“Beautiful Trouble is a crash course in the emerging field of carnivalesque realpolitik, both elegant and incendiary.”Naomi Klein, author of No Logo & The Shock Doctrine
Beautiful Trouble is co-edited by Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell.
Andrew Boyd is an author, humorist and veteran of creative campaigns for social change. He led the decade-long satirical media campaign “Billionaires for Bush.” He co-founded Agit-Pop Communications, an award-winning “subvertising” agency, as well as the netroots social justice movement The Other 98%. He’s the author of three books: Daily Afflictions, Life’s Little Deconstruction Book and the creative action manual The Activist Cookbook. 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.
Dave Oswald Mitchell is a writer, editor and researcher camped out at the intersection of the economic and ecological crises. He edited the Canadian activist publication Briarpatch Magazine from 2005 to 2010, and his writing has been published in Rabble, Reality Sandwich, Rolling Thunder and Upping the Anti. His interests include brevity, tactical media and going elsewhere.
Andrew Slack is creator, co-founder, and executive director of the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA). Andrew was a founding partner, performer, and writer in a traveling comedy group where he produced three videos that have been seen more than eleven million times. Andrew has presented his theory of social change, cultural acupuncture, at TEDx in Rome, NPR's Morning Edition, Australia's Today Show, and is being studied at the University of Southern California. He has written for the LA Times, CNN.com, Huffington Post, and In These Times.
Andy Bichlbaum (AKA Jacques Servin) got his start as an activist when, as a computer programmer, he inserted a swarm of kissing boys in a shoot-'em-up video game just before it shipped to store shelves, and found himself fired, famous, and hugely amused. Now, Andy helps run the Yes Lab for Creative Activism as part of his job as professor of subversion at New York University. Bichlbaum once flew down the Nile in a two-seater airplane, bringing a live goat to a remote Sudanese village as a hostess gift for a homecoming party. (The party was fun and the goat was insanely delicious.)
Anna Lee is manager of filmmaker and partner services at Working Films, one of the leading independent media organizations focused on the art of engagement. Co-founded by Judith Helfand and Robert West, Working Films brings persuasive and provocative documentary films to long-term community organizing and activism. Since joining Working Films, Anna has worked on national audience engagement strategies for numerous high profile documentaries. She currently coordinates Reel Engagement (http://workingfilms.org/article.php?id=302), a ground-breaking, thematic residency series for filmmakers and nonprofits. Anna is also an organizer for educational, racial and environmental justice in Working Films’ hometown of Wilmington, NC where she lives with her husband and son.
Artúr van Balen is an artist and troublemaker in love with everything that inflates. He co-founded the artist group Eclectic Electric Collective (2009-2012) and founded the art-activist platform Tools for Action (2012-present), in which he gives participatory skillshare workshops on how to make inflatables for community building and as a tool for intervention. He is currently researching the technological evolution of inflatables.
Arun Gupta is a founding editor of The Indypendent and The Occupied Wall Street Journal, and a contributor to the Guardian, Truthout, In These Times and The Progressive.
Brad Newsham is the author of two round-the-world travel memoirs (All the Right Places and Take Me With You). Since 1985 he has been a San Francisco taxicab driver, and is currently the owner/driver of Green Cab #914. His first human mural (one thousand people spelling out "IMPEACH!" in 100-foot lettering) was created on Ocean Beach in San Francisco, on January 6, 2007 — two days after San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
Brian Fairbanks began his professional journalism career at the age of fifteen as a staff writer for The Hartford Courant. After serving as an assistant/librarian to Dr. Stephen Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley, and working on the collected letters of Hunter S. Thompson and the journals of Jack Kerouac, he became an activist with Billionaires For Bush and local grassroots campaigns in New York City. After several years in the Nixon-esque political wilderness, he ended up where most of society’s outcasts do: in television. You can haunt him on Twitter.
Brooke Singer creates platforms for local knowledge to connect, inform and conflict with official data descriptions. She works across media and disciplines, engaging technoscience as an artist, educator, nonspecialist and collaborator. Her work lives on- and offline in the form of websites, workshops, photographs, maps, installations and performances that involve public participation in pursuit of social change. She is associate professor of new media at Purchase College, State University of New York, fellow at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, and co-founder of the art, technology and activist group Preemptive Media.
Bryan Farrell is an editor at Waging Nonviolence, where he writes about environment, climate change and people power. His work has also appeared in Slate, Mother Jones, The Nation, Grist and Earth Island Journal.
Caio Tendolini graduated in economics, but was always passionate about innovation and collective projects capable of generating a positive impact on society. He currently is at a creative house called Estufa, where he works on Catarse (a Brazilian crowdfunding platform) and other disruptive projects.
Celia Alario is a communications strategist, spokesperson coach and seasoned troublemaker. She enjoys collaborating with grassroots organizations, filmmakers, artists and authors, and scheming about how to engage key audiences and change the world with stories, while tapping both traditional media/marketing and new media/web 2.0 tools. Alario teaches Environmental Communications Strategies and Tactics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and serves on the board of directors of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the smartMeme Training and Strategy Collective, and on the advisory boards of BEN (Business Ethics Network) and IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War).
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a community-based farmworker organization headquartered in Immokalee, Florida. The CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food identifies the links between the brutal farm labor conditions in the fields and the multi-billion dollar retail food brands that buy the produce grown in those fields. By mobilizing farmworkers and consumers, the campaign seeks to enlist the resources of retail food giants to improve farmworker wages and to harness their demand to reward growers who respect their workers’ rights. This ongoing effort is bringing about considerable industry-wide change and improving conditions at tens of thousands of harvesting jobs in Florida’s tomato fields.
Cristian Fleming is a graphic designer, creative strategist, mischief enthusiast, and founder of The Public Society, an ethically grounded branding and design company based in Brooklyn, NY. He also works often with activist groups like The Yes Men to make stuff happen in the service of making the world a little better.
Daniel Hunter is a trainer and organizer with Training for Change, which practices a direct education style rooted in popular education, helping each person find their own wisdom and strategic brilliance. He has trained thousands of activists including ethnic minorities in Burma/Myanmar, pastors in Sierra Leone, independence activists in northeast India, environmentalists in Australia, and Indonesian religious leaders. As an organizer, he recently pioneered a successful nonviolent direct action campaign to halt a politically-connected $560 million casino development project — and has led direct action campaigns with local community groups, national unions, and broad coalitions. His home is west Philadelphia.
Daniela Teixeira is an artistic, political, and cultural public producer in love with the streets and its many forms of occupation. Romantic and practical, Daniela believes that everyone can adjust their actions for the benefit of others, and that the only paths for this adjustment are creative forms of awareness. Daniela worked on Pimp My Carroça as Production and Content Coordinator, and above all, as an enthusiastic participant.
Danielle Endres is a professor of rhetoric and argumentation at the University of Utah. Her teaching and research examines discourse (verbal and nonverbal), persuasion (rational and irrational), activism, and social movements. Her research investigates climate change activism, Native American activism, and environmental justice. When not performing her day job, Danielle spends the majority of her time trying to encourage radical thinking and an expanded sense of the possible in her two young kids.
David Proto is an artist, activist, cultural agitator, and active member of the Enmedio Collective, which is dedicated to the investigation of the artistic practices that are found in the midst of politics, aesthetics, and new technologies. He is also a founder and strategist of the cultural association Memetro.net, which is dedicated to the investigation and creation of collaborative tools of civil disobedience against the abuses of public transport fares. He also specializes in the development of creative systems of artificial intelligence in networks, and in the struggle for recognition of the social rights of new life forms based in AI.
Dmytri Kleiner is the author of The Telekommunist Manifesto, and a contributing artist to the “Miscommunication Technologies” continuing series of artworks in collaboration with the Telekommunisten Network. “Miscommunication Technologies” address the social relations embedded in communications technologies by creating platforms that don’t quite work as expected, or work in unexpected ways. Most recently, Dmytri has started an initiative to create an International Debtors’ Party.
Doyle Canning was struck by a tear gas canister in the streets of Seattle in 1999, and has never been the same since. She is a creative strategist with a deep commitment to building broad-based movements for social justice and an ecological future. Doyle is a co-founder of the Center for Story-based Strategy (formerly known as smartMeme). She delivers training, coaching, facilitation and framing to high-impact networks who are taking on greedy corporations, corrupt politicians, racist laws and polluting policies. Doyle is co-author of Re:Imagining Change with Patrick Reinsborough. She lives with her husband in Boston, where she enjoys practicing yoga, cooking, and making music.
Duncan Meisel is a strategic troublemaker who lives in Brooklyn, where he conspires on how to respond to the impending end of the world. He is particularly interested in trying to stop the warming of the earth, ending the impoverishment of America by corporate power, and putting an end to the prison system as we know it. He is honored to have been a part of campaigns such as Tar Sands Action, US Uncut, The Other 98% and several different “Billionaires for X or Y” efforts.
Elisabeth Ginsberg holds a master's in cultural studies and journalism from NYU. Being an over-educated Dane, she just finished her second Master’s degree, this time from the University of Copenhagen. In an attempt not to dry out completely, she wrote her thesis on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. She lives in Copenhagen, always in close proximity to her Mac.
Eric Stoner is an adjunct professor at St. Peter’s College and an editor at Waging Nonviolence, a blog that covers nonviolent action around the world. His articles have appeared in The Guardian, Mother Jones, The Nation, Sojourners, In These Times and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, among other publications. He is on the national board of the War Resisters League.
Gabi Juns is an activist for equality and diversity, and a co-founder of the Escola de Ativismo. She acts to create new ways of communicating, learning and collaborating. Daily cultivates chaos in the order, always believing "tomorrow will be bigger."
Gaby Pacheco is an undocumented American and an immigrant rights leader from Miami, Florida. In 2010, she and three friends walked 1,500 miles to bring to light the plight of immigrants in this country, and to urge President Obama to stop the separations of families and deportations of DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act eligible youth. This walk was dubbed the Trail of DREAMs. She currently leads a national project, Education not Deportation (END), to stop the deportation of DREAMers. Gaby is in the process of publishing two children’s books and aspires to be a musical therapist and work with people with mental disabilities.
George Monbiot is an English writer, known for his environmental and political activism. He writes a weekly column for The Guardian, and is the author of a number of books, including Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain (2000) and Bring on the Apocalypse: Six Arguments for Global Justice (2008). He is the founder of The Land is Ours campaign, which campaigns peacefully for the right of access to the UK countryside and its resources. In January 2010, Monbiot founded the ArrestBlair.org website which offers a reward to people attempting a peaceful citizen’s arrest of former British prime minister Tony Blair for crimes against peace.
Gui Bueno is a native of Brazil and completely crazy for theoretical discussions about the media, its central role in capitalism, its disadvantages and (why not?) benefits. He works for Open Knowledge Foundation Brazil where he takes care of communications (but learns much more than he communicates). Interested in “artivism,” he was lucky to be Andy Bichlbaum’s student and to absorb a lot from him.
Harsha Walia is a South Asian activist, facilitator, writer and legal researcher based in Vancouver, occupied Indigenous Coast Salish territories. She has been active in (unpaid) community-based grassroots migrant justice, feminist, anti-racist, Indigenous solidarity, anti-capitalist, Palestinian liberation, and anti-imperialist movements for over a decade. She works with women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the poorest neighbourhood in Canada. Her writings have appeared in a number of newspapers, anthologies and academic journals, and she recently co-created a short film on poverty and violence against women. Harsha believes in overgrowing the logic of the state.
Janice Fine is associate professor of labor studies and employment relations at the School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University where she teaches and writes about low wage immigrant labor in the U.S., historical and contemporary debates regarding federal immigration policy, dilemmas of labor standards enforcement and innovative union and community organizing strategies. She is the author of Worker Centers: Organizing Communities at the Edge of the Dream (2006) published by Cornell University Press and the Economic Policy Institute. Before becoming a professor, Fine worked as a community, labor, coalition and electoral organizer for more than twenty-five years.
Jeffery R. Webber teaches politics at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of Red October: Left-Indigenous Struggles in Modern Bolivia (Brill), and From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia: Class Struggle, Indigenous Liberation and the Politics of Evo Morales (Haymarket, 2011). He is a socialist activist in London and sits on the editorial boards of Historical Materialism, Latin American Perspectives, and Capitalism, Nature, Socialism.
Jeremy Varon is a professor of history at the New School. He is author of Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies (2004) and teaches classes on social movements and civil disobedience. He is also a longtime activist, having worked with Billionaires for Bush and, most recently, Witness Against Torture. He therefore favors, by turns, comedy and tragedy.
Jodie Evans has been a peace, environmental, women’s rights and social justice activist for forty years. She has traveled to war zones, promoting and learning about peaceful resolution to conflict. She served in the administration of California Governor Jerry Brown and ran his presidential campaigns. She published two books, Stop the Next War Now and Twilight of Empire, and produced several documentary films, including the Oscar and Emmy-nominated “The Most Dangerous Man in America” and “The People Speak.” Jodie co-founded CODEPINK: Women for Peace, is the board chair of Women’s Media Center and sits on many other boards, including Rainforest Action Network, Institute for Policy Studies, and Drug Policy Alliance.
John Ewing is a new media artist merging public art with activism and education. He worked for two years in El Salvador, using the arts to organize and inspire dialogue about human rights. Recent projects include Virtual Street Corners (www.virtualcorners.net), winner of the Knight News Challenge Award and selected by Americans for the Arts as one of the most significant public art projects of 2010. He was a co-founder of Ghana Thinktank (www.ghanathinktank.org) , a collaborative, decade-long project that was a finalist for the Cartier Award. Ewing has a BFA from Cornell and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design.
John Jordan was co-founder of Reclaim the Streets (1995-2001) and now works with the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, a collective that merges art, activism and permaculture. He loves to apply creativity to social movements such as Climate Camps and has invented various new direct action methodologies such as the Rebel Clown Army. Co-author of We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anti-capitalism (Verso), he has just brought out a new book-film with Isabelle Fremeaux exploring Europe’s utopian communities, Les sentiers de l’utopie (Editions Zones/La Découverte). Balancing on the tightrope between art and activism, creativity and resistance, is where he’s most at home.
John Sellers is co-founder of The Other 98%, a founding partner of Agit-Pop Communications, and president of the Ruckus Society. John worked for Greenpeace in the early 90s before leaving to help start Ruckus. He has had the great fortune to be integrally involved in powerful peaceful actions all over the world: from the high seas with the Rainbow Warrior to the streets of Seattle in the uprising against the WTO. He works from home on Vashon island in the Puget Sound where he and wife Genevieve unschool their twins Sam and Hazel.
Jonathan Matthew Smucker served as the first Training Director for Beautiful Trouble. A long-time participant, organizer, trainer, and theorist in grassroots movements for social, economic and ecological justice, Smucker has trained thousands of change agents in campaign strategy, framing and messaging, direct action, and other grassroots organizing skills. He is co-founder and Director of Beyond the Choir, a strategy and training organization. He is also a doctoral student of sociology at UC Berkeley.
Josh Bolotsky is an online organizer, blogger, comedic performer/writer and occasional voiceover artist, currently serving as new media director for Agit-Pop Communications and its Other 98% Project. While at Agit-Pop, he has worked on creating and spreading projects that include the RepubliCorp effort for MoveOn, and Target Ain’t People, the very first Depeche-Mode-inspired take on the Citizens United decision to break a million views on YouTube. Josh also serves as part of the national volunteer collective that manages Living Liberally, a network of progressive social groups and activist resources in all fifty states. He enjoys vegan chili and writing about himself in the third person.
Joshua Kahn Russell is an organizer and strategist serving movements for social justice and ecological balance. He is an action coordinator, facilitator & trainer with the Ruckus Society, and has trained thousands of activists. Joshua has written numerous movement strategy essays, chapters for several books, and a few organizing manuals, most recently Organizing Cools the Planet: Tools and Reflections to Navigate the Climate Crisis, with Hilary Moore (PM Press 2011). He has helped win campaigns against banks, oil companies, logging corporations, and coal barons; worked with a wide variety of groups in a breadth of arenas, from local resiliency projects, to national coalitions, to the United Nations Climate Negotiations.
Judith Helfand, a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, is best known for her ability to take the dark, cynical worlds of chemical exposure, heedless corporate behavior and environmental injustice and make them personal, resonant, highly charged and entertaining. Her films include “A Healthy Baby Girl,” its sequel “Blue Vinyl” (co-directed with Daniel B. Gold) and “Everything’s Cool” (also co-directed with Gold). Educator, “field explorer” and social entrepreneur, Judith co-founded both Working Films and Chicken & Egg Pictures.
Kathryn Blume grew up improvising radio dramas on a tape recorder and pretending the trees were talking back. A little while later, she finagled a self-designed degree from Yale in environmental studies and theater, and it’s been pretty much stuff like that ever since. She is co-founder of the radio show Earth on the Air, and the Lysistrata Project, the first worldwide theatrical event for peace. She has had essays published in numerous books, blogs, and magazines. Kathryn’s also a solo performer, climate activist, yoga teacher, wedding officiant, haphazard gardener, and irresponsible cat owner.
Kevin Buckland is an artist, artivist organizer and the "Arts Ambassador" for the grassroots global network 350.org. He has worked with the International Youth Climate Network to promote creative communication and beauty in the call for climate justice across the globe. Harkening on the call to "make this movement as beautiful as the planet we are fighting to save,” he employs comedy, tragedy, farce, satire and a great deal of cardboard in his attempts to end empire and globalize justice. Videos, writings and participatory projects can be seen on his website.
Kristen Ess Schurr took her first professional journalism job as a rock critic in Seattle. She moved on to be Palestine Bureau Chief for KPFA’s Flashpoints and also corresponded for several Pacifica affiliates while running the English department of the Palestine News Network in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Her writing has been translated into seven languages and can be found in independent journals and the anthology Live From Palestine. She is now residing in Los Angeles and working on CODEPINK’s Stolen Beauty (www.stolenbeauty.org) and Boycott SodaStream campaigns (www.codepink.org/boycottsodastream).
L.M. Bogad is a lifelong creative strategist (guided and goaded by Harpo, Groucho and Zero), co-founder of the Rebel Clown Army, founding director of the Center for Artistic Activism (West Coast), and professor of political performance at the University of California, Davis. He writes, performs, and strategizes with the Yes Men, Agit-Pop, and La Pocha Nostra. Author of Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements, Tactical Performance (forthcoming), the play COINTELSHOW: A Patriot Act, and works about the Spanish Civil War, Haymarket Square Riot, Pinochet coup, and the Egyptian revolution. He has led his Tactical Performance workshops in revolutionary Cairo, Reykjavik, Buenos Aires, and across the US and Europe.
Lane Hall is a writer, artist and educator who blogged the Madison Uprising and gathered signatures in the failed attempt to recall Wisconsin's rightwing junta. He co-founded the original Overpass Light Brigade with fellow artist and partner, Lisa Moline. They open-sourced the idea from the beginning, and are excited to see it expand into a movement. Occupy Riverwest co-founder Joe Brusky joined the Overpass Light Brigade several months after its inception, and has been instrumental in the Overpass Light Brigade's continued growth.
Leónidas Martín Saura is a professor at Barcelona University where he teaches New Media and Political Art. For many years, he has been developing collective projects between art and activism, some of them well known internationally (Las Agencias, Yomango, Prêt à Revolter, New Kids on the Black Block...). He writes about art and politics for blogs, journals and newspapers, has created several documentaries and movies for television and internet, and is a member of the cultural collective Enmedio (www.enmedio.info). Last but not least, he is an expert at telling jokes, often using this divine gift to get free beers and avoid police arrest.
Levana Saxon is an organizer and educator with Practicing Freedom, using participatory action research, popular education and Theater of the Oppressed to generate collaborative community-led change. Over the last seventeen years she has trained and facilitated thousands of children, youth and adults. Some of the groups she has worked with include the Paulo Freire Institute, Rainforest Action Network, Center for Political Education, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Youth In Focus, El Teatro Campesino and multiple Oakland Public Schools. She currently co-coordinates the Ruckus Society’s Arts Core and facilitates trainings and dialogues with the White Noise Collective (www.conspireforchange.org), which she co-founded. She can be found at www.practicingfreedom.org.
Lisa Fithian has organized since 1975, weaving together strategic creative nonviolent actions, anti-oppression work and sustainable practices in student, environmental justice, workers rights and peace and global justice struggles. Whether it was shutting down the CIA, White House, Supreme Court or the WTO or working on Justice of Janitors, Camp Casey, Common Ground Relief or Wall Street banks, Lisa has supported tens of thousands of people in accessing their power and gaining the experience and skills they need to fight for justice, no matter how great or small the cause. Her website chronicles much of her work and offers great resources.
Margaret Campbell is a freelancer of many trades, but carries with her the spirit of engaged journalism, and a closely-held belief in the capacity of public art to heal and unite. She has had the opportunity to travel toward a deep understanding of her home community of Minneapolis/ St. Paul, and to work extensively on the White Earth Ojibwe Reservation in Northwestern MN on media and environmental justice initiatives. She is a staunch supporter and budding practitioner of the earnestly-funny approach to activism advocated in this book. She is currently stuck somewhere between the Mini Apple and the Big Apple.
Mario Ortega is a graphic designer, pop activist and co-founder of the Enmedio Collective. In his work he investigates the transformative power of images and stories, experimenting with forms of political expression that draw from the languages of design and publicity. He has helped develop some of the most popular communication campaigns of the last few years in Spain, such as "No vas a tener casa en la puta vida" y "Sí se puede, pero no quieren" (the graphic design campaign for the protests by the Platform for Mortgage Victims), both in relation to the problem of housing.
Marisa Jahn is an artist, writer, and activist of Chinese and Ecuadorian descent. The lead artist of both New York and national nanny hotlines, she is also currently an artist in resident with The National Domestic Workers Alliance. A graduate of MIT, Jahn’s work has been presented at venues including The White House, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center and reviewed in media such as ArtForum, BBC, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Jahn is the Executive Director of REV-, a nonprofit studio whose public art projects combine creativity, bold ideas, and sound research to address critical issues.
Mark Engler is a senior analyst with Foreign Policy in Focus and author of How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy (Nation Books).
Mark Read is a filmmaker and professor of Media Studies at NYU, with a focus on video as a tactical tool in community organizing. In other incarnations he has also been a community gardens activist; a Union Square Park defender; a Critical Mass rider and organizer; a coordinator of large spectacles in public spaces such as subway train parties; and a core organizer and propagandist for Reclaim the Streets NYC.
Matt Meyer is a long-time leader of the War Resisters League and a founder of the anti-imperialist collective Resistance in Brooklyn (RnB). His solidarity and writing includes co-authorship with Pan-African pacifist Bill Sutherland of Guns and Gandhi in Africa, of which Archbishop Tutu commented: “Sutherland and Meyer have begun to develop a language which looks at the roots of our humanness.” Meyer’s work in education includes a ten-year stint as Multicultural Coordinator for NYC’s Alternative High Schools, and work on the Board of the Peace and Justice Studies Association. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Matthew Skomarovsky is optimistic and googleable.
Maxine Schoefer-Wulf recently moved eastward, from the CA Bay Area to NYC, in search of adventure and a more rugged climate. In her studies, she focused on art, critical pedagogy, and women’s studies and worked closely with the UCLA Art|Global Health Center to bring arts-based sexual health education to L.A. high schools. She has taught self-defense to youth in Oakland, literacy to children in L.A., and English to tots in Rodenäs, rural northern Germany. She is a firm believer in art that sparks laughs and conversation and leaves a mark.
Mike Bonanno (né Igor Vamos) is a guy from Troy, New York, who spent his formative post-childhood years making mischief. Mike once purchased hundreds of talking GI Joe and Barbie dolls, switched out their voice boxes, and created a media firestorm that had God-fearing Americans up in arms about the shadowy “Barbie Liberation Front.” This escapade caught the attention of lazy queer hackers like Bichlbaum, and together they formed the Yes Men. When not involved in tomfoolery, Bonanno is also a professor of media art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with a Scottish wife and two babies.
Mundano is an artivist working with grafitti and the recycling process. He prints his tags in São Paulo and around the world through creative manifestations that blur the frontiers of traditional collective artistic interventions regarding social engagement. It was with this spirit that he created Pimp My Carroça, where he combined the upgrading of the carts used to collect solid waste with medical and psychological assistance for the catadores in a political action that fought for better working and living conditions for these professionals. The result was a successful crowdfunding campaign that inserted grafitti as a new form of activism in the São Paulo agenda that Mundano is trying to spread with actions, exhibitions and lectures worldwide.
Nancy L. Mancias is a campaign organizer for CODEPINK. An anti-war advocate, Mancias has been actively trying to bring the troops home from their overseas misadventures. She has also been part of the movement against torture and a proponent of closing the prison in Guantánamo. She is a believer in accountability for war crimes. She alerts people around the country when war criminals will be speaking, encouraging them to try to make a citizen’s arrest or some ruckus. Like many in the anti-war movement, Mancias views her work against drones as a natural extension of her peace efforts.
Nathan Schneider is an editor of Waging Nonviolence, a blog about nonviolent conflict and militarism, as well as of Killing the Buddha, an online literary magazine about religion and culture. He has written for Harper’s, The New York Times, The Nation, The Catholic Worker, the Boston Review, The Guardian, Religion Dispatches, and elsewhere. Most recently, he covered Occupy Wall Street from the early planning stages, and is finishing a book for University of California Press about the search for proof of the existence of God, past and present.
Patrick Reinsborough is a strategist, organizer and creative provocateur with over twenty years of experience campaigning for peace, justice, indigenous rights and ecological sanity. Patrick has helped organize countless creative interventions, including mass direct actions that shut down the Seattle WTO meeting in 1999 and protested the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. He is the author of numerous essays on social change theory and practice, including co-writing Re:Imagining Change (PM Press 2010). He is the co-founder of the Center for Story-based Strategy (formerly known as smartMeme), a movement support organization which harnesses the power of narrative for fundamental social change. He lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay area.
Paul Kuttner is an educator and researcher, working at the intersection of art, culture, education, and social change. Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah College of Education, Paul earned his doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to his doctoral studies, Paul taught theater, creative writing, and civic engagement in schools and community organizations across Chicago, where he co-founded the non-profit arts organization Communities Creating Change. Paul is a co-author of A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform (Oxford, 2011), and a co-editor of Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline (HER, 2012). His work has been published in academic and popular venues, including Curriculum Inquiry and the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. He is a former co-chair of the Harvard Educational Review (HER) Editorial Board, a board member of the Mestizo Institute of Culture & Arts, and Minister of Cultural Scholarship for the US Department of Arts & Culture.
is an entrepreneur and writer who has founded and led several successful companies. Barnes began his career as a reporter on The Lowell (Mass.) Sun, and was subsequently a Washington correspondent for Newsweek and West Coast correspondent for The New Republic. In 1976 he cofounded a worker-owned solar energy company in San Francisco, and in 1985 he cofounded Working Assets Long Distance (now Credo Mobile). His books include Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons (2006), Who Owns the Sky? (2001), and Pawns: The Plight of the Citizen-Soldier (1972).
Phil Aroneanu has been working on solving the climate crisis since he was sixteen. In 2008, with author/activist Bill McKibben and a small group of fellow students, he helped launch the innovative 350.org campaign. In the lead-up to the 2009 United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen, 350.org pulled off over 5,200 simultaneous public events in 181 countries in what CNN called “the most widespread day of political action in history.” Since then, Phil has led national and global campaigns to push back against corporate polluters and build an authentic grassroots climate movement. Phil currently serves as U.S. Campaign Director at 350.org.
Rajni Shah is an artist working in performance and live art. Whether online, in a public space or in a theater, her work aims to open up new spaces for conversation and the meeting of diverse voices. From 2006-2010, she conducted a three-year inquiry into the relationship between gift and conversation in public spaces called small gifts. From 2005-2012 she produced a trilogy of large-scale performances (Mr. Quiver, Dinner with America and Glorious) addressing the complexities of cultural identity in the 21st century.
Ryan Acuff grew up in Chicago, IL but has been in Rochester, NY for the last six years participating in community organizing and pursuing graduate work in psychology (M.A). Currently his organizing is focused on homelessness, foreclosure and affordable housing rights, including work with University of Rochester Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Genesee Valley Earth First!, Food Not Bombs, Rochester Free School, Healthcare Education Project, 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Rochester Police Accountability Coalition, Rochester Copwatch, Occupy Rochester and Take Back the Land Rochester.
Sally Kohn makes the world safe for radical ideas. As a veteran community organizer turned political commentator, Sally makes complex political issues accessible for everyday audiences. Sally is a grassroots strategist actively engaged in movement building for equality and justice. She is a regular on Fox News and MSNBC. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, FoxNews.com, Reuters, The Guardian and the American Prospect, among other outlets.
Samantha Corbin is actions director for The Other 98% and national coordinator of the US Uncut network, as well as a non-violent direct action trainer with The Ruckus Society and a founding member of the New York Action Network. She has coordinated scores of affinity group actions including banner hangs, blockades, and street theater actions; led several large-scale actions including the 5,000-strong Powershift 2011; and developed and delivered countless trainings in creative non-violent direct action, affinity group organizing, strategic planning, scouting, and high tech action. Throughout the fall of 2011, she was organizing and training with Occupy Wall Street. Sam is based in New York City.
Sarah Jaffe is a journalist, rabblerouser, and Internet junkie. She is currently an associate editor at AlterNet.org, where she writes about economic justice, activism, and more. She lives in Brooklyn with a rescue dog and too many books.
Silas Harrebye is finishing up a PhD on creative activism and its potential to facilitate new forms of democratic participation. He has a master’s degree in political philosophy and international development. Today the consultancy skills that he acquired as a project manager in Africa and Eastern Europe are used to advance social entrepreneurship. Silas writes for international journals and is frequently used by the Danish media to comment on the implications of social movements around the world. He lectures widely on the same topic. He currently lives in Copenhagen with his partner and their two kids. Write him (firstname.lastname@example.org) or google his name to find his profile.
Simon Enoch is director of the Saskatchewan Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. He holds a PhD in Communication and Culture from Ryerson University in Toronto. Simon has previously published in Foucault Studies, Cultural Logic, Capitalism, Nature, Socialism and Socialist Studies. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Simon Roel holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Copenhagen where he did not only study, but also got to socialize with all sorts of crazies (i.e. philosophers), including the founders of the Nihilist Democratic Party. Determined to become a film director, he did an intense one-year filmmaking program at the New York Film Academy. His thesis short film DARK ROOM, dealing with a dangerous mix of pizza, porn, and philosophy, got Simon into the prestigious American Film Institute Conservatory where he is currently completing his MFA in Directing.
Stan Goff spent over two decades in the U.S. Army, mostly special operations, from 1970-1996. He has worked as Organizing Director for Democracy South, a 12-state coalition working on money and politics (1996-2001), and as an Organizational Development Consultant with Iraq Veterans Against the War (2004-2006). Married, with four grown children and four grandchildren, he is the author of four books including Hideous Dream: A Soldier's Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti (Soft Skull Press, 2001) and Sex & War (Lulu Press, 2006).
Starhawk is an author, activist, permaculture designer, and one of the foremost voices in earth-based spirituality. Her twelve books include The Spiral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing, and The Earth Path, and her first picture book for children, The Last Wild Witch. She has lived and worked collectively for thirty years, and her book on group dynamics is just out: The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups. She directs and teaches Earth Activist Trainings, www.earthactivisttraining.org, which combine a permaculture design certificate course with a grounding in spirit and a focus on organizing and activism.
Stefan Christoff is a writer, community activist and musician living in Montréal, Québec. Stefan wrote “Le fond de l’air est rouge”, a booklet on the 2012 Québec student uprising.
Stephen Duncombe teaches the history and politics of media at New York University. He is the author or editor of six books, including Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy and the Cultural Resistance Reader. Duncombe is a life-long political activist, co-founding a community based advocacy group in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and working as an organizer for the NYC chapter of the international direct action group, Reclaim the Streets. He co-created the School for Creative Activism in 2011 and is presently co-director of the Center for Artistic Activism www.artisticactivism.org.
Stephen Lerner is architect of the Justice for Janitors campaign. He serves on the executive board of the Service Employees International Union. He has been a labor and community organizer for over thirty years and is working with labor and community groups in campaigns that challenge Wall Street’s and big corporations’ domination of the political and economic life of the U.S. and global economy. His latest thinking here: How We Can Mobilize To Be the Greedy 1%'s Worst Nightmare
Steve Lambert’s father, a former Franciscan monk, and mother, an ex-Dominican nun, imbued in him the values of dedication, study, poverty, and service to others — qualities which prepared him for life as an artist. He co-founded the Center for Artistic Activism, was a senior fellow at New York’s Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology from 2006-2010, developed workshops for Creative Capital Foundation, and is a faculty member at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Steve is a perpetual autodidact with (if it matters) advanced degrees from a reputable art school and well-respected state university. He dropped out of high school in 1993.
Sydney Arndt is a performer, creative writer, arts journalist, dramaturg, and activist based in NYC. She is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of The Grace Period Blog (thegraceperiodblog.com), a digital platform and performance collective that fights student debt with art-making. She holds a Masters in Performance Studies from NYU where she studied dramaturgy and theatre-making as social activism in diverse communities.
Tracey Mitchell facilitates creative and courageous conversations for community organizations. Based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Tracey uses engaging techniques to help groups establish and accomplish goals, build teams, develop leadership skills and make decisions together. Tracey is also a forum theater practitioner (aka a “joker”) and has developed plays with groups around issues of poverty and social justice. She is also a campaigner, zinester, organizer, reader and board game player. Tracey lives and works from her home in Saskatoon.
Virginia Vitzthum has written for the Village Voice, Ms., the Washington City Paper, Elle, Time Out New York and was a columnist for salon.com and for washingtonpost.com. She's also written two books, including I Love You, Let's Meet, a screenplay, and a play and edited many publications. She was recently dramaturg/actor/songwriter for Pedagogy of the Oppressed: The Musical! — an original production by Falconworks theater in Red Hook, Brooklyn: http://www.redhooktheater.org/. She currently edits Represent, a national magazine written by and for youth in foster care: http://www.representmag.org/.
Vitor Leal is a campaigner and storyteller. In order to tell stories, he's used everything from direct mail to blogs, video, literature, poetry, social media, and anti-social media. A social communicator with an MBA in Sustainability Management, he's found himself an activist within the Critical Mass movement, and his interest for learning processes at the School of Activism. Formerly in charge of planning and implementing innovative campaign projects at Oxfam in Brazil, he now works for the Climate and Energy campaign at Greenpeace Brazil.
Yutaka Dirks is a tenant and community organizer and writer living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been active in anti-poverty, workers rights and international solidarity movements, as well as offering legal support to social justice movements through the Movement Defence Committee of the Law Union of Ontario. His writing has appeared in Upping the Anti and Briarpatch Magazine as well as Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.
Zack Malitz, a New Yorker, thinks that fossil fuels belong underground.