This article examines the emergence of broad-based organizing in the UK and the importance given to political activity within community development. Popularly associated with Saul Alinsky and the work of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the translation from the USA has been problematic. With the emergence and sustained growth of ‘London Citizens’, now one of the largest citizen-based organizations in the country, a ﬁrmer foothold has been established. The article examines the central concepts underpinning the political and philosophical basis of broad-based organizing and explores some of the challenges involved in developing and sustaining an approach that is overtly political and utilizes conﬂict and direct action to engage and negotiate with established power. At a time when the neo-liberal agenda has had a depoliticizing effect upon community development, this provides a model that challenges current orthodoxy associated with ‘partnership’ and ‘empowerment’ and reasserts the centrality of power and politics in promoting change and social reform.