WASHINGTON–Hillary Rodham Clinton’s long buried Wellesley College senior undergraduate thesis about Chicago legendary community organizer Saul Alinsky–sealed during the years when she was first lady–was dug up for MSNBC by investigative journalist Bill Dedman–a Chicago Sun-Times alum.
The contents of the thesis were long thought by Clinton biographers and commentators to be important to understanding the roots of her political philosophy. Dedman found the thesis, writes about how and why the Clintons wanted it buried and how he found it hiding in plain sight.
Dedman also notes that Barack Obama, who moved to Chicago to become a community organizer himself, was influenced by the Alinsky legacy. (click below for all the links)
I well remember Alinsky as a wiley agitator–a street fighter who made community organizing into a profession.
In her autobiography, “Living History,” Clinton writes:
“My senior year at Wellesley would futher test and articulate my beliefts. For my thesis I analyzed the work of a Chicago native and community organizer named Saul Alinsky, whom I met the previous summer. Alinsky was a colorful and controversial figure who managed to offend almost everyone during his long career. His prescription for social change required grassroots organizing that taught people to help themselves by confronting goverment and corporations to obtain the resources and power to improve their lives. I agreed with some of Alinsky’s ideas, particularly the value of empowering people to help themselves. But we had a fundamental disagreement. He believed you could change the system only from the outside. I didn’t. Later he offered me the chance to work with him when I graduated from college, and he was disappointed that I decided instead to go to law school. Alinsky said I would be wasting my time, but my decision was an expression of my belief that the system could be changed from within. I took the law school admissions test and applied to several schools.”
These are links to the MSNBC/Dedman work….
College to close off access
How the Clintons wrapped up Hillary’s thesis
“A stupid political decision,” says her former Wellesley poli-sci