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Invoking the Name “Anonymous”

Since the start of Project Chanology in January of 2008, people have been arguing if Anonymous should or even could engage in forms of activism. The idea of invoking the name and power of Anonymous caused much stirring in back rooms of the internet where Anonymous lives. Ultimately the hive was mobilized by unique the circumstances of the Anon climate and the ham-handed stupidity that only Scientology could muster. The Church of Scientology was (and still to a large degree is) the perfect polarizing target for Anon to convene upon. It is objectively pernicious and manipulative, fearful of the spread of information, and most of all it dared to tell us what we could or could not laugh at.

When Anonymous ventured into the real world to ruin Scientology it was not a moral or amoral action. The motives of individuals were more varied than the sum of their parts, but the action was neutral. Their cult of hyper-aggressive ineptitude had dared to challenge us in our backyard over comedy and information, our most beloved resources. It was our duty to impale this organization upon the very things they sought to keep us from. This was a matter of revenge, satire, and our own enjoyment. The target chose us.

All of the so-called moral actions like dissemination of information, providing social support networks, and running media blitzes could very well have been motivated by the desire of individuals to help. Under the banner of Anonymous these actions were done to hurt our collective target. Every news article, person who left the cult, and “protest” we staged did irreparable damage to the formerly impenetrable facade Scientology portrayed. With the aura of fear now shattered, media coverage of Scientology’s spectacular fuck-ups are produced everywhere with little hesitation.

Since late 2009 many have invoked the name Anonymous for activist causes. These include but are not limited to: providing aide to numerous countries in the Arab Spring, various actions in support of Wikileaks, protesting and petitioning against ACTA/SOPA/PIPA, and various actions in support the Occupy movement. We as a community at MFO/NYC Anon have been less than subtle in voicing our distaste for this. This has very little to do with the political causes. We as individuals have our own opinions on these as political issues. Many of us have in fact supported some of these causes, but we did not attend events or act under the Anon banner.

These are causes that are deliberately picked based on ideological issues that are often vaguely relevant to Anonymous. However, the activism on behalf of these causes does not resemble Anonymous beyond our collective iconography. There is rarely a central target to attack, no significant damage is done, and above all else there is a cavernous void left where the lulz should be.

Identifying as an Anon without being a part of the Anonymous culture, and acting in its style would be like identifying as a Christian while deliberately not following any of the teaching of Christ. You may use the same preexisting symbols or enjoy the associations the the label brings, but at a certain point you are being disingenuous to yourself and others.

We seek to neither disparage nor encourage any activism. The point here is that serious political action should be done by serious groups with clear agendas. Serious actions taken under the guise of Anonymous leaves us as Anons falsely associated with a thing that we are not, much as those groups are being associated with something they are not. By all means keep working for the things that you believe in, but if it’s not funny, not satirical, not trollish, it’s not Anonymous.

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