Today is the 11th Anniversary of Aaron’s Suicide

We are live now:

Please Join us this Saturday, January 13th at 2pm PST for our first Aaron Swartz Podcast.

We will have Andre Vinicius Leal Sobral of Brazil’s Aaron Swartz Institute and Timid Robot from Creative Commons.

"The Aaron Swartz Podcast" with a photo of Aaron Swartz

Today is the 11th Anniversary of Aaron Swartz’ suicide.

Aaron would have been 37 years old on November 8, 2023.

For more background about what happened to Aaron, please read this post from 2021.

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 in January 2021.

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