Anonymous, the international organisation/collective launched, some argue, in 2003 by Internet activists and hacktivists, is in full engagement of its latest project, #OpSafeWinter. Launched November 7 of 2013, the operation aims to support the homeless by providing basic needs like food, warm clothing and camping supplies, as well as by raising public awareness of the housing crisis. It’s also one of the most ‘outreachy’ operations, working alongside non-Anon organizations and individuals who are already active in fighting homelessness.
The operation grew spontaneously and inevitably out of various winter holiday-themed projects scattered around the globe, which had been perennially popping up, winter over winter. In its first year, OpSafeWinter boasted participation from 12 countries on an official basis, and several others on an ad hoc basis. The most active countries in last year’s coalition were the UK, the US, and Brazil, where the normally fearsome Black Bloc was highly active in a food and toys drive in São Paulo. Throughout the year several local groups continued their operations, liaising with non-Anonymous organizations, creating resource banks, offering soup kitchens and more.
The UK’s East Coast Homeless Outreach project, which is up for an award from the Lloyds Bank Foundation, grew out of the operation. Organizer JediKnight says: ‘November 5th I am planning #OpFeedTheHomeless in London. I have teams ready on standby for donations to give to the homeless on the streets all night. We want all people going to London to bring a drink and a sandwich to donate.’ A press release posted on the Pastebin read:
‘Fellow Anon and Citizens of the world, we are proud to re-announce #OPSafeWinter. In this age of consumerism there is very little love or care about each other, and we’re here to change that. No longer shall we stand by and watch isolation and fear be spread by the establishment, which is killing and destroying community and lives. We all have a voice, so make yours heard, you are the power, your choice, your life, you are the motivation for justice.’
They also named the two missions on the press release on Pastebin: ‘1st Mission: Please list the current homeless count in alphabetical order by town/city/country; within each town contact local charities, shops, businesses that will support with any of the above list and more. You can get the latest figures from your local council by sending them a freedom of information request if you are not sure of the figures in your town.’ ‘2nd Mission: coordinate with Anons and others willing to participate in the execution/distribution of services we are able to provide. Whether it’s transport, collection of donations etc.’
Wish to help the homeless? Check out the Hashtag: #OPSafeWinter