chapter  6
Tactics of Activists
ByCharles C. Euchner
Pages 29

This chapter discusses the range of tactics available to political activists outside the ordinary processes of politics and then explores the creative ways the tactics can be combined into a coherent strategy. The 1963 civil rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama, best exemplifies the creative development of strategy from disparate tactics. The tactics available to activists offer diverse ways to poke and prod the political system to cause reform. But without some overall form, tactics cause only minor perturbations. The boycott served as the focal point of the early civil rights movement, educating people in the tactics of nonviolent action. The 1963 civil rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama, illustrates the strategic and tactical elements of a successful campaign. The four basic strategic dimensions—time, space, mind, and force—shaped the demonstrations in Birmingham. The Birmingham campaign's planners concluded that direct action offered the only viable strategy to confront the city's entrenched system of segregation.