Let This Radicalize You: Organizing and the Revolution of Reciprocal Care

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What fuels and sustains activism and organizing when it feels like our worlds are collapsing? Let This Radicalize You is a practical and imaginative resource for activists and organizers building power in an era of destabilization and catastrophe.

Longtime organizers and movement educators Mariame Kaba and Kelly Hayes examine some of the political lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the convergence of mass protest and mass formations of mutual aid, and consider what this confluence of power can teach us about a future that will require mass acts of care, rescue and defense, in the face of both state violence and environmental disaster.

The book is intended to aid and empower activists and organizers as they attempt to map their own journeys through the work of justice-making. It includes insights from a spectrum of experienced organizers, including Sharon Lungo, Carlos Saavedra, Ejeris Dixon, Barbara Ransby, and Ruth Wilson Gilmore about some of the difficult and joyous lessons they have learned in their work.


“This is a prophetic work, one that will be pressed with great urgency into the palms of friends and comrades, kin and colleagues, and anyone else ready to rise up against machineries of mass death. With great clarity and generosity, Hayes and Kaba model how participants in movements can be tough on systems while being gentle with one another and themselves, nurturing a “counterculture of care” as an integral part of building the next world.” —Naomi Klein, author, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal

“In this time of perpetual crisis, when too many of our movements are imploding and the work often feels soul crushing, Kelly Hayes and Mariame Kaba have turned decades of collective wisdom and experience into the text we desperately need right now. This book will radicalize even the ‘radicals’ by reminding us that to be radical is not to have all the answers or some special portal into transcendent knowledge. It is about seeing and moving differently in the world. It means having the courage to imagine, make mistakes, to trust, listen, learn, think, and rethink; to resist punditry, pedestals, and perfection; to reject cynicism and embrace critical analysis; to plot, to hold on, to care and commune, to show up, to love. They teach us to mourn and organize, and that we who believe in freedom have to rest. And they understand better than anyone what Dr. King meant when he called on us to ‘rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.’” —Robin D. G. Kelley, author, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

“Let This Radicalize You is a rich treasury of practical lessons and insights from organizers and activists across many of today’s most important sites of struggle. Through deeply moving storytelling, Kelly Hayes and Mariame Kaba share a stirring vision of commitment and collaboration that is rooted in love, reality, and solidarity—and one that doesn’t shy away from the challenges we face inside and outside our movements or the high stakes. This book is a gift for everyone, no matter their level of political engagement, interested in building the new worlds of care and mutual flourishing that we need.” —Astra Taylor, author, Remake the World: Essays, Reflections, Rebellions

“There is so much incredible goodness between these covers. How I wish I had this wisdom when I was young. Everything within fills me with hope and joy for our future. This book is about reclaiming our humanity and care for one another as we seek to heal ourselves and our world. It is an essential work that can change the course of the history we create each day!” —Lisa Fithian, author, Shut It Down: Stories from a Fierce, Loving Resistance