Another on my continuing series about the connection between Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street. It highlights what I stated in Occupy Wall Street is sequel to Anonymous vs Scientology.
Occupy Wall Street And Anonymous: Turning A Fledgling Movement Into A Meme
Two weeks ago, Cornel West, Princeton professor and activist, showed up at a tent city erected by Occupy Wall Street protesters across the street from the Federal Reserve building in Boston. As he finished delivering an impromptu speech, a man who had been standing off to the side leaned in and gave him a hug. He was in his mid-thirties, with gray-dusted hair, a round face and dimples. Most people who witnessed this moment probably didn't think anything of it -- but then, most people aren't familiar with the faces of the online movement known Anonymous.I told you so. I should know; I was a supporter of the protests and a hanger-on in their main forum, which back then was called "Enturbulation" and is now "WhyWeProtest." The high point of my involvement was driving past a protest across the street from the Detroit area headquarters of Scientology, seeing a sign held by one of the protesters, and asking, "So, does your sign mean L. Ron Hubbard is PedoBear?" The protesters roared in approval that someone got it. Here's to those protesters being all grown up and supporting an effort against something that really matters.
The man was Gregg Housh, an Internet technology consultant and one of the few people associated with Anonymous whose real name is known to the public. Housh occupies a special place in Anonymous lore. In 2008, he was among a small group of "Anons" who came up with the idea of releasing a video that declared war on the Church of Scientology, which in turn led to thousands of people protesting outside of Scientology centers around the world and heralded the moment when Anonymous first coalesced into something resembling a political movement.
Back then, Housh couldn't have been less interested in political or social change. Scientologists had provoked Anons by removing an embarrassing and, to the Anons, hilarious video of Tom Cruise from the Internet, and the Anons thought it would be funny to get back at them by standing around outside their centers wearing masks and shouting insults.
Housh is one of many participants in the Occupy Wall Street protests who trace their roots in the movement to the constellation of online networks and chat rooms that make up the Anonymous universe.