The Best Saul Alinsky quotes

Saul Alinsky quotes thumbnail

Saul Alinsky was a fascinating man with an incredible quotes compilation. A self-educated itinerant organizer, he devoted his life to the empowerment of the poor and dispossessed. His work continues to inspire generations of entrepreneurs and activists alike. This blog post will explore some of the most important moments in his life, and how they shaped his worldview and ideas.

Here are the most known Power, Change, Life, World, Rule, Enemies quotes from Saul Alinsky, and much more.


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About Saul Alinsky

birth of the author

January 30, 1909

death of the author

June 12, 1972

country of the author


education of the author

University Of Chicago

occupation of the author

Community Organizer, Writer, Political Activist

award of the author

Pacem In Terris Award, 1969


All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new. — Saul Alinsky

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

Change means movement. Movement means friction. — Saul Alinsky

Change comes from power, and power comes from organization. — Saul Alinsky

all change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new Saul Alinsky quote

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. — Saul Alinsky

History is a relay of revolutions. — Saul Alinsky

The most effective means are whatever will achieve the desired results. — Saul Alinsky

If the ends don’t justify the means, what does? — Saul Alinsky


Always remember the first rule of power tactics. — Saul Alinsky

always remember the first rule of power tactics Saul Alinsky quote

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

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

The ninth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical. — Saul Alinsky

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

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. — Saul Alinsky

The second rule is: Never go outside the experience of your people. When an action is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear, and retreat. — Saul Alinsky

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. — Saul Alinsky


This is the world as it is. This is where you start. — Saul Alinsky

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

Our world has always had two kinds of changers, the social changers and the money changers. — Saul Alinsky

this is the world as it is this is where you start Saul Alinsky quote

We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. We will see it when we believe it. — Saul Alinsky


Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. — Saul Alinsky

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

Redundant Thematics

In Saul Alinsky Statements


The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength. — Saul Alinsky

The job of the organizer is to maneuver and bait the establishment so that it will publicly attack him as a ‘dangerous enemy.’ — Saul Alinsky

whenever possible go outside the expertise of the enemy Saul Alinsky quote

The greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself. — Saul Alinsky


If people don’t think they have the power to solve their problems, they won’t even think about how to solve them. — Saul Alinsky

Power just goes to two poles–to those who’ve got money, and those who’ve got people. — Saul Alinsky

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

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

power just goes to two poles to those who ve got money and those who ve got people Saul Alinsky quote

There can be no darker or more devastating tragedy than the death of man’s faith in himself and in his power to direct his future. — Saul Alinsky

It is a world not of angels but of angles, where men speak of moral principles but act on power principles; a world where we are always moral and our enemies always immoral. — Saul Alinsky

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


The organizer dedicated to changing the life of a particular community must first rub raw the resentments of the people of the community. — Saul Alinsky

Democracy is alive, and like any other living thing it either flourishes and grows or withers and dies. There is no in–between. It is freedom and life or dictatorship and death. — Saul Alinsky

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. — Saul Alinsky

In this world laws are written for the lofty aim of ‘the common good’ and then acted out in life on the basis of the common greed. — Saul Alinsky

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. — Saul Alinsky

SAUL ALINSKY Quotes Take Away

Saul Alinsky’s work has stood the test of time, and his words continue to provide inspiration for social change activists all over the world. We hope you’ve enjoyed these quotes as much as we have, and that they’ve given you a new perspective on how to create meaningful change in your community. If you’re looking for more information on how to apply Alinsky’s teachings to your own life or activism, be sure to check out our courses page. We offer a variety of online training programs that can help equip you with the skills needed to make an impact in your community.

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