An Informational Essay for all PatriotsFebruary 26, 2011
Saul Alinsky visits Ohio for Senate Bill 5
By: Tom Zawistowski
Fellow Patriots, this past week many or our members and our groups, for the first time since our movement began, actually faced hostile crowds in numbers significantly larger than we could muster. This was a new learning experience for most of us and, as you will see, it was not a pleasant experience. After a rally in Youngstown on Thursday, February 24, 2011, it became clear to me that, though our groups and members were learning from our experience, we were not doing a good job of sharing that experience, and as a result we were unknowingly and unnecessarily putting our members in harms way. Which is why I am writing this essay for you to read.
Many of you are familiar with the book “Rules for Radicals” by Saul D. Alinsky, and if you have not read it, you should get a copy and read it now. It will make you sick. I had to actually stop and put it down several times because what Alinsky endorses is so disgusting and so demeaning that it is hard to believe anyone could stoop so low to win power. But that is the point of the book and that is why you need to read it. We must know our enemies and their tactics; and what you will learn from Alinsky is that there is nothing the left will not do to beat you and take power. Nothing. With that introduction, I am going to proceed to show you the “Saul Alinsky tactics” that were employed against the TEA Party and Patriot groups in Columbus on February 17th, in Canton on Tuesday, February 22nd, and in Youngstown on Thursday, February 24th, in an effort to intimidate us and our legislators and defeat Senate Bill 5.
Columbus – Thursday, February 17, 2011
First of all, the unions knew about Senate Bill 5 before any of us had even heard of it. The result was that they had 800 members in the Senate gallery during the first day of hearings, literally booing at the testimony and trying to intimidate senators, while we had no representation. This was a tactical error by our representatives which caused them to loose the moral high ground in the first two hours of the fight. The union message dominated the local news, and pictures of hundreds of union members in yellow shirts were on the front page of every newspaper and on every TV. Immediately, the senators and the governor were on the defensive and their logical message of fiscal responsibility was being drowned out by emotional messages of citizens turning their backs on “police and firefighters who face gunfire and run into burning buildings” and “going to war against ‘middle class workers’.” These are examples of standard Akinsky tactics. First create a powerful image by having them all wear the same colored shirts, use force to interrupt the hearings by booing the presenters, go door-to-door in the Senate to remind Senators that you have the resources to help or hurt them in the future, then come out with an emotional message that divides your opponents by class or other categories. The message to our Republican leaders: the left destroyed you on day one.
Now the conservatives were on the defensive, thanks to the ineptness of our elected leaders. Patriot groups put together a response, which was to get to Columbus as soon as we could to show that we supported the elimination of collective bargaining and binding arbitration for government employees. Across the state, Patriot group leaders began to organize a trip to Columbus on Thursday, February 17th. The Portage County TEA Party took two buses to Columbus that day; and we knew that we would most likely be outnumbered, and that we would come in direct contact for the first time with the SEIU and the government employee unions. In an effort to make sure that we could identify ourselves, all the groups in Ohio had decided in advance that we would wear red shirts or jackets. During the previous hearings, the SEIU members had worn purple and the other unions had worn yellow. We had also decided to get to Columbus early, because at the Tuesday hearings, the unions had gotten there two hours ahead of time and taken all the seats.
When we got to the State House at around 8:00 AM for the hearings that were scheduled to start at 10:00 AM, there were only a handful of Patriots on the steps outside the building. There were no union people to be seen. There was a PA system setup playing music, which at first we thought were to be used for our planned rally. Several Ohio Liberty Council (OLC) leaders were on the steps, and Americans for Prosperity members were handing out red “Ohio 180” shirts to anyone who wasn’t wearing red and wanted one. Our members went to the door to see if they could go into the State House, but were told by security that they were not allowed in because there was no room. We were confused, because we had been told several days before that they were moving the hearings to a bigger room because they were expecting a big crowd. Then we were told that they did move the hearings to a new room, but that was because they had 50 people testifying and needed the bigger room to hold them. We stayed outside.
At about 9:00 AM, there was still no sign of any union members. The number of Patriots had grown to about 700 outside on the State House steps and we were kind of waiting to hold a brief rally before trying to get inside to hear the hearings.Then, right on cue, we saw a line of at least several hundred union members, mostly police and fire, walking in line, four across like an army, approaching from the northwest corner of the grounds right towards us and the steps of the State House. You could clearly tell that this was staged to try and intimidate us. We stood there watching as they drew closer, wondering what would happen when they reached the steps. None of them were wearing colored shirts, they were wearing what looked like uniforms.
To our amazement, when they got to the steps, the doors to the State House opened up and they walked right between us, in formation, and walked right inside – after we had been standing outside for at least an hour waiting to get inside. After we had been told we could not go inside. Remember a year ago when Nancy Pelosi, flanked by every black democrat they could muster, walked through the TEA Party protestors defiantly with her gavel trying to provoke an incident on their way to sign the health care bill? This was an instant replay.
What was going on here? Well this is when we were personally introduced to the first two Saul Alinsky tactics. You see, since the police and firefighter unions were protesting Senate Bill 5, there were lots of official-looking people walking around who were not officials. The people who had told our members that we could not go into the State House because there was no room were not officials at the State House at all. They we union members taking advantage of our lack of experience with their tactics. This was pure theater. The planted people at the door to make us think we could not go in, for the express purpose of exposing us to what they hoped would be an intimidating show of force when they used their little parade to March right through us. It was actually funny to watch it unfold because it was all so phony.
So, after they went inside, our people decided that we would have our rally. However, we were told that since we did not have a permit, we could not use the steps for our rally. That is when we found out that the PA system on the steps was not for us. Those speakers were so we could listen to the hearings outside. We were told that if we wanted to have a rally we could not be on the State House property, we had to go out on the sidewalk. So, 700 of us walked out to the street and used a small portable PA system to hear several speakers for about 15 minutes. When that was done, we didn’t really know what to do, so we decided that we would just march up the stairs and see what was inside.
When we got to the door, there was no one to stop us from coming in, so we walked into the Rotunda, which by definition is a big round room. As we walked across the room and came out the other side, there was a set of stairs that led down to a room where chairs had been set up for people to listen to the hearings. Those chairs were already filled with about 2,000 union members. Union members wearing red shirts. That was Alinsky tactic number 3. By them wearing red shirts, while we were wearing red shirts, you could not tell how many of us there were because they were in the majority. It minimized us. It also caused media confusion as I later saw video footage on Fox showing “union members protesting Senate Bill 5” when there were pictures of our members yelling in support of Senate Bill 5. That was no accident.
Then the fun began. We were stopped a by the police at the top of the stairs and told we could not go further because the room was full. When I looked behind us, I could see union members coming up from the sides of the rotunda and circling in behind our group. In a minute, we were surrounded. They had cut off the way back while the way forward was blocked. This is when the intimidation began. Very large men started to “accidentally” bump into our members, including women. Trying to provoke an incident. When that did not work, they started cursing at us and putting signs about an inch from our faces, again trying to provoke an incident. To our credit, our Patriots did not take the bait. Our people were not intimidated and we stood our ground.
So then they started to push in tighter and started to chant, “Kill the bill!” in an effort to confine our space and movement. This makes people nervous. More Alinsky tactics. At first we just listened to the chants. Then we started to chant, “Keep 5 alive!” and went toe-to-toe with them for about an hour. The sound echoed off the Rotunda ceiling and walls. There were some heated moments, all instigated by the union members, but everyone managed to keep in control. It was a thing of beauty watching one of our 65-year-old, 5’1” ladies, being confronted by three 6’4”, 30-year-old firemen, who looked like all they did was lift weights, and she was giving them what for!
Every union member appeared to be quoting from a script someone had written for them to memorize. Another Alinsky tactic, stay on message. As our free-thinking American members started to ask them questions and ask them to explain their positions, we quickly found that they had no idea what Senate Bill 5 was about or what they were talking about. They had no logic, just anger, and wrongful, ill-informed anger at that. Our group spent the next four hours talking to these union members and trying to get them to understand that we are out of money and if they don’t support some kind of change, many more of them are going to lose their jobs. The best part was when we talked to teachers and asked them what they were doing here during a school day, and they told us that the “Democratic Party” had paid their way. They were not kidding. Every union was being paid to be there.
Things really got pathetic in the big Atrium where all the union members were sitting. Believe it or not, they actually had grown men and women in the big room acting as “cheerleaders” for the union members. As the audio from the hearing rooms played in the room, they would actually have to tell the union members when to cheer and when to boo! It was really depressing to regular citizens to watch people we are told are professionals, like teachers and police and firemen, being led around the State House like a bunch of 5-year-olds on a field trip to the zoo. Very demeaning for them. We all left that day just sick of all the union tactics and disturbed by what we had seen.
However, despite all the Alinsky tactics, we felt that our band of 700 had won the day. First of all, their members were intimidated by our presence. Rarely have they ever faced any opposition when they were on strike or holding some sort of protest. You could see it in their eyes when they looked at us and saw calm, reasonable people who looked like their parents or grandparents, who were standing against them. It raised doubt in their minds. They witnessed the abusive behavior by some of their members and knew that our Patriots held the moral high ground. On a personal level, many of them were questioning what they were doing there that day and some expressed that to our members on a personal level.
We certainly won the day in the media, because we were the story, not the unions. The fact that regular citizens would take a day off from work and pay their own way to come to Columbus to show both the unions and our government officials that it’s our money and we were determined to have a say in how it was spent, was news. The media also reacted to the contrast between our calm positive message of trying to find a solution to our financial problems, and the union intimidation tactics and hate speech. Patriot leaders and our group members were on every media outlet in the state with with a consistent message.
Finally, we did win the day in the minds of some Senators who needed to see with their own eyes that the Patriot movement was not all talk and no action. Two Senators committed to support the bill after our visit.
Lessons Learned in Columbus:
Our leaders should have had better communications with actual security officials at the State House and made arrangements for our group’s visit. Where do they want us to be, what is their plan to keep the groups apart, and what is the procedure in an emergency? For instance, I should have immediately upon arrival gone to the chief of security and held a meeting before doing anything.
Make people in authority prove they have that authority before believing them.
Stay calm at all times and keep your group together. If we would have reacted to the intimidation, it would have been a slaughter. Though if you read Alinsky’s book, he would have said we should have had a little 80-year-old woman spit in the most aggressive union member’s face in an effort to get him to beat the heck out of her so we could create an incident to show how brutal they are. Hey, so you sacrifice one of your members to win – that is what the left is about – winning at any cost.
Wear bright-colored shirts of all colors so that they cannot absorb us, while also breaking up their numbers. We are the un-colors, we are the rainbow, we are every color but them. Note however, if you are in the majority, you should wear consistent colors, because it does project force.
Before you do anything, get your group organized. Assign people to watch your back and flanks and set up a method of communication. Maintain a route out of your location at all times.
Don’t get into shouting matches when you are outnumbered 4 to one. Use signs to get your point across, signs never lose their voice like people do.
Have chants ready beforehand and let everyone know what they will be. It is to difficult to think of them on the fly and then communicate them.
Canton, OH – Tuesday, February 22, 2011
After the experience in Columbus, we were looking for ways to be more effective. We then heard that the unions had decided to implement another Alinsky tactic and start protesting Governor Kasich everywhere he went in an effort to scare people away from meeting with him. As Glenn Beck says, “Isolate them, then destroy them.” So, the Governor was going to speak to the Chamber of Commerce in Canton. We decided we could be more effective at these local meetings as opposed to going to Columbus again. Stark 9.12 led the effort, supported by the Portage County TEA Party and the Summit 9.12 groups. When we arrived on the scene, at 4:30 PM on a Tuesday, it was clear the union people had been in position for a long time.
Having been to Columbus, I immediately went straight up to the ranking Swat officer and introduced myself as one of the leaders of the group. I had my Portage County name tag with my title clearly displayed and I was wearing a Portage County TEA Party hat. I said to him, “Our goal is to make sure that there are no incidents at this event today and that everyone gets out of here safely. I want to know where you want our people to stand, so we can keep them apart from the union protestors, and what rules you want us to follow to help your people maintain order.” He was immediately responsive. He said, “That is what I want to hear.” We then proceeded to carve out a space for our Patriots that was protected by barriers with a separation of about eight feet between us and the Union protestors.
Importantly, I had asked him where the Governor and Guests would be coming into the facility with the clear suggestion that we needed a place with “equal” visibility. We ended up in a position flanking the union members, being between them and the entrance to the facility. This was a strategic win for us. Though we were outnumbered 1,500 to 60, our signs got as much or more visibility as all their signs for the guests coming into the facility, who were the audience we were trying to reach – business leaders who we wanted to keep supporting the Governor. Having learned from Columbus, our group had decided to make signs that would speak loudly to the union members so that we did not have to speak loudly. For the first time we had signs that just said, “Air Traffic Controllers” to remind them that if they tried to use strike tactics, the Governor could fire them. We followed that up with signs that said “500,000 unemployed Ohioans would love your job!” This reminded them that they had a pretty good job and that they were replaceable. They did not have signs to counter those key points.
Again, we held our own with the media. Many of you remember how frustrating it would be for us to have hundreds of thousands of our people in Washington protesting the Health Care Bill last year only to have Al Sharpton show up with 500 people and get equal press coverage! Now we were using the same tactic. They had a huge crowd, but the media came to talk to us because we represented the opposite point of view. We received excellent media coverage in Canton, Akron and Cleveland in all mediums. Our people came across as reasonable citizens who did not hate anyone, but understood that we had to make some hard financial decisions. They came across as an unruly mob of angry people with very shallow positions.
The unions had not had physical contact with us in this location and could not surround us. We had a clear path out if we needed to use it, and because we had coordinated with the police and Swat units, they were keeping their part of the bargain. Unlike Columbus, when union members tried to come into our space, they were escorted away by the police immediately. When they tried to push out in front of our area to block our signs and flank us, we got the police to move the barriers out to protect our space. All they had left were verbal assaults, and we just pointed to our signs and said nothing, though some of our members occasionally could not take it anymore and fired back a few verbal retorts. We held our ground and made our points.
We then noticed that from where we were located, if we moved to one corner of our area, there was a huge concrete ceiling that spanned two streets between the two buildings of the Civic Center. All the guests were driving on the road right past us to the parking area, while others were walking outside, from the one building to the other to hear the Governor’s speech. We made sure to point out, “We support Governor Kasich!” and “We support SB 5!” signs to every car and every group walking between the buildings. We then started chanting, “Keep 5 Alive!” and because of the overhang, our chants echoed between the building and gave our 60-member group a voice as loud as the mob that was outside the underhang. This gave us an ability to impact the guests despite our small numbers, and many of them gave us thumbs up signs for our support.
As soon as we saw the TV crews take down their equipment and head into the building, we knew that the Governor was inside and getting ready for his press conference. That was my cue to reach out to the head Swat officer again and discuss our exit strategy. We decided that we would start leaving a few at a time in order not to bring attention to our exit going away from the crowd in a way that they could stop anyone from following us. Most of us were gone before the union protestors knew what was happening. Everyone stuck together and got out safely. It was a successful protest.
We did get to witness some new Alinsky tactics as giant snow plows that were driven by government workers circled around the Civic Center no less than five times blowing their horns to get the crowd fired up. We had heard that they had done the same thing with firetrucks in Columbus. Many of our members mentioned to the media how wrong it was that the union was using public equipment, which we had paid for, and union drivers, who were on the clock to participate in this protest. We understand that the drivers of the trucks are now up on disciplinary charges for their participation Alinsky would be proud of them. It is never a problem to break the rules or the law to win the battle.
Lessons Learned in Canton:
Always have your people meet at a safe location away from the protest site so you can get organized before confronting the other side.
Coordinating with the security forces is critical. Without that first step, we would have been subject to the same tactics as we saw in Columbus.
Signs are critical and we must plan ahead and focus on the most effective messages for our signs. We can use them to demoralize the other side. The purpose is not to offend them, which is what most of their signs are designed to do. The purpose is to disarm them.
Signs are for different audiences. Some signs we pointed at the union protestors, different signs were intended for the Governor and his guests, others were for the media. Let your people know which signs are for whom and make sure they point them in the right direction.
If you don’t have verbal superiority, don’t get into a shouting match. It only feeds their sense of superiority. If we did not have the overhang to help amplify our chants, we would not have said anything. The overhang gave us an edge and we used it. Take that Alinsky!
Don’t just plan your entrance, take time to plan your exit. I spent a good deal of thought looking at the environment before approaching the officers about our exit strategy. We then called everyone together and explained what we were going to do and asked them to follow it. Remember, once you commit to a plan with the police, you must stick to it, or they will not back you up.
Talk among yourselves during the protest to see what the media are asking and what points we want to make. Share that with others in the group. Put people who are articulate at the point where the media is most likely to approach them.
Police your own ranks. If someone is getting offended by the verbal abuse, move them to the back and shield them from the crowd. Get a sign between them and the abusers.
Video tape everything that makes the other side look bad and put it on your website.
Youngstown, OH – Thursday, February 24, 2011
The Youngstown area is UNION with all capital letters. Anita Fraser, President of the Tri-County TEA Party in Youngstown was taking the lead on this event because it was in her home area. She is a tough, savy person who understands the tough politics of “the valley”, but she did not attend the Columbus or Canton events and thus did not have the benefit of what has been discussed so far in this essay. Governor Kasich was scheduled to meet with the Youngstown area Chamber of Commerce at a local restaurant in Warren on the 24th, and she sent a message out to her members and surrounding groups to send people to support the Governor. Perhaps because of the experience in Canton two days earlier, someone decided to move the Kasich visit from a local restaurant to a hanger at the Youngstown Airport. This caused a lot of confusion for our groups because we had less than 24 hours notice of the change. I am sure that some of our people did not get the message and never got to the right location.
Those TEA Party people that did get to the airport were met by people who told them that, “Anita Frasier told us to tell you it was not safe and you should go home.” So they did. Anita found this out when she got to the airport herself and they told her, “Anita Frasier told us to tell you it was not safe and you should go home,” and she said, “I’m Anita Frasier,” and they just laughed and took off. She ended up with less than 20 people surrounded by over a thousand, as she described them, “animals.” Until Anita told me this, I did not understand that they had used the same tactics on us in Columbus when they told us we could not go into the State House.
As Anita tried to find a place for those few Patriots who did managed to get to the hangar, they were immediately surrounded and faced the most vicious verbal abuse imaginable. Anita Frasier is no prude by any stretch of the imagination, but she told me that she heard new insults that she had never heard before in her life. The State Police were in charge of security and they did not protect Anita or her people. She said at least twenty men came past her and intentionally bumped into her shoulders until her arms were aching. At one point men with axe handles or big sticks came toward the group, and when they did, all the state troopers disappeared. The guys just stood in front of them waving the axe handles. When one guy with the axe handles approached Anita, she was with a woman news reporter who just ran away and never reported what she had seen.
After the event Anita found two of the state troopers and asked them where they went and they said they were watching from a distance and that they were sorry it had gotten so bad. The Patriots were harassed all the way back to their cars. As Anita told me, she just could not wait to get out of there, and she never wants to ever be in that position again. Which is also why I am writing this essay to my fellow Patriots, because I never want any of you to ever be in this position.
Lessons Learned from Youngstown:
We needed to meet at a location away from the Airport first and then go to the airport.
We needed to contact security officials before the event and ask them how they wanted to handle security and what plans they had made to accommodate our group.
We needed to arrive as a group and stick together once we were on site.
We needed to make contact with security immediately upon arrival at the site to find out exactly how they wanted to handle things if the situation changed.
If the situation was such that we could not be effective, we should have called off the protest and implemented another tactic like standing along a road or across a bridge leading to the airport with our signs supporting SB 5, or driving through town for an hour with our Support SB 5 signs in the car windows. We could have gone and protested outside of the newspaper or TV stations in support of SB 5.
We needed to coordinate our exit with the security forces at the site.
I sincerely hope that this information will help all Patriots understand who we are fighting against and what tactics they will use to defeat us. Our goal, collectively, is to design strategies that will effectively counter the extreme tactics of the left and keep public opinion supporting the conservative efforts of the representatives we fought so hard to elect last November. Let me be clear, the left has been using these tactics since the 1930’s and our country is in the dire straights it is in because they have been successful. If we do not rise up and meet this challenge today, everything that we have worked for over the past two years will be lost. This is the time for Patriots everywhere to stand up with one voice and say, “We will not be intimidated, we will not be lied to, we will not have terms dictated to us. This is our money, this is our country, and you all work for us, be you an elected official or a government employee; and you will do what we demand that you do or we will replace you with one of us who will.”
Thomas R. Zawistowski