“Occupy Wall Street generated tremendous money,” White complained. “This whole idea that activists should do it for free and all that b____t is over. Like somehow I’m supposed to be a full-time activist and have zero income from it? It’s ridiculous.”
A decade after the Marxist grad students of Occupy Wall Street trashed some city squares, its co-founder has been working harder than many capitalists to make money from OWS.
For only $179.88 a year, you can enroll in White’s Activist School and watch video classes from Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, antisemitic racist Lenora Fulani, and Micah White.
Not to mention, fake black woman, Rachel Dolezal.
For the eighth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, White launched his own cryptocurrency.
Move over Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo. Had it worked, Wall Street would be bowing to White. But Sparkle doesn’t seem to exist anymore, and Micah seems to be promoting a new environmentalist cryptocurrency while touting his status as a cryptocurrency activist.
That follows his decision to move to Nehalem, Oregon, a small town of 271 people that lives off Airbnb rentals to hipsters, and run for mayor. White figured that he couldn’t lose a mayoral election in a town with fewer voters than a New York City apartment building.
Occupy Nehalem didn’t work any better than Occupy Wall Street.
“Ex-Occupier Is Bringing Revolution to Small-Town Oregon,” a headline blared. The small town still has the same mayor it did five years ago. Maybe the locals were tired of the hipster occupation. And even more humiliatingly, Tillamook County came out for President Trump.
White is still plotting revolution with his wife, the daughter of Obama's ambassador to Turkey, even as his old colleagues in the movement keep dismissing them as rich quick schemes.
Micah White, PhD was there at the beginning and at the tenth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, he’s forced to watch latecomers like the Black Lives Matter gang cash out big from their activism while he’s out there shilling for cryptocurrency on social media. Why are Black Lives Matter’s co-founders millionaires out there buying mansions, while White tries to get someone to pay $180 bucks a year to watch videos of Rachel Dolezal and the Kony 2012 guy.
Like most visionaries, White was ahead of his time. And he’s been forced to watch Colin Kaepernick become insanely wealthy for taking a knee, Shaun King buy an $842,000 mansion, and Ta-Nehisi Coates go from calling 9/11 heroes “less than human” to writing a black Superman movie. Everyone is getting rich off the brand of activism White invented.
Everyone except him.
Getting rich is hard, but to give White credit, he’s trying. In the decade since protesting against the 1%, he founded a boutique activist consultancy (it’s gone), wrote a book, (#986,183 rank on Amazon, #553 in Canadian Politics), launched a mayoral campaign and a cryptocurrency, has his own “activist school”, and was an Activist-in-Residence at UCLA. (Being an Activist-in-Resident is probably the more comfortable way of occupying UCLA.)
It’s hard work making money by denouncing the rich.
Last year, White headed to Davos.
“Why I'm going to Davos - and why I'm hoping my peers don't find out,” White’s post at the World Economic Forum was headlined. Just to make sure no one would find out, he also wrote op-eds about it at The Guardian and The Independent, and gave an interview to the BBC.
"There's a way to keep your revolutionary integrity, to maintain these people as adversaries but say we need a united front with them," he explained the contradiction to the BBC.
But that’s the thing about White, he never stops. Even when he probably should.
When the pandemic arrived, he created Flu Mob, a "groundbreaking activist" platform to "be the vaccine" along with "helpful tips like how to make your own COVID19 mask” and “recipes to make your own hand sanitizer." The pandemic is still around, Flu Mob isn’t.
As Occupy Wall Street hits its tenth anniversary, it’s obvious that Adbusters, the magazine that Micah White edited and used to promote the movement, was actually advertising. In the decade since, White has embodied the frantic start-up ethos of leftist activism which is constantly generating new gimmicks in the hopes that some leftist 1 percenters will agree to fund them.
White just happens to be particularly bad at it. He’s the hardest working man in the activist business, but his ideas have a Krameresque absurdity to them that makes it impossible even for socialists to take them too seriously. And maybe that’s White’s tragedy: he tries too hard.
Leftists are supposed to make money without looking like they want to make money, while White sounds like he should be on Wall Street. He’s got the work ethic of Gordon Gekko, but he’s in an industry that doesn’t appreciate dedicated hustlers and salesmen. On Wall Street or in Silicon Valley, White might have been rich by now. Instead he’s stuck trying to earnestly get rich in an industry that is publicly hostile to wealth. And sneers at obvious social climbers.
Activists want what everyone else wants, they just take the least honest and the most abusive approaches to getting it. A leftist can’t be seen to be working to buy a big house, he has to wage a revolution to get a big house. Corporate America has long since picked up on the AdBusters brand and its ads for deodorant, sneakers, and diet soda sound like revolutionary manifestos.
No one buys products anymore, they join transformative causes by shopping for toilet paper.
A decade later, Occupy Wall Street is Wall Street, Adbusters is advertising, and Corporate America is the counterculture. All the elites hate the rich even while getting rich. But the guy whose beautiful dream helped usher in the wonderland of class doublethink is on the outs.
In a world in which Wall Street has been fully occupied and radicalism is used to sell everything from razor blades to cars, Micah White, PhD is still trying to sell someone on his vision of a new radical for-profit activist order. But in a world in which everyone is an activist, it’s much too late.
Despite his best efforts to join the 1%, the co-founder of Occupy Wall Street is stuck in the 99%.