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We are the 99 percent

9 Notes On The Future of Revolution—Esquire Interviews Micah White

Posted 1 year ago on March 9, 2015, 1:14 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: Micah White

Esquire names Micah White one of the most influential under 35 year olds alive today.

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.”)

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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.

44 Comments

44 Comments


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[-] 2 points by pigeonlady (284) from Brooklyn, NY 1 year ago

(polite applause)

[-] 2 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

quote: ~ Micah White

"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." ...

Exactly...

In the early days of Occupy, the focus was on just that...

Occupy realized it had the power of protest... and then needed to define & organize what was to be protested... which was agreed to be open ended ... protesting every evil inflicted upon the people by government or corporation ...

The Protesting did not bring any answers... yet it did build awareness and participation... and the numbers grew....

And the Important part... was that these agreements were built on "Consensus" ...

The Consensus was built by everyone arguing from every angle... picking apart every piece of and idea... and building new... until the mass-majority agreed...

That... and only that... is how we can "change our behaviors, depattern ourselves"...advance... and become a true Movement of minds and society...

In the early days of Occupy, there were many who picked sides.... for it was easier to align with an idea than to actually understand and grasp the specifics of any issue...

Many called themselves Socialists, Libertarians, Zionists, etc... and then struggled hard to define what that meant...

In the 60's movement... we called these members who labeled themselves ..a "groupie" ...

The members who stood on their own and argued for Consensus ... were Anarchists ...

We are still seeing this today... even on the OccupyWallSt forum... a select few who align themselves or others with a political party... it's the easy way out... do not need to know specifics or why... just need to believe that they are right...

Anyway... a "Movement" is about building Consensus... inventing new ways & ideas... understanding fully every angle... and as Micah says .." getting large numbers of people to change their behaviors, to depattern themselves, to actually get the facts collectively"...

[-] -2 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 1 year ago

The total cost of Occupy was under $500? That number is at least $799,500 too low, since over $800,000 in donations was raised and then spent.

[-] 0 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

he is talking about the initial costs to set up the adbusters Occupy site ...and get the project moving ... and you already know that... imo

[-] 0 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 1 year ago

No, that's not what he said.

"The total cost of Occupy was probably under, like, $500."

[-] 0 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

ok... we'll talk specifics :)

  • MW referred to "Occupy" ... not "OccupyWallStreet" in nyc ... to whom the $800,000 donations went to ...
  • MW said... "The total cost of Occupy was probably under, like, $500." .... and he was referring to starting the movement....
  • since start.. it;s easy to predict that many many millions have been spent on Occupy worldwide... and likely many more to come...
  • it's also not a far reach that you were not really interested in what he was saying... as much as finding a way to discredit the post ...

agree... and we'll have consensus :) ~ peace

[-] -1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 1 year ago

I'm trying to figure out what he meant and it makes no sense like you're describng it. If I spend $500 starting a project to save endangered sea turtles and it gathers a million dollars in donations and then I go out and spend it on saving sea turtles, then did that project cost "a total of $500"? What would be the point of bragging about the low initial startup costs for a project that consumes over a million dollars in funding?

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

TJ...that's mixing Apples & Sea Turtles