Around 2008 an unlikely source of power emerged from the depths of the internet and 4chan. This force would become known as Anonymous.
An affinity group of outcasts and hackers who had a bone to pick with the world of elite tyrants who had lied to people for their whole lives. A group that could see the injustices of the world and possessed a unique skill set related to how networks and the internetwork down to the core. People with knowledge on how to exploit weak points in any system that decided it was time to use the skills most had been gathering since the early 90’s.
Fast forward, 2013; after a few years under their belt, numerous high profile data leaks and DDoS attacks it was time for the people who cared to hit the streets. The old school members of Anonymous had done their part. They brought you the idea, they took the heat while recruiting. Now it was time for ordinary people who didn’t have the skill set to sit behind the scenes tirelessly working towards the next big hack. It was time to show that Anonymous is not just pissed off people on computers that have a problem with the system. The Guy Fawkes mask was encouraged to be used by anyone to represent their disgust. The Million Mask March was born.
MMM 2013 and 2014 go off without a hitch, resulting in huge marches around the world. The two primary protest locations that draw the biggest numbers and express the most outrage are Washington DC and London. However, after the marches, nothing changed. As the years move on to 2015 and beyond the MMM attendance numbers start to lessen dramatically. By 2018, the MMM could almost be considered a no-show. You may wonder why this happened, but as someone whose been around since the beginning, I know.
The death of Anonymous and in turn the MMM was, in fact, the 2013 march. In an attempt to get attendance numbers high, older anons did the one thing that ultimately ended up killing the entire movement. The old school Anons told people “anyone can be Anonymous,” when in reality — and the proof is right in front of you — no, anyone can’t be Anonymous. When Anonymous moved their attention away from computer work and towards what many would call “boots on the ground” activism, fighting everything from child porn to CPS, it opened the door for the wrong people to come in, and lacked a thorough vetting process.
While this amazing movement was making international headlines for their cyber attacks, people were using the group for personal vendettas. Now I’m not saying everyone who donned the mask was a horrible person, but the majority of the good distanced themselves from the mask. The mask became more about showboating your virtues with no prowess than it did about the idea and values it was originally supposed to represent.
It turned into a social identifier for wayward teens stuck in their angst. A way to virtue signal for older horrible people. I am not one to judge but ask anyone who was around during this uprising of Anonymous, I can promise every one of them knows an Anon who was arrested for child neglect, or child porn, or a plethora of other shitty things they claimed to be against in their activism.
It was the single action of allowing anybody to claim they are Anonymous that slowly drove the dagger through group’s heart and led to its death. Nobody wants to identify with a group that can’t even follow its own beliefs. The marches of 2018 prove that. A mask doesn’t give you an automatic pass on being a shit person.
Most of these “boots on the ground” types have no skill set in life or on the interwebz and are therefore useless to a cause that requires participants to be skilled in something. In turn, leading to the death of a movement that had so much potential. Granted a lot of old schoolers played a hand in killing it too, but that’s just because they saw what they had created. A new system of no personal accountability for being a shit person.