economic warfareby sabotage, or ecotage, with the intent to slow down or halt activities which the monkeywrencher perceives as destructive.
History of the term
The phrase to "throw a
monkey wrenchinto the machinery" dates to 1918, although the metaphorical sense of throwing a monkey wrench, meaning an obstacle or hindrance, is a bit older. On 30 July, 1907, the Chicago Tribunepublished the following: "It should look to them as if he were throwing a monkeywrench into the only market by visiting that Cincinnati circus upon the devoted heads of Kentucky's best customers."
The British version of this phrase, "to throw a
spannerinto the works", dates to 1934. (Source: Oxford English DictionaryOnline)
The term "monkeywrenching" received a public boost from
Edward Abbey's novel " The Monkey Wrench Gang", and later on, " Ecodefense" by Dave Foreman.
The term "monkeywrenching" was also used in a more general sense, not specifically related to the environment, in the book "101 Things To Do 'Til the Revolution" by
Claire Wolfe. Wolfe used "monkeywrenching" to mean practical jokesand sabotage of what she saw as oppressive government agencies and policies in the United States. Although not herself sympathetic to the environmental movement, Claire Wolfe recommended Edward Abbey's "The Monkey Wrench Gang" in her book as a reference for developing ideas which could be applied to any issue.
* [http://www.calcentral.com/~mlewis Hayduke Speaks: essays and fiction in the Abbey tradition]
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