This article considers versions of kairos within the context of World War I and the 1917 Espionage Act, a U.S. law that significantly narrowed parameters for free speech to protect the national interest. Many political activists and pacifists who perceived the war as an opportune moment for a critique of state power and corporate interests suffered material consequences for making such a critique—or remained silent for fear of consequences. While affirming the materiality of kairos and the centrality of body performance, I suggest an expanded version embodying the principle that freedom to respond to kairotic moments is always a product of struggle.

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