Here’s an excerpt from Micah’s interview with Esquire:
I’m not satisfied anymore with just the standard repertoire of activism. We have to really rethink the foundation of activism. And that’s what I’m trying to do.
The protest tactics that we’ve developed—the repertoire of tactics that we’ve developed—like, marching and these kinds of things, are designed to influence liberal democracy. They were designed to influence people—like, elected representatives—who had to listen to their constituents. But the breakdown of that paradigm happened on February 15, 2003, when the whole world had an anti-war march and President George Bush said, “I don’t listen to focus groups.” He said that, basically, by saying that, he basically said, “It doesn’t matter if you mass a million, billion, six billion people or whatever. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.”
My thinking is moving away from protest. Instead, I’m more interested now with the power of social mobilization. The power of, basically, getting large numbers of people to change their behaviors, to depattern themselves, to actually get the facts collectively in order to tackle global challenges.
I think where it’s going now, it’s much more towards the Five Star in Italy, where they do things like getting people elected or, like, running very complicated organizations that are able to manage global problems. One of the things that’s happening is that we’re seeing these global problems that everyone faces, like Ebola, and that social movements might be the answer to those kind of problems, too. Right? Because they mobilize large numbers of people. They get large number of people to do highly synchronized actions together.
I was a sophomore in college at Swarthmore on 9/11. And that was, like, the inflection point. And that was the point, too, that I kind of, like, really changed my approach to activism and tried to directly influence, like a lot of people, the war. I started to see the power of the Internet to allow for global action at the same time. Like, on February 15, 2003, we had, like, a global synchronized action on every continent on earth. Which I think would’ve been impossible prior to the Internet and stuff like that.
Arab Spring is absolutely crucial. And it was absolutely crucial for my own development because I have lived in Egypt for nine months in, like, you know, 2005 or 2006. My wife’s father is a former ambassador to Egypt. I remember staying at the embassy and seeing, like, how many police officers Mubarak would employ to, like, keep order in his society. I mean, I remember seeing that and I remember thinking, at the time, like, “Wow. A revolution would be impossible here with all these police officers.” Like, they would have dozens and dozens and dozens of police officers everywhere. Then, lo and behold, a revolution happened in Tahir Square. That opened my eyes.
I’m at the library and I’m reading all these books about revolution. Is there a pattern that always happens? And there is. De Tocqueville is who observed that that revolution often just functions to strengthen state power. I think that that’s why the movement towards kind of, you know, horizontalist, Internet-enabled, populist movements is a way to not repeat that pattern.
The total cost of Occupy was probably under, like, $500. It’s ridiculous. It’s like a force multiplier. That is allowing history to be changed very rapidly.
If there’s gonna be a revolution, it’ll happen non-violently. I think it’ll be a very peaceful kind of. It’ll be more like an awakening, you know?
Micah White PhD, 32, is an activist and former Adbusters editor who saw the protests of Tahrir Square and launched the Occupy Wall Street movement—and the wealth-gap debate that’s raged ever since—with a letter that began “All right you 90,000 redeemers, rebels, and radicals out there . . .” He’s since opened Boutique Activist Consultancy. (Motto: “We Win Lost Causes.”)
The paradigms of activism are in crisis. “You can’t solve climate change by organizing a global climate march,” says Micah in the latest issue of Esquire.
Reblogged from: http://www.hafteh.de/?p=83992 The Statement by a group of labour activists, writers, and political organizers Once again, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organizations and a Children’s Rights advocate in Iran, has been forced to go on a hunger strike since December 3, 2014. Behnam Ebrahimzadeh has been incarcerated […]
Submitted by Johanna Fernández The circumstances surrounding the shootings of two police officers in Brooklyn on December 20, 2014 are disturbing for a number of reasons. Because mainstream news outlets had full articles with the biography of the shooter shortly after the incident, alternative media specialists who cover the news from the perspective of grassroots movements […]
Fore more information on the #Douma4: facebook.com/douma4 http://douma4.wordpress.com/ twitter.com/Doumafour Originally published in French. My daughter was kidnapped in Syria a year ago: I have no solution and no more hope. Amnesty International has asked that I write about my daughter, Razan Zaitouneh. I’m neither a journalist, nor a writer, but I will write what […]
We are pleased to announce that Alfred A. Knopf Canada will publish Micah White’s new book THE END OF PROTEST in Spring, 2016.
Please share this link with three friends.
pic.twitter.com/KSfnYyEBR4— Micah White, PhD (@beingMicahWhite) …
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WAP.EGC Avaaz petition: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Ban_KiMoon_the_SecurityGeneral_of_the_United_Nations_and_the_UN_orgs_Declare_Eastern_Ghouta_officially_as_disaster_zone #We_Are_Prisoners: The civilians of Eastern Ghouta are living a humanitarian catastrophe and are experiencing a slow death due to the regime’s organized and systematic violence against the key ingredients of life. In addition to the regime’s systematic starvation campaign, civilians of Eastern Ghouta face death daily under the […]
Post by علاء زيدان. Post by Die Syrische Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية – ألمانيا.
Human Rights Monitor has published a letter of recommendations to the UPR regarding the abysmal record under the current coup regime. We have highlighted some of the report: • All death sentences must be lifted immediately due to the current lack of the minimum standards of a fair trial. • The Egyptian authorities must abstain […]
By SYRIA: Direct This is the first of two interviews asking the same questions of a resident of Damascus, and just a few kilometers away, a resident of the Ghouta suburbs. In Damascus and the surrounding areas where neighboring suburbs have been turned…
The Nation: When was the last time civil disobedience brought about change?
Edward Snowden: Occupy Wall Street.
The Nation: One of us might disagree with you. Arguably, Occupy was a very important initiative, but it was soon vaporized.
Edward Snowden: I believe strongly that Occupy Wall Street had such limits
because the local authorities were able to enforce, basically in our
imaginations, an image of what proper civil disobedience is–one that
is simply ineffective. All those people who went out missed work,
didn’t get paid. Those were individuals who were already feeling the
effects of inequality, so they didn’t have a lot to lose. And then the
individuals who were louder, more disruptive and, in many ways, more
effective at drawing attention to their concerns were immediately
castigated by authorities. They were cordoned off, pepper-sprayed,
thrown in jail.
“authorities were able to enforce, in our imaginations, an image of what proper civil disobedience is–one that is ineffective” says Snowden
— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallSt) October 27, 2014
The Nation: But you think Occupy nonetheless had an impact?
Snowden: It had an impact on consciousness. It was not effective in
realizing change. But too often we forget that social and political
movements don’t happen overnight. They don’t bring change
immediately–you have to build a critical mass of understanding of the
issues. But getting inequality out there into the consciousness was
important. All these political pundits now talking about the 2014 and
2016 elections are talking about inequality.
October 21, 2014. Kesh Malek (Checkmate) has launched an advocacy campaign explaining that the Syrian regime and The Islamic State are cut out of the same cloth, containing sarcastic material and merchandise focusing on the similarities between state, …
Original Post: https://www.crowdrise.com/SupportQilombo/fundraiser/ramonaqilombo We are in the midst of intense times and intense events happening here in the Bay Area, in this country and worldwide. It is a time where poor people and black and brown communities are under serious attack and facing heightened levels of violence and repression as well as ever […]
A Statement by the female political detainees in Damascus Central Prison (Adra): Our people are suffering from great tragedies while waiting for the dawn of freedom. Ours is one of those tragedies that we endure in silence and under intentional media b…
#FreeSoltan October 19, 2014 For Immediate Release: Today, Mohamed Soltan’s family, friends, and supporters- join Mohamed in his nearly 9-month long hunger strike. We are horrified at Mohamed’s 14-month detention without charge or evidence and his continually delayed trial dates. Similarly, there are scores of others held in Egyptian prisons on hunger strike who are […]
Asia and Pacific Museum and the Committee of Action Aid celebrated the Syrian DAY in the MUSEUM OF ASIA AND THE PACIFIC in Warsaw, Poland. Saturday, 18 October, 2014 A Polish lecture about Syrian traditions, Hijab and customs. People attended the event enjoyed tasting traditional Syrian food and trying on Syrian costumes. Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1470664833203429/
Original in Arabic: https://www.facebook.com/haythamabokhalil/posts/875536089131805 A message from the university students I convey as is: The BUE administration, headed by Dr. Ahmad Hamad (an ex-army officer), dismissed 13 students for a period of week with charges like inciting other students against the university administration by writing FB posts. The decree was taken yesterday, October 9, to come amid a […]
Since the morning, intense clashes have been ongoing on the outskirts of Ein Turma town in Damascus’s suburbs as the regime’s forces were trying to invade the area and the Free Syrian Army fighting them back. Regime’s forces then began extensively bombarding Ein Turma with mortars and artillery as a MEG warplane hovered over the […]
Article first published in: http://commentmideast.com/2014/10/syria-international-coalition-intervention/ In recent weeks we have seen the establishment of an USA led International coalition also composed of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qata…
Friday 10-10-2014: More than 20 martyrs fell in Daraa province– Tens wounded Regime’s helicopters dropped a TNT barrel on Al Harrah town in Daraa’s suburbs 6:00 a.m. in the early morning whilst families were sleeping. Buildings collapsed over the families’ heads and buried them underneath. After civilians gathered to salvage the casualties from underneath the […]
You are invited to attend:
THE END OF PROTEST
A lecture by Micah White, PhD
October 20, 2014 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
The paradigms of contemporary protest are undergoing a period of crisis. The global forces that impact our collec…