joepie91's Ramblings

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I Told You So

11 May 2014

Note: there are a few people who the below article does not apply to. You know who you are. For everybody else, keep reading.

YourAnonNews has imploded. Tales of corruption have been published. Transparency reports were posted. Some pretty unreasonably large expenses became known.

And all I can really say, is: I fucking told you so.

Now this post isn't meant to stroke or boost my ego, or to convince myself or others that I'm somehow always right (which some people seem to love claiming). I'm well aware that that's not the case. No, this post is meant to be a reminder of the personal accountability of every person involved in Anonymous, and in activism in general.

First of all, let me start with the accountability of those within YourAnonNews.

Judging from the financial statement that has been posted, it went wrong as soon as Jackal received the funds. The IndieGoGo campaign was effectively a donation campaign, but the resulting funds were treated like it was investor money. Money was spent willy-nilly on unnecessary things - $3.5k for Sprout Social, really? - and there was no real consideration of careful spending.

Donations are not investor money. When you receive donations, you are supposed to be a responsible steward, and go to lengths to spend it effectively and carefully. That did not happen with YourAnonNews - it was treated like they just won the jackpot on a slot machine, and had some fancy disposable money to spend on whatever they felt like. And guess what, I already questioned their financials for exactly this reason.

Then the real drama begins. Perks are not shipped out. There is internal conflict over behaviour and access. The transparency towards people outside YourAnonNews is reduced to effectively zero. Corruption and nepotism happen. And of course I already made some points to that effect, quite some time ago.

And don't forget the personal attacks and accusations to avoid having to answer critical questions.

However, the blame isn't solely on YourAnonNews. In fact, I'd argue that not even the majority of the blame lies with YourAnonNews.

No, the majority of the blame lies with you.

You, the person who was blind to the very corruption and lack of transparency that you claim to fight against, happening within your very own environment.

You, the person who repeatedly ignored the criticism and critical questions by me and a disappointingly small group of others who did speak out.

You, the person who might've been aware of all this happening, but decided not to speak out. You were the bystander. The guy who stood by doing nothing, while somebody got assaulted right in front of you.

And that's the real point of this post, the personal accountability I'm speaking of. You should have taken the warnings seriously. YourAnonNews could never have become this bad, had you not given it preferential treatment. Especially in activism, it's crucial that you demand transparency and fair treatment.

As an activist, it is essential that you look critically at what other activists do, and that you are open to criticism from others, regardless of whether those people are in your "group" or not. I warned you of YourAnonNews over a year ago, and so did others. Your failure to heed that warning has led YourAnonNews to what it is now.

You can't fix the world if your approach itself is broken.