Sunday, February 12, 2012

Anonymous vs "Anonymous" (revised)

In America today, there are two different versions of anonymous, both vying for influence over the American Media landscape… in competition for influence over the as-yet undecided course of this country’s socio-political future.

On the one hand, there is “Anonymous” …good ol’ anonymous… the amorphous collective of socio-political, protest-as-theater, hacker-esque, artist-commentators on modern media. Anonymous appears as a spontaneous, synchronistic expression of dissatisfaction with the current dominator culture. If this phenomenon is viewed as a movement, it is sparked by a myriad of autonomous media-savvy souls, who simultaneously grasped the powerful and mimetically rich symbolism of the V for vendetta, Guy Fawkes mask/persona as the face of outrage.

Use of the Guy Fawkes mask not only created a caricature or personification of the phenomena… it “branded” Anonymous, in the marketing sense, as a movement. It was the collective adoption of Guy Fawkes that solidified this illusion of organization. As different individuals or groups pursue different agendas, by assuming the Guy Fawkes persona, they perpetuate the outward appearance of an international cabal.

A common thread of the anonymous phenomena is the illumination through media of the inherent injustice of contemporary politics and finance. Set aside the flashiness of the tech-hack-driven public image... and anonymous aligns with other successful grass-roots movements of the near past, like the civil rights movement of the early 60s. This makes anonymous potentially very powerful… for in the words of Victor Hugo… “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

In the minds of their competition, Anonymous is an international (terrorist?) organization, comprised of countless “cells” of networked hackers… intent on bringing down the existing fiscal and political systems of the power-elite.

Which brings us to the second, opposing anonymous.

The second “anonymous” had it’s overt beginnings in January, 2010 with the “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission” ruling by the supreme court, wherein: Government may not ban political spending by corporations. This effectively opened the floodgates for unlimited financial contributions to political candidates and/or campaigns, which allowed for the rise of the “Super-PAC.” This means that any super-rich, 1%-type individual can now legally give millions (and millions) of dollars to his/her candidate of choice, thereby effectively “buying” any given political race. Depending on the structure of the Super-PAC, these mega-rich individuals can pay-out their millions of dollars… ANONYMOUSLY.

Although anonymity has always been a time-honored tradition in politics, it historically was a protection of the disenfranchised. For the first time, it now masks the buying and selling of politicians... who have always been a notoriously unscrupulous bunch… by the power elite. The power elite, through the protection of anonymity afforded to them through their Super-PAC, can pour money into any given local, regional or national political race, potentially tipping the scale in their favor. In this way, the power elite have donned their own anonymous mask… the mask of anonymity.

So there you have it… on one side, there is the grass-roots Anonymous, protesting the ever-increasing inequity in the American political system. On the other side is the influence peddling, power brokers… paying out millions of dollars to effectively rig elections… anonymously.

Anonymous vs anonymous… in the lyrics of the old protest song…

“Which side are you on?”