Applying Rules for Radicals
to the Political Internet

Alinsky's rule of ethics of means and ends:

"The means-and-ends moralists or non-doers always wind up on their ends without any means."

Apply to our debate on open-source vs. commercial software; Linux vs. Windows; Firefox vs. Explorer; and any vaporware website where perfection is the enemy of good enough.




Alinsky's first rule of power tactics:

"Power has always derived from two main sources, money and people."

In the Internet age, we have a third source of power: Information. Websites are power. Email is power. Lists are power.




Alinsky's ninth rule of ethics:

"Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as unethical."

Not One Damn Dime Day: one-day spending boycott no inauguration day to protest Bush's war policy. Two million participants, and many on both the left and the right called us unethical. We considered that a sign of success. (




Alinsky's fourth rule of power tactics:

"Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules."

MassScorecard: Compare legislator's voting records to the Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform. We published a website of how they live up to their own platform; they declared us crypto-Republicans and criminals. (




Alinsky's rule of tactics:

"People power is the real objective. [Tactics] are simply a means to that end."

Meetups: Using the Internet to get people together for a common political objective. (