On Thursday, March 21, Niagara University’s department of political science welcomed Barrett Brown as the first speaker in its Social Justice Speaker & Discussion Series. Brown is an American journalist and founder of Project PM, a crowdsourced investigation into the cyber-industrial complex, a secret world of private intelligence intended to increase the positive impact of the flow of information and collaboration on the internet. Prior to 2011, Brown had ties to the hacktivist group Anonymous.
In 2012, the FBI raided Brown’s home, and he was later indicted on 12 federal charges. In 2015, Brown was sentenced to 63 months in prison. While in prison, Brown continued to write a column for The Intercept, winning a National Magazine award and a New York Press Club journalism award for his work.
Brown has written two books and several articles about politics and journalism in the digital age. He spoke of his experience with journalism and his beliefs that the press has a lack of civic virtue and a tendency to be haphazard in its reporting. He believes that “most journalists and editors lack the ability to connect what their work is, to what it constitutes for this republic.”
“When you have a vastly complex imperial republic, like we do, with bases around the world, with an intelligence apparatus, or military apparatus that is beyond anything that anyone could have imagined, even 60 years ago,” Brown continued, “you need a press that is capable of determining what is important before it becomes evident, or at the very least, can determine what is important after it becomes evident.”
Currently, Brown is writing a memoir and working on Pursuance, an open-source platform that helps individuals like journalists, researchers, and activist to organize and collaborate in the pursuit of shared goals.
The 2019 Social Justice Speaker & Discussion Series will host journalists, activists, academics, and writers who have spearheaded the antiwar movement, worked within the legal system to protect the rights of activists in the U.S., reflected on protest movements in post-liberal America, and sacrificed their own well-being to raise awareness about injustices and inequality. The next event is scheduled for April 4, and will feature Dawson Barrett’s presentation “The Fight of Our Lives: Protest Movements in Post-Liberal America.”