As the meaning of the word gentleman depends upon the person who speaks it, sabotage is the most doubtful of terms until we know something of him who uses it. Like the term "direct action," if one is inclined to violence, sabotage readily lends itself to extreme measures. In the thick of a desperate and losing strike, it has many times meant outrageous ruin to property.
In the early stage of the discussion in Germany, a Syndicalist saw in his paper an account of some slight accident in the machinery of the Belfast Rope Works, whereby four thousand men were instantly left in idleness. This came to him like one of those happy accidents which has so often led to great scientific discoveries. Just a little break in the machinery and four thousand men must stop! A hint like that was not to be lost. If properly reasoned out, it might be "utilized for great social purposes." To elevate such accidents into a social policy; to instruct labor in the art of turning blind casualties into a planned onslaught against capitalism is "a project to stir men's blood." After this manner the delighted discoverer reasoned about this thrilling invention. Like many another invention, the thing itself has far off origins.
From the wooden shoe of the peasant, sabot, it has acquired all its mischievous significance. A French
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Publication information: Book title: American Syndicalism:The I. W. W. Contributors: John Graham Brooks - Author. Publisher: The Macmillan Company. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1913. Page number: 139.
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