01 December 2008


You may recall me blogging Anonymous' spooky anti-Scientology videos. In the months since then, they've succeeded in organizing several actual protests. I stumbled across one in San Diego, and they seemed to be running a surprisingly tight action for folks who broadcast on the 'net.

Steven Croop at The Escapist reflects on how this happened.

So, how in the world did a secluded online community, widely considered to be a bunch of social misfits and outcasts with little vested interests beyond expanding their collections of violent fetish porn, become a potent, organized activist group that has protested against the Church of Scientology since January in an operation called “Project Chanology”?
He doesn't manage to offer an answer per se but he does have some interesting history of what happened.
How, then, did the raid on the Church go from DDoS attacks to standing on street corners in major cities around the world with signs, masks and cake — all within less than a month? How was it that Bunker watched “Anonymous virtually pivot on a dime?” For his part, Bunker became Anonymous' advisor, Wise Beard Man. “I made a video to suggest they stay within the law and do things the right way,” Bunker says. “I worried Anonymous would attack me for daring to make the suggestion, but I felt I had to say something. Happily, most understood my points and agreed with me. They dubbed me Wise Beard Man and started to rethink their involvement and their tactics and quickly transformed in a way Scientology has never been willing to do.” And there it is, in all its glorious simplicity — Anonymous rethought, transformed and changed. Did a convincing paradigm shift carry Anonymous into the real world with an ennobling goal?

Not necessarily. It was also an internal polarization: We only saw the more elevated, optimistically charged side in the real world, while its opposite sunk further ...

Croop basically supposes that it may turn out that in a Fredrick Jackson Turner-ish way, the existence of internet-based troll pits may help to actually help stabilize social activist movements. I'm skeptical, but it's an interesting datum.