Anonymous: breaking cyberactivism borders?

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ANONYMOUS
BREAKING CYBERACTIVISM BORDERS?

A research essay by
MARIO SANCHO

València
2010
*

“[…] Knowledge is free.
We are Anonymous,
We are legion,
We do not forgive,
We do not forget,
Expect us.”
End words of Anonymous ‘Message to Scientology’ video
January 28th 2008

INDEX

1. INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………... 3

2. ACTIVISM AND CYBERACTIVISM
2.1. ACTIVISM..……………………………………………………….…… 4
2.2. CYBERACTIVISM ………………………………………………….… 5
2.3. HISTORICAL REFERENCES ABOUT CYBERACTIVISM .. 6

3. ANONYMOUS
3.1. INCEPTION ……………………………………………………………. 8
3.2. FIRST ACTIONS ……………………………………………………… 8
3.3. PROJECT CHANOLOGY ………………………………………….. 9
3.4. HOW AND WHY DO THEY PROTEST? …………….…….. 13

4. ACTIVISM CONVERGENCE .…………………………………………. 16

5. SUCCESS: IN THE STREET OR THENET? ………………………. 20

6. CONCLUSIONS …………………………………………………………… 21

APPENDIX A ………………………………………………………………. 22

1. INTRODUCTION

Today social and political activism uses many different ways to fight for its causes. One of the most recent ways, sometimes referred against traditional ways of activism, is the cyberactivism or Internet activism, developed since 30 years ago, more or less. One click inthe Internet can make your ideas visible for the entire world, posting an article, a picture or a video, or all of them. Internet also has offered new ways of communication, what has become very important also in new ways of activism.

In this essay we will explain some basic knowledge about activism and cyberactivism, and then we will try to expose real facts and examples, most of them aboutthe cyberactivist group Anonymous, whom have also take part in street demonstrations and some other kind of traditional ways of activism. This mysterious group, which members hide their faces, had win quite popularity last months, appearing in major media because of their actions.

The main questions to answer in this essay are: Where are activism strategies more successful, in the street or inthe net? Why? What is Anonymous, and where it comes from? Why last changes in worldwide activism?

In this essay this questions should be answered. We will expose some Spanish source information, but also we will use English information, because these phenomena it’s an international issue today that Internet technologies are so extended all around the planet. Also we will be using the term‘cyberactivism’ instead of ‘Internet activism’ because it’s the way it’s called in Spain in Spanish and Catalan (ciberactivismo, ciberactivisme).

2. ACTIVISM AND CYBERACTIVISM

2.1. Activism
Cambridge English Dictionary (Cambridge University Press), online consultable, establishes that activism is «the use of direct and noticeable action to achieve a result, usually a political or social one».Activism doesn’t mean just protesting or writing letters to the newspaper. Inside of its meaning we can consider such of different actions and strategies like boycotts in economic activism, guerrilla tactics, hunger-strikes, street marches or demonstrations, performances, alternative structures (building new institutions of power, separated, independent and parallel to the establishment), lobbying,veganism (boycott for animal products), direct action, protest art, voluntarism, disinvestment,…
Although we can say that activism are all that mechanisms and strategies developed and used for changing something related to social, politic, environmental or economic issues.
From voluntaries in a senior residence to a terrorist group, all that is activism. Good examples of the great variety ofactivisms are in one hand the South African boycott by USA students in apartheid times. In the other hand we have the spontaneous activism of the protests in 2005 in Paris (France) where thousands of young people rebelled themselves because of the death of three young people by the police.
As we see activism has a lot of forms, and it can happen for a lot of reasons. It can be spontaneous or...
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