Remember, remember, the 5th of November.
Anonymous is getting ready for it’s fourth installment of the Million Mask March. Since its inception in 2012 it has been the most ambitious protest of the activist subset of the collective. While other campaigns have focused on specific issues or were limited in location, the Million Mask March is a kind of meta-protest. Organizers call for a wide range of social and legal changes, and for the uninitiated observer it can be hard to tell which voices in the crowd are representative, and which are on the fringe. To that end, we decided to take a look at the most active twitter accounts and YouTube channels to summarize the Anonymous agenda for this November.
Anonymous biggest Twitter account @YourAnonNews is often seen as an “authoritative” voice within the group, and its 1.4 million followers tend to take their cues about the direction of the collective from their posts. This year, YourAnonNews is taking a more ideological stance in their approach towards the Million Mask March. Their motive is to advocate a free and open society and to focus on real issues instead of conspiracy theories.
Our global protest on november 5th is to advocate a free and open society, not to spread conspiracy theories.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) October 22, 2015
Let's protest on november 5th and show that the internet generation can bring ideas of change into the world.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) October 26, 2015
Anonymous does not have one message or one mission. We share an idea: That any one of you can become an agent for change #WeAreAllAnonymous
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) October 26, 2015
The call for restraint in wild claims doesn’t come from a vacuum. Since the activist faction of Anonymous initially branched out from exclusively protesting against the Church of Scientology, the collective has waged a near constant internal battle over what causes to adopt and which to reject. The theory within the collective is that bad ideas will be shunned or actively undermined by the majority, while good ideas will float to the top, but in practice it’s a lot messier than that. Popular conspiracy theories — including chem trails, UFO sightings, and FEMA camps — have gained traction within a subset of the culture. Without leaders or membership, those Anons who oppose these campaigns have limited options in protecting their integrity.
There are several videos circulating on the internet announcing this years global protest, one of the most shared videos was made by YouTube user anon2world
While it has only about 10,000 views on their channel at the time of this writing, the video has a combined total views of over one million by being reposted on other YouTube channels, Facebook pages and different video hosting websites. This video announces the idea of an “open-source government” meaning that society is managed and maintained by its own citizens. It also mentions a resource-based economy, an idea constructed by “The Venus Project” The idea of a resource based economy is getting rid of money in exchange for optimal usage of resources by spreading them equally across societies.
While the betterment of society in the eyes of Anonymous seems to be the biggest cause, the objectives will vary for each individual protest. The refugee crisis in Europe has inspired the activists in Brussels, stating that everyone is a human being and deserving of a roof over their heads. Issues like the mass spying program of the NSA and its invasion of privacy have been mentioned, causes like Operation Monsanto have inspired activists to educate people on the supposedly cancerous effects of GMOs and the awful treatment of farmers being affected by Monsanto patents. Police brutality is also a big issue for the Anonymous activists, filming incidents and identifying rogue cops, releasing their identities and phone numbers on the internet as retaliation.
Anonymous’ “traditional” causes mostly revolve around Internet freedoms. The collective has been consistent in its support of strong Net Neutrality and opposition of online surveillance and censorship. The shift to more broad ranging activism can be traced to January 2011, when the Anonymous YouTube channel Church0fScientology called for a global protest in defense of Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning, and the greater cause of Freedom of Speech.
The Million Mask March took this a step further in 2012, inviting Anons to take up causes far afield from their earlier narrow focus without justifying them based on earlier ideological tent poles like free speech. Their gambit has been at least somewhat effective, too, with thousands of protesters showing up in hundreds of cities each year.
The biggest protests from previous years have always been in London Trafalgar square and in Washington DC. This year’s planned protest sites are available online, and a strong turnout is expected once again.