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In this excerpt from The End of Protest, the author compares the tactics of rioting and ambushing and argues in favor of the ambush when confronting the police.

TL;DR version:

“Rather than trying to overcome police repression in a series of successful protests, activists should aspire to a dramatic victory in a single encounter. A video of a stunning victory against paramilitary police could mobilize the world. This victory does not need to be violent. In fact, a spectacular and humiliating non-violent defeat of riot police would be far more effective.”

Full version:


The closest a spontaneous riot has come to a successful revolution against an empire occurred in Constantinople, present-day Istanbul, in AD 532. During the spectacular people’s riot, known as the Nika Revolt, a large portion of the capital city was burned and a new emperor declared by the people. The riots nearly forced Emperor Justinian I to flee and almost toppled the Byzantine Empire. The Nika Revolt is significant in the history of protest because it demonstrates that revolutionary moments happen when the people break the pattern. …


Micah White, PhD

I am the co-creator of Occupy Wall Street, author of The End of Protest and founder of Activist Graduate School. Learn more and get in touch at

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