Pussy Riot Spawns Web Uprising

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Unless you're a cave-dwelling monk or spend your Saturday nights watching reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show, you've probably heard of Pussy Riot.

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They're the ski-masked, all-female punk trio from Russia who were sentenced to two years in prison last week for staging a punk prayer on the altar of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.

As protesters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and self-described "activists of the opposition movement, dealing with the problems of feminism, ecology, as well as rights for the L.G.B.T. movement," the group bum-rushed the altar and sang an obscene anthem ending with three cries of "Holy Mother, send Putin packing."

Their arrest, trial and conviction sparked a world-wide media blitz and drew heavy condemnation from the international community over Russia's continued iron-fisted crack downs of political dissent. Those in solidarity with Pussy Riot have taken not only taken to the streets, they've taken to one of the most popular arenas for contemporary protest: the Internet.

There's the Free Pussy Riot website, a home-base network of sorts, full of aggregated information about the case as well as outlets for international activists to join together in unity. There's the requisite Facebook page — Free Pussy Riot Now (Putin, fear no art.) and a Tumblr page, We Are Pussy Riot, where visitors can sign an online petition.

Like clockwork, Web crusaders and hacktivist collective, Anonymous, rallied for Pussy Riot with trademark tactics: by hacking the website of the Moscow court that sentenced the band.

Anonymous defaced the Khamovnichesky District Court's site with anti-Putin statements and uploaded a new Pussy Riot song entitled "Putin is Lighting the Fires of the Revolution," as well as a video of gender-bending Bulgarian singer, Aziz.

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In John Steinbeck's Great Depression novel "The Grapes of Wrath," Okie protagonist Tom Joad promises to advocate of behalf of oppressed people everywhere as he bids farewell to his mother with this famous quote:

Whenever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Whenever they's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there … I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad an' — I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry an' they know supper's ready. An' when our folks eat the stuff they raise an' live in the houses they build — why, I'll be there.

Retrofitted for today's freedom fighter on the digital frontier, it's safe to say Tom Joad would also be at his computer fueling an uprising via his various websites and Twitter account.

via Free Pussy Riot

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