How to Do Nothing

This jump from the individual to the collective entails another version of what I’ve so far been describing as voluntate, studio, disciplina. In Diogenes, Bartleby, and Thoreau, we see how discipline involves strict alignment with one’s own “laws” over and against prevailing laws or habits. But successful collective refusals enact a second-order level of discipline and training, in which individuals align with each other to form flexible structures of agreement that can hold open the space of refusal. This collective alignment emerges as a product of intense individual self-discipline-like a crowd of Thoreaus refusing in tandem. In SO doing, the “third space”-not of retreat, but of refusal, boycott, and sabotage-can become a spectacle of noncompliance that registers on the larger scale of the public.

This refusal-in-place seems to be in conversation with Malm as well. Sabotage is a refusal of the consequences of another’s actions.