Anonymous And The Changing Nature Of Radicalism

Anonymous Flag, courtesy Wikimedia
Anonymous Flag, courtesy Wikimedia

You just have to love Anonymous. To a shut in like myself they are a constant source of amusement. And hope. I find I agree with them on a lot of issues.

And they are a great place to go for a giggle, or to pick up news, in between writing chapters of my novel. I am constantly being amazed at how the lamescream media continues to misunderstand such a simple phenomenon as Anonymous. Constantly amazed.

Anonymous Doesn’t Have Or Need Leaders

Pardon me, but how hard is this to get? For that matter, the oh so intelligent Aaron Barr of HBGary Federal made the same mistaken assumption, that Anonymous must have a structure!

Why must Anonymous have a structure? Anonymous is a post-internet organization. It’s not the first one that I’ve seen, which has evolved, leaderless and shapeless. All of the post-internet organizations gathered around shared ethos of some sort. In many cases it was source code, and the source code oriented groups all ended up adopting a conventional organizational structure of some sort (take a look at the Apache Foundation for an example).

So far it’s the only post-internet organization which hasn’t succumbed to external pressures to recreate itself into a conventional organization. That is because Anonymous is concerned with Ethics, not source code. In fact Anonymous is a natural supporter of Richard Stallman’s Gnu Manifesto. I have to admit to surprise that Anonymous themselves haven’t made the connection. But I’ll blame Microsoft. Most members of Anonymous have probably never seen a computer running anything other than Windows.

Instead of recreating itself into a conventional organization, Anonymous has begun to reproduce. It has spawned child Anonymous, amoeboid like, by splitting off parts of itself to deal with specific issues.

Thus we now have Anonymous groups targeting Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Israel, The United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Sudan, Darfur, Eritrea, Italy, France, The United Kingdom, The United States, The Peoples Republic of China, The Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea, the Church of Scientology, and Wile E. Coyote.

All of these groups have interconnections. Some members (with members being used loosely, to be a member all you have to do is decide in your mind that you are a member) take part in actions against many targets. Some may take action against only one target. Some may take no action at all, only pass on information. Others may supply band width, technical help (i.e. set up websites, write software), or write Letters to the Editor.

The Authorities

The authorities are very disturbed. The problem, from their point of view, is that Anonymous isn’t fighting fair. This is Asymmetric Warfare taken to the Nth degree. There are no physical casualties. There is no physical damage. No bombs. No lines of patients awaiting treatment for injuries.

This makes it really hard to work the population up into a righteous fury against Anonymous. As far as the population, even the non-internet using population is concerned, all Anonymous is doing, is playing practical jokes.

But these jokes are having consequences. Tony Blair was close friends with Hosni Mubarak, and got to see his close friend declared a criminal by his own people, after all of the hard work he’d done. And while no one is close friends with Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi, what’s happening to him is a reminder of what could happen to any of them. The Internet, and activists on it, make government unstable. Government doesn’t like that.

How about Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin? Anonymous is part of the push to have him recalled. And it’s possible he could loose his majority relatively quickly. With the additional help Anonymous can give, the petitions to force recall elections of the eligible (an elected official has to have served at least one year before a recall petition drive can be mounted under Wisconsin State law) Republican lawmakers are far more likely to gain the number of signatures needed to force a recall election. If this happens, look to legislators to attempt to roll back the Walker ‘Reforms’ immediately.

Consider Walker’s viewpoint. How can he govern like this, if the voters keep changing the rules on him. This shouldn’t be allowed. And groups like Anonymous, which have no membership list, and no chain of responsibility are positively un-American!

Which totally ignores the Asymmetric warfare that the American colonists practiced on the British troops, and boast so much about today. I see the shoe is now on the other foot, isn’t it Governor Walker…

This Is All Tremendous Fun

Man, and I glad that I live in the Twenty-First Century. There are just so many neat things going on. Anonymous just happens to be one of the neatest.

Keep up the good work folks. I know you are trying to change the world for the better. I wish we had more people like you. In fact I know that with your example, more people will become like you.

Wayne Borean

Sunday March 13, 2011



2 thoughts on “Anonymous And The Changing Nature Of Radicalism

  1. why are there not 1 million people liking this? It is a fantastic summary of what is going on.
    Our culture is in total revolution, but it can be a peaceful one, thanks to things discussed here.
    This is my hope for world peace etc.
    My favorite target is Warren Buffet, for lending Goldman Sachs 5 billion dollars, thinking that the rest of
    us would favor him doing that. I wish Anonymous would target a few people like that. I am trying to
    find out, how I can contribute to Anonymous. Would someone please email me at to let me know how I can contribute some of my greatest insights?
    I know alot about how to change the mess we live in, due to age and places I have worked.
    for ONE I would stop all securitization efforts, so we can sue those which exist. It is a long story.

    1. I think that a lot of people don’t realize how how much things have changed. The tipping points keep coming, faster and faster, and they occur sooner in the cycle. It used to be that a technology/idea had to be adopted by a large portion of the population before the tipping point was reached. As the rate of change accelerates the portion needed for the tipping point to the reached becomes smaller and smaller, so we are now hitting the tipping points without most of the world even realizing that anything is happening.

      Needless to say this is panicking the old line organizations. They don’t like this at all, and are trying to get legislation passed to block the changes after the fact.


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