TOTW: Anonymity

  • Posted on: 12 November 2018
  • By: thecollective

Anonymity has been valued by anarchists as a means of hiding from the state and the law-abiding masses since its origins, something which is manifest today through practices classified under “security culture”, anonymous claims to clandestine actions published on anarchist websites, the adoption of pen names or keeping one’s name off of one’s writings - all things which have been aided by the rise of the internet. For the anarchist, anonymity can offer both cover from the eyes of the government and one's employer and the ability to say or do otherwise unsayable or un-doable things without suffering social sanction.

Yet at the same time there are people who put a lot of stock in not being anonymous, at least not all the time. The reasons for this are many - a desire to own one’s actions and ideas, to connect with others by putting a name and a face on what one does, or even to achieve some level of fame. “Openness” is something which has also been aided by the internet - we are now more “reachable” than ever by anyone with internet access - but has also been weaponized as a tool of oppression by state, capital, and those who aid the work of the state through no-platforming and doxxing. Anonymity may come with its own costs - alienation from one’s potential allies, a fragmented life in which one feels they can’t realize their politics in any but discreet spaces, to name a few, but the costs of openness can range from the tyranny of the crowd as a visible enemy to one’s livelihood and relationships being endangered by the access one’s enemies can have to damaging personal information.

How much value do you place in anonymity in your own life and projects? Do you generally favor anonymity or openness in your projects, and why?



meaningless recognition from insignificant people is less preferable than the joy of doing projects from outside of cages.

a girl has no name

Totally random but twas too much work signing up on ap. did you see my response on that same forum topic? if so andnot interested, totally fine. But didnt know for sure if you ever saw it.

One of my favorite texts about anonymous is:

"Anonymous: That Most Prolific of Anarchist Writers" by Alex Gorrion

Basically, anonymity can either be laziness or cowardice. If you can't say it face to face or with a name to put to comment, then get off the anarchist site and go to church where you belong instead, or STFU. Nihilists don't care because they have Nothing to hide and also because fear is intrinsically ideological.

This is peak-stupid for you Le Fool and that's really saying something!

Ok, "Le Way." That's nice, dear. Go wash up and mama will make you some yummy hot pockets before you get back to Minecraft

"Basically, anonymity can either be laziness or cowardice."

basically, that is pathetic. binary, shallow, and absolutely inaccurate.

The binary is the dual identity that anons possess, 1) the anonymous (the concealed self) and 2) the social visible self. YOU are living the binary schizo dual personality. I am the singular nihilist entity in space without persona or identity.

Your singular nihilist entity in space without persona or identity seems to have a pretty self-absorbed persona and identity.

" I am the singular nihilist entity in space without persona or identity."

LOL!!! "singular nihilist ... without identity". LOL!

like i said, pathetic.

i personally have many more than 2 "identities", not binary in the least.

You must be ruled by many Others?

Anarchism is WAY to structured by the need for anonymity partly due to its over burdening relationship with illegality(alegality as Armand would say). The things that matter for actualizing anarchy are fairly out in the open with names in public.

Yes, SirE, as you know, 'tis the esoteric spooks which hinder and conceal the full expression of creative potentialities!

If you have to always be the extreme commenter just post links from smarter people
who express themselves better

I am a nihilist poet striving for minimalist brevity and the conservation of the word. A haiku methinks:-

Anon who are you
Hiding in your fearful mind
Come out now and play

"For it’s in the nature of every real position to be anonymous." - Tiqqun, postscript to Italian translation of Theory of Bloom

hacker group anonymous. nuff said.

If you ever find yourself agreeing with Le Fool and Sir Ziggles, see above comments to remind yourself that you should stop being an idiot or assume it's a moment of weakness.

Or perhaps a broken clock phenomena? Anyway, fuck those trolls. They suck. Open and shut case.

Finally! A supremely relevant Topic of the Week! Let the naive debunkers of anonymity {like the asinine and pretentious poser Le Way) continue to underestimate the scope of the surveillance State (and its assorted police agencies like the NSA and FBI) and "lazilly" post all their personal data/relationships/affilliations (along with their social security numbers) on Facebook (it would be "cowardly" to consider this a bad idea) and natural selection will just run its course...

What about it, you fucking suburban intellectual? When's the last time you had the FBI show up at your parent's house with a Grand Jury Subpoena?

Considering that "free" self-determined, self-willed activity is ILLEGAll, "sir enzjiege, why would I publicize it and why would i bother to respond to your infantile taunts (if you're so into transparency then you should have no hesitation revealing whether or not you still live in your parent's basement)...You obviously have no actual criminal experience or you would'nt even bother asking such sheltered, cyber-mediated questions... go jerk off with LeWay...

In the context of a non-repressive liberal state you can do a lot of things GR. I'm not saying that eventually illegality won't come into play when anarchism and anarchy really get going, but as of right now anarchists do a lot of stupid things that attract law enforcement. Being a struggle fetish discourse that is built on attacking a 'system' that also believes in its existence beyond reification does not help.

The REALLY radical stuff that I talk about(adolescent anarchy for instance) would eventually attract law enforcement and and societal terror management defense forces but you can do a lot of things in the build up that are innocuous and will NOT attract the fbi that is still radical in posture. Hell the stuff Bellamy and Seaweed do, which is a takeoff from the likes of Armand, is a good example. If you begin to see actual concrete regional radical expression that comes out of these kinds of practices THEN you probably will come across unavoidable law enforcement, but as of right now anarchists do a lot of STUPID things that put them in jail. Unless you wanna be a Novatore(which most are not capable of) then be smart in how you affect anarchy in the world.

Sir Enzeige, Do you actually have any real friends or associates in the non-internet world? If so, why not be open about who they are since you're doing nothing to attract FBI attention (in your infinite, superior wisdom)? THAT is the question...

The only reason SE could invoke to keep himself and his fascist buddies into anonymity is the fear of repercussions by his stalwart foes, the antifa. But since he's a BIG tough guy and maybe also non-White... why would he be afraid of getting his ass handed?

As far as my feelings and desires are concerned, I consider myself an open individual. As for anonymity, to me it is merely the conceit of an impossibility. I do not expect to be anonymous and continue to interact with the world. However, I do choose to obfuscate within interactions when I feel they may debilitate me. With regards to projects, when they are not my own, they often require some pretense for my involvement which in turn conjures its own dissociative grotesque. How far these grotesques tally with your measure; I do not know—that is the jeopardy.

Just a-wonderin'... If there's any widespread counter-insurgent repression of anarchists in the U.S., online transactions will be one of the first things the FBI will be looking into. Nowadays, they logically should be going after the Alt-Right fanatics... but for reasons we know quite well, they been lenient at it.

Recent post on squats on Freedom News: the ones that survive nowadays are the ones which stay invisible.

Vice News today: Police have no idea who "Phineas Fisher" is. Whoever hacked Hacking Group has probably got away with it.

David Graeber on rural Madagascar: anarchism survives there because nobody realises it's happening.

James Scott: in a situation where open insurrectionary acts are quickly squashed, dissidents either disguise the messenger or disguise the message.

Recent post, "leave your phone on" - nowadays not getting caught is partly about not standing out in relation to one's usual "profile". Being anonymous isn't necessarily being anonymous.

The ideal for anarchist action today is to have visible effects without being individually visible.

One of my friends told me these statistics, he works as an orderly in a large metropolitan hospital, so gets to meet folk from all sides of the socio/political spectrum. Though not arrived at using a test model, his hands on face to face contact with clients give these figures significant veracity and reason for concern
1)Anarchists and activists have a greater chance of developing stomach ulcers and personality disorders if they adopt a secretive and suspicious MO in their daily life.
2)Anonymous and secretive anarchists and activists have no social life and lack many social skills.
3)These anons have a higher suicidal rate than the heteronormative majority.
4)Secretive activist anarchists have the lowest percentage of children and reproduction and if the trend continues, as a political group, they will become extinct in the next few decades.
5)Anon activists have the highest rate of obesity of any political group.
6)Anon activists have the highest percentage of gay and feminist members amongst their ranks than any other political club.

you have been doing a great job of proving #2 in your idiotic listicle.

Oops I forgot, my name is Feagard McKenzie Jnr :)

Just caught this on Fedbook, nice to be anti-anon out in the open whoopee!

Me too, hello fellow anarchists, coming to the BBQ?

Just added a photo. That's Nancy Boy on my left, he's a sweetie and ohhh can he hack into computers, and on my right is Le Way, no, he's not pouting, that's just his wierd lips from sucking you know what too much, he's a nihilist animal, see you at the party, byeeeee.

Anonymity is crucial for the reasons listed, to imagine it as cowardice is pathetic and stupid. That said, there are specific times where owning your action in the face of the monolith can work. Of course it puts you at risk but it's a risk worth taking for some individuals. Sometimes publicity actually puts you at less risk as well. There's always a line, it's just you gotta figure it out on your own.

anonymity is an old subject in anarchist movement, and you also find it in the illegalist anarchist paper "der communist" in german exile milieu of the 1890ies.
Just some quotes (roughly translated):

"All experiences that the anarchist movement has made, speak for anonymity. Especially there are events of recent times which necessiate the discussion of anonymity seriously.
The open attentat of Berkman was insuccsesfull and gave its actor into the hands of the enemy. But, would Berkman hat made the execution secretly, he would have been save as it seems!!!
Which blooming succes of anonymous action in the restaurant Véry!!! Would somebody have put himself directly in front of the restaurant and would have made publicly a Dyniamitisation, he would have been buried behind the walls of prison or the realisation of the plan would have been made impossible. But through the anonymous deed the dynamiter stayd unrecognised and is still in freedom, and the explosion succeded wonderfully!!! [later busted]
Ravachol has only fallen through giving up his anonymity! All his anonymous actions hat perfect success!!! Would he have stayed anonymous, i.e. wouldn't he have avoided this damned trustiness to his comrades, Chaumartin, Drouhit and Bricou couldnt have snitched!!!
Once you wanna be anonymous, it is also necessary that you give a shit about honour, that you, not caring about the brabbling of idiots and scoundrels, go your way unstoppably further - but what shouldnt stop you paying back this dogs with bare money by chance.
While "safing his honour" already a lot of people were put to jail. Remember Lorion!!!
Would anonymity have been applied to anarchist literature, we wouldnt have to watch, how most of anarchist papers, which above all are run by hard earned workers money, are filled with personally righteousnesses!
Would a Mr. Most, or a Mr. Peukert, or a Mr. Merlino, or a Mr. Malatesta, or a Kropotkine and lots others of this highly respectet persons, held up by lazy thinking people, have stayed anonymous, they coulnt have grown to a certain authority, and it would have been spared to others having to fight them, because they see in this a dangerous corruption! Instead, their literature wouldnt have made a smaller impression on the masses, the opposite is the case, their writing would have been read all the same, one would have discussed it and criticized it, without caring which hand wrote it. Isnt it a pitty, when you have to see nowadays, that persons, which became influental through popularity, become a certain hindrance to revolutionary actions?"

"When we think about all this things, we find, that it is absolutely not necessary, to fight the bourgeoisie publicly, that it ist for to stay able to live necessary, to advance anonymos. It is absolutely not necessary, that our literature comes out publicly, so that the bandits of order [meant is the cops] can bust us, let us print secretly what isnt allowed to print publicly!!!
It isnt necessary, that we take publicly revenge on our oppressors, NO, THE ANARCHISTS NOT GOING TO BE SO STUPID ANYMORE AND OPPOSE THE BOURGEOISIE PUBLICLY, so they let us dissapear behind walls or with the hangman, NO, ANONYMOUSLY, IN THE CALM OF THE NIGHT, IN SECRET, AWAY from the PUBLIC, WITH POISON, KNIFE, DYNAMIT, ROPE, et cetera. WE WANT TO START THE ACT OF REVENGE!"

roughly translated from the german journal "Der Communist" Nr. 10, published clandestinely around 1892 by "anonymus individualo". English s not my mothertongue, sorry.

But more important for americans is another article entitled "Die Anonmyität" in the 11th issue of Der Communist:

"Anonymity is recommended through nothing more than the story of the eight Chicago anarchists. It was public agitation, which brought our comrades to the gallows and prison. Because nobody could be brought in connection with the Haymarket-bomb. They all were jugded only because they were anarchist agitators. They made themselves known through public literature and through their speeches; and as the bourgeoisie wanted once again still their thirst for blood, they grabbed those hated, they knew.
But the anonymous bombthrower of the haymarket couldnt be found by the bourgeoisie; him, that they would have liked to hang much more then the public agitators, they never found him!!! The anonymous bomb destroyed eight pigs!!! What a terror for the bourgeoisie, when from unknown hand it is agitated in this way!
This kind of agitation is for the bourgeoisie more dangerous as a great speech, or a paper-article signed with a nice name. Practice prooved besides that, that it is possible to publish and spread revolutionary literature anonymously.
And the anonymous haymarket bomb has found its succesors; it banged just yet in Paris, with a similar success as seven years ago in Chicago.-
The anarchists will learn from history, that anonymity is absolutely necessary for revolutionary propaganda. And soon the time will come, where the revolutionary elements wont step into the public, to be recognisable as revolutionaries, but make their propaganda anonymous. Then will it get hotter for the bourgeoisie, but the revolutionaries wont march to the gallows that often anymore!!! Then, but only then, can and will anarchy triumph!!! But not, as long as we have only posers and martyrs!!!
Long live anonymity!!!"

This paper communist can be associated with the illegalist milieu in london, especially the intransigente group, where Vittorio Pini is the most famous one. Also Conrad Fröhlich, a swiss guy was probably the printer of that material. It was a milieu of robbers, also with involvement of luigi parmeggiani. But the most famous exponent of this tendency must be considered ravachol and emile henry, which were also travelling to london!

At the risk of gatekeeping, if you argue against anon, you aren't a real anarchist.

Automatic disqualification.

I just think anarchists rely to much on the structure of it. Anarchism should be confrontational at the level of discourse, that requires a certain out in the openess.

were you the "Open revolt, not clandestine action!" troll on here from back when?

Which isn't mine though I support the underlying idea and a structure of anonymity does not exactly help this.

Lol...because Sir Einzige and Le Way are their real names. LMAO!

Anonymity has been valued by anarchists as a means of hiding from the state...

Let's not kid ourselves. It's a way for internet trolls on certain websites to be trolls and not stick up for what they supposedly believe in.

Yes, that's very true, at least Sir Einziege and Le Way are bold enough to put their names where their mouths are, very decent and honest of them. If all anarchs did this, it would be a better world.

Either the names were removed for some incomprehensible reason by the admins, or this is just some nonsensical bluffing by you.

I think the kind poster is referring to my inclusion in good faith of my first name in a reply I made last week to prove my convictions concerning honesty and tranparency in identifying oneself when making comments which was unfortunately removed, sigh.,.

Just because for a change I complemented, SirEnzigie and Leeway for putting their names out and for not hiding from their beliefs, it was DELETED. Its almost as if there is a leftist conspiracy against these 2 anarchist!

First of all, they're not anarchists.

Secondly, they're notorious trolls and the few good-faith commenters here mostly hate them (or will learn to, soon enough)

Thirdly, it's not a "conspiracy" because we're all constantly telling them to fuck off, which is usually when they start crying "conspiracy".

Fourth, those are screen-names. They do not represent bravery or integrity or anything like that, only a desire to be consistently obnoxious.

Fifth, I will now cheerfully immolate myself and die laughing with relief because this discussion is over.

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