Aaron Swartz: Persecuted Genius

Aaron Swartz: Persecuted Genius

Aaron Swartz: Persecuted Genius

I didn’t write yesterday. I don’t know why. I just didn’t. I don’t read the theses ahead of time, instead I take them one day at a time usually. Today I’m playing catch up again, and given their new context, these theses have taken on a whole meaning. So, forgive me, but I think this is relevant.
Just look at Number 11: People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.
Allegedly, Aaron Swartz was arrested in 2011 for allegedly stealing over 4 million online documents from MIT and academic publishing repository JSTOR. Where does one even begin?
Aaron co-founded Reddit, created RSS and was deeply involved in opposition to attempts to SOPA and PIPA, the internet regulation and surveillance bills. He founded demandprogress.org to combat internet censorship, and was a visionary who I would have loved tow work with. Not only that, he was funny.

Aaron Swartz: Ally


I dunno


Just…when you see someone like Aaron, and you believe the same things, hold the very same ideas, and proceed in the same direction…


It’s hard to lose someone like that…someone so in step with what you’re doing.

It’s like losing an iteration of your own philosophy, like the sudden extinguishing of something true.

It’s funny that CNN has taken liberally to prescribing Swartz as a depressive. Performing diligent propaganda duties that undermine the role that the DOJ”s Indictment obviously played. No one can say everything that can or should be said, especially in times of great peril and injustice. But it is my simple attempt to light a little vigil to the truth, and to keep his memory alive.


We’re living in an age where the bureaucrats have decided that innovation, sharing and free information are one of the greatest threats to the security of the world. In a world where the academy has locked itself in an echo chamber, helplessly enslaved to information gatekeeping, Aaron was a visionary. Allegedly.

Aaron was genius. Is genius. His work testified to the new possibilities of information liberation. While the entrepreneurs call for disruptive startups, geniuses like Aaron Swartz are systematically reviled and ground into a legal system that is soul-crushing, isolating, and full of arbitrary exercises of power. What could possibly be more disruptive than actual disruptions? Startup gurus are often mistaken by the way they play the numbers, or attract a following. When your tech causes shifts in politics, then you’ve earned the moniker, disruptive.
My only hope is that MIT, JSTOR and the entire academic community tell the DOJ where to stick it. Because without a strong response from academics, systematic abuses of copyright law will lead to witch hunts against information activists like Aaron.
12. There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.

Aaron Swartz: Activist

The Defense’s expert witness speaks, and already citizens are outpacing the media in handling the information. There are no secrets.
Aaron allegedly acted on number 12 and was able to produce data liberation that encourages education, and fostering knowledge. That’s disruptive, it’s innovative, and it was persecuted.
The DOJ Is squarely responsible for a technological witch-hunt. Our networks know it, but whether they act will be the question.
Everything about information now depends more explicitly on its politics. Will the Academy, students, teachers and independent news media, citizens and everybody draw their line in the sand and call for enough?
One can only hope.
In Aaron’s Own Words:

There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.
We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.
With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?

In memoriam Aaron Swartz, the funny genius, the persecuted visionary, sending karma your way.

Update: The Family Has Spoken: “Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach,” the statement read. “Decisions made by officials in the U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death.”
Update: Links
DOJ Persecuted Internet Activist Aaron Swartz Please watch the video at the end of this.
The Movement to Free American Case Law
The Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom Federal copyright persecution leads RSS co-author and anti-SOPA activist Aaron Swartz to kill himself


The Empire is Not My Friend

When someone asks me how I feel about Obama or says “Obama will represent us…he’ll fight for us. Let’s get him a second term.”

I respond: That’s not true.

It’s not.

The American President is bought out by special interests just like every other politician. There is no singular issue that politicians can side with the people on other than the vague platitudes put out by the Bush and Obama administrations because the people and the government are at odds, and have been for many, many years. Politicians thrive on vague promises, they cannot either covertly or openly ally themselves with anyone’s interests but those of the powerful.

As such, Barack Obama and his entire administration represents the global banking cartels, the military industrial complex, the Orwellian perpetual warfare this country is so fond of, gentrification, surveillance and ultimately the continued capitalistic expansion of the American Empire at the expense not only of the American people, but of the world. He has not represented the people, he will not represent anyone but himself and the monied interests that have bought him and pay to maintain him.

Electing him to a second term means the expansion of military powers, the expansion of surveillance, the expansion of the global military conflicts we’re engaged in, and the continued oppression of the poor. It means the levying of power and money in favor of corporations, banks, the oil industry, the American War machine, and prisons.

That Obama faces a second term merely tells you about the ignorance of the American people and the sad state of our electoral politics. Everyone is mildly frustrated that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not over, and our media ignores by and large the covert wars we are engaged in with Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia among others. Obama ordered the military drone strike that killed a 16 year old American Citizen.

When we’re left with a “liberal” who enforces every regulation and matter of policy as Bush did and would, and expands the patriot act rather than repealing it, authorizes surveillance, enacts the 2012 NDAA and illegalizes public dissent via H.R. 347 we must severely question our liberal class, which Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges has acclaimed dead, and rightly so.

There is currently no way to vote for the people against the government, or even to curb the government’s abuses of power. “We have a choice,” says Chris Hedges. “You can either be complicit in your own enslavement or you can lead a life that has some kind of integrity and meaning.”

You can ask me to play nice with Obama, but I won’t. I will choose to have integrity, and meaning, and to stand for what’s right, over against those who would assuage fear with platitude and dishonesty.

That we have an elected dictatorship is a fact. If you vote republican you’re voting for a small social structure of government and a large military budget with the expansion of the war-machine, if you vote democrat, you’ve voted for the exact same thing, as democrats embrace the language of austerity and have refused to deal with America’s addiction to military conflict. In fact all we’ve done with America’s addiction to military conflict is domesticate it, and allow the police to make war on the people with war-time technologies that have been opened for use against civilians.

We are in a twilight of ideologies and identities in America. “You either embrace the crusade to physically eradicate evildoers from the face of the Earth or you are an Islamic terrorist, a collaborator or an unwitting tool of terrorists.” says Chris Hedges.

My response is simple: The President is a traitor, he has brought the terrorism onto American soil, and this time in the form of our own government and law enforcement agencies. The police riot in the streets, the FBI and DHS monitor dissent, and Utah now hosts the largest spy center in the world.

America has no choice but to turn upon itself in paranoid surveillance. The war on terror, history will recognize, was America’s moment of decline and fall. Obama is as complicit as Bush in perpetuating the American war-machine, and has in fact given that war-machine a boon in the drone strikes and escalation of robotic unmanned conflict. We’re in a state that will continue to exploit the poor globally, consume beyond its means and expand beyond its ability to control.

The country has entered into its perfect war, a perpetual war. It is a war no one can win: The war to eradicate an ideology.