Inciting Democracy Cover

Inciting Democracy: A Practical Proposal for Creating a Good Society


I am solely responsible for this book and any errors, misrepresentation, or folly it contains. However, I must admit that many of the ideas in this book are not original. I have shamelessly stolen from every source I could, especially from my friends, mentors, and activist colleagues.

Wise people seek out those who know more than they do… and steal their ideas.

A list of all these people is too long to enumerate. Still, I must express thanks to my friends/mentors/colleagues in SCRIP, CANE, the Bay Area Nonviolent Trainers group, CEC, PSC, Agape Foundation, and the Ruckus Society. They taught me much of what I know about progressive social change. I also owe thanks to my wise and supportive housemates at Columbae House, Camp Channing, Guinda House, Oxford House, Baba Yaga House, and Mad Ducks House, to my counseling teachers and peers, and to my colleagues in the nonviolent study group. They have helped me see much farther than I would otherwise and inspired me to look beyond the immediate and obvious.

I give special thanks to my friends for offering their political insights and for helping keep me sane over the thirteen years it took to develop and write this book, especially Jim Caruth, Carol Manahan, Ann Samuelson, Stewart Burns, Matt Nicodemus, Annaloy Nickum, Charlie Metzler, Lee Altenberg, Jo-Anne Scott, Fred Colgan, Dave Offen, Tom Atlee, Louise Yost, Lisa Moulthrop, Sue Helper, and members of my counseling support group. I am also especially grateful to my parents who have always been supportive of my endeavors even when they feared for my safety or disagreed with my ideas.

Many people provided specific help in making this book possible. Those who reviewed some or all of the first full draft of December 1990 included Jan Harwood, Charlie Metzler, Dave Kadlecek, Ann Samuelson, Susan Sandler, Jim Caruth, Lin Hendrix, Bob Cooney, Joel Frankel, Michael Closson, Fred Colgan, Stewart Burns, Louise Yost, Paul Baer, Dave Offen, members of the Nuremburg Action Trainers group (Anna Graves, John Lindsay-Poland, Gil Lopez, David Hartsough, Ken Butigan, Bill Moyer, Fred Cook, and Penn Garvin), Dick Taylor, Tom Atlee, Peter Bergel, Matt Nicodemus, Cheryl Freitas-Farone, Jeff Schutt, Lee Altenberg, Carol Manahan, Peter Wright, Alice Ray, Cliff Johnson, and several others whose names I regrettably forgot to record. I especially appreciate Matt Nicodemus and Susan Sandler for their detailed and constructive comments of this early draft. All these reviewers provided helpful comments, and their misunderstandings of and disagreements with the text drove me to make numerous, major, gigantic revisions.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

— Isaac Newton

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the backs of the downtrodden masses.

— Activist wit

Those who reviewed some or all of the present manuscript include members of my nonviolent study group (Dave Kadlecek, Charlie Metzler, Ray Kidd, and Ann Samuelson), Mora Dewey, Matt Nicodemus, Jeanne Lewis, Irene Hurd, Stewart Burns, Judy Rock, Steve Rock, Billy Boyd, Lisa Moulthrop, Lee Alten­berg, Scott Weikart, Susan Helper, and David Levine.

I especially want to thank Charlie Metzler, Dave Kadlecek, Ray Kidd, and Susan Helper who carefully read the entire manuscript and gave me detailed feedback on every section.

Gaverick Matheny of PEN — the People’s Education Network — provided essential help with many of the facts and reference citations. Mark Bult and David Stein offered invaluable help with the design of the book. Stewart Burns carefully edited the final draft, offering many improvements. Finally, David Syring copyedited and indexed the entire book.

Thanks again to everyone who helped in so many ways. I could never have finished without all your help! — Randy Schutt


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