One of the key areas to consider is also where all this goes in the future.
That’s what I thought would be good to talk about today.
I should be clear that the focal point here being where anonymous and occupy go in the future, rather than how the cyberwars play out. That’s something I’ll come back to tomorrow as it’s worth a chat about Stuxnet and the potential for corporate cyberwars.
But circling back to wikileaks, anonymous and the power of one, we are seeing an emergence of a new form of crowdsourced activism.
Calling themselves a collective, the anonymous hacktivism movement really gives vent to the idea that anyone anywhere can instigate a movement for or against anyone anywhere.
They have pro’s and con’s, but no focus.
As a result, they are variously described as a swarm of bees, hornets or birds.
Probably the best illustration is the flock of birds that gather in the fall and fly this way and that. As one bird branches out, tohers follow but not necessarily all. Then another group follow another, and another, another.
It’s a never-ending flock of birds flying this way and that, with no uniformity or clear direction.
But this can only last for so long and, as mentioned on Monday, an uprising cannot happen without some form of organisation and leadership.
So much as the anonymous group love their anarchy of today I propose they are looking for and will find a leader.
And, as we keep talking about this as the Great Recession and that we need to learn the economic lessons of the Great Depression, I would propose that one of those lessons is that in times where many suffer economic hardship, an opportunist will find opportunity.
So I’ve rewritten an excerpt about the Great Depression and placed this in our current situation:
The stock market in the United States crashed and the impact was felt globally, no more so than in Europe.
Millions were thrown out of work and several major banks collapsed.
The people lost trust in governance and governments, and began to reject the paltry efforts of their leaders.
A new political party was created known as the Anonymous Collective, and began as an open global democracy until one leader took hold: Julian Assange.
The Global Great Recession provided a political opportunity of a lifetime for the new leader.
People were ambivalent to government control everywhere, and challenges from right- and left-wing extremists meant that most political parties struck a middle ground collation approach.
However, the moderate political parties were increasingly unable to stem the tide of extremism, and eventually the extremists won out.
In this case, it was the extremes of the Collective party.
This new party ignored regional boundaries and operated on a globalised basis through the network.
They promised to reject Wall Street capitalism and corporate control; to get rid of governmental austerity measures to ensure that people could live better; to strengthen the global economy and provide jobs for all, by getting rid of the stranglehold of Angela Merkel in Europe, the corruption and human rights issues in China, and the general dominance and bullying of the Americas over the rest of the world.
Although their original message was compelling: “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.” It was felt to be too dark.
The new Collective Party turned this around by creating a positive focus: “We are the Collective. We are strong. We are working together for the global good by getting rid of the global evil. Join us.”
The message resonated in every corner of the cybersphere, and people did join by their hundreds of thousands globally, downloading the Collective’s messaging apps and programs.
Suddenly, all communication was off-net and traditional powers, governments and authorities had no control.
The result was that governments determined to shut down the Collective, wipe out Julian Assange and shut down his operations.
However, the Collective’s leadership was smart and, as it found challenges in every geography, it fought back using the very instruments that the authorities were using to try to shut them down, namely, democracy.
The Collective’s leadership said that it would launch a Collective party in every country where people wanted representation, and would pursue political power solely through democratic elections.
This stance gained the Collective credibility with many disillusioned people but, more importantly, with many disillusioned policymakers and politicians in parties across the world.
The new enthusiasm of a political party with real political might increased its popularity ten-fold. Mixed with the strong use of social media and real-time messaging, the Collective Party had real strength by the time the next elections took place in the USA and Europe.
Combined with the fact that coalition-based austerity measures had brought little economic improvement and were extremely unpopular, people wanted change and the Collective was the first party to offer a real alternative.
The Collective Party exploited the disillusionment of people by targeting their political messages specifically at those who had been affected by the Recession, such as bankrupt entrepreneurs, retailers whose stores had gone out of businesses, small businessmen, redundant white collar workers, failed bankers and the general middle class.
Meanwhile the Collective’s leader, Julian Assange, had finally sorted out one big issue.
Having formally renounced his Australian citizenship he had remained, for almost seven years, stateless and was unable to run for public office himself. In fact, he faced the risk of deportation on many occasions.
That changed when the interior minister of Ecuador, who was a member of the Collective Party, appointed Assange as administrator for the state's delegation to the United Nations, making Assange a citizen of Ecuador and thus recognised as an acceptable member of the UN taskforce for economic change …
I could play this out further but it is pure speculation and jest.
Meanwhile, you might find this extract from Wikipedia interesting:
The stock market in the United States crashed on 24 October 1929. The impact in Germany was dire: millions were thrown out of work and several major banks collapsed. Hitler and the NSDAP prepared to take advantage of the emergency to gain support for their party. They promised to repudiate the Versailles Treaty, strengthen the economy, and provide jobs.
The Great Depression in Germany provided a political opportunity for Hitler. Germans were ambivalent to the parliamentary republic, which faced strong challenges from right- and left-wing extremists. The moderate political parties were increasingly unable to stem the tide of extremism, and the German referendum of 1929 had helped to elevate Nazi ideology.
The elections of September 1930 resulted in the break-up of a grand coalition and its replacement with a minority cabinet. Its leader, chancellor Heinrich Brüning of the Centre Party, governed through emergency decrees from the president, Paul von Hindenburg. Governance by decree would become the new norm and paved the way for authoritarian forms of government.
The NSDAP rose from obscurity to win 18.3% of the vote and 107 parliamentary seats in the 1930 election, becoming the second-largest party in parliament.
Hitler made a prominent appearance at the trial of two Reichswehr officers, Lieutenants Richard Scheringer and Hans Ludin, in the autumn of 1930. Both were charged with membership in the NSDAP, at that time illegal for Reichswehr personnel. The prosecution argued that the NSDAP was an extremist party, prompting defence lawyer Hans Frank to call on Hitler to testify in court.
On 25 September 1930 Hitler testified that his party would pursue political power solely through democratic elections, a testimony that won him many supporters in the officer corps.
Brüning's austerity measures brought little economic improvement and were extremely unpopular.
Hitler exploited this by targeting his political messages specifically at people who had been affected by the inflation of the 1920s and the Depression, such as farmers, war veterans, and the middle class.
Hitler had formally renounced his Austrian citizenship on 7 April 1925, but at the time did not acquire German citizenship. For almost seven years Hitler was stateless, unable to run for public office, and faced the risk of deportation.
On 25 February 1932 the interior minister of Brunswick, who was a member of the NSDAP, appointed Hitler as administrator for the state's delegation to the Reichsrat in Berlin, making Hitler a citizen of Brunswick, and thus of Germany.
In 1932 Hitler ran against von Hindenburg in the presidential elections.
The viability of his candidacy was underscored by a 27 January 1932 speech to the Industry Club in Düsseldorf, which won him support from many of Germany's most powerful industrialists.
However, Hindenburg had support from various nationalist, monarchist, Catholic, and republican parties, and some social democrats. Hitler used the campaign slogan "Hitler über Deutschland" ("Hitler over Germany"), a reference to both his political ambitions and to his campaigning by aircraft.
Hitler came in second in both rounds of the election, garnering more than 35% of the vote in the final election.
Although he lost to Hindenburg, this election established Hitler as a strong force in German politics.
This is the third entry in a series about Hacktivism: