I have been an activist my entire life—but I have never felt accepted by the activist scene. I organized my first protest at the age of thirteen, achieved national attention for activism when I was seventeen and co-created the original idea for Occupy Wall Street, a social movement that spread to eighty-two countries, when I was twenty-eight. I coined the critique of “clicktivism” in 2010 and invented the debt forgiveness tactic used by the Rolling Jubilee in 2012. Yet after twenty-three years of protesting, I’m still an outsider.
I’m not blaming or complaining. I understand why I don’t fit in. I am unable, and unwilling, to goosestep behind the movement ideology. I didn’t vote for Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Jill Stein, Barack Obama, or Donald Trump. I am not a supporter of the Democratic Socialists of America or the Green Party. I don’t believe Occupy, Black Lives Matter, or Standing Rock were successful. I wrote a book, The End of Protest, arguing that protest is broken. And I speak out forcefully for the need to shift the paradigms of activism by overthrowing the failed leaders, tactics, and strategies of our movements. I advocate using the techniques of activism against the activist cliques that keep us mired in failure.