Practical Radicals

Seven Strategies to Change the World

A clear, expert, and inspiring guide to social change, based on case studies of grassroots movements that won, from two leading community and labor experts

“Our movements must seek and win governing power to achieve our visions for a more just society. This book is a vital resource for progressives who want to win.”
—Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chair, Congressional Progressive Caucus

How do underdogs, facing far stronger opponents, sometimes win? In the tradition of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Deepak Bhargava and Stephanie Luce’s Practical Radicals offers winning strategies, history, and theory for a new generation of activists.

Based on interviews with leading organizers, this groundbreaking book describes seven strategies to bring about transformative change. It incorporates stories of organizations and movements that have won, including Make the Road NY, the St. Paul Federation of Educators, the welfare rights movement, the Working Families Party, New Georgia Project, Occupy Wall Street,, the Fight for 15, and Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Two overarching case studies anchor the book: the brilliant techniques used by enslaved people and their allies to end slavery, and the sinister but effective ways elites imposed our current system.

Practical Radicals offers insights on strategy used by business, military, and political elites, addresses the challenges of overcoming conflict within organizations and movements, and concludes with a discussion of how our movements must adapt to meet new challenges in the twenty-first century.

A book for activists, organizers, and anyone hoping to win the fight for a better society, Practical Radicals is a deeply informed resource designed to help us win on the big issues of our time.


“Our movements must seek and win governing power to achieve our visions for a more just society. This book is a vital resource for progressives who want to win.”
—Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
“We now face an authoritarian coalition that is ruthless and strategic. Organizers must bring more rigor, depth, and a spirit of experimentation to our strategies if we are to prevail. This crucial book is for everyone who cares about the future of racial, gender, and economic justice and the future of democracy.”
—Dorian Warren, president of Community Change
“People power on a massive scale is the only solution to the crises facing our planet. This important book helps us learn from the lineage of struggle we are part of and shows how we must innovate to meet today’s challenges.”
—Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director, the Sunrise Movement
“Progressive activists will want to dog-ear, underline, and pore over this well-conceived handbook.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Being right isn’t enough. This crucial resource provides a map of the strategies we need to achieve our freedom dreams.”
—Cristina Jiménez, co-founder of United We Dream
“Bhargava and Luce bring us a deeply informed and comprehensive analysis of contemporary American social movements. Activists and organizers especially need to read this book, but so do the rest of us.”
—Frances Fox Piven
“This is the book I’ve been waiting for. It reminds progressives that we have a rich lineage of victories to draw on, from abolition to AIDS activism. And it shows us the multiple strategies we need to win today.”
—Felicia Wong, president, the Roosevelt Institute

News and Reviews


Read an interview with authors Deepak Bhargava and Stephanie Luce about Practical Radicals in the Guardian.

The Forge

Read an excerpt from Practical Radicals in The Forge

Kirkus Reviews

Read a review of Practical Radicals by Deepak Bhargava and Stephanie Luce in Kirkus Reviews.

Discussion Guide

For organizers, classrooms, book clubs, and other group discussions, check out the Practical Radicals Discussion Guide.

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Building a Fair Economy

Robert Pollin, Stephanie Luce

Goodreads Reviews