How Not To Be An Effective Activist

It is sometimes amazing to me how quickly good intentions by my fellow liberals will undergo a metamorphosis into the behavior of a juvenile delinquent.  Standing up for the little guy turns into a mindless action that marginalizes those we champion, or in some cases we champion the cause of selfish anarchy.

I think it’s important to point out the modifier in that last term. Though I may find anarchy an ultimately futile approach to society, the arguments for and against some forms of anarchy are more complex than can be handled in a single blog article. Simple minded, individual, hedonistic anarchy, however, is another matter. Taking what you want, when you want is childish, anti social and rightfully criminal. So championing a website that does that, as Anonymous has done, puts so much egg on our face.

Let me make this clear, because it apparently isn’t to some, MegaUpload is not YouTube. This is a site that gleefully flaunted the fact that you could get any movie you wanted and encouraged illegal uploading of material to their site. Their own criminal culpability is still in question, and should be until they are tried and either convicted or acquitted, but they at least behaved in an ill advised fashion that cast suspicion over their activities, suspicion that warranted a two year investigation. YouTube will quickly take down material that clearly infringes copyright, helping them to avoid such scrutiny.

The fact that our government was able to go after an alleged pirate site without resorting to new, possibly first amendment infringing tools, should be celebrated as a win for those of us that oppose SOPA and PIPA. It shows how these flawed bills are utterly unnecessary. Instead Anonymous attacks the DoJ. Some may say it was a bit of harmless mischief. The only thing that happened was the DoJ’s website went down for a little bit. Here is the kind of work the Department of Justice does.

Has it been a tool of corporations? Certainly, but it has also fought for the little guy and is nowhere near as monolithic an organization the often naive left would like to believe. The same, of course can be said of Anonymous. I am disappointed in this particular action but they have targeted child pornographers, exposed police brutality, and otherwise aided the Occupy Movement. I say this, not only because I want to take the target off of my head, but because I legitimately believe they do good work.  Not all of it is legal, but that alone does not make it bad. Exposing which politicians received how much, from which donors, while technically illegal, is a public good of the highest order. All I ask, oh wonderful hackers at Anonymous (seriously, I’m an unemployed blogger, you can make my life worse, but please don’t) is you take a little more time considering your actions.

In other news we have the protests of President Obama in Harlem and BrooklynBadBoy’s take on it. I cannot agree that there should not have been a protest. If nothing else it reminds the President that he needs to improve his record when it comes to dealing with those that caused our economy to crash and burn four and a half years ago. That said I wonder if this apparently all white crowd tried to do any community outreach to bring any PoC into their ranks.  How tone deaf do you have to be, to take an all white group into Harlem and protest a black President? All while just a few miles away, the bankers that you want this President to call to task are hobnobbing with his presumed rival come this November? A rival, I might add, that is as white as white can be. What sort of message do you think you are sending?

I hate the feeling I get in my gut when I am forced to write about this. By and large we are smart people, with ideas that are intelligent, compassionate and truly in the best interest of our country. Yes, I understand part of the problem is the mainstream media focusing on a few mistakes, or a few bad elements, but when members of the alt media are noticing, then you have crossed the line into self parody. You provide those that vehemently oppose our ideas with ammo to use against us, and yes that ammo is full of straw men and ad hominems, but do you really think that is going to matter to the overstimulated, overworked masses we are trying to reach out to? You want to make the world better? Great, so do I, but start by making yourself a little better by  slowing down and reflecting on your actions.

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