Zack Exley

because you asked

I lead an economic policy think tank called New Consensus. We’re working to equip a new generation of leaders with powerful ideas about how we humans can make a better economic life for ourselves. We’ve been involved in launching and shaping the the Green New Deal and are currently working on a detailed playbook for a (hopefully) near-future moment when U.S. leaders decide to get serious about reversing both chronic economic decline and environmental destruction.

Before that, I co-founded Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, campaigns to replace every corrupt and complict member of the U.S. Congress with a slate of honest and visionary local leaders. They made a beautiful movie about us that you can watch on YouTube or Netflix.

I served on the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign, where I was honored to work alongside thousands of amazing grassroots leaders who made many miracles happen.

A long, long time ago, I did things like organize the first flash mobs before anyone had a name for that, make the first political parodoy site on the Internet that made George W Bush call me a “garbage man” and declare “there ought to be limits to freedom,” and develop some of the first tools for online organizing, community-building and fundraising. I was the first organizing director at when we were trying to prevent the Iraq War, and then brought our techniques and tools into presidential politics with the Dean and Kerry campaigns.

I spent the 90’s working as a union organizer across the Midwest and South, working inside some of the factories I organized—experiences that taught me most of whatever I know about organizing and politics. I counted once, and I’ve had more than 100 actual jobs since I started working at 14.

In 2016, I was a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center (FANCY!) where I wrote this paper about the Alt Right takeover of YouTube. Inspired, I made some videos that attempted to engage people on economic issues in a new way. It was just an experiment. You can see the results here.

I spend as much time as I can reading history and economics. I’m focused on how countries and communities can make a great living for themselves while saving the planet. The first book I recommend to everyone to get the conversatio going is Cambridge Economist Ha-Joon Chang’s Bad Samaritans.

Rules for Revolutionaries

Becky Bond and I wrote a book about organizing based on our experiences on the Bernie campaign called Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything. Meeting and speaking to groups of fans of the book all over the world is one of the most rewarding things I get to do.


I love traveling and speaking to groups, especially if we can spend time before and after brainstorming and learning from each other. Over the past few years, I’ve given talks about organizing, social change, and economic policy all over North America, Latin America, Europe, India, China and South Africa. Though Covid-19 has paused this part of my life, I’m looking forward to getting back out there. Email me at if you’d like to set up a virtual talk.


If you’re a reporter or looking for me for some other reason, email me at

You can also connect with me in all the usual places. FB TW IN