Urban Confrontation; 4; Saul Alinsky
Oh. Verbal confrontation. And analysis of the continuing crises facing 20th century now in the American city. Turn out. West a Marine recruiting sergeant had been blown around campus and he's knocking at my knee saying you know it's just been my age and I just don't understand I don't know if that has happened. Maybe you can explain to me that he said you know I was on your game when I was a towel on my body I saw my buddies alongside of me on both sides get the dam that's blown up they were dying for these pompous and I want honest college campus you'd think I was like nazi what goes on to try to inspire you know the next thing I had I went before a meeting of the US the US knowledge and gave me started and said oh maybe I'll see this guy again. What do you think I want to tell him it was a long silence and somebody got up with something else and changed the subject.
Today's recorded guest is song Alinsky nationally known community organizer. Today's program the committed generation fact or fiction. Here is your hope. Mr Data. Mr Alinsky has stated that the real thrust of community organization should be directed toward the white middle class community. Now first question for Mr Lensky was a logical one. Why why should the middle class be organized. Here is Saul Alinsky his answer. Unless these people really get involved the substantial sectors of our entire way of life of a free and open society in terms of what is happening now what the wealthy are people just bang. I had to use the cliche but these are the days of cliches and unite in one cliche Japs to clichés an urban crisis three cliches.
These are the days where nobody knows when they're coming on whether they're going the theme of alienation is an old one in history but seldom before in American history have so many Americans on all sides left right out of the middle politically seemed so far from their government. The question is why why this deep sense of alienation lives sectors where people feel completely lost or gaps every place you turn around. And I'm not just talking about generation gaps or communication gaps credibility gaps you know all these gaps of replies. But what I'm talking about is the gap between the people and their own government and when you talk about alienation you talk about people being out of a take a look at this lower middle class and a lot of their own reactions and feelings including the government. They see a United States Senate which one third are openly admitted millionaire as the other two parents are rapidly on their way to get it. They see a Senate
that has a Senate bill before them requiring them to disclose their assets and their financial interests. The Senate bill incidentally is prophetically titled Senate Bell numbed by the 1993 which is undoubtedly the year that it will first define it. So right now I see the tremendous prohibit costs of campaigning for office. Think feel that they don't have any of their representatives. Critics of our society on the political left wing sometimes state that we are fascist where militaristic were imperialistic. Many moderates it meant that certainly we are in what we could describe as a sea of collective troubles searching for a captain for our ship. Saul Alinsky expresses apprehension also apprehension at what he sees rising on the political scene in these United States.
There is a saying here to where everybody feels that nobody cares about them. I feel helpless powerless. They don't know what to do about anything. Their values are shot on both sides. The chance of talking about these decadent degenerate bores who want bankrupt materialistic values of an older generation that doesn't that screwed up the world etc.. Whether that any generation have that much influence to be able to do anything one way or the other way. And on the other side the older generation a sign whereby the value is gone tell you know everything is going on. People have lost confidence and lost any feeling of direction or any feeling that they belong to anyone that anyone cares about them. So what do you get you're getting vacuums all over the place and these vacuums Need I remind you of that political speech quote psych campuses are in a state of rebellion that is crying in the streets.
People no longer care about the government. Vote for me and I will bring you a Law and Order unquote speech given in 1933 and home but examine the character by name date op ed class this may sound very familiar to the campaign speeches that you're hearing around from your reading of Los Angeles to look up Minneapolis. You know New York and elsewhere they present generation of young Americans has been termed. The truly involved generation involved committed. So Alinsky has some rather sharply worded comments on this idea of youthful involvement. I would call. This particular generation I would call the capital generation because instead of learning how to organize really being radicals in the real sense really knowing what power means knowing how to use and beginning what the world is going through
with all of the monotony and and killing routine of what is involved in organizational stuff you read about me is just as dramatic climaxes you don't see the days and months of the tediousness of organization that follows up to it and after that but always on the search for drama and for something very quick and there just isn't anything very quickly outside of that what has happened has been a long one explained process so best of all the drop outs among the happenings. And dropouts as far as drugs are concerned so many are so far out that they don't need any kind of discussion with the chairman of the pop in the political economics and university want to hang up on them and on me with me up and down for him he's had a lot of trouble trying to splain firelock to his comrades back in the Soviet Union. Finally you begin to see some daylight when you begin to realize that the way to look at it was not in terms of the political
scene but our space program. Many of them bring out the fourth one on. The magazine Newsweek has been one of the few national magazines in our country to do an intensive study of the white lower middle class Americans tend to be somewhat ignorant of the problems of this group. The question is what is the world view of the lower middle class American. Our guest Mr Lensky had some keen insights as to the answer. Coming give me an idea of some of the problems faced. First of all you have to know about the experience of people if you're going to communicate with them you have to have people who talk to you with rare exception. I've never gone to college. College for them has represented a college degree is representative of a passport to the apps on society. They couldn't go to College Park couple of reasons and in many cases for both of them a
part of both of each one. One because they didn't have the house probably requirements to get down to it they could get and they don't have the money to stand out to them. College has been something really to be desired something of thank heaven my cat at least I wanted their children to make them and so they bought these little houses and these little subdivisions and they accumulate about a library of them Stahmann payment books and they were worried and I worried and scared to death. And Sly Snow's comment to threaten what little savings they might have had. Social Security no longer looks like anything in terms of once they get retired at the age of 65 you've got to really scare people here and people outside that feel completely divorced and removed and ignored alienated as that is an easy word that they feel that they're being exploited all over the place in spite of their own government is concerned. They look around and they see other people
specifically in this case the black population with special Alex abounding special admission admissions as far as getting into college and which a lot of doubts about authoritarianism just waved off to one side. Special government programs. And they feel that on this which they know about happy works immediately burns them up and you can understand why that office plus the fact that all the rest is coming out of taxes and why the taxes coming out of their pockets because they look at the upper classes and look at the upper middle and come classes they see them and they read about it in the press all the time. What OT kinds of tax evasion the operations going on what they're investing in tax for human I suppose and capital gains taxes and oil depletion and all these other things they read about millionaires who don't pay any income tax at all so they feel what they are being denied. While they've been worked on by what they see other scouting until
they've got to pay for it out of their own pockets. A great deal of adverse publicity has been given to the policeman. Whether it's deserved or not well that's anybody's question anybody's answer. The image of the policeman the man in blue is tarnished that is for sure. Little boys no longer grow up wanting to be policemen. That is for sure. What does Saul Alinsky think about the American policeman. Let's listen to his remarks. Let's take a look at just the place for a moment as I've gone through a number of riots and I've also been through a number of campus rebellions and believe me I have never seen the looks on the face of the police and a riot as I've seen on campuses because in a campus we don't know what's going on from the police officer in his mind as here as on one thing and that's why Tyson has been complex and all that stuff but here is Don one thing that to him was the most precious thing the one thing he wants to see his kids go through and so the
one thing he felt he was denied and heard these tests thrown up for grabs. It just. It just doesn't make any sense to me. He gets confused as an attack. Not on the lawn order questions but some tact on his ballot as an attack on about his. Others and low end and don't lower middle class. The have nots of this world expect their lot to be improved to be improved during this century. Soon. The rising tide of their expectations has been described as the revolution of this century. Saul Alinsky had an interesting input with regard to this problem. We're facing as a double revolution revolution of a half an ounce for the next military on many of the past. What's happening in the middle class and what's happening with the US as that we are engaged in a revolution of a whole new world that the names of the revolutionaries that have really kicked off a whole
new world are names like Max Planck Einstein Heisenberg quantum mechanics and relativity. You Cousin tell those days out of the sino came the atom bomb. But out of it came a political bomb of relativity which I don't think any of us realize how much it has not done on the pending side. Because up until the last 20 years mankind always had a series of fixed offended at family values. This was good and this was evil. Now it's relativity with or an understanding that there are values that change and they don't they never work fix it always was an illusion but the illusion can be a way out or you can just simply believe them. But now we know that everything is changing and that what is good today will not be done 20 years from now. And and that life is really the one certainty and it is the as its uncertainty and this business of moving over into our own new world and what you don't hand.
Fixed definite values but always. Relative values which are always stepping and changing that is something that our generation when I say our generation I mean all of us on it including the little sane up and brought him to Vermont back a few weeks ago when asked us guys from Harvard who were up there and a high school group there had been a school bond issue defeated and his high school status took a protest all around got the Bond back on the ballot then went out and campaigned and got it passed. Really activists so funny and I'm looking at the USGS comes from Harvard and so I think I have some sign a lot there's a generation gap between us you know hyper transit and lots of absolute confusion you know we're not going to be like you guys I we are pragmatists understand I've got a bond that. I don't know about your crap around and about and it's quite the same
experiences going out. Most Americans believe that the war in Vietnam should be ended. The problem seems to occur when the question is asked how should the war be ended the question again. How. Now the answers are rather wide and rather diverse moratorium days anti moratorium movements you name it. The problem is complex Mr. Ellins he had a very different approach however to this problem. The war in Vietnam. Far as I know I'm the only one who has a solution on how to get out of Vietnam everybody else is talking about getting out of it but they don't have a specific formula. So me to Christ are an option on some well it goes like this. You say any organizer and you know this that when you have a situation which is very bad bankrupt ask fareast open. And tally ransom or the word sphere misquotes worse than a Senate stoop that none of
you have that kind of a scene. What you do is push it all the way out to its extreme. It's complete grotesqueness and absurdity. Now there are two things lacking here one is a stable government in South Vietnam and the other as we have to stop bombing the North then we were bombing the North so what I would do if I were president one way out would be to mount a massive land invasion far greater than D-Day on Northern Vietnam which would immediately have us out of driving in what was then the whole chain many government into South Vietnam which would answer that they give us a stable government and South Vietnamese. Once we had that. And someone said one bomb North Vietnam since we were in there by then. We we went to one the one with unified Vietnam get the hell out. I'm once in a point the only way out is out. I don't know how many of you have been to Europe you don't have to go to Europe you go to Canada. I think we're you know we've lost our marbles were clearly see who the hell ever heard of
a phrase South Vietnam government outside of a certain part of the American population that never has been any such animal. You try to run against Kenya and I was all the guys you wind up in the pokey fast if you don't get knocked off I might as well tell you because this is the main part of our battle cry. Unless you are going to say shit in the middle class society one that's ACTA of the American Revolution. We are out and our Revolution demanding national and dependence. We were a few if any longer to be a colony of stop Vietnam. Where our troops are over there. Are going through all the spasms not only that you've been on all times troops at least were mercenary thing up paid for we got to pay for it on top of that. Many people have signed petitions and marched in the streets to end the war in Vietnam. Saul Alinsky a long time organizer and organizer of many groups and many movements
States what he thinks should be done to end this war. What do you feel you are going to as you always come back to that you are going to as you got on and you say you're a senator you say your congressman and you tell them you've had it. Your people have had it. And why they get up on Congress and start screaming they're not going to do a damn thing until we get out of Vietnam and get out fast. Or go get another congressman in there and you don't want any more of this guff. The stuff's been going on for too long now because there's a big difference between a lot of people going in and going and constantly in Paris not a congressman foreign any political legislator beside me attentions which is just a lot of hand writing on pages on the book at times over some secretary saying the. Same one whether we ought to turn the son of the FBI to see what names are on on Saturday and it
doesn't have the effect. I'd also call this big mass movement and irreverence hometown. And you'll get it and you can depend upon reference and his infinite stupidity that he will react just the right way. You don't have a confrontation with Iran as I have the National Guard out fast. It will be a massive confrontation. But it will be a confrontation of what really had me. Many leftwing Students describe our nation as a nation of oppressed peoples and they ask the question will the police ever become aware that they are part of these so called oppressed peoples. But if they do so will they join the oppressed people. Saul Alinsky has a answer to this question. You've got to remember that there was a time not too many people with the same mark. You know out of the story book there was a time as recently as say 15 years ago when I was
a police officer I had carried with him a strong personal protection. He could go any place down any alley into any neighborhood and not be concerned that anyone was going to attack him. Because the worst thing that could happen that anybody could be guilty of been in the United States was to be a cop killer. Do you know that if you kill a cop the department would never let up until doomsday to get you. And when they got you were going to fight for you and not only that the heat went on every place. If a cop was killed in Chicago that the oath upon Senator would get in touch with the police department say look one we didn't tell him to well help to get the guy who did kill us because they hate son at that point or three. We got a guy who doesn't take our word on it. And all.
That. And. This trial I mean I thought happen around and you had this kind of a situation today that's no longer present. So being a police officer now means turning a rescue doesn't know whether he's going in to start communities where he's going to come out of it alive. All of a sudden this infant shattered on top of that whatever. Whatever responsibility you're feeling of status because there was a certain degree of status a certain degree of respect. That I was gone with all of this business about pigs etc etc etc and this isn't appearing that you know I never did in business. On top of that they find themselves on an almost impossible political situation. If they move here they catch it from up here. If they don't move I'm nuff. That depends upon who's in politics on a plane. I would venture to say that a place officers behavior and a certain such NYC what Catch a
very different reaction from would have been wiped out if the Mayor Daley. You know you don't know whether you're coming or going out of this you get badly confused on the right or the salary situation. The racial split sort of developed inside the police departments. This point the feeling of calumny all around the place and yet within the ghetto itself the feeling that we are chaos. What most whites are unaware of there is the enormous amount of time a black on black. And a lot of white plates marked I went to the got out I'll find a reason to get there much too late because I figured you know I don't want to make an arrest. Next thing you know you got a crowd around you next thing you know there's a riot going on next thing you know you're doing a rap for me. So the how weapon from their point of view of. Police brutality and black violence black rioting is given much play on the nightly TV news reels. Mr Lensky who has to deal with
both of these groups in America had this to say concerning their collective violence. In a sense it's amazing from what has gone on the last four five years that policemen are as well strained as they are just as I've always taken the position that it's amazing and the light of the last 200 years that there is as much risk right among the black sectors of our population as there is for people to have been subjected to what the blacks have been subjected to in this country and for every black not to have a violent compulsion to kill every white guy across our path. It was a real testament to set up a citation. The military uniform is treated with disrespect on some American college campuses today. Our guest Mr. Alinsky as a story which he tells us about an experience that he had with a Marine recruiting officer. I noticed the evening papers had a big front. I'd start on how they'd read a few of them drop them
off so late that night I got back to my hotel. I went to the bar said I want to have a nightcap before going to bed up and walking the bar's completely empty except for the bartender and a master Marine Sergeant setting wide at the end of the bar dressed in his full dress uniform hashmarks from this shoulder all the way down and out for years campaign weapons I don't know where you could put another regiment anybody gave him what he said in their climb. The other on the bar in front of me and I said something to the bartender about you know what you want talk to me but I know I found on the spot you don't have three hours far on I don't know. So I took my truck and I moved out of the next town and start our
usual one hour come on but things can't be bad right. He starts talking to me. Now it's true that he's pretty close and I think I'm there for a long time but there was that confusion in his eyes they had nothing in there with alcohol and it turned out that he was the Marine recruiting sergeant who had been booted off campus and he's talking at me saying you know it's just about my age and I just don't understand I don't know if that has happened. Maybe you can explain it to me he said you know I was on your Jane when I was a tear on my body I saw my buddies alongside of me on both sides get their damn guts blown out they were dying for these punks and I walk on ice college campus you'd think I was I cannot see what goes on try to explain it. Well the next day I had I went before meeting of the US House but knowledge and gave him a start and said oh maybe I'll see this guy again. What do you think
I want to tell him. It was a long silence as somebody got up and something else changed the subject. An independent American working at the grassroots of social reform Saul Alinsky community organizer. In collaboration with the associates for Human Resources of Concord Massachusetts Northeastern University has brought you Saul Alinsky. Nationally known from the. Organizing. Days program. He committed generation fact. Or fiction. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the program. Host Joseph R. Bayard Northeastern University for the station. Questions I asked are merely the moderators method of presenting many sides of today's topic. Your program host has been Joseph R. Bader Director Department of radio production. Urban confrontation is produced by the Office of educational resources at the communications center of the
nation's largest private university. Northeastern University comments on this program for requests for a recorded copy of any program in this series may be addressed to urban confrontation. Northeastern University Boston Massachusetts 0 2 1 1 find. This week's program was produced by Stephen Friedman and Carolyn guy travel directed by James crick. With technical supervision by Michael Mitchell. Executive producer for urban confrontation is Peter Lance. The music by fire and ice. Your concert date Hannah. This is the national educational radio network.
- Urban Confrontation
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- Urban Confrontation is an analysis of the continuing crises facing 20th century man in the American city, covering issues such as campus riots, assassinations, the internal disintegration of cities, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. Produced for the Office of Educational Resources at the Communications Center of the nations largest private university, Northeastern University.
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