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Rules for Revolutionaries by Becky Bond and Zack Exley

How Big Organizing Can Change Everything.

Stephanie Wong | 19 Jun 2017

An image of a book cover, "Rules for Revolutionaries".

Image credit: Act Build Change.

Three takeaways

  1. Volunteers will win the change you are seeking
  2. Activists must use technology to their advantage
  3. Your work/campaign/movement must look and act like the world you want to create


Becky Bond and Zack Exley. Image credit:

This is a must-read for anyone interested in making a difference in the world. Bond and Exley share 22 lessons from the impressive Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. The core of the book is about people, and what they can do when asked to do something meaningful; a revolution happens.

We can go up against big money and win.

— Bond and Exley

The efforts of people must be supported with smart technology. This was not only the game changer for Bernie but Jeremy Corbyn. Those who led the Corbyn campaign took the rules seriously and nearly brought the UK government to a standstill.

The book is a challenge to the cautious steps of changemakers, and a direct protest to Saul Alinsky and his organising methodology. Alinsky, regarded as the founder of modern-day community organising, teaches organising to the negotiating table, in his book Rules for Radicals. Alinsky believed change happens through negotiation, and we must train people to fight for the biggest crumbs of the pie.

Big organising, on the other hand, is about changing the very nature of government,

electing revolutionaries to office at all levels of government is some of the necessary work of the revolution.

— Bond and Exley

Bond and Exleys optimism is refreshing and poignant. The revolutionaries are not messing about. With hearts and minds brimmed with hope and strategy, they want to teach you how to win. Bernie failed to get to power, but the work of hundreds of thousands of Bernie volunteers have left something to be taken up by all of us.