Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Alinsky and Communism

That Alinsky chose to start his "Rules for Radicals" hailing Lucifer like he was the opening act for Black Sabbath hasn't endeared him to reactionary Christians everywhere.

Evidence of how freaked certain quarters of the Jesus world are by Mr. Alinsky can be found by engaging in a quick visit the website of the Rev. Jack Van Impe. Yes, that Jack Van Impe. In the event you've not experienced the Jackster, he's the late-night teevee pastor whose been pitching out imminent apocalypse predictions since I was in high school. On his show, he and his awesomely be-haired wife Rexella go over the new items of the day, all of which are a Certain Sign that Things Are Coming To An End.

JVI Ministries is pitching out a little bit of end-times hysteria that prominently features the influence of Alinsky. They are also the media shop responsible for all of the Left Behind movies, which rank as some of the most impossibly mediocre cinema ever to blight the reputation of Christianity.

Interestingly, though, the issue with Alinsky isn't that he lionizes the Prince of the Air. Like most other conservatives, The Rev. Dr. Van Impe is still a tiny bit fixated on the creeping Red Menace. This fear seems unaffected by the complete collapse of communism as a global movement, but hey, fear is irrational. His website is pitching out the idea that Alinsky was a commie, and that by extension, so is the current administration. Which means the end times are at hand. Or something like that.

That's pretty much the same line you'll hear about Alinsky from Glenn Beck. And from Rush Limbaugh. Alinsky is an "America-hating radical." He's a Red! He's a Socialist! That means Obama must be as well! Take to the hills! Wooolveriiiines!

Problem is, the Alinsky you encounter in "Rules for Radicals" is really nothing of the sort. He says as much. Communism isn't revolutionary enough for him. If anything, he finds more inspiration in the revolutionary fervor of the American founding fathers. Being an astute observer of the real, he more often than not describes communism as stultifying and oppressive in both rhetoric and practice. He chides those who support or apologize for global communism, noting that the ability to speak freely about change in the system can be done freely in America, while in the communist countries of his time, such talk means there's a knock on the door at 3 AM, and you suddenly and permanently disappear.

He ain't a commie. A progressive? Sure. A leftist? Sort of, but more Trotsky than Stalin.