The Chicago Way


“He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way!” — Al Capone

Chicago, Community Organizing and Al Capone
What do Chicago, community organizing and Al Capone have in common? A lot. Chicago has become the focal point for American politics in the past few years. The Democratic National Convention moved from Washington to Chicago in 2008 to be closer to it’s candidate, Barack Obama. The current President made Chicago his home for more than 20 years and taught community organizing there. Saul Alinsky, the father of modern community organizing, grew up in Chicago during the 1920’s – when Al Capone ruled the city. In fact, Alinsky, who wrote the famous “Rules for Radicals,” became part of the Capone gang for several years during which time he learned the art of ‘persuasion.’

“The organizer,” Alinsky wrote, “is in a true sense reaching for the highest level for which man can reach — to create, to be a ‘great creator,’ to play God.”

In a great interview Alinsky did with Playboy Magazine in 1972, we get a glimpse of what made Alinsky run. A great read:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


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