The Knowledge Martyr~ Aaron Swartz

~RIP Aaron Swartz~ May you reach binary heaven.

~RIP Aaron Swartz~
May you reach binary heaven.


Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations.”

~~~Aaron Swartz
Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto (2008)

Frank Kingdom once said that “questions are the creative acts of intelligence.” His words are so powerful. Tonight I was going to post about something else, but when I signed on to the internet, I learned about a tragedy. I am saddened to learn that one of the greatest pioneers of the open movement has paid the ultimate price in his quest for knowledge.

Aaron Swartz the founder of Demand Progress, paid with his life on Friday. The 26 year old was just a baby in the world of technology. He was facing federal charges, close to 40 years in prison, and at least a million dollars in fines for his part in a political movement demanding the freedom of information. In the words of Herodotus,”this is the bitterest pain among men, to have much knowledge but no power.”

The young genius is said to have killed himself, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s true. If information and knowledge is power, how much can you demand before the powers that be make sure you disappear? I used the digital library JSTOR (Journal Storage) just yesterday to write my last post Seduce the Moon. Swartz has hacked that library and some close to him say he was depressed about the decisions he made.

As a hero, Swartz authored the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto. He didn’t sign the manifesto because he did not believe in the ownership of information. Swartz called it “outrageous” and “unacceptable” that scientific articles are provided “to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South.” If you have never read or do not know of this manifesto, I would encourage you to read it.

The dark haired champion said “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.”

He has been called a political martyr, a hacktivist, a web genius, a felon, a committed liberator of information, a hero, a distinguished hacker, a pioneer, and an open access guerrilla. Swartz was all of those things~ though I think he was indeed a felon with good intentions. He was more brave than I. May he rest in peace among the 1z and 0z. May his soul reach binary heaven where knowledge is freely available.

Explore posts in the same categories: Computer Programming, Computers, Conspiracy Theory, Digital Archives, Digital Issues, Hackers, Knowledge, Men, Mind, Mind Melt, News, Open Source, Politics, Quotes, Super Heros, Technology, Worthy Reads, Writers, Writing

7 Comments on “The Knowledge Martyr~ Aaron Swartz”

  1. Sahm King Says:

    So, wait, the US government can saw fit to charge this man for hacking in an effort to deliver free information to people? And with up to 40 years in prison? And the Justice Department refuses to charge ANYONE at HSBC bank even though we know they’re letting “terrorists” and drug cartels funnel money through the bank. This is a criminal in their eyes?

    God bless America. For Aaron Schwartz and Bradley Manning, and all the others who have fought to open our eyes.

    • flujan Says:

      I know right? He is a hero in my eyes. He was the mutha fuckin’ Robin Hood of Knowledge. In all fairness to JSTOR, they did not prosecute him- probably due to his cause. Still- who knows if they or the powers that be sent in a hit man. Who wants a brilliant 26 year old hoggin’ up all the knowledge and giving it to poor people? What a mess- and I do hope he is in binary heaven as we speak!!!! Free the people and our minds! 🙂

    • Felicia Says:

      Yeah— that was right Sahm! What an f’en mess ha? Unbelieveable!! Reading your comment reminded me to followup on this. There was recently something on the news and I missed it! I have to check that out.

  2. Writer Jobs Says:

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    • Felicia Says:

      Thanks for the compliment. I appreciate it. I do love to write! What is the writing group you are working with all about? I’ll have to check out that link, but what do you all do?

  3. Perianne Says:

    Like fallen heroes of ancient times I feel that the Gods will scoop this beautiful young man up and place him amongst the stars. Everyone will now tell stories of his deeds and he will inspire an army of warriors to take his place. Whatever misdeeds led to his death has only strengthened his voice in the world. RIP glorious brother.

    • Felicia Says:

      What a beautiful comment Perianne! So very true. All he wanted to de was make thing fair. It’s so sad that he wasn’t left here because he was such a smart and good person.

      I hope you are well- oh woman of the stars!

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