Anonymous takes down Americans for Prosperity website. Facebook Dialogue

Bob Witanek via Patricia Ebey
flea bag website goes DOWWWNNN!!
Anonymous Joins Wisconsin Protests: Takes Out Americans For Posperity
The cyber protest group Anonymous has joined the protesters of Wisconsin and Americans all across this country in the battle against what they described as the “Koch brothers attempt usurp democracy.” The opening salvo in Anon’s OpWisconsin occurred today when the Koch brothers funded Americans for Prosperity was knocked offline in an attempt to take a small slice of the Internet back from the liberty stealing propagandists.

In a press release Anonymous put the Koch brothers on notice, “It has come to our attention that the brothers, David and Charles Koch–the billionaire owners of Koch Industries–have long attempted to usurp American Democracy. Their actions to undermine the legitimate political process in Wisconsin are the final straw. Starting today we fight back.”
Prairie Fyre Awesome!
Max Monclair Hot damn! Guerilla warfare on the internet!

Rawlins View

It is tempting to be excited about this, but I admit that I am not so sure. I don’t think that I support attacks on anybody’s website. It seems easy enough for the right wing to use the same tactics and those of us who are not hackers and d…igital experts will quickly be left out of this “guerilla” war.
Like most guerilla tactics this is the opposite of the kind of mass politics in which I believe. It is ‘radical’ but not revolutionary. The Wikileaks model seems to provide a more promising direction for those who wish to challenge power using the electronic media. Also the use of the internet to rapidly disseminate information and mobilize mass forces as was done in Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain is an excellent model. Already the Wisconsin protests were mirrored by actions large and small across the US and have received messages of support from around the world.
There has been a lot of good journalism recently and the Koch machine has been largely exposed. This will help to neutralize them and the goal should be to make their money a political liability rather than an asset.
Americans for Social Progress is a right wing propaganda operation, not a repressive government to be overthrown. I am coming down on the side of an open internet and free speech, even for assholes.
Bob Witanek actually a decent point rawlins – it will be much easier for gov and big corporations to take out disagreeable sites than ragtag anonymous to occasionally do so.
about an hour ago ·
Prairie Fyre Don’t confuse commercial activity with free speech. There’s a difference. This blurring of categories is the result of corporate personhood.
Bob Witanek
free speech is much misunderstood, as is censorship etc. do believe rawlins point is valid – there could arise a right wing anonymous tomorrow that starts hacking away at us and that won’t be pretty. then if we complain – it will be an ea…sy argument to make – you cheered on when the right wing site went down but cry like a baby when you get a hack job.

i dont think its a big deal to me and i am not going to run around defending the flea bag site – but do believe as a movement we should pick and choose battles.

i am not sure 100% what anonymous is – i know it hacked some of the banks and companies that were attacking wiki – as well as government sites but do not know it to be accountable to any movement.

i can chuckle when i see what it does from time to time but not sure i fully trust whatever this anonymous thing is.
Max Monclair

However, in a state of war, any tactics that can assist the revolutionary class are necessary and valuable. One example to look at in comparison is the array of tactics used in the Cuban Revolution. The main driver was, of course, the mass …struggle: with the urban strategy of organization, mobilization and making the regime ungovernable. However, the guerrilla struggle was a vital importance to challenging the ability of the repressive state apparatus to function, and also of promulgating the idea that the state was not invincible. Could the guerrilla army have taken down Batista itself? Even if it could, the resulting configuration of power would not have been able to create a mass revolutionary state (see Libya for a good counterexample of a purely military solution). But it did help create space for the mass action strategy to function.

In short, I don’t defend the “right” of capitalists and their rightwing ideological theorists or movement builders in the abstract. I once did believe in such an abstract “moral” high ground, but I am far less convinced of it these days. We are reaching a point very quickly where the defenses afforded by liberal democracy even to liberals, let alone progressives and revolutionaries are evaporating. While we should fight tooth and nail to preserve this, we have to be prepared to fight back by any means at our disposal when those defenses are gone. And the number one point that should be made is that the State is unable to defend itself from gadflies like Anonymous, just imagine how vulnerable it is to our class when we unite en masse.See More

Max Monclair
‎@Bob: I totally expect the rise of a right-wing Anonymous. And we should be prepared for it. As for the argument that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, when it reaches that point, we should be totally honest that it is a wa…r of us versus them; the abstract notion of “fairness” in action is out the window. At that point, the question of who started it will not be as important as who ended it.

I know this is coming off a bit harsh, even ultraleftist. It’s a reach I wouldn’t have made even 6 months ago. But it is important to realize that things are coming to a head in the class struggle worldwide. And it will come down to the question of power vs. power. No amount of appeal to fairness will mitigate this.

BTW, I have no idea who Anonymous is either, not even sure if they are worthy of support. They may even be provocateurs. But they do expose some serious weaknesses in some powerful players.

Bob Witanek yes – its about as clear as mud – not sure we are there yet – but when the shit hits the fan – if so – internet will be useless to us. good discussion tho

Rawlins View I am not sold. Americans for Progress is a political entity irrespective of who is backing it. It advances political positions, no matter how abhorrent. I do not see the relevance of the issue of corporate person-hood. Are the Koch brothers all that much more dangerous than the local schmuck developers in my town who act like they own the city council. Isn’t this just the way that capitalism works?

I would suggest that Anonymous attack is basically a form of non-violent terrorism. It suffers from the key political weaknesses of all of this type of political action.

1. It does nothing to educate or mobilize the political action of any sector of the oppressed.
2. It tends to narrow rather than expand political space reinforcing the ruler’s justifications for censorship and policing.
3. The attack focuses on one capitalist family, a very wealthy one, but actually a couple of chumps compared to the real kings of industry. The difference between these guys and say Larry Ellison is only a matter of veneer. Thusly it takes our eyes away from the more fundamental class issues. The problem is not bad capitalists but the capitalist system. This becomes essentially an attack on the right wing of bourgeios politics from its left-liberal wing, again radical and sensational but in no way revolutionary.

Inevitably in the course of a revolutionary struggle the situation arises that the boundaries of civil society collapse and in the struggle for power two camps line up against each other and there are no more rules to the game. American society remains a long way from that. For this we should be greatful since we are in no way ready. Even when it comes to pass it will be imperative that those wishing to make a revolution that actually brings about meaningful change maintain the moral high ground. I have moved toward a recognition of the centrality of basic human rights in political action. I think that, if anything, the history of the past decade from the 9-11 attacks to the ouster of Mubarak and the impending ouster of Ghadaffi show that the mass of the working class will not be won to follow a leadership that does not evince the greatest respect for human life, human rights, and freedoms of opinion and faith.
Prairie Fyre
Americans for Prosperity are a corporate front group. So from my perspective, and apparently from that of Anonymous, it is corporate first, political as a cover story (hence… my point about corporate personhood. Corporations have been given “free speech” as if they’re people, which they are not). Nonetheless, assuming that as an ostensible “political entity,” A4P is entitled to free speech rights, we also must realize that free speech rights can be abridged only by government entities, which Anonymous is not.

Anonymous is a combination of individuals who have identified as such and have one computer with single access to the internet and maybe a handful of individuals who control botnets, making it easier for them to use denial of service attacks to take out sites. Anonymous is more akin to small, decentralized anarchist cells doing culture jamming than anything else. I think there’s a place for that. Sure, rightwingers with botnets combined with individual rightwingers could ban together and attack lefty sites. Actually, similar things have happened already… they’ve actually hacked into site and taken them over.

Anyway, we can hardly equate a bunch of random individuals acting together with a multibillionaire-funded astro-turf group. Also, Anonymous are far from being considered leaders on the left.

Regarding “the revolution”… I don’t believe in waiting for the revolution to happen or that necessarily it will happen the way it has occurred historically in other places. I spend much of my time making a revolution as we speak, by working to create a culture and society based on values such as peace and justice, non-hierarchical social structures, truly fair economics, etc, within the rotting, stinking corpse of the old. Environmentalist and author Derrick Jensen says “we need it all.” I would agree.See More

Rawlins View

Shutting down someone’s or even something’s website is a stifling of free speech, whether the act is governmental or not. I am not talking about free speech as a juridicial concept but rather stating that I oppose the stifling of political …speech in general and especially in the open forum of the internet. I would not go into the public Libary and burn Mein Kampf, I would not picket Barnes and Noble because they carry Reagan’s Autobiography.
There is plenty of opportunity here to challenge the reactionary political perspectives of AFSP without hacking their website.
Again I do not think that corporate personhood is relevant because AFSP puts forward real political ideas. This is not an infomercial for a dish cleaner it is a website that advocates reactionary libertarian views. I agree that they are pretending to be a broad movement when in fact they are a shill for a small capitalist collective. This battle will be won by answering their propaganda not by attempting to quiet them.
I don’t think that anyone here is advocating “waiting for the revolution” but rather acknowledging the specific situation in which we find ourselves and not taking actions which end up being destructive to the task of building a real mass movement like the one which just deposed Mubarak or today the Prime Minster of Tunisia.
In part this is about how seriously we take ourselves. The challenge in the long term is to build a credible movement that can alter the whole basis of power in this society. I believe that the time is now right to do this.
Prairie Fyre
While I might agree that the best thing (in terms of speech) we can do is counter political speech, we will continue to disagree about the specific tactics of Anonymous, who have until recently, been non-political in their heretofore focus …on the Church of Scientology, a cult against which apparently one of more of them hold a grudge (I’m not a fan of Scientology, but I wouldn’t put much energy into fighting them either). Anonymous acts as Anonymous acts, much like The Monkey Wrench Gang. I hardly think that if they knock out a web site for a day that they are stifling free speech, especially considering all of the many venues that particular speech in all its forms takes (which is pretty much a hefty chunk of what is now considered “mainstream media,”) when on the other hand, things can be going on in Wisconsin that people in NJ (hardly across the world or media divide, one would think) aren’t hearing about unless they’re plugged into alternative media.

Also you may recall, those of us who boycott certain corporations for their support of certain political entities, beliefs, or behaviors, have been accused of “stifling free speech.” And have you forgotten those lovely political ads paid for by such entities of Big Oil companies to advocate against addressing climate change? What do we call them?

If I climb up on a billboard with a political message and alter it, am I stifling free speech? Maybe you think so. I dunno. Anyway, I would not equate temporarily knocking out a Web site with a denial of service attack with burning a book in the library or the oppressive acts of government (and corporations… the distinction at this point has become pretty fuzzy).

You don’t appear to be interested in the other, equally important, aspects of making revolution (I mean in addition to being in the streets or taking over a public building) that I mentioned. As Jensen says, we need it all, so there are those of us who have spent a good deal of time in the streets over the wars and other issues, who are now putting more time into preparing our communities for what is not going to be an easy collapse, by building new economies and reskilling.

We are in what’s been referred to as “a long emergency.” It’s a slow-mo collapse that is seeing the extinctions of species daily and has left human as a “sick herd.” Americans have shown their difficulty with making real change, so that we can’t wait for the right time to begin creating communities that may be able to sustain us through the long emergency. I agree, now is the time. More
Monday at 7:42am · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading…
Max Monclair
‎@Prairie Fyre: I agree overall with your last comment, and won’t take the time here to split hairs on any particular points. I think that we’re getting to a point where we cannot afford to waste our time and energy decrying those whose tac…tics we don’t agree with, especially if they run parallel to our own objectives. While I tend to lean more to the communist side of the leftist divide, I do see a value in many of the efforts put forward in anarchist circles, especially in economic organization and syndicalism. Do I see these as ultimate solutions? Of course not, there are weaknesses to them, which I am happy to discuss among ourselves. But we’ve seen what happens when we focus more on how revolutionaries and progressives disagree with each other than on how we are going to change this system and replace its foundations: absolutely nothing. The insane spectacle of CP labor militants turning on the Trot and democratic socialist rivals and of social democrats turning on all of them, up into the 60s, cannot be repeated if we are to get anywhere.

We do need it all, or we at least need to remember who our real opponent is. And if a bit of high-tech monkey wrenching interferes with the capitalists’ ability to astroturf organizing, I won’t have anything bad to say about that.See More
Prairie Fyre Max… word.

Max Monclair Just a footnote to my last paragraph: when I was in a small communist party (emphasis on small “c”) in the late 80s and 90s, one thing that always irked the hell out of me was the persistent reference to members of other such parties as “opponents”. We have ONE opponent: the capitalist system (and the class that defends it).

Ziibi Qwa Rawlins View….much thanks……

About rawlinsview

News and political commentary from the point of view of the social interests of the international working class.
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