“On many occasions it deploys humor as a political weapon: Beautiful Trouble is an entertaining and audacious book which provokes smiles in the reader.”

Julia Ramírez Blanco, Re-visones

Andrew Boyd


A long-time veteran of creative campaigns for social change, Andrew led the decade-long satirical media campaign “Billionaires for Bush” and co-founded the Other 98%. He's the author of a couple books: Daily Afflictions, Life’s Little Deconstruction Book, and the forthcoming I Want a Better Catastrophe: Hope, Hopelessness and Climate Reality. Unable to come up with with his own lifelong ambition, he’s been cribbing from Milan Kundera: “to unite the utmost seriousness of question with the utmost lightness of form.” You can find him at andrewboyd.com.


Contributed Modules

Case Study: Pyramid of Shoes (to protest landmines)

Contributed by
January 5, 2016

“The pyramid of shoes worked because it was visually arresting, emotionally powerful, and easy both to participate in and to understand.”

“…the sculpture that arose from the accumulation of each of these simple acts, told a big, complex story that captured the scale of the problem.”

Principle: Recapture the flag

Contributed by and
April 1, 2014

Love your country, and fight so that its flag and other national symbols evoke its most egalitarian and noble values.

Principle: The real action is your target’s reaction

Contributed by and
February 5, 2014

When taking on a big and well-known target, it is often the target’s reaction to your action that’s the key to success. Therefore, anticipate your target’s reactions and write them into your script.

Tactic: Prefigurative intervention

Contributed by
June 12, 2012

To give a glimpse of the Utopia we’re working for; to show how the world could be; to make such a world feel not just possible, but irresistible.

Case Study: Whose Tea Party?

Contributed by
June 11, 2012

Two Republican Congressmen, Dick Armey from Texas and Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, have come to Boston to promote their snake oil proposals for a flat tax and national sales tax, two initiatives that would dramatically shift the tax burden off the wealthy and onto low- and moderate-income working families. They’ve   …Continue Reading

Tactic: Flash mob

Contributed by and
June 10, 2012

To organize a show of dissent on short notice; to quickly replicate a successful tactic in a dispersed yet coordinated way; to create a shared moment of random kindness and senseless beauty.

Case Study: Public Option Annie

Contributed by
June 10, 2012

By the fall of 2009, with Sarah Palin tweeting about “death panels” and town hall meetings overrun by angry teabaggers up in arms (literally) about a supposed “government takeover of healthcare,” progressives had officially lost control of the healthcare debate. Could a daring creative action that brought the fight directly   …Continue Reading

Case Study: Day care center sit-in

Contributed by
June 7, 2012

Low-income tenants at a public housing project in Rhode Island — many of them working mothers with young children — wanted an affordable day care center in their building. With petitions, pickets, and letters to the city council, they built up a steady drumbeat of pressure on the key decision   …Continue Reading

Case Study: Billionaires for Bush

Contributed by , and
June 7, 2012

“Some people call you the elite,” George W. Bush joked to his wealthy funders, “I call you my base.” Whether candidate Bush meant it as a joke or not, the Billionaires for Bush (B4B) campaign used humor, street theater and creative media actions to show the country how true the   …Continue Reading

Principle: Use the power of ritual

Contributed by
June 5, 2012

Rituals like weddings, funerals, baptisms, exorcisms and vigils are powerful experiences for participants. By adapting sacred and symbolic elements you can use the power of ritual to give your actions greater depth and power.

Principle: Simple rules can have grand results

Contributed by
June 4, 2012

Movements, viral campaigns and large-scale actions can’t be scripted from the top down. An invitation to participate and the right set of simple rules are often all the starter-structure you need.

Principle: Put your target in a decision dilemma

Contributed by and
June 2, 2012

Design your action so that your target is forced to make a decision, and all their available options play to your advantage.

Principle: Play to the audience that isn’t there

Contributed by and
June 1, 2012

In a hyper-mediated world, often the audience you care about is not the one in the room with you, but the one you’ll reach through mass and social media. Design your action with them in mind.

Principle: Kill them with kindness

Contributed by
May 31, 2012

Kindness, smiles, gifts and unicorns (well, maybe not unicorns) can be potent weapons in the struggle against evil-doers.

Principle: Don’t dress like a protester

Contributed by
May 30, 2012

If you look like a stereotypical protester, it’s easy for people to write you off. If you look like someone who doesn’t usually hit the streets (the guy next door or an airline pilot in full uniform), people can more easily identify with you. Therefore, don’t dress like a protester.

Principle: Delegate

Contributed by and
May 29, 2012

In the final analysis, groups don’t get things done, people do. Delegate!

Principle: Balance art and message

Contributed by , and
May 28, 2012

Effective creative interventions require a judicious balance of art and message. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. If the role of the artist is to “deepen the mystery,” what is the role of the political artist?

Tactic: Mass street action

Contributed by and
May 17, 2012

To pressure a corporate or government target with a mass of people in the street telling a unified story.

Theory: Action logic

Contributed by and
May 15, 2012

Your actions should speak for themselves. They should make immediate, natural sense to onlookers. They should have an obvious logic to the outside eye.

Tactic: Artistic vigil

Contributed by
May 14, 2012

To mourn the death of a public hero; to link a natural disaster or public tragedy to a political message; to protest the launch of a war.

Tactic: Advanced leafleting

Contributed by and
May 14, 2012

To get important information into the right hands.

Theory: Floating signifier

Contributed by , and
May 9, 2012

An empty or “floating” signifier is a symbol or concept loose enough to mean many things to many people, yet specific enough to galvanize action in a particular direction.