As this Saturday was L Ron Hubbard’s birthday, Anonymous decided to celebrate it in style with a full blown protest party near the Church of Scientology in Hunter Square. Admittedly I forgot about it completely, but luckily I happened to be crossing the road at the exact same second that Stuart was driving past (he didn’t run me over), and I was duly reminded. The protest itself was pretty much the same as last time. Plenty of signs, about the same amount of people but we were a bit more spread out in the square so it didn’t look as many, but I thought it was much better organised. People had learned their lessons from the last one and brought extra cardboard for signs, as well as tape, and we had balloons, party bags and stickers rather than just flyers. I’ll spare you the details.
In any case from the last protest there’s been a few issues brought up. The student media saw it as pointless, or even discriminatory, and various comments were made such as “what are they trying to do?” and “what will an attack on the people they claim to be victims of the organisation actually achieve?”
It’s a fair question, but it’s totally missed the point of the protest. This isn’t an attack on the ‘church’ members, the protest isn’t about them at all! The whole point of protesting is to raise awareness to the general public that the building we were outside is a church of Scientology (misleadingly called “The Hubbard Academy for Personal Independence”) and that the ‘free personality tests’ and ‘free stress tests’ that they’re offering are actually ways of getting you into their cult and robbing you of their money. It is a public awareness campaign.
Before I wasn’t so sure it was necessary, but since the protests I’ve spoken to several people who have briefly fallen victim to it, or who have taken a test and not gone any further, and it’s entirely necessary and appropriate to make people aware of what they’re getting themselves into. They take advantage of people who are vulnerable or gullible and take their money away and it’s not remotely fair. That’s why Anonymous is protesting.