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The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  231 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Is protest broken? Micah White, co-creator of Occupy Wall Street, thinks so. Disruptive tactics have failed to halt the rise of Donald Trump in the upcoming US presidential election. 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 mob ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Knopf Canada
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Shawn Birss
May 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book was so disappointing. I was taken in by the many names who offered promising sounding book blurbs, and intrigued by Micah White's claim that he had "co-created" Occupy Wall Street, though I had personally participated in the movement and still never heard of him.

(That Roseanne Barr's promotion of the book is so prominently used on the jacket, and so profusely thanked in the credits, is probably a misstep that White now regrets, since she has come out as a public supporter of Donald Tr
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I pre-ordered this book, having been following the author online for the better part of a year. I read it in a single day. It was stunning.

The author is one of the co-founders of the Occupy movement, and in this book, he brings his incredible grasp of history, philosophy and activism to bear in order to unpack the past, present and future of social revolution. I loved hearing his retellings of historical revolutions, and his visions for revolution to come. In the final few pages, as
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
It's difficult to pinpoint the worst thing about this book, since there are so many things competing for the title. The author basically spirals into madness after the first 100 pages.

If you don’t consider theurgy (the action of requesting divine intervention) a valid type of activism, prepare yourself: the author spends a lot of time peppering the text with references to divinely-inspired revolutions. If you find the philosophical and moral implications of that problematic (e.g. we could all b
Mar 03, 2016 added it
Shelves: activism, world

Review by Dru Oja Jay

Don't protest the same way twice. If there's a single message to be gleaned from Occupy Wall Street co-initiator Micah White's idea-packed polemic against conventional protest, The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution, that's probably it.

Luckily, the author is not short on ideas for how activists can mix things up as we attempt to change the world.

White, who mostly watched Occupy Wall Street (which he initiated with Adbus
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Micah writes strongly with the confidence only garnered from having experienced protest first hand. The innovative ideas in this book might thoughtfully inspire the new generation of activists and citizens whom want to contribute to a world that badly needs healing. A pleasure to read.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'd like to thank Dr. White for his work on this book. I don't give 5 stars very often.

I needed a new suggestion for what work against Climate Change might look like. How might the work of tomorrow differ (since the work of today and yesterday has failed us)? This book has blown the concept of influence and strategic thinking for climate action wide open.

While it contains certain approaches I do not advocate or agree with, I don't think Dr. White would mind my saying so.<
Rami Shamir
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bibliography
Micah White's "The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution" is easily one of the most important books of the decade. Contemporaries, who after a 40-year-stasis are feeling the flux of our current historical and political shift, should look to this book for its steadying and sobering effects. Whether or not you'll agree with the author's overall thesis, you will be comforted by your positioning within the ongoing saga of humanity: the seismic cultural and political shifts that are now happe ...more
Brandon Will
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sure he's riding off the rails a bit at times but I think that's what happens when you're a high-speed train of thought that's taking a wide span of past and future into account with its premise about our very precarious present.

This book is a treasure for anyone interested in social movements, and accessible for anyone new to them or skeptical. I think it'll be changing and sparking many conversations in the near future.
Billie Pritchett
Mar 17, 2016 rated it liked it
The End of Protest is authored by Micah White, one of the founders of the historic Occupy Movement. One of the high marks of this book is the critique of the general drive toward protest that most contemporary activists engage in. White is absolutely correct that try as ordinary people might, the United States government is largely non-responsive to the protests of average people. This means, therefore, that new tactics and strategies are in order so that the United States could be more democratic, mor ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: highly-recommend
The most pressing topic today, how do we proceed as agents for change in this day and age of drone technology and a seemingly mounting disregard for human rights and human life in general. Micah White gives a brilliant account of the history of protest and struggle and a critical thinkers guide as to how to address the mounting injustices society is throwing at us. The gist of which reminds me of the Urban Dictionaries definition of insanity: "The definition of insanity, is, doing the exact same ...more
Aug 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: black
This is a difficult book to rate on a 1 to 5 star scale. There are parts of it which are not only excellent, but surprisingly excellent, and that seems to call for a high rating. There are also parts of it which are, for me, a bit of a letdown, especially once you let the excellent parts get your hopes up a bit. Overall, it rates a solid 3 stars, which from me is pretty good. But let me tell you what that really means.

First of all, the basic premise is contained in the title. It is t
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Y'all, this is a generous score, but as a previous reviewer noted, this is a difficult book to score numerically because parts of it are brilliant while the majority of it is a letdown. Here and there are flourishes of beautiful writing and keen insight, but for the most part the ideas are half-baked and unsatisfying. The author grapples with complex, philosophical ideas, which would be great if they were explored in ways that led to new insights. Instead, the exploration was pedantic yet inconc ...more
Melissa Luna
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
One of the major gems I received from this book was the ability to conceptualize that activism can be evaluated along a subjective/objective and spiritual/material continuum that results in four main branches: Subjectivism (changing oneself changes the world), Theurgism (Magic, rituals, prayer for Divine intervention), Voluntarism (dominant exoteric branch of activism), and Structuralism (forces and structures outside of human control cause revolutions, specific tactics unimportant). This mental ...more
Bruce Reiter
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Written by one of the promoters of Occupy Wall Street. The book gives the reader an opportunity to determine the the type of activist ideology the individual portrays. Protest must continue to evolve to present the message. Protests are living entities that succeed and fail regularly . Revolutions happen only occasionally and everybody has to be pretty pissed off for one to succeed. Protests must mutate in order to survive. The Seattle May Day of 2017 demonstrates why street tactics must continu ...more
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
While I encountered many of the difficulties others have noted with this book's style and organization, I still found it valuable. It was the first I learned of some strategies and, indeed, recent hopeful events (like the rise of the Five Star Movement in Europe). White attempts to address a nebulous topic and envision a future where meaningful protest is still possible. He gave me, and may give others, a much-needed dose of optimism right now.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very, very good. Mostly practical and useful information, and a compelling vision for an egalitarian future. Sometimes Micah resorts to some kind of religious fervor, but it can be forgiven due to the sheer force of thought ouput by the rest of this title! I recommend anyone interested in questioning our world!
Muneeb Hameed
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Calling this "A New Playbook for Revolution" is an oversell in my opinion. There are at most 5 extremely insightful chapters (which make the book work getting from the library at least!) Aside from those, though, I found myself skimming through the rest.
Mary Zuccaro
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. A must read for activists and anyone who fears that our democracy has gone off the rails but doesn't know what to do about it. Give this book to high school students.
Travis Lupick
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: activism
This is not a review but is based on an interview I had with the author.
Beginning in September 2011, Micah White and fellow Adbusters editor Kalle Lasn sparked one of the largest protests in modern history: Occupy Wall Street. But today White describes the global movement as little more than a learning experience.
“What it taught us is our theories of social change that underpin contemporary activism are not true,” White said in a telephone interview. “Activists are now faced with com
Jennifer Potter
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book with good insight. His story is amazing and really adds to his ability to discuss what works and doesn't work. Some great chapters for a class on protest.
R. C.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was frustrating because the author had so much unique insight and so much detailed information but then would put that together into oddy useless abstractions like "the next revolution must be in people's hearts" instead of what he'd seemingly always done before like post ads in mags that get thousands of folks to show up and demand justice. He makes a darn good case that our methods are now ignoreable by the powers that be but he doesn't dig into the obvious next question of why and w ...more
Rachel C
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anarchy-politics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sylvie Spraakman
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a super fascinating read. I found some of his insights odd and disagreed with some of his examples, but everything in this made me think. And it made me think deeply about my own experiences with activism, and my own future with it as well.
FJohn Rickert
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A mostly refreshing take on the theory of protest. Micah White, as a seasoned protester, presents the most succinct and fair postmortem on the Occupy movement I have yet to see, a breakdown of the fundamental structures of protest, and some guiding principles on what has yet to come.

I would highly suggest this book to anyone who has gone to any recent march or protest and feels like they are missing something. This is a book for those of us who want to be ready for action now, but ne
Sep 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
I could not get through this book. It was more than just terrible, it was offensive. I was looking for ways to better make change in my community, I got an author who, original-definition-of-literally, encourages activists to encourage the intervention of spiritual forces. I don't think I need to elaborate much further than that.
Vivian Ton
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
To be honest, I couldn't finish this. Nice tidbits of information here and there, but otherwise the theory White proposes is almost incoherent. No need to read past the first 100 pages -- it's all repetition from then on.
Jennifer Lau
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
The worst type of non-fiction: insubstantial and rambling.
May 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a basic run down on protest: the philosophy behind it, the history behind it, and the current applications of protest.

The book is broken into three parts,


Micah White goes through the different types of protest on a plane, titled "Unified Theory of Revolution"
On the horizontal axis Subjectivism to Objectivism, on the vertical axis Spiritual (supernatural) to Material (natural)

I liked the meatier part
Nov 12, 2017 added it
This book made a lot of good points. But I felt the overreliance on dead white male theorists to explain the right way to have a revolution kind of went against the author's central point that we should be innovative. Also I came away from it feeling like I still had no idea how to start the revolution.
Daniel Cunningham
This is a hard book to rate. Part of it I would give 4 or (if I could on Goodreads) 4.5 stars to; other parts I would give 1 star to, or even 0.5 stars. A frustrating book, overall.
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MICAH WHITE, PhD is the influential social activist who co-created the Occupy Wall Street movement while an editor of Adbusters magazine. White has a twenty-year record of innovative activism, including conceiving the debt-forgiveness tactic used by the Rolling Jubilee and popularizing the critique of clicktivism. His essays and interviews on the future of activism have been published internationally in pe ...more
“Activists have not been passive. For decades, we have tried every tactic to shift the course of our governments. We have voted, written editorials and manifestos, donated money, held signs, protests in marches, blocked streets, shared links, signed petitions, held workshops, knitted scarves, learn to farm, turned off the television, programmed apps, engaged in direct action, committed vandalism, launched legal challenges against pipelines . . . and occupied the financial districts. All this has been for naught. A new approach to activism and a new kind of protest are desperately needed.” 0 likes
“I believe a greater emphasis on subjectivism and theurgism will yield the highest results.” 0 likes
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