Week 11 – Artist – Aaron Swartz

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.


The artist of the week, Aaron Swartz, is actually less of an artist and more of a political activist, or a “hacktivist”. He saw the internet as the world’s largest library, where all “books” should be kept.

What if there was a library which held every book? Not every book on sale, or every important book, or even every book in English, but simply every book – a key part of our planet’s cultural legacy.

With his work towards the creative commons, he uploaded important and secret documents for the public to view because he believed that it was our right as citizens of this planet to know what was actually happening instead of being dependent on the news which could just be propaganda.

Swartz’s Works

Real education is about genuine understanding and the ability to figure things out on your own; not about making sure every 7th grader has memorized all the facts some bureaucrats have put in the 7th grade curriculum.

In 10th grade, Swartz had left his high school to enroll in courses at a Chicago college. At 13 he won the ArsDigita Prize and at 14 worked with the group that started the RSS 1.0 web syndication. He later went on to study at Stanford for his freshman year, but left after to develop his own managment system called Infogami. With lack of funding, Infogami merged with the website Reddit.


  • 2006 – Wikipedia Editor
  • 2008 – watchdog.net
  • 2009 – Progressive Change Campaign Committee
  • 2010 – Freedom of Information Act (to learn about source of WikiLeaks)
  • 2010 – Demand Progress
  • 2011-2012 – DeapDrop
  • 2012 – Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate require it – their shareholders would revolt at anything less.


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