Except for an arrest here and there and some vocal complaining online about excessively authoritarian governments overseas, Anonymous has been relatively quiet for a week or so. Quiet online, anyway.
In the real world, more than 700 people were arrested Saturday during a protest Anonymous has been helping to organize and conduct, members of the group plan to occupy Los Angeles, worrying about getting kicked off Facebook, getting arrested and – astonishingly – getting Canadians riled up enough to organize and plan an event specifically to be impolite. That last one may have required genetic manipulation, or it may be that even members of the most orderly, considerate culture in North America have also gotten a little sick of the never-ending recession and patronizing attitude of financiers who place vague blame for the recession on consumers who allowed their spending to droop along with their incomes, and the unemployed who persist in not being employed or independently wealthy.
Occupy Toronto may be as polite an event as anything else Canadian except mosquitoes and hockey, but the intent, restrained anger, techniques and excessively vague demands are the same as the defensively polite Occupy Wall Street protesters who have been disrupting traffic, routine policework and the zeitgeist of New York (though not, apparently, Wall Street) for the past two weeks.
“We are determined to recognize the grievances of Canadian Citizens with regards to our Economic and Financial Policies,” according to a statement on the Occupy Toronto Market Exchange Facebook page. “It has become clear to us that there is a great deal of unethical and unjust behaviour among our corporate elite.”
It's a good thing the protest is being organized and led by Canadians. The last couple (or more) of times Americans tried to come upand liberate the place, it didn't work out so well. Neither have less official attempts – like the time a few hundred Irish immigrants just mustered out of the U.S. Army after the Civil War figured they could blackmail Ireland free by capturing a chunk of Canada and using it as a freehold for pirates to attack British shipping (England had the most powerful Navy in the world at the time and there were more than a couple of hundred people living in Canada, reportedly).
Most took a train to the invasion; many survivors had to beg their way home after being chased back south by a couple of angry Mounties and a hungry bear.
More insidious but even less effective was the completely "addle-headed" proposition from Communist-haters during the 1920s that the U.S. had to invade the Great White North to keep it from turning Red.
While more vaguely socialist and anti-globalist than Communist, Occupy Toronto members plan to march on Toronto beginning at 10 a.m. Oct. 15. There will be plenty of Mounties on hand but, it's almost certain, no bears.*
Brooklyn Bridge protesters charge cops with provoking provocateurs
In New York the protests are persistent, but sporadic. Demonstrators range from several hundred to less than 100 during the week, depending on location, time of day and police activity.
On the weekends the "99 percent" – as the protesters call themselves – come out in far greater numbers.
Almost 700 were arrested Saturday for a march across the Brooklyn Bridge that organizers said should have been legal – and was – until police allowed the hotheads in the group to lead others to march in the road and violate other rules set by the organizers and enforced by "pace setters" scattered throughout the crowd of marchers.
"Normally the police block off the highway and cross streets to keep us safe but they didn't on Saturday. There was a heavy police presence on the Brooklyn side of the bridge but not on the Manhattan side. They created the situation for provocateurs to lead people onto the highway." – march leader Christopher Longenecker, as quoted in the Guardian.
* OK, the thing about the bear isn't true
I made up the part about the bear, but just barely. the Fenian Brotherhood was alarmingly well organized sometimes; at others it wouldn't have been difficult for their "invasion" to have been repelled by wildlife.
In their best move, about 1,300 of them crossed the Niagara River near Buffalo, camped out and just sat there waiting for more Brothers and the trainloads of guns and ammunition they'd managed to stockpile.
Fifteen-thousand Canadian and British troops got there before the guns and chased the Fenians back across the river in what was more a footrace than a battle. Many were arrested midstream by an American warship sent to shut them down.
Back on shore, the rest, plus about 4,000 other Fenians stashed in the woods waiting for guns, had to face Civil War Hero General George Meade who came to Niagara with 35 men to talk the Fenians back to sanity.
Since that's hardly ever possible with the Irish, he told them about how he'd already captured all their guns and ammo, so if they wanted to invade they'd better carry pepper spray for the bears and maybe something stronger to repel Mounties.
They went home to wait for a better opportunity. It hasn't come yet.
The thing about the Commie plot in the 1920s is true, but incredibly stupid.
It's much better, as Anonymous has done, to convince Canadians to invade themselves.
Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.