Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself.
The ninth rule in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals deals with fear. Alinsky wanted his followers to threaten action, hoping that the threat itself would incite a reaction. This is the easiest way for radicals to win: to have those on the Right react defensively while the Left doesn’t actually have to do anything but threaten action. No actual action required!
Sometimes, these are threats of violence. For example, Michelle Williams, Chief of Staff for the New Black Panther Party threatened the 2012 RNC National Convention in Tampa, FL next week saying “Our feet will be on your motherf***ing necks.” Domestic terrorist groups are also threatening violence violence at the event. Law enforcement is preparing for any eventuality, but the Left is not getting the reaction of fear from the Right for which they likely hoped.
More frequently though, the threats are geared toward disturbing events and businesses, and the Right has capitulated more often than they ought. In Rules for Radicals, Alinsky shared a story of this tactic in action in Chicago. In order to pressure local authorities, Alinsky targeted targeted O’Hare Airport. He arranged for the toilets to be occupied all day so that passengers would not have access to bathroom facilities. When the authorities heard of these plans, they quickly surrendered before the plan was executed.
There are countless examples of these threats, in everything form from boycotts to strikes. Unfortunately, there are many who will blink first in these cases. On one memorable occasion, President Reagan was not scared by the threat of a strike by air traffic controllers. They refused to return to work, and he fired them, with the public largely supporting him. Reagan showed us all the best way to respond to threats.
The only way to successfully respond to a bully is with strength. Their threats are usually unsustainable tactics merely for show. Those engaged in illegal activity will be arrested, people will go back to work, boycotts will end, and people must, eventually, leave the toilets they are occupying. If the Right acquiesces to the threats of the Left, the Left will win every time.