I recall watching WE ARE LEGION, the great documentary by Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger…it traces the history of Anons from the 4Chan days, through Chanology. There is one part of the film when Anonymous calls a protest against Scientology. We see Anons headed toward the protest area, a bit anxious that they might show up and be the only ones there, but courage drove them forward. Much to their positive surprise, Anons and other folks showed up in droves, not just in the USA, but around the world.
Jump forward a few years, and when a “Day of Rage” protest was announced, only a tiny handful showed up in LA…one of the largest cities in the country. Our enemies were quick to label it as an Epic Fail…and while our loyalty to the Hive would prompt us to denounce them as lying bastards, the Truth was that it WAS an Epic Fail.
I spoke with the organizers, and indeed, they realized that things did not go as planned. I suggested in later meetings with other Anons, that we needed to do a “post-mortem” to try and figure out what went wrong. After speaking about what I and some other Anons felt went wrong, we decided that it is time to “Revitalize” Anons.
When any new movement starts, the freshness and novelty makes it exciting, and makes a lot of people want to join in, if for nothing else, that it seems like the “cool thing to do”.
As Anons have grown in numbers, we had to face the fact that despite the fact we have more Anons joining daily, and despite the fact we remain deeply loyal to the idea that is Anonymous, perhaps we have lost some of the zeal, some of the fire that generated huge crowds worldwide when we called a protest.
So, it is in this spirit that a few of us decided perhaps some suggestions are in order, suggestions that might put new life in our movement.
One thing is, as law enforcement has turned its attention to Anons, there is a certain paranoia that has evolved. What this translates into, is that Anons have in some respect, become a bit more isolated. Sure, we have group DMs, we have tweetstorms, but , truth be told, we have withdrawn to a “Web Only” phenomenon in some respects. These days, to be able to put large numbers of “boots on the ground” or “feets in the streets” requires community organizers, i.e. people who get out in the community…IN REAL LIFE, and get to know the people, making friends, making connections, networking.
So, to the extent Anons can, being involved, making friends with likeminded people in the “real world” is essential.
One group that has been effective in this regard, is the #BlackLivesMatter coalition. They have shown prowess in getting people out in large numbers, to protest. Unfortunately, a bit of a temporary schism between the #BLK folks and Anons occurred when a group of people, using Guy Fawkes masks and “Anon” handles, began spouting racist, even Nazi rhetoric. Anons KNEW these people were only faux Anons…not real, but in fact, part of the #OpNatSoc (Operation National Socialism) which to most Anons, is mainly a 4Chan joke gone wrong. Many of the black activists who personally KNOW those of us in Anonymous, realized that we Anons are NOT Nazis, not racists, and in fact, historically, have been a strong driving force in seeking justice for black men and women who were murdered by police. Those who follow me and I follow, when I’ve discussed this, KNOW that neither I nor those Anons I call FAMILY, are racists, Nazis, KKK, or whatever. I blame it on some #BLK folks that have not had a close relationship with Anons, who were ready to believe the worst about a group which wears a mask.
Since Anons and #BlackLivesMatter , both groups, have the same goals as far as freedom, equality, of black folks here in America, we believe we are natural allies, and perhaps, a dialogue with our Brothers and Sisters in the black activist community, can help us learn better how to motivate folks to come out for our protests, and certainly, if we appear with the #BLK folks in solidarity at THEIR protests, it would be great if they will come out and support us in ours.
This brings up another point. Anons DO have natural allies in MANY groups. As a group, most, if not all of us, are also animal rights activists, or at least, support those in the Animal Rights movement. Many of us also are allies, friends, supporters, of the Occupy movement nationwide, and worldwide. Many Anons also support the Palestinian movement.
I think you will quickly see what I am saying, that we have many groups which we have common cause with, groups which can use the support of Anons, but also, might like to add their support to our actions, Ops, and protests.
The number of social progress groups, is indeed large. Our support and solidarity with the LGBT community is well known, and I believe both groups can benefit by solidarity both online AND offline. The point here is that Anons need to look at the many other groups…groups which we support, but groups which often feel isolated from us, or from other socially conscious people who do not primarily identify themselves as part of that group.
We Anons cannot just sit around and expect these other factions to magically or magnetically see that they should support us. We can network with them online, and that can serve as a bridge to helping each other offline.
This brings me to another area that many of us “Older” Anons, believe needs work. We want, we NEED the NewBloods (in Anon terminology, “NewFags”) to begin taking more action within Anonymous. Many great Anons such as @YourAnonNews and others, have posted great tutorials and knowledge bases under the hash #OpNewBlood.
We post those to create a vast knowledge base so that novice Anons can learn more about technical issues that they might otherwise not know much about. But, for new Anons, please understand that your fellow Anons, the #OldFags, do not expect every one of you to become hackers. Many Anons don’t know anything about hacking. Anonymous is NOT just about taking websites down and leaking emails. Though these things are what gets us media attention, our movement is about much more than that.
Most novice Anons come to Anonymous already with skills, talents, things they are good at, which they can put to work to help Anonymous. Some are musicians, some are writers, some are graphic artists, some are lawyers, some are plumbers or carpenters…the point is you use what you know how to do, to help fellow Anons and to help promote the positive aspects of Anonymous. There is no “leader”, no one to crack a whip and tell you what to do, so to some extent, we depend on Anons to be “self starters”, i.e. to see what needs to be done, or to ask someone what needs to be done, and get started doing it.
This leads to an ongoing issue, and something none of us wants to talk about, but it needs to be addressed. That topic is one of infighting among Anons. We always pay lip service to being an #Anonfamily …of being Divided by Zero, United as One…and many Anons work hard to make that a reality, but we need to drop the petty infighting, the threats of d0xing each other. Believe me, if you like to d0x, we have many animal abusers who are begging to be d0xed. The point is, I personally know many great Anons who have hung up their mask, who left Anonymous because they were sick of seeing the fighting, the cliquish nature of some Anons. We need to drop the drama and actually become the #Anonfamily we talk about. Of course, in a large group of people, you WILL see fussing, fighting, rumors, gossip, but when it starts to making us lose valuable #OldFags or when #NewFags decide to drop out because another Anon trolled them for no good reason, THEN it becomes an issue. No one says you have to love every Anon…nor even to associate with every Anon. If you find, for whatever reason, you cannot stand another Anon, just block them and pretend they don’t exist. There is absolutely no good reason to carry on feuds with fellow Anons, and to cause general disruption, with your friends squaring off with their friends and on and on. No matter how many alliances we form, no matter how well we network, if we are constantly fighting among ourselves, all that work will be for nothing.
And, #OldFags, try to be mentors to #NewFags. If they ask you a serious question, be kind and try to answer them….at one time, you didn’t know everything either. Treat the new members as you would a younger brother or sister, with respect, and as family.
Anons know that we have various groups who hate us, and would like nothing better than for us to all disappear. We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, and as we were handed this culture of Anons, we must also not only protect what we were given, but enhance it, expand it, and make things even better because of what we can do, than it was when we received it.
The nature of life is change. If we do not move, if we do not change with the times, we stagnate, and stagnation leads to death.
Realize that you, or your fellow best friend in Anonymous, may feel depressed, may feel suicidal, may be going through various personal problems…interpersonal problems with their significant other, problems with drugs, may have gotten sick or hurt, may have lost their job, may have family or friends with serious illness. We are not just handles on Twitter…we are real people, with real lives, and real worries. But we have one thing many others don’t have, and that is the #Anonfamily.
We are to care one for the other. We need to be there, to support, to listen if our Anonfamily needs to vent. This is part and parcel of being an Anon, in my belief. When you know that your Anon brother or sister really cares about your problems, tries to help you, this bond makes all of Anonymous even stronger, because then, we DO become Anonfamily…not just a word that no one means.
Of course, this is only mine, and perhaps a few others view of things. We are trying to start a dialogue for Anons to contribute to, and perhaps, together, we will find a consensus…a way in which we WILL become stronger, become smarter, become more courageous, and grow as people through this work.
Our desire is only to make our movement stronger, to grow it as a force for good in this world. There is no “Big I and Little You” in Anonymous. We are all equal. We look forward to hearing what other Anons think will help…the goal of course is to realize the potential of each of us as Anons, and of Anonymous as an international force for good…as a force to protect the innocent, and bring the abusers to justice.
Thanks for reading this.