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FDL Movie Night Preview: We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists

On Saturday, February 10 2008, I had a life changing experience. My friend Maria called me up and said, “Check out this website, then I’m coming over and we’re walking to the protest.” Uh okay. Little did I realize that just two weeks earlier in my living room, my housemate, journalist Mark Ebner had dullah’ed the nascent Chanology movement, the first real life appearance of “the internet hate machine” aka Anonymous, by flowing the now infamous Tom Cruise Scientology video to Gawker. I thought he was just chasing some story as he babbled into his cell phone, banging away at the computer. But what he actually did was launch Anonymous into the public eye. And the protest Maria dragged me to was the two-headed baby that Mark helped shoot out of the womb of the internet. Or some other equally tortured metaphor.

I spent nearly nine months protesting with Anonymous. I threw myself into it, especially after I ran into people I’d known in earlier phases of my life behind the masks. I was shoved, followed and chased by those we protested and their private goon squads; encouraged, supported (and berated for my hideous typing skills in IRC) by a core group of Anons. We marched in parades and changed a Los Angeles City street closure code through legal means, and generally had fun, goofing late into  the night making jokes in chat rooms. By September 2008, my time in Anon/Project Chanology felt complete, and I stopped visiting our IRC, though I stayed in touch with a few of people I’d gotten to know in real life. When one of the main Anons in Los Angeles, and a foundational 4Channer, known as ODB or The Captain, who I  knew from the record industry as Sean Carasov died, Anons formed an honor guard at his memorial.

But of course I paid attention to what Anonymous was up to via the news: Wikileaks, Tunisia, OpPayback, OpBART. I flew up to San Francisco to cover OpBART for FDL where I saw some of  Monday’ s movie We Are Legion being filmed and got handfuls of fliers for Occupy Wall Street.

We Are Legion is an in-depth look at Anonymous, tracing its history back to the early hacking culture, through 4Chan, Chanology, through Wikileaks/OpPayback, Tunisia, LulzSec, betrayals, backstabbings, FBI raids, and prison sentences, and their support of Occupy.

Please join us and We Are Legion‘s director/writer/producer Brian Knappenberger Monday at 8pm ET (5pm PT) on the front page of To ask questions/comment you must be logged in (you can register–it’s free!–using the button up top).

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.