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The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution (Paperback)
Is protest broken? Micah White, co-creator of Occupy Wall Street, thinks so. Disruptive tactics have failed to halt the rise of Donald Trump. Movements ranging from Black Lives Matter to environmentalism are leaving activists frustrated. Meanwhile, recent years have witnessed the largest protests in human history. Yet these mass mobilizations no longer change society. Now activism is at a crossroads: innovation or irrelevance.
In The End of Protest Micah White heralds the future of activism. Drawing on his unique experience with Occupy Wall Street, a contagious protest that spread to eighty-two countries, White articulates a unified theory of revolution and eight principles of tactical innovation that are destined to catalyze the next generation of social movements.
Despite global challenges—catastrophic climate change, economic collapse and the decline of democracy—White finds reason for optimism: the end of protest inaugurates a new era of social change. On the horizon are increasingly sophisticated movements that will emerge in a bid to challenge elections, govern cities and reorient the way we live. Activists will reshape society by forming a global political party capable of winning elections worldwide.
In this provocative playbook, White offers three bold, revolutionary scenarios for harnessing the creativity of people from across the political spectrum. He also shows how social movements are created and how they spread, how materialism limits contemporary activism, and why we must re-conceive protest in timelines of centuries, not days.
Rigorous, original and compelling, The End of Protest is an exhilarating vision of an all-encompassing revolution of revolution.
About the Author
MICAH WHITE is the award-winning activist who co-created Occupy Wall Street, a global social movement, while an editor of Adbusters magazine. His essays and interviews on the future of protest have been published in publications including The New York Times, The Guardian Weekly and Folha de São Paulo. Widely recognized as a pioneer of social movement creation, Micah White has been profiled by The New Yorker, and Esquire has named him one of the most influential young thinkers alive today. He directs Boutique Activist Consultancy—a think tank specializing in impossible campaigns—and is a frequent guest lecturer. Micah lives with his wife and son in Nehalem, a rural town on the coast of Oregon. His website is www.micahmwhite.com
“Fearlessly lucid, radically open-minded, Micah White puts protest back where it belongs—among the greatest forces ever to shape history. Then he exposes a protest culture just as jaded as the structures it seeks to overthrow, and as desperately in need of ‘ruthless innovation.’ Many books tell us why we should protest; this book tells us how.” —J.B. MacKinnon, author of The Once and Future World
“President Kennedy said, ‘Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.’ One of the most urgent existential questions of our time is how to respond to that supposition. In The End of Protest, Micah White guides the conversation by combining an expansive grasp of history and political philosophy, with a thrilling sense of future possibility.” —Marianne Williamson
“Micah White issues an impassioned clarion call for activists to reinvent protest—a format that that has been so utterly devitalized, it has lost its bite and power to impel change. White makes his case by drawing on decades of personal experience and the historical record, and what springs forth from these pages is an eminently readable playbook packed with wisdom and practical advice for resuscitating the power of dissent in the twenty-first century.” —Gabriella Coleman, author of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy
“Micah White offers us a deeply honest, courageous and ultimately optimistic view of how people can make a far better world — and why we’re not there yet. The book is so packed with insights and ideas that you’re bound to agree with some and question others. But you will be challenged and you will get smarter. This book is much needed fuel for a people’s compassionate revolution.” —Jonah Sachs, author of Winning the Story Wars
“The End of Protest is nothing less than a new paradigm for resistance. It will be sure to initiate a heated and necessary debate about how to confront oppression, and what constitutes victory.” —Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus and Present Shock
“Micah White gives us a bird’s-eye view of the ever-shifting battle field of dynamic social change. New wars require new arts to be successful.” —Lupe Fiasco, rapper and hip-hop artist
“The End of Protest is an engrossing historical document, call to arms, guide, and self-critical look at the Occupy movement from one of its co-founders. It traces the history of protest in the North and offers a new vision, tactics, and strategy for a peaceful revolution through a horizontal, mundialist movement. An inspiring must-read for any activist.” —Carmen Aguirre, author of Mexican Hooker #1 and Something Fierce, winner of Canada Reads
“Micah is a systems genius and the moral voice of a thinking generation. His points are simple, true and astounding.” —Roseanne Barr, comedian
“The End of Protest is an informative and inspiring book for activists of any and every stripe. White’s emphasis on ‘mental environmentalism,’ as he puts it, is brilliant.” —Alex Ebert, lead singer of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
“Micah White is a strategist, a new breed of revolutionary. He knows that resistance isn’t so much about what you do as who you are: it cuts right inside you, into your very Being, into your belief systems, into your democratic hopes, into your anti-corporate desires, into your whole mental environment. This is Rules for Radicals for the World Party—the one yet to be.” —Andy Merrifield, author of The Wisdom of Donkeys and Magical Marxism
“Micah White argues convincingly that established modes of protest are outdated and sketches the outlines for how activists can and must innovate. His book is a love letter to activists of the future.” —Michael Hardt, co-author of the Empire trilogy (Empire, Multitude, Commonwealth) as well as Declaration
“Within the context of his experience with the Occupy movement, Micah White bravely challenges the current protest-rut in which many social justice activists find themselves. His critique of modern social movements challenges activists to progress to the next level, while leaving us hopeful that the revolution for a better world is already upon us.” —Pam Palmater, Mi’kmaw lawyer, professor and Idle No More spokesperson & educator
“The End of Protest is not just about the end of the effectiveness of protest, it is also a manual for how to overthrow the broken world systems we suffer under. This is a playbook for everyone who dreams of revolutionary change.” —Jonah Sachs, founder of Free Range Studios
“[T]he author is not short on ideas for how activists can mix things up as we attempt to change the world. . . . Readers embark on a whirlwind tour of historical examples. . . . At times, the book feels like looking through the activist equivalent of a genius designer’s scrapbook. . . . The End of Protest stakes out a unified schema and spectrum of possibilities. . . . The critical-minded will find much to debate, but they may also find much-needed ideas for how to protest a little differently—and more effectively—next time.” —rabble.ca
“Revolution for the hell of it? Perhaps, this latter-day rejoinder to Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals suggests, since revolution of other kinds seems nigh on impossible. Impossible, perhaps—but still worth trying. . . . [A]ctivists, organizers, and civil libertarians of whatever stripe will want to have a look.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Micah White’s new book, The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution, could not have arrived at a more propitious moment. . . . A rich reflection on our quagmire of culture, corruption and the future of activism, politics and spirituality, which provides compelling context and proposes a call to action at a critical point in time when misery-infused doom seems like the prevailing national menu selection.” —LA Weekly
“Innovative. . . . Part manifesto, part memoir, and part history of activism, The End of Protest is a radical document in every sense of the word. . . . The End of Protest encompasses so much more than reflections on a controversial movement. . . . The End of Protest is crammed so full of fascinating research, stunning language, and spirited optimism that it’s bound to make you stop and think.” —The Huffington Post
“The most provocative book I’ve read this year is The End of Protest by Micah White. . . . [H]e writes with brutal frankness about this, and, more generally, about how political protest as we know it—marches, speeches, slogans, ‘clicktivism’—has been completely ineffective for decades, and is growing even less so with every passing year. White does raise the interesting notion, though, of a new form of protest; one with an actually meaningful ‘theory of change’; an inchoate spectre that could haunt, chill, and even overthrow Establishment capitalism as we know it.” —TechCrunch