            > I don't know what Dorothy thought about Alinsky and his methods but I
            > remember reading "Rules for Radicals" in the seventies after reading
            > "easy essays" and it seemed clear that if Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day
            > were radicals, then Saul Alinsky was not one and vice versa. The most
            > striking difference is the ethical connection between ends and means.
            > Does the end justify the means? For Alinsky the answer is clearly and
            > emphatically yes, for Day and Maurin, the answer is just as clearly no.
            >
            > I looked at the Industrial Areas Foundation website and it affirmed my
            > memory of what I read long ago and of my experience working along side
            > community organizations here and there. The scourge of war is not
            > mentioned at all in their long list of social concerns. the CW, on the
            > other hand, always gets back to the works of war being the opposite of
            > the works of mercy. The CW repeatedly echos the words of Paul VI and
            > of D Eisenhower, that building warships, bombers, missiles and
            > maintaining standing armies is a theft from the poor. Community
            > improvement, from the CW perspective, requires the abolition of war.
            > It seems to me that talk of issues of war and peace are a distraction
            > to the "Alinskyite" community organizer.
            >
            > "Community organizations" as inspired by Alinsky seem to want to take
            > on the symptoms, working effectively on issues like housing, health
            > care, employment, schools, without acknowledging, much less resisting,
            > the core problem. We see this today with community organizations
            > working on health care reform without condemning US war crimes in
            > Afghanistan. This seems nonsense from the CW perspective but just good
            > organizing technique from a community organizing perspective.
            >
            > A local community organizing group (I don't think is affiliated with
            > the IAF) that we have worked with especially on the issue of hog
            > confinement, avoids talk of US wars of aggression and their impact on
            > the issues that they choose to work on. In 07 they invited James
            > Lawson, the civil rights leader, to speak at their annual convention.
            > Rev Lawson praised their work on many economic and social problems
            > they take on but told them that the one thing that they lacked was
            > nonviolent resistance to the war and he implored them to add this to
            > their agenda. It fell on deaf ears, as those of us who encouraged
            > this organization to follow up on Lawson's appeal found.
            >
            > These are good people doing good work and I would never pass on
            > working along with them when I can. Dorothy often spoke of finding
            > common ground and working along side all kinds of people; working with
            > communists, for example, on labor even when they took differing or
            > opposing sides on other issues. The Alinsky analysis and approach to
            > the world's problems seems to me to be something quite different from
            > the CWs.
            >
            > Brian
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > "Where will I be when the dark falls and the dragons come and there is
            > no more beer?" Thomas Merton
            >
            > --- On Tue, 9/8/09, Robert Waldrop <bwaldrop@...
            > <mailto:bwaldrop%40cox.net>> wrote:
            >
            > From: Robert Waldrop <bwaldrop@... <mailto:bwaldrop%40cox.net>>
            > Subject: [cathworker] Saul Alinsky/IAF and Dorothy Day
            > To: cathworker@yahoogroups.com <mailto:cathworker%40yahoogroups.com>
            > Date: Tuesday, September 8, 2009, 5:40 PM
            >
            >
            >
            > A huge controversy is presently roiling the Archdiocese of Oklahoma
            > City. The Industrial Areas Foundation was invited to send an organizer
            > to town, and a faith-based organization, the Oklahoma Sponsoring
            > Committee, has begun to come together to do community organizing work.
            > Several Catholic parishes have joined. But then, a conservative
            > reaction set in and some parishes withdrew. Much of the initial
            > opposition was ginned up by a shlocky (and mostly anti-Catholic) local
            > talk radio host, and a lot of the anti-IAF propaganda has been basically
            > guilt-by-associatio n and ad hominem. However, there is one segment of
            > the opposition that has presented a thoughtful and intellectual critique
            > of the "Alinsky movement".
            >
            > I am working on a response, and I was wondering if anyone knows anything
            > about what Dorothy Day thought about Saul Alinsky and his methods? My
            > understanding is that the IAF has changed its method of operation and no
            > longer runs campaigns involving demonization and etc such as were common
            > in Alinsky's times and recommended in his famous book Rules for
            > Radicals. Indeed, one of the odd things about the opposition is that
            > they seem to be using the original Rules for Radicals book as their
            > playbook.
            >
            > So any thoughts about Saul Alinsky/Industrial Areas Foundation/Dorothy
            > Day/Peter Maurin/early CWers etc?
            >
            > Bob Waldrop, Romero House, Okie City
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
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