|Formation||April 14, 2016|
Anonymous for the Voiceless (AV) is a grassroots animal rights organization specializing in street activism formed in April 2016, in Melbourne, Australia. Operating worldwide, Anonymous for the Voiceless now coordinate 100,000 volunteers in 591 AV chapters in 61 countries, with teams of volunteers organising and staging peaceful protest actions called 'Cubes of Truth'. These protests involve volunteers standing in a square formation wearing Guy Fawkes masks while holding screens showing footage of standard practice in the animal agriculture industry with the intention of empowering the public to support animal rights and be vegan.
It is not affiliated to the hacktivist group "Anonymous", despite the similarities of names and the use of the Guy Fawkes mask.
The joint founders, Asal Alamdari and Paul Bashir, cited a UK vegan activist group 'The Earthlings Experience' as inspiration for their street actions, both in an online interview and on the AV website, which also cites the Martin Luther King Jr. quote:
Those who love peace must learn to organise as effectively as those who love war.
The Cube of Truth is an outreach and education method in which a group of black-clad people wearing Guy Fawkes masks form a square facing outward while holding signs and video screens showing footage of inside slaughterhouses, farms, and vivisection labs. The cubes vary in size according to the number of activists or space. Unmasked members of AV, known as "outreachers", talk to people onlooking and encourage adopting a vegan lifestyle. The AV activists offer a 22-day vegan challenge called "Challenge 22" to onlookers who decide they want to take the option of a vegan diet.
Cube actions are meant to be peaceful actions, in order to convince the greatest number of people.
The Melbourne group's actions began in April 2016, to be followed by a Sydney group from November. By June 2017, AV had carried out over 348 demonstrations globally, having convinced at least 12,144 bystanders "to take the needless violence in their diets and lifestyles seriously."
On 5 November 2016, AV held 200 Cube of Truth actions across the world on the same day for the first of the now annual 'International Cube Day' campaigns.
While it has been claimed that AV is a grassroots effort with no central organizing force beyond a website that links to each chapter and a series of Facebook groups that coordinate events, the organisation does have a small team which includes the Co-Founders and Directors. This team is responsible for coordinating volunteers globally, providing chapters with essential equipment and support, running activist training programmes, and delivering impactful online campaigns.
There are 591 chapters globally – to be considered an active chapter at least one Cube of Truth demo must be held a month, so there are estimated to be 7,092 of these cubes a year.
Anonymous for the Voiceless holds an abolitionist stance on animal exploitation, opposing all animal use by humans including the use of service animals to assist those with disabilities since animals cannot give consent. Activists that bully or harass and do not comply with the group's principles are not permitted to carry the group's name.
Paul Bashir and Asal Alamdari founded the original group in Melbourne, also creating a nonprofit organisation, although its headquarters are now in Chiang Mai, Thailand.