In a surprising move, hacktivist group Anonymous appears to have issued an “open letter to the world,” which calls for anyone with the will and the gumption to join in a “peaceful revolution” to “create a better life” for everyone.
From the letter:
You cannot sit on the couch watching television or playing video games, waiting for a revolution. You are the revolution. Every time you decide not to exercise your rights, every time you refuse to hear another view point, every time you ignore the world around you, every time you spend a dollar at a business that doesn’t pay a fair wage you are contributing to the oppression of the human body and the repression of the human mind. You have a choice, a choice to take the easy path, the familiar path, to walk willingly into your own submission. Or a choice get up, to go outside and talk to your neighbor, to come together in new forums to create lasting, meaningful change for the human race….
This is our challenge: A peaceful revolution, a revolution of ideas, a revolution of creation. The twenty-first century enlightenment. A global movement to create a new age of tolerance and understanding, empathy and respect. An age of unfettered technological development. An age of sharing ideas and cooperation. An age of artistic and personal expression. We can choose to use new technology for radical positive change or let it be used against us. We can choose to keep the internet free, keep channels of communication open and dig new tunnels into those places where information is still guarded. Or we can let it all close in around us. As we move in to new digital worlds, we must acknowledge the need for honest information and free expression. We must fight to keep the internet open as a marketplace of ideas where all are seated as equals. We must defend our freedoms from those who would seek to control us. We must fight for those who do not yet have a voice. Keep telling your story. All must be heard.
The letter, published this week on Anonymous-affiliated website AnonNews.org, may seem out-of-character for Anonymous, which is, by all accounts, a loose-knit group that collectively holds few (if any) idealistic positions. 4chan.org, the site from which Anonymous originated, is about as amoral as any place online.
To further prove that Anonymous is without a guiding doctrine, a “note to journalists” published on AnonNews states that Anonymous has no “official position” on a wide-variety of political talking-points, including taxes, global warming, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only true stance Anonymous has taken is on “LULZ” — the oft-stated motivating factor for Anonymous — which is more or less the opposite of righteous action, and about as far from “lasting, meaningful change for the human race” as you can get.
That said, the group’s round of pro-WikiLeaks attacks on Visa, Master Card and PayPal, their take-downs of government websites in the Middle East, and the newly-established “Operation Wisconsin” show that Anonymous does, at least some of the time, hold a moral compass. Whether or not that compass is consistent, however, remains unclear.
Most likely, truth about Anonymous’ ideals and intentions lie somewhere in the middle, between meaningless LULZ and “twenty-first century enlightenment.” Many of the press releases and open letters published to AnonNews are most likely written by a few members of Anonymous, and don’t represent the sentiments of the group as a whole — as if such a thing truly exists. But that doesn’t mean the group won’t evolve into something new, something with a cohesive guiding purpose. We’ll just have to wait and see. This letter could be the beginning.