Following are reviews of books we have read.

“Garden of Bone”

By AJ Scudiere

Review By Liz and Felix Bearden

Oh give me a bone
In the Darcelle Dauphine home,
Where the kids and Lobomau play.
Where always is heard
A discouraging word
And the sky is cloudy all day.

Bone, bone on the range
Where the soft tissue just falls away,
Where always is heard
Some discouraging word
And the clouds look like sh.t
Every day.

Another A.J.Scudiere book in the NightShade series that is worth singing about. Same type twisting plot intertwined with her knowledge of Human Forensic Identification, Human Physiology, and Witchcraft. And for those who play dominoes, this book gives new meaning to ”bone yard”. For those who read it I suggest you have a dictionary handy and be ready to learn something. But be careful. A lot of her fiction sounds like fact.



AJ Scudiere

review by Felix Bearden

Rating: 4 femurs and 1 humerus

Ezekiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
Ezekiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
Ezekiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
“Oh, hear the word of AJ.”

The phalanges connected to metatarsals,
The metatarsals connected to the tibia,
The tibia connected to the femur,
The femur connected to the ilium,
The ilium connected to the thoracic vertebrae,
The thoracic vertebrae connected to the Scapula,
The scapula connected to the cervical vertebrae,
The cervical vertebrae connected to the skull bone,
Now hear the word of AJ!

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun’,
Dem bones, dem bones gonna turn aroun’,
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna run aroun’
Now, hear the word of the AJ.

The head bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the shoulder bone,
The shoulder bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the hip bone,
The hip bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the ankle bone,
The ankle bone connected to the paw bone,
The paw bone connected to the toe bones,
Now hear the word of AJ.

Dem bones, dem bones, gonna paw the groun’,
Dem bones, dem bones gonna run aroun’,
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna save their town’
Oh, hear the word of the AJ.


“Fortune (red)” ****


AJ Scudiere


Review by Liz Bearden
Typically, writers conform to certain formats within genres. Mysteries line up a series of events sometimes including the reader by offering clues to the ending. In fiction, there may be a random series of events leading to a particular resolution. Sometimes I find that a book is simply a slice of life that has no obvious purpose, but to share universal circumstances and emotions. A.J. conforms to none of the conventional writing techniques, but uses most of them. The depiction of a husband and wife suffering the agony of a missing child is enough to build on, but she also includes the tension of secrets between the parents that may or may not have led to the situation. This mental upheaval adds to the desire of the reader for information and resolution. There is no way to stop reading before the end of the book, but I must admit, the resolution to me was not totally satisfactory. I still am plagued by the questions regarding the relationship between the father and the biological mother of the child, even though,having read “Fortune” Grey, first, I was armed with the DNA information and state of mind of the biological father. Happy endings, are, to my embarrassment, much more often satisfactory to me than other endings. And A.J. never fails to produce a stand alone book, even in this instance. Because I am conflicted about some gaps in the information, I would rate this as a four star, rather than a five star book. Of course, there is always the possibility that the inscrutable A.J. has another book in mind outlining another portion of the story. My questions would be, “Was this funded by a rogue branch of the government?” “What happened to the biological mother?” I know the presumption is that she was murdered, but I would have liked an expansion of events during that period, as well as what transpired between the father and the biological mother. I guess the conclusion to come to, is that I can’t get enough of the author’s books. Too bad you can’t be cloned, A.J. Or can you?


“Fortune (red)” *****


AJ Scudiere


Review by Felix

AJ’s concept of an “E-qual”, not a prequel or a sequel, pays off in the two books of Fortune. In the grey version she gets to display her sensitivity toward the characters on one side of an incident. In the red version, which is the ultimate of intensity, AJ gets to illustrate the feeling a mother on the other side of the same incident.

AJ also points out that incidents of this kind, where often are treated alone, are added to the normal pressures and problems of the day.

The descriptions remind me of my own mother taking to task a principal of an elementary school for paddling me for something I had allegedly done at school, and a teacher that gave me an “F” on a paper after psychoanalyzing its content. I had chosen to write an immoral story and used different handwriting styles to indicate different moods in the story. It must have taken 5 times the amount of time than the time to whip out the replacement good feeling moral story that my mother convinced the teacher to accept.

But this is about AJ’s book! Recommendation – Read the grey version first.

And thanks AJ for another couple of sleep deprived nights.


“Fortune (gray)”


AJ Scudiere *****

Review by Felix Bearden

As to be expected, AJ has turned out an unusual but captivating story. It doesn’t fit in the normal but limited genres. It is adventure, mystery, and emotion. She accurately expresses the feelings and emotions of most men that may find themselves in similar situations as Rafe’s.

Even though Rafe’s actions were illegal under man’s law I wonder how the Creator viewed his actions. AJ made it clear that Rafe was fundamentally a good person, and as such this reader found himself rooting for his success and affected by his paranoia.

Don’t know whether its a good thing, but my recurring nightmare has change from trying to stop a car with bad brakes to waking up expecting the FBI to be breaking in. So far I have resisted the urge to check on my college graduate, married daughter to see if she was OK.

Review by Liz Bearden

Well….I plead  (intensely) for a new book, but apparently, the intense part was inserted into the plot.  Although I was almost frantic to know who this man was to the child he abducted, she strung it out, clue by clue, forcing the reader to attempt to solve the mystery simultaneously with her abductor.  Needless to say, I lost even more sleep. Because of the authenticity of the characters, in this book, as well as previous ones, I am impressed at the depth of understanding shown for the feelings of each one.  When I compare this book with my favorite, “The Shadow Constant”, or Felix’s favorite, probably “Resonance”, and other family favorites, it’s hard not to suspect that A.J. may be a closet psychologist, or maybe a schizophrenic.  Don’t sue me A.J. I am a devoted fan. This offering will no doubt have expectant parents checking their paperwork including bills and birth certificates thoroughly. Going on the past books, I suspect that a lot of research went into this.  Without giving away the plot or the ending {?}, this is a book to start if you can block out some time to binge, and let the phone pick up messages. Everyone got the brushoff, while I finished this one. By the time I finished, I was so invested in the welfare of the adorable child, and the endearing qualities of the abductor, it was frustrating to  come to an end.

I would give this one five stars, but maybe I should withhold half of one until I read
Fortune (red).

Echo and Ember
by AJ Sudiere

Review by Felix Bearden

The Nightshade series is a great read. Yes, each one is stand-alone but we recommend you start at the beginning to prepare you for the last in the series (so far) reviewed below.

I must have enjoyed AJScudiere’s most recent book. The evidence is

  • I got a ticket for reading it at a traffic light,
  • My granddaughter is still mad at me for reading it during her wedding.
  • My wife is upset that I missed saying “I love you” before I went to sleep for the first time in 58 years.

This is AJ’s typically well-written and well-researched book and with a couple of new Night-Shade characters with special abilities of their own, one who’s special ability I fear influenced this review – Even after I erased the book from my iPhone. The plot is typical AJ if you can call anything about AJ typical – well thought out, tense, and exciting,

My rating on the special Night-Shade scale is 4 wolves and a pup (same 5 stars on Amazon). For those who haven’t read the others in the Night-Shade series I recommend you read them first even though each stands alone.

I would say more but I’ve got to take something for this buzzing in my head!

The Other Side of the Song
by Meg Duly

on October 3, 2014


Rules for Radicals
by Saul Alinsky

Review by Felix Bearden


In 2004, a community organizer was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 2008, he was nominated by the Democratic Party over Hillary Clinton for president. He was elected over John McCain and inaugurated as President of the United States January 20, 2009. According to Sanford Horwitt, his biographer, he was influenced by Saul Alinsky, and followed in his footsteps as a Chicago-based community organizer. In view of these facts, and that Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis on Alinsky’s work, I felt I needed to read from the source Saul Alinsky’s book “Rules for Radicals”.

I must add that the primary reason I took on this project was that I unintentionally offended an author friend, AJ Scudiere, author of the Nightshade and other great series and books, by suggesting that she might be subjected to some of these techniques. And this was my retribution for this offense.

After reading it, I decided to write this review. I will try to highlight many of the points and not to interject my own view until the conclusion of the review. It is interesting reading because Alinsky supports many of his views with history including Lincoln and the Civil War. I found that it helped me with understanding the motivations of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I recommend that all Americans read the book.

Further, I have quoted Alinsky often to give the reader of this article a taste of his writing and hopefully encourage the reader to read the book.

Quoted from “Rules for Radicals”:

“About the Author

“Saul ALINSKY was born in Chicago in 1909, and educated first in the streets of that city and then in its university. Graduate work at the University of Chicago in criminology introduced him to the Capone gang, and later to Joliet State Prison, where he studied prison life. He founded what is known today as the Alinsky ideology and Alinsky concepts of mass organization for power. His work in organizing the poor to fight for their rights as citizens has been internationally recognized. In the late 1930’ s he organized the Back of the Yards area in Chicago (Upton Sinclair’s Jungle). Subsequently, through the Industrial Areas Foundation which he began in 1940, Mr. Alinsky and his staff have helped to organize communities not only in Chicago but throughout the country from the black ghetto of Rochester, New York, to the Mexican American barrios of California. Today Mr. Alinsky’s organizing attention has turned to the middle class, and he and his associates have a Training Institute for organizers. Mr. Alinsky’s early organizing efforts resulted in his being arrested and jailed from time to time, and it was on such occasions that he wrote most of Reveille for Radicals. He died in 1972.“

The Book

“The Purpose”

“Rules for Radicals is written for Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

For the purpose of this book, Alinsky initially classifies people into two groups, the Haves and the Have-Nots. Note that later he modifies these classifications as the Haves, the Have-Nots, and the Have-a-Little-Want-Mores. He claims that this is not an ideological book “except insofar as an argument for change…”. He rejects dogma as “the enemy of freedom”. A surprising comment is “Those who enshrine the poor of Have-Nots are as guilty as other dogmatist and just as dangerous.

Supported by the Declaration of Independence, the writing of Thoreau and Lincoln, he believes in the God-given right to revolt. He points out that at the conclusion of a revolution the new Haves, now in charge, declare the dominance of the status quo and resist any change regardless of whether or not the change is is beneficial for the Haves and Have-Nots. He points out that, until the Russian and Chinese revolutions, the status quo has been defended by “meaningless conglomeration of abstractions about freedom, morality, equality, and the danger of intellectual enslavement by communistic ideology.” “Today revolution has become synonymous with communism while capitalism is synonymous with the status quo.”

“Ideology of Change”

He best explains his ideology concerning the organizer in the following:

“To begin with, he does not have a fixed truth—truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing.” and He accepts the late Justice Learned Hand’s statement that “the mark of a free man is that ever-gnawing inner uncertainty as to whether or not he is right.”

Because EVERYTHING is changing the organizer must recognize the changes and to influence them by working within the perceived changes and providing the power of organizations to achieve reasonable but positive goals.

He criticises religious institutions that have “come to support the status quo so that today religion is materially solvent and spiritually bankrupt”. One example of that is the religious institutions accepting tax exemptions in exchange for not speaking out against government corruption and campaigning for someone for public office for which they have more confidence in the rule of law.

“Class Distinctions”

“Mankind has been and is divided into three parts: the Haves, the Have-Nots, and the Have-a-Little-Want-Mores.”

The Have-a-Little-Want-Mores class is divided into two parts, the Doers and the Do-Nothings. The Doers according to Alinsky are made up of people like Moses, Paul of Tarsus, Martin Luther, Robespierre, Georges Danton, Samuel Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Nikolaj Lenin, Mahatma Gandhi, Fidel Castro, and Mao Tse-tung. On the other hand are the Do-Nothing’s who talk a good game but contribute nothing toward the betterment of man.

At the end of the Chapter 1 The Purpose is included:

“I believe that man is about to learn that the most practical life is the moral life and that the moral life is the only road to survival. He is beginning to learn that he will either share part of his material wealth or lose all of it; that he will respect and learn to live with other political ideologies if he wants civilization to go on. This is the kind of argument that man’s actual experience equips him to understand and accept. This is the low road to morality. There is no other.”

This is probably the most succinct description of his fundamental beliefs and the foundation of his work.

“Of Means and Ends”

Alinsky restates the question “Does the end justify the means?” as “Does this particular end justify this particular means?” This chapter gives 11 rules of the ethics of means and ends. With each rule he gives a lengthy explanation of how the rule applies and how to apply the rule. The following list includes the list but his accompanying text is very instructive.

  1. one’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue.
  2. The second rule of the ethics of means and ends is that the judgment of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment.
  3. The third rule of the ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means.
  4. The fourth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that judgment must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point.
  5. The fifth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that concern with ethics increases with the number of means available and vice versa.
  6. The sixth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that the less important the end to be desired, the more one can afford to engage in ethical evaluations of means.
  7. The seventh rule of the ethics of means and ends is that generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics.
  8. The eighth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that the morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.
  9. The ninth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.
  10. The tenth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.
  11. The eleventh rule of the ethics of means and ends is that goals must be phrased in general terms like “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” “Of the Common Welfare,” “Pursuit of Happiness,” or “Bread and Peace.”

I have restated the rules with the hope the reader will go to the source to enjoy Alinsky’s discussion directly. Of particular interest was his pointing out that, even our Declaration of Independence employed ends justifying the means by only stating the complaints against the King of England. Any statement of the advantages of remaining a colony would have discouraged some members of the colonial army to participate.

Then there is a discussion about Lincoln and what some call the “War of Northern Aggression”. Even though he didn’t mention it, he alluded to it in this section. “The winner gets to write the history.”

Most histories list slavery as the primary cause of the war. They ignore the fact that Northern States first broke the agreement.

The first paragraph of South Carolina’s “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union” reads:
“The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slave-holding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.”

The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”
The fourth Article was adopted to bring South Carolina and other southern states into the Union. Was the federal union living by the terms of the US Constitution? For those of us who believe slavery is wrong, we cannot deny the fact that the union was breaking an agreement that brought South Carolina into the union in the first place.

What Lincoln said at his first inauguration sheds even more light on the issue,
“I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declared that “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I made this and many similar declarations and have never recanted them.”


“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”
Aug. 22, 1862: President Lincoln told a New York newspaper that preserving the Union was his main goal of the Civil War — not abolishing slavery.

“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all slaves I would do it”.

And from the History Channel:
“When the American Civil War (1861-65) began, President Abraham Lincoln carefully framed the conflict as concerning the preservation of the Union rather than the abolition of slavery. Although he personally found the practice of slavery abhorrent, he knew that neither Northerners nor the residents of the border slave states would support abolition as a war aim. But by mid-1862, as thousands of slaves fled to join the invading Northern armies, Lincoln was convinced that abolition had become a sound military strategy, as well as the morally correct path. On September 22, soon after the Union victory at Antietam, he issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” While the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free a single slave, it was an important turning point in the war, transforming the fight to preserve the nation into a battle for human freedom.”

A Word about Words

This chapter is about words their actual meanings and emotions they evoke. The dictionary meaning doesn’t necessarily include the connotations generally attached like Political, Power, self-interest, compromise, and conflict. Alinsky argues against avoiding the use of these words or using substitutes but rather to use them as they are to evoke maximum response. A good example is the word ego.

“If he or she [the organizer] does not have that complete self-confidence (or call it ego) that he can win, then the battle is lost before it is even begun.”

The Education of an Organizer

At one time Alinsky’s organization had a school for organizers. The course was a full time 15 month course. Beyond that he lists experience as the primary source and that organizers grow from the experiences they have on the job.

Later in the chapter he lists the characteristics of organizers and discusses each one.


  1. Curiosity.
  2. Irreverence.
  3. Imagination.
  4. sense of humor.
  5. A bit of a blurred vision of a better world.
  6. An organized personality.
  7. A well-integrated political schizoid.
  8. Ego.
  9. A free and open mind, and political relativity.


“ONE CAN LACK any of the qualities of an organizer—with one exception—and still be effective and successful. That exception is the art of communication. It does not matter what you know about anything if you cannot communicate to your people. In that event you are not even a failure. You’re just not there.”

Concerning subjects of the organization:

“They believe that he knows his job, he knows the right tactics, that’s why he is their organizer.

The organizer knows that even if they feel that way consciously, if he starts issuing orders and “explaining,” it would begin to build up a subconscious resentment, a feeling that the organizer is putting them down, is not respecting their dignity as individuals.”

In my experience, the following is also true.

“The organizer knows that it is a human characteristic that someone who asks for help and gets it reacts not only with gratitude but with a subconscious hostility toward the one who helped him.”

We belonged to a church that spent enormous personal energy helping people that had drug problems and a variety of personal problems. They were invited to and attended church for a time. However, after they seemed to have recovered or well on their way they stopped coming. It took us a while but finally concluded that this hostility was the reason they stopped coming.

A point that should be evident is that communication has to be at a level that both should understand. An organizer that speaks at a level above the object may be impressive but will not recruit the object into the group.

In the Beginning

“IN THE BEGINNING the incoming organizer must establish his identity or, putting it another way, get his license to operate. He must have a reason for being there—a reason acceptable to the people.”

In this chapter Alinsky discusses some of the issues an organizer must face when he insinuates himself into the base he intends to organize. He also lays out basic truths to help the organizer better face the situation.

“Love and faith are not common companions. More commonly power and fear consort with faith. The Have-Nots have a limited faith in the worth of their own judgments. They still look to the judgments of the Haves.”

“Power means strength, whereas love is a human frailty the people mistrust. It is a sad fact of life that power and fear are the fountainheads of faith.”


“One of the great problems in the beginning of an organization is, often, that the people do not know what they want. Discovering this stirs up, in the organizer, that inner doubt shared by so many, whether the masses of people are competent to make decisions for a democratic society. It is the schizophrenia of a free society that we outwardly espouse faith in the people but inwardly have strong doubts whether the people can be trusted.”

“It is common for policy to be the product of power. You begin to build power for a particular program—then the program changes when some power has been built.”


“A large shadow over organizing efforts, in the beginning, is, then, rationalization. Everyone has a reason or rationalization for what he does or does not do. No matter what, every action carries its rationalization.”


“From the moment the organizer enters a community he lives, dreams, eats, breathes, sleeps only one thing and that is to build the mass power base of what he calls the army. Until he has developed that mass power base, he confronts no major issues. He has nothing with which to confront anything. Until he has those means and power instruments, his “tactics” are very different from power tactics. Therefore, every move revolves around one central point: how many recruits will this bring into the organization, whether by means of local organizations, churches, service groups, labor unions, corner gangs, or as individuals.”


“TACTICS MEANS doing what you can with what you have. Tactics are those consciously deliberate acts by which human beings live with each other and deal with the world around them. In the world of give and take, tactics is the art of how to take and how to give. Here our concern is with the tactic of taking; how the Have-Nots can take power away from the Haves.”


Again Alinsky sets out a number of rules which are listed here.

  1. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
  2. Never go outside the experience of your people.
  3. Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.
  4. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
  5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
  6. A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
  7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
  8. Keep the pressure on.
  9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
  10. The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
  11. If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counter-side.
  12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
  13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”


The illustrative anecdotes are good in this section both to illustrate and for history.


“Once we understand the external reactions of the Haves to the challenges of the Have-Nots, then we go to the next level of examination, the anatomy of power of the Haves among themselves.”

“Any attack against the status quo must use the strength of the enemy against itself.”


“The basic tactic in warfare against the Haves is a mass political jujitsu: the Have-Nots do not rigidly oppose the Haves, but yield in such planned and skilled ways that the superior strength of the Haves becomes their own undoing.”

Forcing the Haves to live by their own rules often weakens their power to permit changes to the advantage of the Have-Nots. Several examples are given here where organizations failed because they didn’t foresee the outcome had they persisted. One example was that of a school boycott in Birmingham.


“The reaction of the status quo in jailing revolutionary leaders is in itself a tremendous contribution to the development of the Have-Not movement as well as to the personal development of the revolutionary leaders. This point should be carefully remembered as another example of how mass jujitsu tactics can be used to so maneuver the status quo that it turns its power against itself.


“Jailing the revolutionary leaders and their followers performs three vital functions for the cause of the Have-Nots: (1) it is an act on the part of the status quo that in itself points up the conflict between the Haves and the Have-Nots; (2) it strengthens immeasurably the position of the revolutionary leaders with their people by surrounding the jailed leadership with an aura of martyrdom; (3) it deepens the identification of the leadership with their people since the prevalent reaction among the Have-Nots is that their leadership cares so much for them, and is so sincerely committed to the issue, that it is willing to suffer imprisonment for the cause.”


“Speaking of issues, let’s look at the issue of pollution. Here again, we can use the Haves against the Haves to get what we want. When utilities or heavy industries talk about the “people,” they mean the banks and other power sectors of their own world. If their banks, say, start pressing them, then they listen and hurt. The target, therefore, should be the banks that serve the steel, auto, and other industries, and the goal, significant lessening of pollution.”

The Genesis of Tactic Proxy

“THE GREATEST BARRIER to communication between myself and would-be organizers arises when I try to get across the concept that tactics are not the product of careful cold reason, that they do not follow a table of organization or plan of attack. Accident, unpredictable reactions to your own actions, necessity, and improvisation dictate the direction and nature of tactics.”

As Alinsky says below, this is a difficult chapter to be described, and to review. However, the case studies are important examples.

“Since the nature of the development of tactics cannot be described as a general proposition, I shall attempt instead to present a case study of the development of the proxy tactic, one that promises to be a major tactic for some years to come. I shall try to take the reader into my experience with the hope that afterward he will reflect candidly upon the hows and whys of his own tactical experience.”

The Way Ahead

“ORGANIZATION FOR ACTION will now and in the decade ahead center upon America’s white middle class. That is where the power is. When more than three-fourths of our people from both the point of view of economics and of their self-identification are middle class, it is obvious that their action or inaction will determine the direction of change. Large parts of the middle class, the “silent majority,” must be activated; action and articulation are one, as are silence and surrender.”

In this chapter Alinsky describes the middle class of the Nixon-Agnew era. According to his definition, I would have been in the lower middle-class but don’t remember ever fitting into his description. For me and the people I knew, it was a time of opportunity. Even though we were among the Have-Some-Want-More class we were aware of the Haves but were not interested in taking from them any more than payment for goods and services. They represented instead goals toward which we worked. Could it be that this resulted from my southern religious training?

In My Humble Opinion

I hope you have read the book. In fact, I would hope for some healthy debate on the subject.

The Purpose

In addition to stating the purpose, Alinsky outlines his view of the existing classes. It may be for his intended audience but is oversimplified. For this discussion I have recast in two dimensions recognizing that there are probably more but are difficult to illustrate on a two dimensional medium.







Want More, Willing to work




Want More, Any Way




Do Nothings




Even though Alinsky says the purpose is “for the Have-Not on how to take it away”, it appears that the lessons are really for the Progressives, who want control. For example name one Progressive that is not a Have. Alinsky talks about his accomplishments but reveals little about his organization that takes projects that provide it with income.

He describes all of the groups mentioned in the chart above including the Progressives, although he called them the Organizers. Once they gain prominence, usually elective office, they identify themselves as Progressives.

One point he makes is that organizers should not assume that the Have-Nots are the poor. In fact in the final chapters he points out that by far the greatest power rests in the middle class and, if they can be organized, the good (his definition of good) they can accomplish.

Everything Is Changing

This is the fundamental belief of Alinsky, or at least what he requires of his organizers. He spends some time defending that position. Even though scientist now have a theory that the universe was created by a “big-bang” event and point to data that shows it is expanding, they cannot explain what blew up or what was there before the event occurred. Even more, where the rules came from that govern the results of the explosion. Science is about the discovery of rules that govern the universe, from the organization of the galaxies, to attraction of physical bodies, to the operation of the neutrino in a molecule. By understanding these rules, man has learned to fly, and capture immense amounts of destructive and beneficial energy from the atom. However these rules are inviolate. Where situations appear to be changing, like the average temperature of the earth, the underlying rules remain the same.

So it is with personal relationships. Eons of years have gone into the study of rules governing these relationships. Men have always been involved in tribes that required rules to survive. Religions have risen and fallen while trying to find workable rules that governed relations between its members. Today the Jews, Christians, and Muslims dominate the world regarding codifying rules that thus-far been discovered. It has been demonstrated that violating the rules of the personal relations section of the Ten Commandments always result in some undesirable outcome. Islam and the Prophet expand on those and some sects have moved Islam into an ideology that enforces their rules with specific administered punishments.

All of this is to say, that, by considering a limited number of observations, one could conclude that “everything is changing”. But, once you drill down, there is one or a combination of unchanging natural laws that result in the observation.

Of Means and Ends

Alinsky’s rules listed in the main section above entitled “Of Means and Ends” depend heavily on his assertion that “everything is changing”. If the reader believes this and rejects the arguments of the previous chapter I suggest he stop reading now. This is not to say I am not willing to debate the issue in my blog but my assertion of the fact that everything is not changing is the basis of my arguments following.

Worthy of more discussion is the assertion that Lincoln’s use of the race issue as a means to assure his end “to save the Union”. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, stated in his book that he foresaw the end of slavery had the South been successful. There are still some who question whether the resulting union justifies the 620,000 deaths (roughly 2% of the population), the disenfranchisement of every southern person involved in the war, the severing of the southern states from the union, and the colonizing of those same states with “carpetbaggers”. Certainly, the elimination of slavery was a good thing but was the war necessary to accomplish something that was already inevitable?

The “Union”, now without the threat of secession, with a weakened Constitution, has slowly drifted back to the European style of government and away from what our founders intended. American citizens are born indentured to the union for life to pay a percentage of his or her income often to redistribute to others or pursue activities not consistent with his or her religious beliefs. Because of the 16th Amendment, the union may tax any activity and set the rate of taxation without regard to whether it advances freedom or even benefits its citizens. States, or more precisely state governments, have lost their influence in the union by the passage of the 17th Amendment which changed the method by which Senators are elected.

The Congress, enabled by a court decision made by a Franklin D. Roosevelt court and the “Commerce Clause”, now routinely pass laws that violate the word and intent of the 10th Amendment. The most obvious law that has passed recently is what is commonly known as Obama-care. An act that seeks to control one sixth of the union’s economy is certainly outside of the founders intended scope of federal government. Even the plans proposed by Republicans are out of that scope but at least they make choices of both coverage from a market driven system available.

The Education of an Organizer

Except for #2 and #9, these are attributes of any good leader. Those two items testify to Alinsky’s vision of his “Everything’s Changing” morality.

Other Subjects in the Book

With the exception of the chapter listed below, the book deals with details of how to accomplish the organizers’ goals, whether moral or not. At this time this author does not wish to deal with them. Once the reader rejects Alinsky’s vision of morality, the reader needs little explanation of the morality contained in those chapters.

The Way Ahead

Your author does feel this section needs some attention.


This year, we saw the rise of Have-Nots that Alinsky referred to in this chapter. That is the middle class. He referred to them as the “Silent Majority”. As he mentioned earlier, organizers should not assume Have-Nots are necessarily the poor.

In this case, the Have-Nots are those who feel they have little or no political power. In their world, they see themselves working longer hours for less buying power. They see fewer jobs created to support the normal population growth. They see products traditionally made in the USA sport labels from other countries. They see their insurance premiums increase to pay for benefits that they will never realize. They see deductibles increase to levels that they cannot afford for medical care they previously took for granted. They see the commitment of US tax dollars to foreign governments even though the government is sinking further and further into debt. They see an erosion of their rights as other organizations demonstrate and sometimes riot against speakers with whom they agree. And, they blame the Haves of political power identified as the “Establishment” made up of Republicans and Democrats who appear to be more interested in the next election and filling their own pockets than really taking care of the government’s business, congressmen who are willing to compromise away their promises rather than standing firm on their convictions.

And they found their voice. They found someone who was clearly not a member of the establishment, a brusk, undisciplined, real estate mogul, who spoke in their language and was not afraid of saying what he felt. A man willing to defend himself against the establishment even though knowing his defence would cause even more verbal attacks from an obviously biased media.

In spite of having a smaller organization, spending no more than a half of what the Democrats spent, and a media almost universally opposed to his candidacy, he garnered enough votes in the right places to win the Presidency.

Were any of Alinsky’s rules used, either intentionally or not associated with “Rules for Radicals”?


  1. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
    No. If anything, the establishment underestimated the power of the “Silent Majority”.
  2. Never go outside the experience of your people.
    Yes. Donald Trump’s speeches were designed to communicate with the base.
  3. Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.
    Yes. The Haves have become so confident of their power, they had lost touch with the voters in the middle class.
  4. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
    No, it is impossible to make someone live up to its rules when they are rules of expediency.
  5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
    Absolutely! Donald Trump ridiculed Clinton in every speech. “Crooked Hillary” comes to mind.
  6. A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
    Yes. Donald Trump’s speeches were entertaining. Audience Participation, and the audiences always “HUGE”, was encouraged.
  7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
    Yes, even though Donald Trump’s speeches had the same theme, they were different enough to keep the audiences coming.
  8. Keep the pressure on.
    Yes. Each appearance by Trump or his surrogates pointed out failure of the previous administration.
  9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
    No. again the opposition did not fully appreciate the threat.
  10. The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
    Yes. The operations of the campaign continuously kept pressure on the opposition. The promise of jobs, America First, reduced taxes, repeal of Obamacare were continuous theme of the campaign.
  11. If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counter-side.
    No. In this case the negatives of the establishment were positives for the Donald Trump campaign.
  12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
    Yes. The promise of more jobs, more security, and putting “America First” resonated with the “Silent Majority” and encouraged voters to vote for a real change.
  13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
    Yes. The target was the previous administration and Hillary Clinton’s association with it. Donald Trump and his surrogates never wavered from those points. The addition of Hillary Clinton’s lack of integrity, and her lack of concern for the security of the secrets of our nation may have been just enough to tip the scales in favor of Donald Trump.

So it would appear that Donald Trump used techniques expounded by Alinsky to win the election. It is unknown whether he intentionally used those techniques or was even aware of them. But the question is, was he elected by a thoughtful electorate, or was he elected by using the techniques of a less than moral writer.

It is clear that Hillary Clinton was aware of the Alinsky book and that she and the previous administration used the techniques enclosed throughout her career. Even now she denies that her competency and lack of integrity were not causes of her losing the election, rather blaming James Comey, the Russians, and even the Democratic National Committee. For the purpose of this article, it is not useful to discuss any further the association of Hillary Clinton and Saul Alinsky.

One should mention the techniques of the opponents of Donald Trump even after he was elected.

They continue the litany of accusations that so many of their followers believe without bothering to verify: That Donald Trump is a misogynist, even though the person who ran his campaign and the first engineering manager to manage the construction of a major hotel were women; he is a racist, even though he sued a town in Florida over a racist law that prevented blacks and Jews from his club; his is an islamophobe, even though the first nation he visited as President was Islamic; Not Christian, even though he attends a Presbyterian Church regularly and participated in the “Laying on of Hands” ceremony in a predominantly black Christian Church in Detroit.

And now, his opponents are claiming through unnamed sources that he is being investigated for collusion with the Russians even though there is no evidence, and obstruction of justice, because a self admitted “leaker” has testified that he might have been directing him to stop an investigation.

So How Does One Avoid Being Used in an Organization?

  1. Be suspicious.
  2. Particularly of news that elicits emotional response
  3. Decide what your objectives are for a better future.
  4. Because we essentially have only 4 parties, read the platforms of all. Select the one which best matches your objectives and conforms to your morality.
  5. Listen to the speeches of your candidate, preferably to the complete speech so that you understand the context. If available, read the speeches.
  6. Check the integrity of the candidate. Particularly their past.
  7. DO NOT pay attention to what the talking heads say, even though they broadcast through your favorite news media. The host of Fox News Sunday has been observed playing a segment by a candidate and then posing a question misstating the what the segment just played revealed. Often on this program and others, journalist ask the same question over and over obviously hoping the answer is the one they want.
  8. Once a presentation mentions “source”, “source in the White House”, “source in the Congress”, and “unnamed source”, flag that presentation as highly suspect. Remember, those in the news media also have their agenda.

There are probably other ways but these are certainly useful. Many claim that they don’t have time to read the platforms and listen to the speeches. I would suggest that they may be even worse than the Do-Nothings because they could actually be doing damage.