First published in 1971, Rules for Radicals is Saul Alinsky's impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know “the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one.” Written in the midst of radical political developments whose direction Alinsky was one of the first to question, this volume exhibits his style at its best. Like Thomas Paine before him, Alinsky was able to combine, both in his person and his writing, the intensity of political engagement with an absolute insistence on rational political discourse and adherence to the American democratic tradition.
Rules for Radicals
My only fixed truth is a belief in people: a conviction that if people have the opportunity to act freely and the power to control their own destinies, they'll generally reach the right decisions.
— Saul Alinsky(resource) Rules for the Radicals
Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future.
— Saul Alinsky —
As an organizer, I start from where the world is, as it is, not as I would like it to be. That we accept the world as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe it should be — it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be.
— Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals —
To the organizer, compromise is a key and beautiful word. It is always present in the pragmatics of operation... If you start with nothing, demand 100 percent, then compromise for 30 percent, you're 30 percent ahead.
— Saul Alinsky —