The despair is there; now it's up to us to go in and rub raw the sores of discontent, galvanize them for radical social change.

— Saul Alinsky

The most undeniable Saul Alinsky quotes that will activate your desire to change

True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism.

They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within.


They have the guns and therefore we are for peace and for reformation through the ballot. When we have the guns then it will be through the bullet.


Control healthcare and you control the people


Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)


The greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself.


History is a relay of revolutions.


In the beginning the organizer's first job is to create the issues or problems.


Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.


The fourth rule is: "Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

" You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.


If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.


The very first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer.


From the moment an organizer enters a community, he lives, dreams, eats, breathes, sleeps only one thing, and that is to build the mass power base of what he calls the army.


About Saul Alinsky

Quotes 100 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Activist
Birthday October 16

The first step in community organization is community disorganization.

The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are to be displace by new patterns.... All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new.


A racially integrated community is a chronological term timed from the entrance of the first black family to the exit of the last white family.


Action comes from keeping the heat on.

No politician can sit on a hot issue if you make it hot enough.


Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.


The thirteenth rule of radical tactics: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.


One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.


Asking a sociologist to solve a problem is like prescribing an enema for diarrhea.


It is a sad fact of life that power and fear are the fountainheads of faith.


The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.


The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power.

Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.


The cry of the Have-Nots has never been "give us our hearts," but always "get off our backs"; they ask not for love but for breathing space.


The practical revolutionary will understand Goethe's 'conscience is the virtue of observers and not of agents of action'; in action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one's individual conscience and the good of mankind.


We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world.

We will see it when we believe it.


Once you accept your own death, all of a sudden you're free to live.

You no longer care about your reputation. You no longer care except so far as your life can be used tactically to promote a cause you believe in.


Dogma, Whatever Form It Takes, Is The Ultimate Enemy Of Human Freedom.


Change comes from power, and power comes from organization.

In order to act, people must get together.


A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.


The end is what you want and the means is how you get it.


Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.

It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.


The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means.


Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life.


The classic statement on polarization comes from Christ: 'He that is not with me is against me.' (Luke 11:23) He allowed no middle ground to the moneychangers in the Temple. One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.


In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt.


Change means movement. Movement means friction.


Many of the lower middle class are members of labor unions, churches, bowling clubs, fraternal, service, and nationality organizations. They are organizations and people that must be worked with as one would work with any other part of our populations - with respect, understanding, and sympathy.


The standards of judgment must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be.


A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.


Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.


I prize my own independence too much.

And philosophically, I could never accept any rigid dogma or ideology, whether it's Christianity or Marxism…The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics, from the persecutions of the Inquisition on down to Communist purges and Nazi genocide.


As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it is, not as I would like it to be.


The third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means.


One’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue.


An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma to begin with, he does not have a fixed truth - truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing.... To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations.


Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.


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.


To say that corrupt means corrupt the ends is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles.


Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.