OpSafeWinter, one of Anonymous’ most effective non-hacking Ops, is back (not that it actually went away) and we’ve got an interview with the international team behind it. As is traditional, the interviewees declined to identify themselves, other than as organizers of 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 op grew spontaneously and inevitably out of various winter holiday-themed ops 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 were highly active in a food and toys drive in Sao Paulo. Throughout the year several local groups continued their operations, liaising with non-Anonymous organizations, creating resource banks, offering soup kitchens and more. Portland produced a Million Blanket March, in solidarity with the spirit of the November 5 Million Mask March. 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, “Nov 5th I am planning #OpFeedTheHomeless in London. I have teams ready on standby for donations to give to homeless on the streets all night. We want all people going to London to bring a drink and a sandwich to donate.”
In traditional Anonymous fashion, the press release was posted on Pastebin first, with a video follow-up. This year’s op specifically calls on participants to help create a census of the homeless in each locale, as well as indexing services both civilian and Anonymous.
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.
Our mission: to highlight the homeless situation in areas throughout world. Build up a resource network for food supply, blankets, clothes socks etc. that can be donated. Amenities for warm showers etc.
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 its’ transport, collection of donations etc.
This is not definitive, any other suggestions ideas are welcome. Please list at the bottom of the pad as bullet points to make it easy to follow.
Lets make winter as safe and comfortable for as many people within our reach and beyond.
The Cryptosphere: What is different about this year’s OpSafeWinter?
AnonymousB: In spite of its name, OpSafeWinter was designed to continue year round. Those involved in the Op are global partners and winter happens somewhere on Earth at any given time. Several groups continued the Op through the summer, some calling it OpSafeSummer. Homelessness is growing on Earth, by leaps and bounds, so continuing the Op throughout the year was an effective way to combat homelessness. This year is different because we have set a precedent as a collective last year. We have a solid base from which to start and we have made great friends with many people all over who are continuing the Op. We also have an idea of what to expect from law enforcement and TPTB this year. Plus, experience with something is always a benefit.
AnonymousA: A honeypot was setup against opsafewinter [in other words, Twitter user @ihazcandy tried to obtain supporters’ IP addresses, presumably so they could collect a list of activists marked for future surveillance]. Why anyone would want to attack an operation to help the homeless is beyond me, the guy should stick to chasing ISIL!
TheCryptosphere: What are you seeing in terms of international participation? Are certain nations more active and enthusiastic about the op than others?
TheCryptosphere: What kind of media coverage has the op had?
TheCryptosphere: Do you seek changes in government policy or do you prefer citizen action?
AnonymousA: We don’t see national or local governments policies changing to help individuals. Thats why this op has taken off so well around the globe; people don’t like what they see, so the only way they can change it is by making the change themselves. People will always show their governemts up and try to change things for the better. At present a lot of the groups that carried this on throughout the year are having issues with local government, but its being ironed out, charity is charity, its none negotiable when people want to good for one another in a genuine and unconditional, so unfortunately it will rock the boat for big business, but businesses are asked to help, its their choice to act now.
AnonymousB: We have actually seen changes in the government in some areas of the world in regards to helping to feed some less fortunate folks. Some jurisdictions have even gone so far as to outlaw the practice of providing food to the homeless. They cite safety (what else) concerns for the organizations and the homeless population alike.
The Cryptosphere: What is the specific goal of the op? Has it changed at all from last year? And what would total success look like for the Op?
The first goal of the Op was basically awareness: finding out the numbers of homeless in your specific area, and raising awareness about the plight of these marginalized people. Success would be the annihilation of homelessness, but we’re looking to be a bit more pragmatic at first.
Success would be people recognizing that homeless people are just that…PEOPLE. They deserve compassion and care, just like anyone else. Some actual full-blown shelters have been set up as a result of the Op, [whereas] some see success as a Feed The Homeless Day or a blanket give away.
We think being human is the success, reminding people that we are just as vulnerable as these homeless folks are. In a heartbeat we could be out on the streets ourselves: war, climate change, financial difficulty…it’s all taking a toll on humanity.