Given the growing importance of populism in cities both empirically and in scholarly discourse, planning is increasingly grappling with this ‘unsettling era’, focusing on how to respond to these times. This opening provides an opportunity to re‐engage with the idea of insurgent planning—practices that are counter‐hegemonic, transgressive, and imaginative—within populist contexts. I explore the case of mobilizations by community communicators in Complexo da Maré, a set of favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the spread of COVID‐19 in 2020. In contrast to these mobilizations, Brazil’s federal right‐wing populist government failed to attend to the needs of favela residents. Through the case of Maré’s communicators, I highlight the need for planning to account for the role of insurgent planning as a response to populist contexts in cities of the global South.