Chelsea Manning’s Statement for Aaron Swartz Day 2017

Chelsea Manning Turns 30 today!

Happy Birthday Chelsea!

CHELSEA E. MANNING AT AARON SWARTZ DAY – NOVEMBER 4, 2017.

“You don’t have to engage in direct action to support those who do.” – Chelsea E. Manning.

Here is a transcription of her statement from this year’s event! :-)

Video available here at the Internet Archive.

Well hello.

Here I am.

So, I see things have changed a little bit since last year. Since I was last out and about in the world.

First off, I’ve “spoken” – actually I’ve had two statements read at this event in the past (2015) (2016), and that’s a little different — I’m actually here.

I want to talk a little bit about where we are today. What we’re looking at and what we’re dealing with.

Because I’ve been out and about for a few months, I’ve obviously seen the sights and I see what’s going on. There’s a lot that’s changed. There’s Nazis and KKK running around. :-(

So, I think it’s really important to remember – especially at a time like this – that institutions – the institutions we depend on. Institutions that matter to us. Institutions that make decisions over us. Whether it’s a large corporation or a criminal justice system or media entities or whatever, like these large institutions can and they regularly do fail, and I think it’s important to recognize that sometimes institutions don’t work. And when they don’t work, you can’t ask them to work again. You know? You just can’t.

So, what we’re seeing today, I think, is more institutions that are depending on secrecy. More institutions that are depending on cracking down on any forms of dissent or disagreement or even just a hint of potential threat to them. And all of this is surrounded by this notion of power. Institutions have power. They have the ability to make decisions over our lives, and they’ve kind of rigged the systems.

The ways in which we engage in public. The ways in which we engage with our institutions – they are usually very administrative. Like you go to your ballot box and you have an election, or you have a procedure, or an administrative complaint, or a redress request, or something like that. And also, there’s a lot of compromise that happens between institutions and us. And a lot of us end up asking the question “well, you know, this really sucks” you know, “this isn’t working. Maybe somebody should do something about this?”

And I think that’s a really important moment that happens in each and every one of us. Is that moment where it’s like “this isn’t working, but what can I do?” I get asked a lot: “What can I do?” And, I think it’s really important to remember that whenever systems fail, and whenever institutions don’t work, you do have agency. You do have power. And every single person who’s spoken today introduces us to different ways in which we can engage with power and which we can actually have a forceable impact to have the political agency beyond what we see. Beyond the ballot box. There’s more to politics than just elections or court orders or requests or lawsuits. There’s so much more.

I look at the various forms of direct action as an answer to that process. Whether it’s…I engage in a form of direction but it’s different than another form. We all have different ways in which we can engage in political agency, and together as a collective group of people. We have power and we have the ability to make decisions, and we have the ability to make that be known, even whenever institutions ask us not to. Or tell us not to, forcefully.

I look at how each and every one of us has power. Once of the most inspiring moments I’ve seen since I’ve been out is when I watched as a group of people taking down a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina, and I found that inspiring. I found that powerful. I relate to that. I feel like that’s very similar. It feels empowering.

We don’t have to engage in direct action. We don’t all have to do these things. We can also support each other and we can support people who do the right thing or make a decision and end up in trouble or whether its facing getting fired or getting prosecuted or going to prison. We can provide support for people. You don’t have to engage in direct action to support those who do.

Prisoner support works. I was a prisoner for seven years. Lisa, she supported me when I was in prison. Lisa Rein. I’ve had many many many hours on the phone with Lisa, and she helped me in times when I was troubled. When I was alone. Whenever I was doubting myself. Whenever I felt I wasn’t being heard or whenever I felt I was being forgotten. And she was there. And she would sometimes pick up the phone in the supermarket. Or pick up the phone, ya know, while running. Or like, as she’s doing live things. So, she was there for me, and that support really mattered.

We can write letters. We can give inmates money for commissary or for legal defense. We can show our solidarity. We can show up to court hearings. We can write petitions. We can actively do things to help people that do place themselves at risk against their institutions. And it’s really important remind people that have been in positions like we have that we’re forgotten cause it’s really easy to feel like we’re forgotten sometimes.

On a more positive note for the future though. I think it’s really important to remember that we live in a time where we don’t need leaders to tell us what to do, or to guide us in a time like this. I think we need each other. I lean upon people that are closest to me. I learned this in prison that the people closest to you are the people that matter the most. I looked to them when the prison staff was treating me awfully. Or, just as much as I could reach out to Lisa, I had my prison friends across the table from me. Or down the hall. Or in the cell two doors down that I could reach out to. We worked together. We can depend on each other. We needed each other.

That works out here as well. We need each other. We know what our communities need. Each one of us knows what our community needs. Someone that’s way up upon high that makes decisions doesn’t know what our community needs.

I also think it’s important to remember – especially because I’m told a lot: “You really give me hope.”

I don’t give anybody hope. Hope is not something that anyone can give to you. Nobody can give you hope. Hope is something that you already have. You just have to find it, and we have to help each other find it. Nobody gave me hope when I was in prison. I had to find it. I found it and it got me through. And the support helped me find it.

It’s really important to remember that we do have this. “We got this” – that’s a hashtag that I use very frequently on my Twitter, and it actually comes from a phrase that I said many many times to Lisa, whenever we were having troubled moments over the phone. Whenever she was helping me. Even whenever it looked like… Cause ya know, I didn’t think this would happen. I didn’t think I’d be standing here today. I really didn’t. We had moments when neither of us did. But, she worked so hard.

And and one of the things that we used to say was “We got this. We got this.” Even whenever it didn’t look like we did. And I think it’s real important to remember that sometimes, even whenever it looks like you don’t have it, you really do. And so we got this. Thank you Lisa. Thank you everyone. It’s very powerful for me to be here tonight.

Time To Drop Everything NOW and Save the Internet!

Decembe 16 UPDATE:

Read this by Evan Greer in the Huffington post about what to do next: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/we-can-get-the-fccs-decision-to-kill-net-neutrality_us_5a32df48e4b02bd1c8c60545

The FCC just voted to repeal all existing net neutrality protections. They are giving giant ISPs like Verizon and Comcast the power to control what we can see and do online with new fees, throttling, and censorship. This will ruin the fundamentally open nature of the internet. This fight isn’t over, though. There is still a clear path to victory.

The organizations behind Battle For The Net are launching a new campaign to demand that Congress step in and restore net neutrality via the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA lets elected officials in Congress overrule actions taken by Federal agencies like the FCC. And it’s different from a normal bill because it only requires a simple majority in the Senate and House to pass.

 

This is it guys! The FCC plans to kill net neutrality this Thursday.

Explanation below – if you’re in a hurry and already know why, here’s what to do/everything you need to “Break the Internet” for the 48 hours before the FCC vote here: https://www.breaktheinternetprotest.org

DO THIS STUFF! THEN SPREAD THE WORD:

1) Add Widgets to your websites and apps, send a push notification or drive action using our widgets and banners.

2) Change your icon on Twitter, Facebook and everwhere and use <–this one

3) Change your Facebook relationship status to “Married” (to net neutrality) and add a comment linking to BattleForTheNet.com

4) Add a new “job” on LinkedIn: “Defending Net Neutrality at BattleForTheNet.com” and make sure you’ve got the “notify people when my profile changes” setting on.

5) Change your Twitter and Instagram featured website to BattleForTheNet.com and post frequently using the content.

6) Tweet stuff all day about saving the internet!

This is a watershed moment. What we do (or don’t do) between now and the vote could determine the fate of the Internet. We’re planning a mass online protest called “Break the Internet” today.

If enough of us participate, we can spark a political crisis for Congress and force them to step in and stop the FCC vote or overturn it.

The Internet is rising up in protest. Major sites like Tumblr, Reddit, Kickstarter, Etsy, and Mozilla are joining – but we can’t do it with just them! This is going to require all of us to buckle down for the next 48 hours.

We have a chance, if we all work together.

So! There’s no time for petitions now. The entire Internet needs to come together and get creative to create the kind of moment we need to stop the FCC from handing Comcast and Verizon the power to control what we can do online with censorship, throttling, and new fees.

We’ve got a plan that EVERYONE can use to sound the alarm and drive a flood of net neutrality action to Congress before the vote.

 

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Recap Post 1: Putting it all together – Aaron Swartz Day 2017

These posts are going to take you through the events panels and speakers, and the topics they cover, one by one, and…. bit by bit.

I just had to take a couple days and figure out a way to present this stuff in an organized fashion – I’ve started an INDEX HERE.

The idea is not only to have clear indexes everywhere, so you can’t possibly miss anything. But also to have all the content properly tagged and described so you can just skip over the parts you don’t need right now (but may need later)!

OR – and here’s the thing: more importantly, if you are running a company or organization, you can get the information you need to the right person – quickly, by simply sharing on of these lovely URLs that will contain 1) link to video clip 2) full or partial transcription 3) updates on the project and anything else that’s important to know (since the hackathon happened on November 4-5, 2017).

This year’s program turned out to be so amazing! People flew in from all over the world. I felt a strong wave of cautious optimism that we may have finally taken the first positive step towards “fixing stuff.”

Everybody that participated really gave their all and polished their projects down to the last detail.

Alas, the webcast could have been better and I’m really sorry for that. It was a combination of factors and I’m actually going to write about it because I think what I learned might help other beginners. But the most important thing is that I will make up for it by making all the clips available – on both the Internet Archive and YouTube.

There are so many clips and we are just generating them and uploading them as fast as we can. Sorry for the hold up :) !

I will keep putting up more clips every day :-)

 

Howl For Aaron Swartz by Brewster Kahle

Aaron would have been 31 years old today.

It seems fitting to revisit this poem about Aaron, written by Brewster Kahle, shortly after Aaron’s death, in 2013. It was filmed in 2015, and just published for the first time earlier this year, in January.

Howl for Aaron Swartz

Written by Brewster Kahle, shortly after Aaron’s Death, on January 11, 2013.

Howl for Aaron Swartz
New ways to create culture
Smashed by lawsuits and bullying
Laws that paint most of us criminal

Inspiring young leaders
Sharing everything
Living open source lives
Inspiring communities selflessly

Organizing, preserving
Sharing, promoting
Then crushed by government
Crushed by politicians, for a modest fee
Crushed by corporate spreadsheet outsourced business development

New ways
New communities
Then infiltrated, baited
Set-up, arrested

Celebrating public spaces
Learning, trying, exploring
Targeted by corporate security snipers
Ending up in databases
Ending up in prison

Traps set by those that promised change
Surveillance, wide-eyes, watching everyone now
Government surveillance that cannot be discussed or questioned
Corporate surveillance that is accepted with a click

Terrorists here, Terrorists there
More guns in schools to promote more guns, business
Rendition, torture
Manning, solitary, power

Open minds
Open source
Open eyes
Open society

Public access to the public domain
Now closed out of our devices
Closed out of owning books
Hands off
Do not open
Criminal prosecution

Traps designed by the silicon wizards
With remarkable abilities to self-justify
Traps sprung by a generation
That vowed not to repeat
COINTELPRO and dirty tricks and Democratic National Conventions

Government-produced malware so sophisticated
That career engineers go home each night thinking what?
Saying what to their families and friends?

Debt for school
Debt for houses
Debt for life
Credit scores, treadmills, with chains

Inspiring and optimistic explorers navigating a sea of traps set by us
I see traps ensnare our inspiring generation
Leaders and discoverers finding new ways and getting crushed for it

Streams From Aaron Swartz Day – Saturday Hackathon & Evening Event

Individual clips coming soon :-)

1. Aaron Swartz Day Hackathon Day 1 Part 1
https://youtu.be/wccXEwSt01g

2. Aaron Swartz Day Hackathon Day 1 Part 2
https://youtu.be/jlzuEcuXxeo

3. Aaron Swartz Day Hackathon Day 1 Part 3 –
https://youtu.be/ry1zQYiYr5Q

4. Aaron Swartz Day Hackathon Day 1 Part 4
https://youtu.be/W79sDx6vC3c

5. Aaron Swartz Day Hackathon Day 2

Sunday Live Webcast Link

Sorry for the delay! :-)

WEBCAST HERE

 

Schedule:

1 – 2 pm EFF/Let’s Encrypt Lead Developer Jacob Hoffman-Andrews w audience Q and A

2 – 3 pm Pursuance Advanced Tech (w Q and A) – Steve Phillips and Barrett Brown

Sunday Nov 5:

3:10 pm: Matteo Borri – RobotsEverywhere.com – Beyond 3d printing: how desktop manufacturing continues to evolve

Matteo has been a friend and contributor to many of my projects since 2008. He’s been telling me a lot about his latest projects: building a chlorophyll detector for a future NASA Mars Rover, and refining his 3-D printing skills to the point where he is creating his own stronger filaments by adding graphite to common printing material. He’s been teaching robotics and 3-D printing to all the kids in his neighborhood, and he makes complex scientific concepts fun and easy to understand. He readily shares all of his knowledge and open sources all of his designs, and I’ve been wanting to introduce him to this community for quite some time. Don’t miss this talk. :-)

 

3:30 pm: Lisa Rein and Austin Hartzheim – Twitter verified follower scraper

Until I finally launched the website for Chelsea’s commutation campaign, Twitter was all Chelsea and I had to get her messages out to the world. I worked with Austin to develop a tool that used the Twitter API to download all of a persons followers, filter out the verifieds, and throw it in a spreadsheet, that I could then sort by follower count, to see what news agencies and famous people were following us, so I could reach out to them. We hit a few limitations with Twitter’s API that we created workarounds for . We are making the code available today for anyone to use.

4:00 pm: Natalie Cadranel – OpenArchive

4:30 pm: John Light – A Brief History of Blockchain Name Systems

5:00 pm: Galen Mancino -Crowd sourcing business and housing for the little guy (better title coming soon :)

Live Stream of Aaron Swartz Day Starts at 1pm PST

Welcome to the Fifth Annual Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon Weekend. This year you get to see the whole thing LIVE!
(TICKETS are still available for the live event! Several promo codes available.)

HERE IS THE NEW LINK – FOR EVENING EVENT!!! – Starts at 1pm – Saturday November 4th – California Time (PST).

Also new this year! Join our hackathon remotely! We are setting up text and video channels for all of our projects.

Here are the gitters so far.

From the Hackathon Project Coordinators:

We have set up some video channels to allow remote folks to
participate in hacking in our groups.

On Sunday, we’ll have a webcams on (and only pointed in a very specific direction – so those of you that don’t want to be on camera will not be, ever!).

These channels will provide instruction in the beginning – at the beginning (as instruction / background is given, on Sunday morning).

Not even all of the folks giving lightning talks will be on camera! That’s fine,  as it’s completely up to you, how much of your identity and your personal information you wish to volunteer. You don’t have to tell us your life story to log in and start hacking on our projects. We just want to work with you.

On Sunday, some lightning talks will be broadcast, although some will just have slides and audio, for speaker privacy. Some folks will want to go up on stage to give their lightning talk, while others may want to be off camera and/or presenting from where they are seated. Again, we are trying to accommodate everyone. A lot of people appreciate getting the hackathon feeds, but that doesn’t mean they are ready to put their own face out to the whole friggin world, and so we just wanted to make it clear that we are NOT asking you to do anything like that. This is so you can collaborate with those that want to, privately.

The primary objective is to involve remote folks!

Now! Let’s get some hacking done people!

Time For The Fifth Annual Aaron Swartz Day

Time For The Fifth Annual Aaron Swartz Day
By Lisa Rein, for Mondo 2000.

TICKETS still available for evening event – or just RSVP to the San Francisco hackathon. (There are also several discount codes floating about…)

From the article:

Who was Aaron Swartz? Well, the Aaron Swartz that I knew really well was just a 15 year old kid that helped me do my job better at Creative Commons, when I was its Technical Architect, working with Lawrence Lessig, in 2001-2002. We were using RSS news feeds to describe copyright licenses.

Lisa Rein, Aaron Swartz, and Lawrence Lessig, at the Creative Commons Launch, December 2002.

Next, at 16 or so, Aaron founded the Open Library, with Brewster Kahle, the Founder, and Digital Librarian, at the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive keeps an archive of the entire Web in a thing called The WayBack Machine, and also has an incredible TV Archive, that it’s also been doing AI projects with. There’s even a 78 Record Archive,software archive, and much more…

Each of this year’s evening event speakers was asked to attend for a very specific reason.

Some speakers knew Aaron and worked with him directly, others were inspired by him, or were working on projects inspired by him (such as Barrett Brown’s Pursuance Project). Barrett Brown is fresh out of prison and ready to stir up more folks to become aware of their surroundings.

Barrett Brown

Other speakers, such as Chelsea Manning, we know Aaron “gushed about” and thought was “so cool.”

 

Jason Leopold is going to teach us about FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) and about the FOIA requests that Aaron submitted…

Jason Leopold

Daniel Rigmaiden will be there, who exposed the Stingray from prison

Daniel Rigmaiden

 

November 4-5, 2017