NSB Logo

Micah White

Co-Creator of Occupy Wall Street & Founder of Activist Graduate School

Micah White is a renowned social activist with a record of 20+ innovative digital and in-person campaigns, which create contagious collective epiphanies that spiral into life-changing planetary movements. The most prominent being Occupy Wall Street which mobilized millions of people in 82 countries into one of the most dramatic pro-democracy and economic justice manifestations in a generation. He enlivens diverse audiences worldwide—from universities, cultural festivals and unions to corporations, NGOs and social impact agencies—with intellectual and socially engaging talks that expand the horizon of political imagination. 

New York, New York, USA

Presentations

Power of the People: How to Mobilize a Movement
In this presentation, Micah White explores the best practices on how to organize a movement, if protests are the most effective way to enact change, and how electoral politics factor in a successful organization. The discussion will lead to one central question-What is the future of activism?

Making Protest Work
Protest is a vital form of collective work. Most, if not all, of the democratic rights that we enjoy—including democracy itself—are arguably the result of a social protest. And yet it seems increasingly clear that contemporary protest is not working. This is a potentially dangerous situation: if a protest is broken then positive social change is stymied. So why are protests failing? And how can we make protest work? In this presentation, Micah responds to these urgent questions from an interdisciplinary activist perspective. He provides an explanation of contemporary protest failure and an alternative theory of the role of protest in the work of social change.

Awards

2014
Esquire | Most Influential Under 35 Year Olds

2012
National Magazine Awards | Best Magazine Cover of the Year (for Adbusters #100)

  • The students were ecstatic to have lunch with you and the faculty very much enjoyed conversation with you. Importantly your talk and the following Q&A not only generated a crowd but intense discussions amongst many of the students and community members in attendance spilling over throughout the city after. One faculty member commented that you drew a crowd to match the US Poet Laureate.

    - Columbus College of Art & Design

Summary Profile

Micah White distills a complex theoretical understanding of social change while keeping it approachable and understandable. His approach is profoundly impacting the way that activists conduct their campaigns.

He is a pioneer of social impact, social activism, future of protest & movement creation.

A highly sought after global public speaker, he has delivered more than thirty lectures at prestigious universities (including Princeton and Yale), cultural festivals and private events in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Indonesia, the Netherlands and the United States.

Widely recognized as a pioneer of social movement creation, White has been profiled by NPR’s Morning Edition, The New Yorker and The Guardian. In recognition of his contributions, Esquire has named him one of the most influential young thinkers alive today.

He was recently awarded the Roddenberry Fellowship, the Voqal Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at Bard College and the Activist-in-Residence Fellowship at UCLA’s Institute on Inequality and Democracy.

White’s twenty-year+ record of innovative activism, including co-creating Occupy Wall Street, conceiving the debt forgiveness tactic used by the Rolling Jubilee and RIP Medical Debt, popularizing the critique of clicktivism and identifying the emerging trend of “social movement warfare.”

White’s first book, The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution, was published in 2016 by Knopf Canada. The End of Protest has been translated into German and Greek. White’s essays and interviews on the future of protest have been published internationally in periodicals including The New York Times, The Guardian, Folha de São Paulo, The Washington Post, Poder (Brazil) and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He has been a featured guest on major network television shows such as Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect, the BBC’s Newsnight and The National, Canada’s flagship nightly current affairs broadcast.

As a teenage activist he was awarded Americans United’s Religious Liberty Award, the ACLU of Michigan’s Wendy Joyrich Award, the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Ruth Jokinen Student Activist Memorial Award, and the ACLU of Greater Flint Michigan’s Civil Libertarian of The Year Award.

White received his MA and PhD (summa cum laude) in Media and Communications from the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland where he studied with leading philosophers Alain Badiou, Michael Hardt, Jacques Rancière, Slavoj Žižek and Avital Ronell. He holds a BA in Philosophy with a minor in Film and Media Studies and a minor in Interpretation Theory from Swarthmore College.

In 2017, Micah was a Fulani Fellow at the All Stars Project in New York City where he worked with Dr. Lenora Fulani, the first woman to run for president of the United States and get on the ballot in all 50 states. As a Fulani Fellow he studied the revolutionary potential of electoral social movements.

In 2018, Micah was awarded the Roddenberry Fellowship and Voqal Fellowship to create Activist Graduate School. He was also named the National Endowment for the Humanities / Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Bard College where he co-taught a seminar on social activism.

In 2019, Micah was appointed Activist-in-Residence at UCLA’s Institute on Inequality and Democracy where he co-taught a seminar on Housing Justice Activism and Protest.