May-Day Strike by French Postal Employees (1924)

1840-1945, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Sabotage/Ecotage, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, The Bourgeoisie, The Workplace, Workers

This is a screenshot of an excerpt from a 1924 newspaper on the proposed May-Day strike by French postal workers. In an effort to obtain a raise in wages, these postal workers sought to disrupt the operation of the mail service by enforcing all minor regulations, thus slowing down the service.

Five Centuries of Resistance in Argentina – Kendra Fehrer and Brad Will (2004)

1990-2010, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Imperialism, Indigenous, Occupation, Privatization, Sabotage/Ecotage, Subjectives of Refusal, Subjects Redefined, Tactics of Disruption, The 'Natural World', The Workplace

This piece describes the direct action tactics used by the Ava Guaraní indigenous peoples of Argentina and their allies against Tabacal Sugar, a subsidiary of the Seaboard Corporation. Tabacal Sugar owns the ancestral land of the Ava Guaraní, which is found in Salta, a northern province of Argentina. Despite being displaced from their land over five decades ago, members of the Ava Guaraní community have occupied the land in their ancestral homeland to harvest native fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs. In addition to the actions taken by the indigenous community themselves, activists from the Worcester Global Action Network, on behalf of the Ava Guaraní, disrupted Seaboard Corporation’s annual shareholders meeting to demand the corporation address the displacement of the indigenous peoples in Salta.

The Construction of Lay Expertise (1995)

1946-1989, 1990-2010, Consciousness Raising, Date, Disruptive Spaces, History, History/Theory, Institutions, Occupation, Tactics of Disruption, The Workplace, Theory, Uncategorized

In the 1980s, the AIDs epidemic began to wreak havoc across the country, specifically amongst gay men. These affected communities felt that the government and other facets of society were not addressing the epidemic properly and so, they were dying in massive proportions. A group of committed activists formed an organization called ACTUP and used disruptive tactics to create more awareness about their issue. One of the most provocative techniques they used was to gather in large amounts and play dead with signs that suggested who was responsible for their death, like the CDC. This paper by Steven Epstein details other such tactics that disrupted people’s every-day movements and oftentimes, forced them to reckon with the AIDs epidemic and its victims. 

The Kinetics of Our Discontent – Mehmet Dosemeci (2020)

History, History/Theory, Theory, Time Interrupted, Uncategorized

Mehmet Dosemeci questions why we have come to understand the history of social struggle through the category of movement and discusses the complicity of movements with the social order they are struggling against. Offers an alternate history of social struggle as the arrest or interruption of the existing order.

Why do we think of social struggles as movements? What is in motion and where is it going? Has struggle been thought and practiced otherwise? Not as movement but as disruption, arrest, stasis? If so, what are struggles trying to stop? Asking these questions pushes us to think about struggle kinetically: to analyze social struggle through the register of motion and its interruption.