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.
“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.”
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. …
It was a surreal experience to hand this candidly written activist manifesto to a few of the world’s most powerful people at the World Economic Forum in Davos. My intention in drafting this strategy briefing was to lay out in the most direct way possible what is at stake both for activists and elites in a united front for climate action. I’ve taken it to the Forum and I’m taking it to Extinction Rebellion.
Now I want to know: is this something that you could get behind?
What we need
The 2020s will be defined by the collective race to drastically reduce global carbon emissions. …
A firestorm of criticism from across the political spectrum was ignited by the news that I had accepted an invitation to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, one of the most elite gatherings of corporate CEOs and world leaders. Now I’m headed to London to meet with a few founders of the Extinction Rebellion, one of the most influential climate protest movements.
Knowing only of my journey to Davos, my activist peers on the left ridiculed me as naive, reactionary and a sell-out. Those on the right cited my acceptance as proof that radical activists only critique elites because they wish they were elites. …