A declassified CIA document called “Simple Sabotage” makes fascinating reading. It is impossible to discern what differentiates sabotage, as a deliberate ploy to slow down production, from everyday behaviour typical inside a bureaucracy. Just think of Wally in Dilbert, and see how many characteristics of Wally are found below. Or if you work in government or a large private company, download and widely distribute the CIA handbook on “Simple Sabotage” to your co-workers. See if anyone recognizes themselves. See if you can spot your own behaviour. Are you a saboteur?
Simple sbotage does not require specially prepared tools or equipment; it is executed by an ordinary citizen who may or may not act individually and without the necessity for active connection with an organized group; and it is carried out in such a way as to involve a minimum danger of injury, detection, and reprisal.Where destruction is involved, the weaponsof the citizen-saboteur are salt, nails, candles, pebbles, thread, or any other materials he might normally be expected to possess as a householder or as a worker in his particular occupation.His arsenal is the kitchen shelf, the trash pile, his own usual kit of tools and supplies. The targets of hissabotage are usually objects to which he has normal and conspicuous access in everyday life.
The interesting thing is that acts of bureaucratic sabotage are indistinguishable from behaviour we would normally call “bureaucratic”.
(a) Organizations and Conferences(1) Insist on doing everything through“channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be takenin order to expedite decisions.(2) Make “speeches,” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length., Illustrate your”points” by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate “patriotic” comments.(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible, never less than five.(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequentlyas possible.(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.(6)Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.(7) Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision; raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated is within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.(b) Managers and Supervisors(1) Demand written orders.(2) “Misunderstand” orders. Ask endlessquestions or engage in long correspondenceabout such orders. Quibble over them when youcan.(3) Do everything possible to delay -thedelivery of orders. Even though parts of an ordermay be ready beforehand, don’t deliver it untilit is completely ready.(4) Don’t order new working’ materials until your current stocks have been virtually exhausted, so that the slightest delay in filling your order will mean a shutdown.(5) Order high-quality materials which arehard to get. If you don’t get them argue aboutit. Warn that inferior materials will mean inferior work.(6) In making work assignments, always sign out the unimportant jobs first. See that the important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers of poor machines.(7) Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least flaw. Approve other defective parts whose flaws are not visible to the naked eye.(8) Make mistakes in routing so that partsand materials will be sent to the wrong place inthe plant.(9) When training new workers, give incomplete or misleading instructions.(10) To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.(11) Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.(12) Multiply paper work in plausible ways.Start duplicate files.(13) Multiply the procedures and clearancesinvolved in issuing instructions, pay checks, andso on. See that three people have to approveeverything where one would do..(14) Apply all regulations to the last letter.(c) Office Workers(1) Make mistakes in quantities of materialwhen you’ are copying orders. Confuse similarnames. Use wrong addresses.(2) Prolong correspondence with government bureaus.(3) Misfile essential documents.(4) In making carbon copies, make one toofew, so that an extra copying job will have tobe done.(5) Tell important callers the boss is busyor talking on another telephone.(6) Hold up mail until the next collection.(7)Spread disturbing rumors that soundlike inside dope.(d) Employees(1)Work slowly.Think out ways to increase the number of movements necessary on your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one, try to make a small wrench do when a big one is necessary, use little force where considerable force is needed, and so on.(2) Contrive as many interruptions to yourwork as you can: when changing the materialon which you are working, as you would on alathe or punch, take needless time to do it. Ifyou are cutting, shaping or doing other measured work, measure dimensions -twice as oftenas you need to. When you go to the lavatory,spend a longer time there than is necessary.Forget tools so that you will have to go back after them.(3) Even it you understand the language,pretend not to understand instructions in aforeign tongue.(4) Pretend that instructions are hard to understand, and ask to have them repeated more than once. Or pretend that you are particularly anxious to do your work, and pester the foreman with unnecessary questions.(5) Do your work poorly and blame it onbad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complainthat these things are preventing you from doingyour job right.(6) Never pass on your skill and experienceto a new or less skillful worker.(7) Snarl up administration in every possible way. Fill out forms illegibly so, that they will have to be done over; make mistakes or omit requested information in forms.(8) If possible, join or help organize a groupfor presenting employee problems to the management. See that the procedures adopted areas inconvenient as possible for the management,involving the presence of a large number ofemployees at each presentation, entailing morethan one meeting for each grievance, bringingup problems which are largely imaginary, andso on.(9) Misroute materials.(10) Mix good parts with unusable scrap andrejected parts.
General Devices for Lowering Morale and Creating Confusion(a) Give lengthy and incomprehensible explanations when questioned.
(b). Report imaginary spies or danger to the Gestapo or police.
(c) Act stupid.(d) Be as irritable and, quarrelsome as possible.without getting yourself into trouble.