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[Fr., sabot=wooden shoe; hence, to work clumsily], form of direct actiondirect action,
theory and methods used by certain labor groups to fight employers, capitalist institutions, and the state by direct economic action, without using intermediate organizations.
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 by workers against employers through obstruction of work and/or lowering of plant efficiency. Methods range from peaceful slowing of production to destruction of property. In 1897, French workers adopted sabotage as a general strategy. It was also used by the syndicalists (see syndicalismsyndicalism
, political and economic doctrine that advocates control of the means and processes of production by organized bodies of workers. Like anarchists, syndicalists believe that any form of state is an instrument of oppression and that the state should be abolished.
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) and by the Industrial Workers of the World in the United States. It has been condemned by Communists and Socialists as counterrevolutionary because it often results in a wave of repressive measures. The term has also been used, notably by Thorstein VeblenVeblen, Thorstein
, 1857–1929, American economist and social critic, b. Cato Township, Wis. Of Norwegian parentage, he spent his first 17 years in Norwegian-American farm communities. After studying at Carleton College and at Johns Hopkins, Yale (where he received a Ph.D.
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, to refer to limitation of output by businessmen to enhance profits by maintaining scarcity of goods. In wartime it connotes nonmilitary enemy activity, by either foreign agents or native sympathizers, especially the physical damage of vital industries.

See also guerrilla warfareguerrilla warfare
[Span.,=little war], fighting by groups of irregular troops (guerrillas) within areas occupied by the enemy. When guerrillas obey the laws of conventional warfare they are entitled, if captured, to be treated as ordinary prisoners of war; however, they are
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; terrorismterrorism,
the threat or use of violence, often against the civilian population, to achieve political or social ends, to intimidate opponents, or to publicize grievances.
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See E. Pouget, Sabotage (1910, tr. 1913); S. B. Mathewson, Restriction of Output among Unorganized Workers (1931); E. Feit, Urban Revolt in South Africa, 1960–1964: A Case Study (1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Russian, diversiia from the Latin diversio, deflection, distraction). (1) Subversive actions (arson, demolition) carried out by specially trained agents or groups in time of war or peace on the territory of a particular state or in territory occupied by an enemy for the purpose of weakening his economic and military strength and his morale.

(2) Under Soviet criminal law, sabotage is an especially dangerous crime against the state (art. 5, Law on Criminal Responsibility for Crimes Against the State of 1958; art. 68, Criminal Code of the RSFSR). An act of sabotage is intended to cause substantial harm to the economic foundations of the state. It may be carried out either by destroying or damaging (by explosion, arson, or other methods) enterprises, structures, roads and means of transportation, means of communication, or other state or social property or by mass poisoning or the spreading of epidemics and epizootics for the purpose of weakening the Soviet state. It is punishable by deprivation of freedom for a term of eight to 15 years, with confiscation of property. In addition to the deprivation of freedom, exile for a term of two to five years may be prescribed. The deliberate destruction or damaging of state or social property, committed without the intention of weakening the Soviet state, is not considered sabotage and is treated as a crime against socialist property (art. 98, Criminal Code of the RSFSR).

(3) In political writing the term “ideological sabotage” is applied to the provocative propaganda of imperialist states (by radio, television, or publications) directed against the socialist countries.




the deliberate disruption of any activity; the evasion of work or its deliberately careless execution.

In Soviet criminal law, sabotage is the conscious failure to execute one’s defined duties or the deliberately careless performance of them for the purpose of weakening the Soviet state. Until 1958, Soviet law had a special norm establishing liability for sabotage. Under existing legislation, there is no provision for liability for sabotage as an independent crime, because there are practically no cases of sabotage in the USSR. Actions resembling sabotage are classified as wrecking and subversive actions.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Action by enemy agents or sympathizers with intent to stop or otherwise hinder a nation's war effort or to interfere with or obstruct the defense of a nation.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


With regard to computers, sabotage is the deliberate damage to equipment. Infecting a website with malware is an example of information sabotage. A more extreme example is causing the power grid in a nation to go down. See cyberattack.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The UAE on Sunday said an alleged sabotage attack targeted four boats, without elaborating or naming suspects.
In a statement on May 13, the OIC said that this sabotage action threatens the security and safety of international maritime traffic, calling on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to ensure maritime traffic and safety, and to ensure the stability of the security of the region.
On Monday, the Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia, Khaled Al-Falih, said that two Saudi oil tankers were hit on Sunday by "a sabotage attack" close to the coast of the emirate of Al Fujairah in the UAE.
The court also agreed with Arroyo's defense that the allegation that she gave personal instructions to Ampatuan "does not constitute the crime of electoral sabotage.
Arroyo was allowed to post bail back in 2012 for her electoral sabotage case but remained under supervision of the court was not allowed to leave the country.
Law enforcement agencies cordoned off the entire area and started a search to trace out the suspects.BOMB DEFUSED: In Quetta, the police also foiled a bid of sabotage and defused a planted bomb near the Balochistan University at Sariab area.
The Sabotage DLC is exclusive to PS4 and Xbox One at the time of writing, but the PC version is due later today.
The Oil Ministry also denied any sabotage in those incidents, but never explained why there were so many fires in such a concentrated period of time.
The bank explained that the continuing decline in oil revenues comes due to the repeated sabotage of oil pipelines by different armed groups in Marib, Shabwa, Hadramout, and Sana'a governorates, and decreasing oil exports.
1 (1) Bad Neighbours 2 (2) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 3 (3) The Other Woman 4 (6) Rio 2 5 (4) Pompeii 6 (5) Tarzan 7 (-) La Cenerentola - Met Opera 2014 8 (7) Captain America: The Winter Soldier 9 (-) Sabotage 10 (-) Frank Chart courtesy of Cineworld Cinemas: 1 (1) Bad Neighbours 2 (2) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 3 (3) The Other Woman 4 (6) Rio 2 5 (4) Pompeii 6 (5) Tarzan 7 (-) La Cenerentola - Met Opera 2014 8 (7) Captain America: The Winter Soldier 9 (-) Sabotage 10 (-) Frank Chart courtesy of Cineworld Cinemas:
1 (1) Bad Neighbours 2 (2) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 3 (3) The Other Woman 4 (6) Rio 2 5 (4) Pompeii 6 (5) Tarzan 7 (-) La Cenerentola - Met Opera 2014 8 (7) Captain America: The Winter Soldier 9 (-) Sabotage 10 (-) Frank | Chart courtesy of 1 (1) Bad Neighbours 2 (2) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 3 (3) The Other Woman 4 (6) Rio 2 5 (4) Pompeii 6 (5) Tarzan 7 (-) La Cenerentola - Met Opera 2014 8 (7) Captain America: The Winter Soldier 9 (-) Sabotage 10 (-) Frank | Chart courtesy of | Bad Neighbours | Bad Neighbours
| TEHRAN, March 15 (KUNA) -- Iranian officials said Saturday that they have prevented attempted sabotage acts at various nuclear sites, including facility at Arak in central Iran.