Monday, February 11, 2008

How to Approach Operation Party Hard (3/15/2008)

It seems to be considered a given at this point that Pittsburgh Anons will be taking part in Operation Party Hard, the next tentatively-planned raid on Saturday, March 15, 2008.

Now, considering the press that Anonymous and the Pittsburgh Anons have gotten with the first demonstration, it is quite possible that we're attracting a new demographic of people who are interested in participating for the next round. I'm writing here as a way of eliciting ideas for the handling of an influx of new potential protesters.

Currently, the Anonymous protesters seem to be college-aged or recently graduated from college, Internet-savvy/obsessed, and reasonably in keeping with the necessity of keeping identities discreet, obeying local codes of conduct for peaceful protests, not giving in to the temptation of directly confronting members of CoS, etc.

But last time, Anonymous was pretty easy to keep under control. The vast majority of us were either active posters or friends of active posters in such places as, Something Awful, or CoSplay, and as a result updates were easy to dispense, rules easy to lay down, and so on.

I'm beginning to get the sense that next time, we're going to have a whole slew of newbies involved. And while the greater exposure and with it the increased support from the local community is a wonderful, wonderful thing, I personally believe it is a double-edged sword.

Case in point: I have an annoying little sister who has never heard of 4chan, rickrolling, neckbeards, Guy Fawkes, or goons. She likes such things as Hannah Montana and cute purses. However, she tells me that my high school alma mater is abuzz with news of Project Chanology and the Pittsburgh protest. Because she is a flipping idiot, she has semi-outed me, no doubt due to her immense pride in my actions, to her classmates. As a result, she has been inundated with offers to "help" with Party Hard.

Needless to say, I reamed her out for her ignorance regarding WHY the group had to remain Anonymous. I don't think she quite managed to convey to others the importance of this aspect of our movement. And it makes me uneasy that the only real way we have to communicate with this group is by using her as a proxy.

I wouldn't be blogging this if I didn't suspect this high school incident of being a microcosm of the situation that is about to arise in the weeks leading up to Party Hard. Basically, the next generation of Anonymous is going to be well-intentioned but more unpredictable and difficult to communicate with en masse.

Please comment with suggestions for handling the participation in the next protest. Despite the drawbacks of it all, I still believe there is strength in numbers and that surpassing fifty for the next event will be a win for us, so I don't want to write off new protesters.

Love Always,
Miss Anonymous


Xenu said...

I think, for the most part, you're right here, but I think one thing Anon is going to have to accept is that we're going to have to sacrifice a certain measure of anonymity as the movement grows. It makes it a lot easier to recruit people, and it's really sort of inevitable anyway. The fact of the matter is, there are approximately 200 Scientologists in Pittsburgh. This means your odds of revealing yourself to one of them are amazingly low, particularly if you pick your targets well. For example, I think for the most part college students are safe, particularly places like CMU where practically everyone's addicted to the internet.
Really, we need to do more than just accept the influx of new people, I think our objective for the next month should be to encourage it as much as possible. It was pretty clear during the protest that we had a great deal of public support - what we need to do now is get those people to take action. The numbers for the 2/10 protest were already enough to draw attention with just Anonymous in attendance - let's see if we can't improve upon that.
I'm going to start thinking about how best to conduct out information campaign here (I was going to say "propaganda", but really we're just putting information out there). I'll put a post up if I come up with anything good.

Miss Anonymous said...

Yeah -- one issue implicit but not really outright stated in my post is the involvement of kids/minors.

Thoughts on this? I wouldn't mind a huge influx of college kids, but I'm afraid it'll get messier with too many kids running around, especially if there's trouble and parents may not necessarily have given their blessing, etc.

Miss Anonymous said...

And by college kids, I mean over eighteen.

Damn my ambiguous use of the word.

Xenu said...

Hmm... parental release forms? Except no. I'd imagine it might be a bit hard for at least some minors to do something like this without parental permission. If we get a whole lot of them, I guess we could produce some sort of press release to parents or something like that. I'm not really sure if there's anything else we can do - it's not like we can really stop people from coming. I would agree that advertising at high schools is probably not the best idea, though. If they hear about it and want to come, fine, but I don't really see any point in encouraging it.

giv3m3truth said...

Well, as a highschooler myself, I can say that any high school aged minors you do get are probably going to fall into one of three categories:
Mature, informed teens who know what their doing and want to help,

crazed idiots who just want attention and to rebel against something,

and kids who show up for the Hell of it but don't do anything because they're just plain Lazy.

For my par though, my camera man and I seem to be the only people in the whole school who know what's going on, and I suppose anyone who we tell, but so far other than my journalism teacher and film/tv production teacher no one much cares. IF this is any indication of other schools in my area, I don't think there will be that large of an influx of kids my age, at least not from the suburbs.

Just my 2 cent$ though.

Trent said...

We can't stop anyone from coming, and really we shouldn't want to, but I think we should try not to target high schoolers for recruitment. Hopefully that'll mean only the mature / internet-addicted high schoolers who really want to be there will actually end up coming.

So how do we do that? Well, keep our plans OFF OF FACEBOOK for one thing, but you were probably not going to do that anyways...

I like the idea of a Pittsburgh Anon press release. If it actually gets published, that could spread the message much further among the exact kind of people that we want to come (i.e. people who read things and think about things and conscientiously judge things).

But in the end, I don't think there is much we can do about who comes and who doesn't. We'll have to trust parents to keep their minors away from the protest, because that's not our responsibility and that's not even something that we're equipped to do.

What we CAN do is keep close track of the people that do show up. I loved the policy of "If you do something illegal, we'll call the cops on you ourselves," and that's something we should make VERY clear to everyone that shows up.

3/15 could go really well if all of the anons who attended 2/10 are ready to assert some leadership. We should keep an eye on people and make sure signs are acceptable and behavior is acceptable and chants are acceptable, and all of us should be ready to confront the unacceptable people ourselves.

I mean sure, we can have Xenu and Miss on megaphones yelling about things, but if we have fifty people moving through the crowds and spreading the "we'll call the police on you" policy, as well as suggesting good things for chants and signs... then people will get the idea much faster.

And OHGOD we need to be careful about who talks to the press.

Miss Anonymous said...

Yeah -- I really wouldn't have a problem with more mature, hardcore Internet junkie highschoolers showing up. giv3m3truth, I wouldn't even have known you were still in high school, and in my opinion, that should be the case with any younger anons that want to show up.

I'm not trying to be too hard on high schoolers who take this seriously -- I'm only a year out of high school myself, and I'm in a relationship with a high school student -- I just happen to think that the mature, responsible ones like giv3m3truth are the exception rather than the rule.

And yes, for the love of Xenu, we need to control the press coverage. Right now, I think we should stick with the same two press reps, and if anyone else is really DYING to be on camera, then they need to talk to us first so we can make sure they're prepared and we can give them our blessing and maintain some control over the group's image. And of course, giv3m3truth did an excellent job covering this and is welcome back on 3/15.

Yeah, I'd be happy to compile an "official" Pittsburgh Anon press release closer to the event. I did have something resembling one that I used an email to send out to all the major news sources last time.

And I should probably get a megaphone, huh? I was just relying on my vocal cords last time.

Also, one other thought for the next protest -- it wouldn't be a bad idea to mix up your disguise a little bit -- wear something different, maybe even a different mask. I know I will be, since I ended up higher profile and I want to throw them off the trail a little bit.

janon said...

Two things,

Do we need a permit for next time? I ask this because I remember seeing a video on youtube of iraq war demonstrators being tased in downtown pittsburgh. Apparently, they did not have a permit to protest. Is that something we have to worry about for this up and coming protest?

I myself am 39 and plan on being there, guy fawkes mask in tow. I don't think you will have any control of what people say to the press if the press show up. You have no authority what so ever in this regard. The thing about these kinds of events is, you guys are just the organizers. no one is in charge. Thus, if some high school kids decide to act out and be douche bags, there is nothing you can do. This thing was started with chaos and will remain as such.

As much as I would like people to be civil and for people to speak eloquently about why we are protesting, this is prob not going to happen if a large group of people show.

Miss Anonymous said...

We already consulted with the police prior to our protest. If we remain orderly and do not block the sidewalk off or stand in the street, no permit is needed to protest in Pittsburgh.

Cops were present the whole time watching from the Scientology building. They were cool, there were no problems.

giv3m3truth said...

I'd love to cover this one too. Anonymous' 'battle' against CoS is a subject I happily lose my journalistic objectivity for.

The said...

Alright, I basically think that we have to be very discretionary on who we recruit/advertise to. Highschoolers and such are not an issue in themselves, but large groups of very young people do two things:

1. Put a large liability risk on us, all of us, everyone who is there.

2. If they compose a significant portion of the demonstration it discredits a lot of the most important people we need to appeal to for the later goals of our movement.

Basically I think we should not discourage, but we should EXPLICITY not encourage minors.

Though honestly the issue is not really that big because the accessibilty of South Side to the average high schooler is fairly limited, also everyone knows most high schoolers are lazy and apathetic right :P

K said...

I think the concerns here are over nothing. It'll be fine. If protestors are doing illegal things, we'll call the cops. If not, there is no problem. The more the merrier. There isn't really any marketing being done anyways, so whoever comes will come.

Anon832207 said...

We should have one megaphone ya know? To help control the crowd. I agree with K the more the merrier. I doubt we'll have to worry about highschoolers much... just doubt they would actually take the time and effort to show. (For the most part)

Roxas said...

If anyone does anything out of line, we'll try to get them to calm down, if they don't, we can get them removed.

If they do something illegal, they're prolly a scifag anyways.

No use worrying about it when there really isnt anything we can do about it.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say I support you all in your efforts but the chances of me being there with you on the 15th is very slim. I will continue to encourage others to find out for them selves the info out there on the CoS and what is going on.

Best of luck

Anonymous said...

All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.
- Edmund Burke

Anonymous said...

I am from the Midwest near a certain city that likes to brew Beer, and manufacture motorcycles.

We have a CoS nearby and I've found this thread indispensable. For Op: PH, me and some fellow Anons have been talking about what WE should do, and I just wanted to thank everyone for the ideas. Press release is ingenious.

In reference to the high schoolers, I don't think even now having drawn national media attention with protesting CoS were gonna have even 1% HS age amongst us. Honestly, I wouldn't worry, and informing them at the moment probably isn't the best idea either.