Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What does Anonymous against Scientology mean for the counter Jihad?

First a video about Anonymous if all you've heard that is that they are hackers, terrorists, or just an anti-cult group. Like Little Green Footballs, they are called Nazis, Communists, Anarchists, Christian bigots, hackers and more. Unlike LGF, though, calling them that is actually true. And false. Because they are nobody and everybody - the regular person shed of identity that can be attacked - be that by bombs, lawsuits or harassment.

"United as one, divided by zero."

Nature of the live protests

One blog report from London shows one of the larger pickets/protests. Choice quotes:

   ' It was at this point I saw the corners of the cops' mouths twitch into smiles as they realised it was ok: we were from the internets. '

   ' I can't remember the source, but there's some sci-fi story I've read where the conclusion reads along the lines of "They could withstand the fiecest of our weapons, they could defeat us intellectually, but in the end, I think they died of sheer culture shock" '

Apart from that it has been over the local and national news in Australia and the USA, with some reports in other countries as well, with groups from five or six to over three hundred people,
though counting protest sizes is not a simple job. 
Two people even showed up in Tokyo without knowing about each other. 

My home country of Norway had about fifty people in total.

Stand alone complex

Comparisons have been drawn with an online phenomenon found in science fiction: A real life Stand Alone Complex emerges against Scientology

   ' With the recent appearance of the anti-Scientology Internet-based movement named “Anonymous” we are witnessing the emergence of the first true virtual Stand Alone Complex  '

Personally, I think this isn't the first time people have spontaneously risen to a cause in this way, but it certainly is one of the weirdest formations of a political demonstration I've ever seen.

What can we learn from this

I think this also has implications for the counter-jihad. I'm not just sure what they are yet.

Anonymous and Scientology both seem to have some characteristics in common with both sides of the conflict, but I haven't formed any insights on this yet.

What is interesting to me that a group without any shared ideology except being Anonymous turned so quickly towards dropping illegal methods. The Anonymous that protested are probably not all the same as the Anonymous who attacked websites.
Even so, the "bad" Anonymous website owners actually agreed to stop advocating illegal methods 
- wether this is just a temporary or not remains to be seen. Sage advice from long- term authorities probably helped a lot here, in addition to people's desire to look good and not do anything they wouldn't otherwise do. 

(Kinda like they say about hypnosis - you're not doing anything you woldn't do, you're just less inhibited.)

I think the main driver here is that being Anonymous makes the merit of your message stand more on its own. Without authority.

Also interesting is all the shared counter-counter-culture, some of which is shared by almost all of them, and some which is shared only by a few. Many of them do all this simply as an elaborate joke played on society, while others are motivated by a genuine desire to fight for the rights of the people inside and outside Scientology.

My advice to them so far is to keep motivated, and to learn about their "enemy" so they don't end up abusing scientologists and losing their good standing with the police and the media. They've been incredibly good natured so far and have been able to repel the hooligans that we're used to from anti-globalization protests, or just make them feel so silly about the whole thing that the hooligans stayed home. Being on Sunday on high noon probably helped too.

We might just have seen what the silent majority looks like when it comes out of it's silence. It wears masks and screams "I HEAR TOM CRUISE HATES MUDKIPS!"