Uncivil Obedience
The Tactics and Tales of a Democratic Agitator

Borovoy, A. Alan
Publisher:  Lester Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1991
Pages:  225pp   Price:  $27.95   ISBN:  1-895555-08-6
Library of Congress Number:  JC571.B67 1991   Dewey:  324'.4
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX6617

How to push for social change without breaking the law.

Uncivil Obedience was written by A. Alan Borovoy, a civil libertarian with years of experience in activism. His book uses his experiences as a focal point as he instructs all members of democratic society on how to push for social change without breaking the law. It is a How-To guide to getting publicity, mucking up the status quo, and building coalitions. The idea is to use the media and other instruments within a citizen's legal rights for social progress. An understanding of the democratic system is required to achieve this, and such is provided in the book.

Borovoy's work includes six sections: Fighting City Hall, Raising Hell, Tools of the Trade, Facts Have Clout, Coping with Headaches and Keeping Faith. It instructs on how democrats should make change, while Borovoy's last book, When Freedoms Collide (1988), advocates what democrats should change. His four lawful methods include publication, dislocation, litigation and coalition. He also recommends the use of surveys and case studies, and describes situations in which focus letters, with a copy sent to the media, are likely to work. Examples of such letters are provided as guidelines and Borovoy describes personal experiences where different tactics were successful.

One does not need to break the law in order to be heard, according to this guide. Borovoy agrees with the idea that as democrats we have a responsibility to push for social change and get involved in issues of
rights abuse. He claims, "We can be completely obedient to the law and absolutely miserable to the government, at one and the same time."

[Abstract by Mia Manns]

Table of Contents


I Fighting City Hall: From Civil Disobedience to Uncivil Obedience

II Raising Hell: Macro Tactics of Uncivil Obedience

III Tools of the Trades: Micro Techniques of Uncivil Obedience
Focused Letters
Cross-Examination by Mail
Negotiating the Bureaucracy
Negotiating the Media
The Need to Lighten Up

IV Facts Have Clout: The Role of Research in Uncivil Obedience
The Policing and National Security Powers of Government
Hate Propaganda
Welfare-State Measures

V Coping With Headaches: Recuring Problems for Uncivil Obedience
Excessive Militants and Relunctant Moderates
Questionable Alliances
Naming Names
The Selective Suppresion of Emotions
Integrity versus Effectiveness
Getting Money
The Need for Restraint

VI Keeping the Faith


Subject Headings

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