Aaron Swartz (1986–2013) was an American computer programmer, a writer, a political organizer, and an Internet hacktivist, devoted to a free and open internet. He was involved in the development of RSS, Creative Commons, web.py, and Reddit. When he tried to 'liberate' data from an academic website, US authorities responded fiercely. He faced a fine of up to $1m and 35 years in jail. In 2013, he tragically took his own life.
The Boy Who Could Change the World is a newly-published collection of his writings; the life’s work of one of the most original minds of our time. In tribute to Swartz, this book is available to download for FREE—for one day only! We’ve also included other ebooks such as Inventing the Future, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, and The Wikileaks Files.
Aaron Swartz read widely, posting annual lists of the books he enjoyed (and didn’t). Taken from The Boy Who Could Change the World, we bring you a hacktivist reading list – books that Swartz posted about from 2006-2011, presented here in his own words.
According to the philosopher Jacques Rancière, a number of so-called French ‘republican’ intellectuals have been opening the door to the Front National for some time now. In an interview with Éric Aeschimannm, Rancière shows how universalist values have been perverted to the benefit of xenophobic discourse.
The attacks on Paris last Friday, 13th November, have prompted a predictable response: bombs abroad and a further restriction of civil liberties at home, not to mention a ratcheting up of Islamophobia. Sebastian Budgen analyses the wisdom of this approach.
This is perhaps the moment to take a step back to review the brilliance of West's counterrorist strategy, which we can then admire in all its strategic and tactical coherence:
On Friday 13th November, 129 people lost their lives in a series of attacks in Paris reportedly carried out by Islamic State. They join the dead of Beirut, Suruç, Syria, Iraq and countless other war-torn regions as innocent victims of a conflict that knows no civilians.
The urgency with which we have to pull ourselves back from the brink is signalled not only by the brutality of the reactions, but by the fact that they are by now entirely predictable: airstrikes abroad, destructive of life but strategically pointless; attacks on muslim populations in the west, dubbed 'revenge' by a racist media.
All is fuel on the fire. More than ever, we need to understand the situation in all its complexities.