Editor’s note: This column in the Bee, forwarded to me by somebody who supported Greg Diaz in the clerk-recorder race two years ago, is interesting. After reading it, I recalled how local hard right activists and tea party supporters such as Barry Pruett (who also ran against Diaz) kept bringing up Saul Alinsky’s name in posts, without prompting. It seemed out of the blue. Now the lightbulb is going off.
Political commentary will subside going into this week’s elections, with a laser-like focus on the results instead. I also will be interested in the “poll watching” by tea party activists. Local activist Russ Steele said he is going to be a poll watcher.
These are interesting times in our county’s political history. Here’s the column in the Bee:
“In rural Virginia, a local tea party member – a retired contractor, military veteran and gun rights activist – was telling me about organizing,” according to a column in the Sacramento Bee.
‘”It’s the Saul Alinsky model,’ he explained, referring to the Chicago-born political organizer and writer.
“If he were still alive, Alinsky would surely be startled to learn that this conservative Republican had read his classic book, ‘Rules for Radicals.’ Yet, in my interviews with tea party members across the country, Alinsky’s work was widely known. From grass-roots campaigns to takeovers of local Republican Party chapters, tea party activists have taken their tactical cues from the heroes of the left.
“And that raises some interesting questions: Partisanship aside, what should we make of the tea party mobilization? In the age of super PACs, is tea party activism a good sign for American democracy?”
At times, the level of misinformation in tea party circles reached conspiratorial proportions.
Some of these rumors live primarily on the Internet, but another major source is Fox News. Almost all interviewees I spoke with had a favorite Fox News show – and some retirees reported watching as many as eight hours of Fox News a day.
These conspiratorial concerns can seem harmless, but they have real policy consequences. One particularly outlandish rumor involves a shadowy plot known as “Agenda 21.” At a meeting I attended in Virginia, a visiting lecturer informed local tea party members of the terrifying details.
The United Nations and American authorities at all levels of government, it was claimed, are engaged in a communist conspiracy. In the near term, this scheme would take the form of apparently innocuous measures like new bike paths. But in the long term, Agenda 21 would lead to the confiscation of all private property and the herding of Americans citizens into urban ghettos and then concentration camps. “Sustainable development,” the lecturer concluded, was a euphemism for the coming one world government.
Similar scenes have replayed in towns across America. Promoted by the John Birch Society, a group that once saw the hand of communism in the civil rights movement and water fluoridation, “Agenda 21″ has made the rounds in tea parties nationwide as well as in Northern California.
The rest of the article is here.