Remember Aaron Swartz


Do Not Fear

Only with great effort can I follow the technological achievements of Aaron Swartz and his cohort, but I am terribly crushed by the story of his death. I am also furious. I cannot help thinking that his efforts to free up the decades of academic papers buried in JSTOR was not the issue at all. Rather, I speculate that the persecution he suffered mimics that of Bradley Manning, of Julian Assange and of others who have dared to slip their hands through the high security cages around information… cages that allow governments to feel secure with their secrets, and secure in their control of everything. Why else would the justice department try to force Aaron to his knees with multiple charges – “felonies” – that could have added up to 30 years in prison, for attempting to publish arcane academic articles already published in academic journals? I can think of only one answer – to produce fear… in Aaron and in the rest of us. To deter us from even imagining that this information – any information – should be free to all… in this country and around the world. Yes – we must push fear back. If we don’t, everyone who wants to live in freedom, with justice, is at risk… the Occupiers, the Dreamers, the Panthers, the hacktivists, you and I. Thanks to you Aaron and to your family for all you have accomplished – all the doors you’ve opened – and for the unnecessary price you have been made to pay. We will all do our best to continue the fight.