Sabotage On The Rise

Militant activists in the USA are turning to sabotage in the struggle for social change. Outraged by the Democrats continuing the war they had pledged to stop, a growing number of domestic insurgents have moved beyond demonstrations and petitions into direct action, defying the government’s laws and impeding its capacity for mass murder.

Despairing over the prospect of endless war, they are convinced the only way to bring peace now is to bring the system down, and sabotage is one way to do that.

‘Radical Peace: People Refusing War’, interviews several saboteurs. Trucker is the code name of a man who burns military vehicles. He considers his sabotage to be nonviolent because it doesn’t harm human beings, only things. He states, “It’s only because our culture worships property that we see destroying war machines as violence. What I’m doing is depriving the military of their tools of violence. I’m decreasing their ability to harm people. Since they refuse to disarm, I’m doing it for them. I’d never set fire to a building because someone might be inside. I even look inside the trucks to make sure no one is sleeping there.”

‘Radical Peace’also profiles a janitor who has destroyed computers at a defense contractor with electrical surges. “I’m sure the lost work and equipment has set back the war effort,” he states, “and I’m looking forward to my next surge for peace.”

A college student relates how she threw a rock through the window of an army recruiter after her friend returned from Iraq crippled. She plans to do it again but says, “I wouldn’t throw a rock at the recruiter. I don’t have anything against him as a person.”

Other domestic insurgents are cutting electrical and phone wires into recruiting offices, slashing their tires, painting over their billboards. At universities they are attacking military research projects and ROTC offices: stealing their mail, squirting glue into their door locks, hacking into their computers. An autonome tossed a log under the wheels of an arms train and derailed it, but he was careful to do it in the middle of the train so no one would be injured.

The saboteurs in the book agree that such resistance must be nonviolent, that it not injure living creatures. Setting bombs and burning buildings where people could be inside can’t achieve anything worthwhile. It just reproduces the same mentality they’re trying to change.

Rather than randomly smashing windows and torching autos, they restrict their activities to institutions that support or profit from the war. Their goal is to make the war too expensive to continue, to convince the politicians they don’t have enough money to conquer Iraq and Afghanistan. A few acts of sabotage won’t do that, but thousands can.

Government and corporate resources are limited. Taxes and the deficit are already so high that they’re crippling the economy. Every dollar the government has to spend keeping things running here is one they can’t spend killing people overseas.

The militants believe that direct actions like these aren’t a substitute for traditional organizing, but in critical situations like the present they can supplement it. Sabotage won’t build a new society, but it can help weaken the old one so the new one can be built.

William T. Hathaway

November 2, 2010
Countercurrents.org
Several chapters of Radical Peace: People Refusing War are posted on
CounterCurrents and on the publisher’s website at
http://media.trineday.com/radicalpeace.

For a selection of the author’s other writing: www.peacewriter.org.

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