All Is Not Lost: 20 Ways to Revolutionize Disaster

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An uplifting look at how organizers in the past have successfully leveraged crises into emancipatory politics, and a plea for continued progressive movement building in our tumultuous social climate

From the climate apocalypse and COVID-19 to double digit unemployment to Donald Trump and the rise of far-right white nationalists—disasters are everywhere we look.

While these disasters often leave us feeling hopeless and withdrawn, scholar Alex Zamalin argues that pessimism cannot be the only response. Silence and inaction only perpetuate mass suffering and inequality. Instead, All Is Not Lost suggests that following every crisis emerges new political opportunity for changing our politics and everyday lives.

Blending intellectual history, biography, and political critique, Zamalin offers 20 specific lessons for our present moment, turning to moments in history to demonstrate how various figures in the past have successfully leveraged struggles into sources of political action and freedom. The lessons—on how to resist, how to speak, organize, treat others, think politically, memorialize, dream, write, occupy, build, and act—all build toward one truth: though disaster is something we cannot control from arriving, we can control how we confront it and what we build in its place. Using examples from the 17th century to the present, All Is Not Lost reminds readers to not back down in the face of crisis and instead offers radical lessons of continued resistance and movement building to create a successful progressive coalition.