American Syndicalism: The I. W. W

By John Graham Brooks | Go to book overview

XII

SABOTAGE

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

-139-

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American Syndicalism: The I. W. W
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Prefatory Note iii
  • Contents v
  • I- The Socialist Invasion 1
  • II - The More Immediate Danger 12
  • III - The Enlargement of the Problem 25
  • IV - The Plague of Misconceptions 33
  • V - A History of Disappointment 47
  • VI - Forerunners of the I. W. W. 61
  • VII - The I. W. W. 73
  • VIII - General Characteristics 92
  • IX - The War of the Classes 107
  • X - The General Strike 115
  • XI - "Direct Action" 129
  • XII - Sabotage 139
  • XIII - Violence 158
  • XIV - Anarchism 168
  • XV - The Disappearance of the Capitalist 179
  • XVI - Constructive Suggestion 194
  • XVII - Some Effects of Responsibility 215
  • XIX - Some Duties of Our Own 239
  • Literature 253
  • Index 257
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