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    Posted February 11, 2012 by
    San Diego, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Occupy Wall Street

    ChrisMorrow and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Occupy Wall Street protests
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    Free speech is the foundation of a free society


    "Anonymous is kind of an open source [OS] for activism, anyone can make it what they want."


    For the last few weeks I've been speaking with Participants from Anonymous. I spoke with them by going onto the Anonops IRC Chat channels. Check out my video.


    Participant 2 explained in IRC chat: One of the most beautiful things about Anonymous is that you only have a nickname, and your voice here. It is impossible to discriminate based on someones age, gender, nationality, religion, etc - because we don't KNOW any of those things about each other. Therefore I would say Anonymous is an example of how human beings can collaborate and work together, when all social stigmas are completely absent.


    I wondered how prepared, educated, has one to be Anonymous?


    Participant 2: Not at all. I would say some millennial, and a lot of "Generation Y", and some "Generation X". I find that Anonymous allows people to work together without any artificial or superficial social issues getting in the way. Well for me personally, I see it as a very powerful vehicle for freedom fighting, especially in terms of Internet freedom. Others join purely because it's fun (lulz). Others join because they are frustrated with other traditional avenues of media and collaboration, etc.


    What about the structure of the IRC chat rooms. Someone seems to be in charge?


    Participant 2: The structure only exists in terms of conversation. We have different rooms for different topics. But the key thing is, ANYONE can make a room. So it's still leaderless in the sense that everyone is free to set up their own room to chat in, and to plan an operation or activity. Individual rooms may have rules and moderators, but the key thing is, if you disagree with the rules in one of the rooms,  you simply create your own one. I am a moderator in this room #reporter, but if you felt that I was not allowing you to speak freely, you can simply create a new channel, say calling it #reporter_2 and I wouldn't be able to do anything about it. So while individual operations may be created and moderated by certain people, there is absolutely nothing whatsoever to prevent another group splintering if they want to go in a different direction. Can I give you an example? During Operation Payback, in October 2010, there was an argument over Gene Simmons. Some wanted to attack his website over his call for file sharers to be jailed, some didn't. One of the people who didn't was a moderator in the channel for Operation Payback and he decided to ban people for suggesting an attack on Gene Simmons. So what happened? The people who wanted to do the attack, created a new channel for it called #OpGeneSimmons, where that moderator had no power at all, and continued the operation as they wanted. THAT is how you can say Anonymous is leaderless. Even if an individual operation ends up with somebody trying to control it, there is nothing to stop others splintering off and creating new operations. There are only two real limits on what Anons can do. 1: Their own creativity, and 2: Finding enough people to help. In my opinion it's an entirely new form of organization and collective, and because it's so new, it doesn't have a name yet. Anonymous is a flock of birds. How do you know it's a group? Because all the birds are flying in the same direction. Is there a leader? No. There is nothing to stop a group of the birds breaking off and flying away in a different direction. And there's nothing to stop newer birds joining the flock even if they weren't in it before. Technically the leader of Anon is the lulz :P


    Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman's paper


    Huffington Post Saki Knafo's article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/anonymous-internet-war_n_1233977.html

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