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Anonymous and History

on February 3, 2012

After learning about Anonymous in class, I can honestly say that I am a little frightened at the reach and capabilities of this group.  In many ways, Anonymous seems like today’s equivalent of a vigilante group, who are targeting the wrongdoings that they see in our world. As the government tries to put more and more restrictions on the internet, Anonymous embodies the idea of resistance, while trying to give the public access to as much information as possible, so that we can make our own decisions for ourselves (instead of what the government wants us to believe).  But the fact that there is no hierarchy, no names and no accountability for this group is extremely worrisome to me.  This group has a great amount of power within reach and the authority to choose which battles they feel are worth fighting.  But the weight of a battle can be very subjective, and what if mistakes happen along the way.  The results could be positive, worthwhile and helpful or also very negative, damaging and harmful.  In many ways, I can see how a lot of the power is in Anonymous’ corner, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  But I also feel that power or authority needs to be balanced and be checked, because power is so closely linked to greed and corruption (like dictators or like Gollum and the ring in the Lord of the Rings).

But the idea that Anonymous is today’s version of a vigilante group can be tied to our lecture about history repeating itself.  Though history does not exactly repeat itself, I personally feel that there are some parts of our history that are repetitive of past events.  If I had to assign a symbol to my idea of the past, it would be a combination of both the spiral and the fractal.  Our individual choices may take us in different and sometimes opposing directions, but there are also some times when we repeat decisions or mistakes that we made earlier.  Even the idea of Anonymous, can be seen as taking part in the spiral, fractal symbol of the past.  As Anonymous is the modern day resistance group who uses the computer and the internet as their tools of weapons, one can see that they are really not that different from and have many similarities with other resistance groups in the past.  For example, the American Revolutionary War was a resistance against the British, and the tools that American soldiers used were guns.  Also, the Civil Rights movements in the 1960’s was a form of resistance against Black racism and their tools were words and forms of protests like marches.  In both cases, it would seem like in the battle of good vs. evil, ‘Good’ won out.  But as always, defining who won a battle is usually a matter of perspective.  In the end, we will have to see who will win the next battle of our generation, that of Anonymous or the Bureaucracy.

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