Anonymous’ ridiculous videos and unrealistic goals have led to only eight people in Eugene saying they plan to attend this year’s Million Mask March less than a week before the event.
Activists across the globe are protesting corruption in government while wearing Guy Fawkes masks on Nov. 5 as part of the Million Mask March. A very small group of Eugene activists will be joining them.
“The March represents all of the 99 percent coming together and showing our government that we are here. That we see what’s going on and we don’t like it,” said Mitch Pharley, a travelling artist who plans on attending the event.
The Million Mask March is promoted by the hacking activist group Anonymous and got its start in 2013 following the Occupy Wall Street movement.
They choose to wear the Guy Fawkes mask because of Fawkes’ role in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 where he planned to use 36 barrels of gunpowder to explode the House of Lords in England, and because the masks help keep them from being identified by those who are hostile towards their activism. They decided on Nov. 5 because that is when Guy Fawkes was arrested.
While the protests started out strong it seems there will be a dismal turnout at this year’s protest in Eugene compared to the 61 people that went last year. Anonymous is notorious for using large amounts of internet activists to perform effective cyber attacks, but their cheesy videos and unfulfilled plans of action have led to an increasing lack of enthusiasm for the group.
For example, Anonymous just released a video calling for a violent revolt against the United States government which, from what I can tell, has no real traction whatsoever.
Compare their call for revolting against the United States government with their demands after the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. They demanded a citizen review board for officer involved shootings, as well as body cameras with audio, yet neither demands have been met.
I do support many of the issues that they stand for though, such as support for those protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, and their hatred for corruption in government. Unfortunately because the group remains completely anonymous there is no way to identify a central leader, so it’s hard for me to say that I agree with them on anything when some other random person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask could just come out and say the exact opposite.
Earlier this year, for example, Anonymous claimed that they were going to wage a war on Donald Trump’s campaign and decided to crash his website. Afterwards, another branch of the group denounced those actions saying that freedom of speech is more important and that they refuse to censor anyone “even if they are a monster.”
While Anonymous should and will continue their politically motivated cyber attacks, I think it is more important for people to rally behind unmasked leaders with a more realistic set of goals and that is reflected in this year’s Million Mask March turnout.
Pharley disagrees with me. “Anonymous is winning. You know how many people’s eyes we have opened over the years? You see how big our movements like the Million Mask March have gotten? It’s because we do what we do. We open eyes, clear minds and move our people towards the correct path.” Pharley said.