The State of the Struggle

I’ve been a public critic of Scientology since 1987 when a guy in Canada asked me to help him write a flyer about Scientology.  Back then critics didn’t even know each other mostly. I started meeting people like Ida Camburn, and then some FAIR people (ex-Scientologists suing Scientology). The Cult Awareness Network annual conferences, their newsletters, and other contacts gradually got so we knew each other at least. In 1991 I wrote “The Hubbard is Bare” and passed that around for feedback before sending out copies.  I figured maybe 100 people would read it.

   In 1994 I got on the internet.  Almost immediately I found alt.religion.scientology and hooked in to a new network of critics.  This was great; people with the same passion as me! 

   In 1995 Scientology attacked a.r.s., trying to shut it down completely through several different methods.  This caused great concern amongst internet users in general as it was seen as an attack on free speech on the internet.  Many more people joined the cause from this.  We started protests in front of Scientology orgs, mostly with signs like “hands off a.r.s.!” and “Scientology hates free speech” since that was what pissed people off the most. 

   The protests grew into annual protests in Clearwater, but they never got very big. The most people we had was 45. These lasted until 2000.  That year, the Lisa McPherson Trust opened.

   Between then and 2008 the media gradually lost their fear of Scientology to at least a degree, and more and more programs came out exposing Scientology, like South Park.

   Then in January 2008 Anonymous decided to take on Scientology.  This was a shock to everybody, I think including Anonymous.  Thousands of people around the world came out to protest Scientology. This changed things in many ways. For one, protesters were no longer outnumbered.  They were somewhat safe from retaliation by remaining anonymous.  They brought a fresh approach and incredible new skills, such as videos.  And they’ve been consistent.

   Scientology, meanwhile, has been essentially stagnant.  They offer nothing new either in their responses nor in their offers to the public.  They have absolutely no idea how to handle Anonymous.

   So, what is the state of the struggle?  Critics 1, Scientology 0.  The protests are fun, and Scientology makes them exciting by tailing people, sending out TROs, and all kinds of strangeness.  Anonymous has little cost other than to show up once a month, while Scientology sends out PI’s, lawyer letters, and hides its staff, essentially shutting down in fear of free speech.  It’s obvious that Scientology is still stuck in the 1950’s while Anonymous is the emergence of a new type of activism where cost is negligible, fun is part of the goal, and mad skillz are legendary.

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One Response to “The State of the Struggle”

  1. HouseSpider Says:

    Thanks for the quick review, Jeff. When are you coming through Denver again? Bring some Phoenix Pholx with ya next time!

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