Top 10 Greatest Activists

May 2018
I was re-reading Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals and decided to attempt a list, in the spirit of military history lists of "Top 10 Greatest Generals", for activists. I should note that much of Alinsky's Rules applies to warfare as much as activism, and some of Alinsky's prose is reminiscent of Heinlein or Moltke. I hope to introduce the same ambiguity, personal biases and useless speculation that Top 10 General lists evoke to a different corner of history.

Certainly, Alinsky won the respect of his opponents. William F. Buckley called him "nearly close to an organizational genius" and Dick Armey made Rules for Radicals mandatory reading for Tea Party Activists. Perhaps he is the "Clausewitz of Activism."

To define "activist" we will use Alinksy's own definition of organizer: “The function of an organizer is to raise questions that agitate, that break though the accepted pattern.” We are judging them on their success in advocating their cause or changing people's minds, absent moral judgement of the cause.

1. Jesus Christ
2. William Wilberforce
3. Ghandi
4. Cicero
5. The Gracchi Brothers
6/7. Cato (both)
8. Frederick Douglas
9. Julius Caesar (probably the only person to justifiably be on both lists)
10. Robspierre
Oct 2018
Adelaide south Australia
1. Jesus Christ

It has become common to consider Jesus as some kind of hippy activist. As far asI can see, that claim is not supported by the evidence.

Nup. Jesus was a conservative Jew.

The incident with the money lenders in the temple is about what could be expected from a bucolic rabbi such as Jesus.

Jesus was silent on the evil of slavery.

Jesus instructed his followers to pay their taxes .Mark 13:27

King James Bible
And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.