By Alex Wukman
For over a week now supporters of the internet entity Anonymous have been encamped in the heart of New York’s financial district in an attempt to change the corporate friendly political climate. The media coverage of the event has been spotty at best and what has been reported hasn’t always been positive. The demonstrators proclaimed their desire to turn Wall Street into America’s Tahrir Square–whether it’s working or not is another matter. Now some ambitious Anons want to bring the party to Houston.
The group, calling itself Occupy Houston, wants to have protestors meet at Market Square at 7:30 a.m. on October 6 and march to both Chase tower and the Chronicle building. A message sent from Occupy Houston’s twitter account to the Houston Chronicle’s twitter account/RSS feed stated that demonstrators “will be outside your offices on Oct. 6 in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street” and asked “will you be able to ignore us then?”
Regardless of whether or not the Chron deigns to send a reporter out their front door Occupy Houston has already caught the attention of some of Houston’s more prominent activists and, at leas virtually, a generation gap seems to have been playing out on social media. Older activists in the Houston scene, like Harbeer Sandhu and Art Brown, spent time trying to determine affiliations with organizations, like the Revolutionary Communist Part and the International Socialist Organization, that have traditionally defined the the extreme fringe of progressive politics and seemed to be amused by the newness Occupy Houston is bringing to organizing while failing to understand the culture that Anonymous has created. As Sandhu wrote in an exchange he had with Occupy Houston on twitter “calling for transparency and accountability while remaining anonymous is ironic.”
Sandhu wasn’t the only one to seemingly not remember that Occupy Wall Street, and it’s offshoots, started on internet relay chat boards populated by hacktivists. Art Browning, another old school leftist, put it bluntly when he wrote that “everybody seems to love V for Vendetta, but the masks turn me off.” As is customary in Anonymous culture, and it’s many offshoots, the Occupy Houston Facebook profile picture includes the Guy Fawkes mask made famous in the film V For Vendetta.
Whether Occupy Houston will be able to bypass the turf battles that have traditionally defined the Houston left for so long and get people out in the streets remains to be seen.