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Resisting MilitarismDirect Action and the Politics of Subversion$
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Chris Rossdale

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474443036

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474443036.001.0001

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(p.206) Chapter 8 Dis/Obedience
Resisting Militarism

Chris Rossdale

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter looks at how anti-militarists attempt to become ‘disobedient’ in the conduct of direct action, with a particular focus on how they constitute themselves as (il)legal subjects. It begins with some reflections on the intimate relationships between concepts of obedience and disobedience, with the rest of the chapter considering how those relationships are manifest in the movement. The first main section outlines how activists attempt to become disobedient, with a focus on the intentional and embodied labour involved in preparing for individual acts of disobedience. The next section reflects on how, despite these disobedient acts, anti-militarists also operate as obedient subjects. The argument here focuses on the politics of ‘accountability’, looking at how many (but not all) activists frame their disobedience through a higher duty of obedience, whether to the law, the state, or to God. It provides some critical reflection on the politics of accountability. The chapter then discusses how, even as they practice accountability, activists locate further opportunities for resistance, turning legal processes into fresh instantiations of disobedience. The conclusion argues that it is vitally important to make space for a politics of disobedience which is not automatically positioned in reference to a higher practice of obedience.

Keywords:   Anti-militarism, Disobedience, Obedience, Accountability, Legalism, Civil disobedience, Christian pacifism, Plowshares movement

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