Xavier Renou makes his living through civil disobedience, says Max Colchester in The Wall Street Journal. The 35-year-old Parisian conducts paid workshops on how to mount protests against multinational corporations and other alleged enemies of the people. His consultancy, “The Disobedient Ones,” has been busier than ever since the global economic meltdown began last year. “It’s like manna from heaven,” he says. “The demand is exponential.”
The former Greenpeace staffer teaches fellow anti-globalization activists everything from how to chain themselves to trees to how to withstand police interrogations. For instance, when engaged in passive resistance, “Keep moving slowly” to avoid getting locked in a policeman’s grip. He also likes to tell about his own protest experiences, such as the time he marched through a supermarket dressed as a zombie, to protest the ravages of consumer culture.
Renou is committed to his cause, but he sometimes wonders if he’s making a difference. “I think it can change small things,” he says. “Will this turn stuff around in the long term? I’m not sure.” And by charging students only $67 per class, he’s not exactly getting rich from his unusual niche. “I want out of capitalism. We are always in a bit of a precarious financial situation.”