DELINGPOLE ON FRIDAY (well, AT THE WEEKEND, really) We are the new radicals and we need some new rules

Why do we need some new rules? Because the old ones were written in the 70s by a Marxist community organiser called Saul Alinsky. He had some useful ideas, many of which we can steal or adapt. But some of them are ill-expressed or incoherent. Eg Rule 10 “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.” I think he could have omitted that one, don’t you, without jeopardising his place in history as a great revolutionary thinker?

Who are we? Not the same as the radicals of Alinsky’s generation, that’s for sure. Alinsky’s radicals were broadly on the left: Che admirers; Black Panthers; communist revolutionaries; hippies; communitarians; environmentalists; radical feminists. The hegemony which they were trying to destroy was, very loosely, a conservative one.

Today, though, the positions have reversed. We new radicals are broadly – but not exclusively – of the right, not the left. Many of us would describe ourselves as conservatives, classical liberals, libertarians, UKIPers, Tea Partiers. Revolutionaries, yes, but in the traditions of Burke, Wilkes, Cobbett, and, indeed, the Minutemen and the Founding Fathers, rather than of Marx and Lenin. Some of us might not even think of ourselves as righties, but that’s OK, it’s the direction of travel that matters not the labelling.

We’re against: arbitrary authority; big government; high taxes; overregulation; corporatism; cosy stitch ups between the banksters, the lawyers and the political class; the EU; the UN; identity politics; eco-fascists; elf-n-safety; wind turbines; quantitative easing…

We’re for: empiricism; sound money; free markets; liberty; small government; low taxes; deregulation; cheap energy; rigour; meritocracy; integrity; equality of opportunity, perhaps, but most definitely not equality of outcome.

We’re on the right side of a culture war which currently we’re losing. Why are we losing? Not because we’re bad people. Not because we don’t have all the truth , all the logic, all the arguments on our side. We’re losing because, thanks to Alinsky, the enemy has a forty-year head start on us. They’ve got the techniques. All we’ve got is the moral high ground – except, the way Alinsky’s acolytes have brilliantly spun it, we don’t get to enjoy the benefits even of that.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that we’ve already got the hard part sorted: the substance. All we lack is technique. Technique can be acquired easily. Substance cannot.

I see these new rules for new radicals as a work in progress and I welcome your suggestions. To help inspire you I’m going to propose a rule which definitely deserves a place in the top 10:

Never fight a battle on terrain of the enemy’s choosing.

Like all our new rules, it should be treated rather as a guiding principle rather than an unbreakable law. But let me give you an example of what I mean.

Every now and then, I’m asked to appear on the beyond-dismal topical news/comedy fiasco 10 O’Clock Live. My job, I know, would be to act as the token right-wing person whose sole function would be to be reviled by the left-wing audience and mocked by the left-wing comedians who present the show.

Now you could argue that my decision not to take this opportunity is cowardly. After all, if people on my side of the argument never appear on TV programmes like this, how are we ever going to get our message across to the undecideds out there who might be receptive to it?

It’s a fair enough point but my counterargument would be this: better to be invisible than to appear weak or hateful or ridiculous. Yes, there are some righties who can just about carry it off – Nigel Farage; Boris Johnson – but I’d argue that even at best, the most you can hope for in these situations is a draw, never a win.

Is that the kind of contest we should be entering? One where our opponents, at every turn, are doing their damnedest to make us look bad and where our challenge is not to make ourselves look good but merely to emerge from the experience with our dignity not quite as battered as it could have been.

Not in my view, no. These aren’t odds you would accept in any other area of life, so why should you accept them in something as vital as the culture wars? When you go out to bat for Team Right, remember, it’s about more than you and your ego. It’s about the Cause. You’re speaking out not just for yourself but on behalf of all the people out there who share your views on small government, liberty, climate realism, the iniquity of bank-bailouts, or whatever. Come across like a dick (and believe me, organisations like the BBC have myriad ways of ensuring that you do) then you’ll be letting down not just yourself but your entire team.

Besides, what we must remember is that we don’t need these hostile media outlets in the way that we used to. Once, if you wanted to get media attention you had no choice but to enter hostile territory. This isn’t true any more. In the US, we have Fox. In Australia, there’s Channel 10. In the UK, there’s either Sky – or the option of going for one of those few BBC enclaves where there’s still a chance of a reasonably fair hearing, such as the Daily Politics or the Jeremy Vine Show. And of course, on top of that, there’s the internet: blogs, podcasts, YouTube and Vimeo shorts, Twitter, Facebook…

It’s increasingly possible these days to get your message out in your terms rather than on terms dictated by the enemy. These details are important if we’re to win the culture wars. As win them, we must. The alternative is just too awful to contemplate. (Though not exactly difficult to imagine: after all, we’re living the nightmare right now…)

24 comments on “DELINGPOLE ON FRIDAY (well, AT THE WEEKEND, really) We are the new radicals and we need some new rules

  1. nollyprott
    May 11, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    Perhaps Spencer like Watts is just another Corporate-Nazi Trojan horse purveyor of controlled opposition to produce the mirrage of theoretical scrutiny in climate science ?

    http://principia-scientific.org/supportnews/latest-news/193-the-warming-cooling-climate-paradox-of-roy-spencer.html#.UY6B23OnJZk.twitter

  2. timeklek
    May 11, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    That’s OK; when all the free currency is spent, even the radicals will be conservative (albeit probly of the criminal sort).

  3. fenbeagleblog
    May 11, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    Hit your enemy, without getting hit yourself………Ok so it’s not Sun Tzu but even he wrote a very slim volume, (and most of that is about the care of chariots.)

  4. Jon H, Australia
    May 11, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    Yer right, yer right, yer bloodywell right, James

  5. crouchback
    May 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    Tomorrow I will be attending a Tridentine Mass……it”s what Samwise Gamgee would be doing if he were still with us

    That is where real reaction is to be found.

  6. btsmith
    May 11, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    Use the strength of the enemy against him. Provoke him to overreach himself, then stand aside at the last minute so that he falls on his face.

  7. David
    May 12, 2013 at 12:53 am #

    James, I think you’re right not to go on the 10 o clock show; a hostile environment like that is an unnecessary risk.
    I have a few thoughts on this that you may want to consider.

    1) Some people are going to support the ‘progressives’ no matter what because they are hopelessly ensnared by the ideology or because they have a vested interest in their movement’s continuation. These people cannot be reasoned with and you should go into attack mode to undermine them – this doesn’t mean using personal attacks but aggressively attacking their arguments.

    2) The Left may have infiltrated the education system and brainwashed our children but that damage is not irreversible and as people grow older their views can shift. Also, many people who support the Left have never really thought about what Labour stand for but they admire all the nice things that they perceive Labour (and others) to represent. These people can be reached but it involves challenging their preconceptions. If you go on the Guardian and read the comments pages you’ll notice that many of the posts are intellectually shallow and if forcefully challenged the posters will retreat or leave themselves open to being undermined further.

    3) It isn’t enough to comment on friendly blogsites like the Telegraph, the Express, the Mail etc as it’s essentially preaching to the converted. It’s necessary to post on the Guardian and the Indy too but you better go in sure of your arguments and wearing your warpaint. If arguments are presented forcefully enough then it can raise questions in readers and they can potentially shift away from the ‘progressives’. I’m not suggesting that you should write articles for these papers but that people who share our values need to comment on their sites.

    4) James, as you’re well aware the culture war is on many fronts and there are leftwing academics in the sciences, the arts, and humanities – sometimes lefties will reference an academic to support their argument but if they’re a partisan lefty academic then call them out on it. Have your own distinguished organisations/individuals to refer to which lends further weight to your argument, better still, provide weblinks. Often, the aim is not to convince the person you’re responding to but to convince others that are reading the discourse between the two of you.

    5) Know your enemy and anticipate his arguments and be prepared with counterpoints.

    Those are just a few thoughts anyway. I’d like to point out that Steve Dobbs, Martin Kinsella, and George Monbiot (freewales) are basically trying to gain converts on the Telegraph sites – they recognise that in the battle for ideas that it’s necessary to enter hostile terrain but they’re unsophisticated in their approach so I’m sure they’re efforts are ineffective.

    Well that’s a few thoughts for now anyway

  8. John Page
    May 12, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    One benefit is releasing people from the fear that their opinions are socially unacceptable.

    JV’s an excellent venue. Rigorous, unbiased, not exclusively political, big audience. Shame the printed Telegraph seems to have you writing mainly on non-political subjects. R5 should be good but when I heard Richard Bacon he seemed puzzled by you. DP rigorously unbiased but niche audience.

  9. Adman
    May 12, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    It’s analogous to a marketing problem that a lot of companies have already faced and overcome.

    Company A may have by far the better product empirically, but company B is established in people’s minds as the market leader. It’s very difficult to dislodge company B.

    But not impossible. Read “Eating the Big Fish” – can’t remember the name of the author off the top of my head – and you’ll find a whole set of ready-made rules and tips.

  10. Simon Roberts
    May 12, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    How about “Don’t let the enemy decide the rules of the discussion”?

    As we all know, pretty much every anti-totalitarian argument is met with accusations of an “ism” or a “phobia” and if you are reading this you probably already know that these are merely tools that the cultural marxists use for closing debates – i.e. deciding what can and cannot be discussed.

    This is particularly pernicious as it exploits people’s basic desire to be good. Create a label, associate it in people’s minds with bad things and then apply that label to anyone whose opinion you don’t like.

    Let’s take “racism” as an example. Used to squash discussions on immigration, multiculturalism, positive discrimination etc (all of which take place but none of which have electoral mandate), the term has been associated with skinheads and neo-fascists. It’s been very successful at killing debate on important issues.

    The beauty of it is that if you try to refute the accusation you do two things – get distracted from the subject at hand and instead try to justify yourself – and, more importantly, reinforce the power of the label. You can never win this argument.

    Instead, attempts at labelling should be met with a simple “So what?”. We don’t have to be quite so crude, but the point is to defuse the legitimacy of the label as a tool.

    If met with an accusation of “homophobia” you could say “that’s just a label”. If accused of “racism” you could say “you are just resorting to childish name-calling” etc etc. The point is to not be afraid of the label and NEVER to defend yourself against it.

    Now, given that we have had fifty years or more of cultural marxism framing public thought and debate, this approach will come as a shock to many people. Initially, it will be newsworthy and people like the BBC and the Guardian will seek to demonise it. However, if enough people do it then the approach will soon become mainstream and the labels will lose power and cease to be used.

    An example? UKIP – once described as “Little Englanders” (remember how prevalent that term used to be?), they didn’t care. The label disappeared because it had no effect.

    Fear of labels is a major tool in the armoury of the cultural marxists, yet it is the easiest to disarm.

  11. Mrs R. A. Carnegie
    May 12, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    At last the fightback begins.

  12. Ian W
    May 12, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    The projection of the idea is important but continued persistence to maintain the clarity of the idea is essential.

    So a really impressive blog post/journal article puts forward the new radical viewpoint. You know the content must be impressive by the immediate storm of hostile comments, articles and trolls. The storm MUST be answered and the New Radical viewpoint reasserted. This takes time and energy and cooperation – persistence. Continual persistence with an idea will usually win; with the right idea it will always win. This is a corollary of Goebbels repetition but using the truth rather than a lie.

    It is all too easy for ennui to set in and ‘The New Radicals’ unlike Salinsky supporters normally have a consuming ‘day job’. So Persistence will take a lot of extra effort but without it the cause is lost.

  13. jamesdelingpole1
    May 12, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    This is all good and valuable. Please keep ’em coming.

  14. TDG
    May 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    “Let your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt!”

    Bobby Fischer

  15. Richard Nichols
    May 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    By coincidence Ann Barnhardt has a post on this today. As usual, she doesn’t mince her words.

    What can we possibly, possibly do?
    Just off the top of my head:

    1. Media strike

    (A few of you have done this, but as a percentage it is miniscule. We must have our TV! We must watches our showses and our sportses. We can’t lives withouts it, precious.)

    2. Tax strike

    DUH.

    But, but, but the IRS will come after me!

    Do you read the news, sweetie? THE IRS IS GOING TO COME AFTER YOU ANYWAY. Knowing what we know now about the IRS intentionally targting conservative groups as policy, do I now think that it is possible that my IRS audit which was initiated six weeks after I went viral with my koran burning was malicious and not coincidental? Yes. It is possible.

    You people have got to stop living in fear. You cannot win if you are constantly trying to play defense and refuse to ever, ever, ever make any offensive moves. Just stop and think about it. How can an army that takes NO offensive tactical measures ever win a war?

    3. General strike / work stoppages

    This comes after the mass tax strike, not before, because it is collaterally harmful to the public. But let’s be frank, you people can’t even cancel your cable feed, so why bother talking about this?

    4. Armed resistance and counter-revolution

    This would require executing tactics one through three first, and a modicum of masculinity in the culture, so … yeah. I’m not holding my breath. So long as the flickerbox is pumping the agitporn, and so long as Mickey D’s is slinging the burgers and Coke, Amerika will be sated.

  16. Rob
    May 12, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    The most fundamental victory of the left/old radicals is the destruction of the concept of family and fidelity in your relationships and the idea that progressiveness always trumps any qualitative policy assessment over time. This has lead to the removal of any qualitative assessment of social practices, religions, or economics using the PC lobby to frame any debate.

    The success of the sexual revolution in particular is simply staggering. A middle aged father of 25 years ago would not believe what is permissible in 2013. Primary among this is the now widely accepted view that sexual appetite is not one that should be suppressed like ones appetite for food. Not only does it lay the foundations for the tragic break up of the family but it also provides the circus to keep the frogs happy while the water starts to boil.

    The Alinsky rules are fine for a “trotskyite” in constant revolution or even for a “libertarian” who has already given ground on nearly all socially important issues to the loony marxists.

    I think the only way we can fight these people is by giving no quarter and not stooping to their level, as James correctly says. The conduct of the honourable Knight should be our model but we still fall foul of our enemy’s greatest success. We have few shared social values on the right anymore, having caved in many years ago. No revolution can succeed without this unspoken, innately felt bond among men.

    Once we finish our campaign (we hope with success) will we return to our families, communities and churches or just rejoin the comments section of our favourite blogger and forget about our neighbour?

    Economics is a small part of politics and although I think the libertarian right has found a very good shared position on this small area of public policy it has ignored the rest. While we might agree that the state should stay out of society, and while we might agree that civil society should step in to that gap there is a reluctance to discuss the best structures/institutions to deliver what is needed. Devil’s Kitchen did this on welfare before being destroyed by Brillo and no one has dared since.

    We on the right need to take up that challenge and point out that some ways are better than others in family, religion, community and morality. It is a huge task and impossible without the acceptance of an ultimate moral arbiter and the irony is that we had this in place but through it away. Go back to the C of E before the cultural marxists took over and simply adopt that great old philosophy.

  17. colliemum
    May 13, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    One way is to copy the happy warrior Andy Breitbart, who used the New Media to the fullest, esp. Twitter, and who customarily answered the usual leftie slurs/accusations with the simple “So?”.

  18. David
    May 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Hmmm was thinking about this a bit more and perhaps a good target to post comments on would be the redtops such as the Sun – I think those could be fertile soil because the comments threads aren’t dominated by leftwingers and they have a wide readership. Guardian and Indy have small readerships and lots of die-hard lefties so it’s alot of work for minor gains.
    However with that said, I’d like to point to this article:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/12/labour-public-sector-changes-2015

    I was pleasantly surprised to read this article by John Harris which acknowledges some of New Labour’s economic mistakes and pointed to policy discussions that explore alternatives to tax and spend. It was a refreshing change from an earlier article by Wintour which was about Peter Hain saying Labour should promote more borrowing.

    It made me think that maybe some on the left were taking criticisms of Keynes on board.

  19. rtj1211
    May 13, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Look, the first thing you need to do is to tell Christ PATTEN that you want an ‘unashamedly right-of-centre satire/comedy show’ on at about 9pm on a weekday night. Not Friday, as sensible folks go out on Friday nights, but late enough that if you have younger children they’ll already be in bed.

    You need a host who is clearly avuncular and receptive to right-wing humour. This includes weekly taking the piss out of wimmin who take themselves too seriously, it includes highlighting all the poor buggers who have to pay for not being allowed to see their children, it includes taking the piss out of Catherine Ashton, von Rompuy and the Dago from Lisbon or wherever he hails from and finally it includes saying that the purpose of university is to shag a lot, try and not puke up too much and miss lectures due to too much sport or too much shagging. Of course, if you studied PPE at Oxford, you probably didn’t have any lectures, but you’ll only create billionaire scientists by being lazy buggers for 4 years, won’t you?!

    The next rule of the game is to run a monthly comparison between BBC weather forecasts and Piers Corbyn’s WeatherAction forecasts. Mostly Piers will come out on top, but there must be a serious journalistic punch up for all the died-in-the-wool idiots who still write that runaway global warming is happening. Start with Steve Connor, Monbiot, Harrabin and the wallies at CRU. Feature Slingo the Dingo (a strange species found caterwauling around in the Australian outback to little effect other than eating the odd child). Writing sarky letters to their editors usually means they start running ‘tit for tat’ stories to try and scare you (hint: if Man Utd want to buy Cesc Fabregas to get back at RTJ, then I really can’t do anything to stop it, but I’d rather Fabregas played for Utd and we didn’t all die of cold than he return to Arsenal and we starved to death under warmistas. The best scenario would of course be sane climate policies and Arsenal re-signing him….)

    The next rule of the game is strapping Chris Huhne to a windmill during a December High and selling tickets to children online to watch the buffoon not rotate very fast for about 45 weeks. You’ll have to wrap him up in Everest-style insulation and drip feed him to escape the hotheads of the ECHR, but you know what I’m getting at. Put some green nerds on a windmill to teach them that it’s bloody cold in December and their new gospels of energy generation do SFA to help.

    Next up is taking every primary school teacher across the Aonach Eagach in Winter to self-select out those of insufficient moral fibre to encourage children to explore and take sensible risks. Nursery school professionals are excused: they need to prove that boys can be boys even though their balls haven’t yet dropped. Every primary school must have 50% male teachers by edict or have fewer boy pupils to compensate. Any nonsense from Harman on this and string her up until she desists. Boys need male role models and Harriet Harman’s expostulations don’t change that.

    You really will have to have a go at all the spies though Delingpole. Dreadful bunch of right wing lunatics that lot. They believe that big data means knowing when you stick your knob into whoever or whatever you stick it into, Delingpole. And far too many of them were bumchums in Oxford if truth be told. They absolutely don’t believe in your small state stuff. I do, but they don’t. They believe in finding as many reasons to blackmail you as possible. Spying on the enemy in a war’s one thing Delingpole. Being a sick git in peacetime’s quite another.

    Do you believe in big spying by corporates, Delingpole? I’d like Andrew Witty of GSK to be strung up if he spent years bugging my PC to tap my brain for SFA in pay. All that la-di-dah self-righteous crap about developing medicines. If they’re so fucking honorable, they’d fire every spy in their company. And Iberia might take over Lufthansa in 2014………not to mention Sir Richard Sykes confessing all…….

    The way to do it is quite simple: change the rules of behaviour being allowed to be a Director or significant shareholder in any limited company to ban for life anyone engaged in ‘big data’ snooping. I do hope that wouldn’t destroy your friends at the DT, the Mail, News Corp etc etc. But that’s what’s consistent with your principles Delingpole. Sanction for lying to be removal of children or forced labour for those with no sprogs. That’d soon get them out, or perhaps start a war with China, Russia, the EU and the Yanks. All of them revolting spies, the lot of them. Steal with impunity the lot of them. Why are they the most honoured bunch of all, eh??

    Hope this gets your brain going.

    Hard hitting, forceful, but maniacally zany is the sort of humour required.

    Go to it!!

  20. John Riordan
    May 14, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    “Eg Rule 10 “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.” I think he could have omitted that one, don’t you, without jeopardising his place in history as a great revolutionary thinker?”

    While I usually agree with James Delingpole on most things, not on this one.

    It should be pretty clear that this rule has been enacted by the Left to great success over the last 40 years. It is basically the idea that a set of small but consistent pressures can have large effects over time – a principle well established in the sciences as regards natural forces.

    But we see the evidence everywhere that its effective – the way the Left achieves its ends by lots of tiny encroachments upon liberty but almost never by the large gestures of the past. It seems the Left always learns the wrong lessons from history. Instead of looking at the catastrophes of Leninism, Stalinism and Maoism and concluding that the experiment should not be attempted again, the Left concludes that it will be attempted again, but not involving large and sudden withdrawals of liberty and wealth.

    The end game, of course, will be the same.

  21. John Galt
    May 15, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    The ramblings of a mad man. Next!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. First they came for the jelly-wrestlers… – Telegraph Blogs - May 11, 2013

    […] It's time, I think, that we started hitting back. We need a new set of rules. The fightback starts now. […]

  2. First they came for the jelly-wrestlers… – Telegraph.co.uk (blog) – News Searching Blogs | Fonte English - May 12, 2013

    […] It’s time, I think, that we started touch back. We requirement a newborn ordered of rules. The fightback starts now. […]

  3. Modernizing the “rules for radicals” « Quotulatiousness - May 12, 2013

    […] James Delingpole suggests that the Saul Alinsky playbook needs a bit of updating for the current radicals (that is, not the broadly left-wing radicals of Alinsky’s day): […]

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