MIT to Release Swartz Files


Aaron Swartz
Aaron Swartz

MIT to Release Swartz Files

MIT agrees to release redacted Aaron Swartz files –

The president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced on Tuesday that the school will voluntarily release public documents related to the prosecution of the free-information activist Aaron Swartz, who killed himself in January as he faced trial on hacking charges.

The email announcement by MIT president L Rafael Reif came in response to a request on Friday by lawyers for Swartz’s estate to have the US district court in Boston make the documents public. The university has come under fire for what critics say is its compliance with federal prosecutors in the legal case against Swartz. Supporters of Swartz have painted him as a zealous advocate of public online access, a martyred hero hounded to his death by the government he antagonized.

MIT agrees to release redacted Aaron Swartz files –


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The Principles of Occupy Harvard


I have printed these in full from the Occupy Harvard Web Site. I believe that Occupy Harvard wanted its principles published in full as widely as possible. If I am mistaken in this, please let me know and I will remove the document or cut it down to “Fair Use” size of a paragraph or so.

James Pilant

University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni Sch...
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Statement of Principles

We are Occupy Harvard. We want a university for the 99%, not a corporation for the 1%.

We are here in solidarity with the Occupy movement to protest the corporatization of higher education, epitomized by Harvard University.

We see injustice in the 180:1 ratio between the compensation of Harvard’s highest-paid employee—the head of internal investments at Harvard Management Company—and the lowest-paid employee, an entry-level custodial worker. We see injustice in Harvard’s adoption of corporate efficiency measures such as job outsourcing. We see injustice in African land grabs that displace local farmers and devastate the environment. We see injustice in Harvard’s investment in private equity firms such as HEI Hotels and Resorts, which profits off the backbreaking labor of a non-union immigrant workforce. We see injustice in Harvard’s lack of financial transparency and its prevention of student and community voice in these investments.

We stand in solidarity with Occupy Boston and the other occupations throughout the country. We stand in solidarity with students at other universities who suffer crushing debt burdens and insufficient resources. We stand in solidarity with the students who occupied Massachusetts Hall one decade ago, and we continue their pursuit of justice for workers. We stand in solidarity with all those in Boston and beyond who clamor for equity. We are the 99%.

A university for the 99% must settle a just contract with Harvard’s custodial workers. A university for the 99% must adopt a new transparency policy, including disclosure of Harvard’s current investments as well as a commitment to not reinvest in HEI Hotels & Resorts or in land-grabbing hedge funds like Emergent Asset Management. Further,

  • A university for the 99% would offer academic opportunities to assess responses to socioeconomic inequality outside the scope of mainstream economics.
  • A university for the 99% would implement debt relief for students who suffer from excessive loan burdens.
  • A university for the 99% would commit to increasing the diversity of Harvard’s graduate school faculty and students.
  • A university for the 99% would end the privilege enjoyed by legacies in the Harvard admissions process.
  • A university for the 99% would implement a policy requiring faculty to declare conflicts of interest.

Our statement of principles is subject to change by the Occupy Harvard General Assemblies.

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Wall Street Protests, the 99 percenters, Spread Around the Globe

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: A demonstrator ho...
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It seems the winter of our discontent is spreading around the world. A small movement, the 99 percenters, continues to catch fire. I wonder if the great corporations are having studies done on the globalization of dissent?

Social media is not limited geographically to the United States, and that is increasingly important. The multinationals could organize for decades both on a national and international basis with little competition from dissent but that advantage is gone.

James Pilant

From Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Occupy Wall Street, the US protest against the financial elite and the banking sector, is spreading around the world. There are demonstrations planned for London’s financial district – and also for The Hague and Amsterdam. Occupy The Hague is demanding attention for a gamut of economic and political problems.

The Wall Street protests, which began last month, against “corporate greed and corrupt politics” have not only been repeated elsewhere in the country, in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston, the movement has spread to Canada and Europe. Demonstrations are planned for 15 October in The Hague and  a day later in Amsterdam. But Occupy The Hague goes beyond a protest against the financial system.

“The protest has scope for a range of opinions and interests,” spokesperson Robin van Boven says, “varying from the economic crisis to the Libyan uprising.”

“All these things are cause for concern. The point is that we want people to be aware of the problems that exist, and join us in looking for a solution. We think that at the moment politicians haven’t taken enough action.”

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Benjamin Franklin, Business Ethics, And How To Present An Idea

From the Benjamin Franklin biography by John Torrey Morse, Jr., page 39.

In another enterprise Franklin shrewdly enlisted the boon-companion element on his side, with the result of immediate and brilliant success. He began as usual by reading a paper before the Junto, and through this intervention set the people thinking concerning the utter lack of any organization for extinguishing fires in the town. In consequence the Union Fire Company was soon established, the first thing of the kind in the city. Franklin continued a member of it for half a century. It was thoroughly equipped and efficiently conducted. An item in the terms of association was that the members should spend a social evening together once a month. The example was followed; other companies were formed, and fifty years later Franklin boasted that since that time the city had never “lost by fire more than one or two houses at a time; and the flames have often been extinguished before the house in which they began has been half consumed.”

Franklin does not go out with an idea convinced in advance of its success. He carefully tests his ideas with a chosen audience. The Junto was an association he created of other capable young men. They came together to discuss ideas, exchange information, and to lobby for their interests. The idea for an organization to fight fires made abundant sense but he tested it in front of this chosen audience to gauge its reception.

The Junto gave him a testing ground for his ideas. He could get feedback in a safe environment. If his idea was not well thought out, it will not be reported. If successful, he can then take an idea which has passed muster in an intelligent practical organization and test it out in the community.

One of the things that gets us in trouble is pride. Franklin in his autobiography admits that vanity (pride) was key to much of his success. That he is able to recognize that and give it due credit is amazing. Most of us spend our lives lying about ourselves to everybody including and particularly ourselves. Pride has it proper place as Franklin realizes. But when you have to much you tend to over reach.

The idea for a fire company is so obviously good, it would have been easy to bypass the testing steps. It would have been easy just to expect the idea to sell itself. After all, isn’t everyone afraid of fire and hadn’t the city almost burned down twice within memory? But he still kept to the process of testing and development building a successful execution from the ground up.

Watch how Franklin takes even the best of his ideas and carefully works them into reality. How many of us once convinced of an idea can proceed intelligently and cautiously to build consensus for it? No, generally we tell everyone how great it is and reflect astonishment when disagreed with. We can learn from Franklin’s example.

There is certainly an ethical element in the level of respect he is demonstrating in this process for other opinions, the thoughts and ideas of the other members. He is recognizing the importance of these other individuals in the community. He is celebrating their importance, communicating clearly the importance of their thoughts and their support.

He doesn’t just sell an idea. He build allies, develops friendship and allows others to mature and develop by being his friends and associates.

Can you do that?

James Pilant