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Let's not forget that downloading JSTOR articles was itself an act of civil disobedience.



Civil disobedience entails publicly flouting the system and then accepting punishment in order to demonstrate the injustice of the system. Aaron Swartz never got around to the second part, tragically.

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Why must a violation of an unjust law in protest always come with acceptance of the unjust consequences? If you're an activist trying to change an unjust law, why not flout the law, and then very publicly try to avoid the unjust penalty?

For that matter, what arbitrating body is responsible for deciding what is and is not a "valid" act of protest?

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You could do that if you want, though I don't see how it's supposed to be effective or principled, but it's a fair disagreement to have. In any case, that's not what civil disobedience is. Thoreau coined the term and he was the one who influenced Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and they're generally the main referents for the concept of civil disobedience. Breaking the law and trying to get away with it isn't civil disobedience. It might be something else, it might even be valid, but it's not civil disobedience.

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Civil disobedience is just the refusal to co-operate with an unjust law. What you do after that is just tactics.

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