Anonymous vs. the Muslim Brotherhood?

Apparently Anonymous has decided to take on the Ikhwan day after tomorrow.  I’m curious what if anything will come of this.  Probably nothing, but I’m prepared to be wrong.  (I sort of hope I’m wrong, actually, as I’m not an enormous fan of the the Muslim Brotherhood.)

One thing about this announcement of impending cyber hostilities got me thinking: the Anonymous complaint that the Brotherhood seeks “to destroy the sovereignty of the people of Egypt as well as other nations including the United States.”  I wasn’t previously aware that Anonymous cared much about sovereignty.  Whether or not my suspicions about the provenance of this video are correct, the strangeness of this target has me thinking about how easy it is to hijack a leaderless movement.  Since the concept of membership is effectively meaningless in a leaderless movement such as Anonymous purports to be, there is literally nothing to stop it from being turned by its enemies into self-destructive actions.  For instance, one could image turning Anonymous against OWS or just putting out a flood of Anonymous calls to action against an enormous variety of targets.  The “real” threats would be lost in the noise and thereby neutralized.

Published in: on November 9, 2011 at 9:44 PM  Comments (1)  

Leaderless Resistance: Well Isn’t That Convenient?


I’ve suggested before that Anonymous qualifies as a leaderless resistance movement, though, frankly, I waffled on that a little bit because Anonymous hasn’t been violent.

Be that as it may, Anonymous does display many of the qualities of a leaderless resistance movement and it has recently put one of those on particular display.  Last month somebody hacked into Sony’s networks and stole a great deal of customer data, including credit card numbers.  The perpetrator left behind a file named “Anonymous” which contained the phrase “We are legion,” a part of the group’s slogan.

On a blog which claims to speak for Anonymous, a recent posting disavows responsibility for this raid on Sony, implying that Anonymous is not a crass criminal organization but instead is and asserting that it has “never been known to engage in credit card theft.”

I see.  The assertion may be true, but this is all very convenient, isn’t it?

The Anonymous movement is not only leaderless with no definable membership, but in fact it really exists only as an ideology, as Simson Garfinkel has helped us understand.  Hence, any action not consistent with that ideology was not undertaken by the movement, even if it was actually undertaken by someone thinking he/she was acting on behalf of the movement.

Hence, a leaderless resistance movement can be absolutely ideologically pure.  Oh, how the Marxists must be jealous.