By Mark Engler and Paul Engler
in Waging Non Violence
Although Saul Alinsky, the founding father of modern community organizing in the United States, passed away in 1972, he is still invoked by the right as a dangerous harbinger of looming insurrection. And although his landmark book, Rules for Radicals, is now nearly 45 years old, the principles that emerged from Alinsky’s work have influenced every generation of community organizers that has come since.
Veteran labor writer David Moberg recently offered this list when reflecting on the work of National People’s Action, or NPA, one of today’s leading coalitions of community-based groups. Given that NPA’s dynamic executive director, George Goehl, was trained by Shel Trapp — a prominent Alinsky disciple — it is no surprise that traditional community organizing principles are still reflected in the bottom-up, door-to-door methodologies of NPA affiliates in 14 states.