The Occupy movement is more than simply a protest movement. The Occupy movement is also a new social structure. They are building a sense of community. They are building their own culture and social order.
Each evening they have a General Assembly where they arrive at decisions by consensus rather than by majority rule (i.e. abandoning the tyranny of the majority). The Occupy movement’s General Assemblies, across the world, have a similar structure and procedural protocol, and a shared vocabulary. For example, they call out, “Open mic,” and everyone repeats each sentence the speaker says (to enhance group participation and the ability to hear). When you like what whomever is speaking is saying, you wiggle your fingers upward and you indicate occasional disapproval by downward finger wiggling. Arriving at group decisions by consensus is frustrating, hard work.
Coping with the close quarters of the campground is trying for the Occupiers. And the schedule of events and speakers makes for busy days. A sign at the front of the park says, “Will Work For Change.” And with the frigid temperatures, it isn’t a picnic.
The Occupy movement is (virtually) leaderless by design: a web of loosely interconnected communities who operate independently, but share common values and goals, though they may differ in the means they use to achieve them.
The media has relentlessly criticized the movement for not having specific demands. But that shows a complete incomprehension of the Occupy group—rather than start with demands, they are setting up a community and a decision making process (consensus) that will evolve into whatever the groups decide. (Some have said that this is a brilliant tactic because it prevents pigeonholing by the media).
Michael Stone, a speaker who had been to several Occupy camps, encouraged Occupiers to abandon the grand narratives of the “isms” (i.e. socialism, capitalism, liberalism, etc.) and develop their own value system collectively.
Stone said that Occupy was not a protest movement, but a spiritual movement. The Occupy movement is foremost a quest for freedom—one street sign near the entrance to the park points toward the park and says Freedom Park, and an adjacent street sign points in the other direction, out toward the city and says Servitude—a quest for freedom from a world run by elites.
The Occupiers are a mixture of many people with different causes who have come together under one umbrella with the ultimate goal of changing the unjust economic and political systems. So far, the issue that they all agree on is the gross disparity in the manner in which wealth is assigned in the present systems. The economic mechanisms in place threaten to make that disparity even more ugly for our children and grandchildren. The Occupiers want the 99% to abandon servitude to the elites and take responsibility for, and control of, their own destiny.
Right-wing media outlets of the elites have accused the Occupy movement of class warfare. That is laughable: the elites who created the chasm between the rich and the rest of us are the ones who set the tables for class warfare—not those who speak up and don’t go along with the unfairness.
The successful formula for the Arab Spring was/is: Street protesters occupy public spaces + The Anonymous hactivist community = the defeat of tough, hardcore elites. How will this formula work for the other peoples of the world? Occupy The Planet + Anonymous Hactivists = ?
You should not think of Anonymous as an organization. It has little leadership. It is better to think of Anonymous as a concept or a meme: that people who believe in the same cause can meet in forums and agree on actionable common goals. Its members can be anyone who wants to participate, even enemies of the cause may freely participate, so membership in any operation is fluid.
If, through the cocophany of voices in the “hive mind”, you (plural) can decide on a common goal or method of protest, then you can take action. The easiest means (and the hardest to defend against) available to them is to download software which enables them to overload a website with a flood of data (DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service). Individuals can do this on an encrypted network (e.g. Tor) so their identity will remain secret.
Anonymous is a fluid online community which has already developed its own culture community and lingo. The values of most participants are quite ethical. The strongest ethos of the Anonymous community is a rabid zeal for freedom of speech. They don’t have much use for political correctness either: street protesters are called groundfags (not a derogatory term whatsoever to Anons). Online Anonymous participants also join street protests wearing their Guy Fawkes mask.
Skilled hackers also participate in Anonymous Ops who are able to penetrate most security systems. They seemed to be highly effective in the revolution in Tunisia. In Egypt and Libya, Mubarek and Kadaffi had to shut down the whole Internet which would have also been a disadvantage to the dictator’s regimes.
Anonymous participants have been involved in the Occupy movement from the start, but they have not been very active. Recently they shut down the Oakland police website and released information they hacked on some police officers in response to the Oakland police violence against the Occupy community there (specifically Scott Olsen).
They have issued various promises to retaliate for police actions taken against Occupy participants. Some members have threatened Fox News for their ridicule of the Occupy movement and they have threatened to hack the NY and TSX stock exchanges. Some of these are undoubtedly hoaxes.
Anonymous hactivists have the potential to be a very effective ally to the groundfags at Occupy camps. One can’t help but wonder what they may have planned for November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day.
In the spirit of the Occupy movement, this article will evolve—comments and information provided will be added to the article or incorporated into the text. Information from participants in the Occupy movement or Anonymous will be given the greater priority to be included in this narrative.