Smoking and eating the flowers of the Thames 2014

bnr#73 => Smoking and eating the flowers of the Thames 2014

Gurley Flynn, Sabotage

Object: 19

Gurley Flynn, Sabotage, the conscious withdrawal of the workers’ industrial efficiency

Date of origin: Published October, 1916, by the IWW publishing bureau, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Author/inventor/context: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World union and wrote this pamphlet in defence of a silk worker who advocated sabotage in a strike.  The text is cunning, suggesting that workers simply explicitly do what their bosses do – adulterate food or add chemicals to silks in order to make them heavier or more fragile.  Other stratagems include: work to rule; withdrawal of efficiency; reproduction strikes; removal of key pieces of machinery; slow work for low pay.  Control procedures, the greed and self-interest of capital and the duplicitous reliance on workers are all means that can be turned at the appropriate moment.

Matthew Fuller