The street finds its own uses for things.
Another one got caught today, it’s all over the papers. Damn kids. They’re all alike.
But did you, in your three-piece psychology, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made us tick, what forces shaped us, what may have molded us?
I am a hacker, enter my world. Mine is a world that begins with school. I’m smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me. Damn underachiever. They’re all alike.
I’m in junior high or high school. I’ve listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. “No, Ms. Smith, I didn’t show my work. I did it in my head.” Damn kid. Probably copied it. They’re all alike.
I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it’s because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn’t like me... Or feels threatened by me... Or thinks I’m a smart ass... Or doesn’t like teaching and shouldn’t be here...
Damn kid. All she does is play games. They’re all alike.
And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict’s veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is found. This is it. This is where I belong.
I know everyone here.
Even if I’ve never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again. I know you all. Damn kid. Always staring at her phone. They’re all alike.
You bet your ass we’re all alike. We’ve been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.
This is our world now. The world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color without nationality without religious bias and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals.
Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You can stop me, but you can’t stop us all, and we’re all alike.
Photographer: Luis Nieto Dickens. Models: Deda Rohr, Arabelle Sicardi, Geng, Ethan Cline, Charlotte Greene, and Webb. Direction by Rocky Li of Third Looks, Luis Nieto Dickens, and Hanna Hurr. Special thanks to Jenny Marks and Ashley Coffey for wardrobe donations.
Text adapted from The Conscience of a Hacker, first published in January, 1986, in the Hacker zine Phrack, Inc. By the early 90s, the text had become widely known as “The Hacker Manifesto,” and went on to inspire thousands of exceptionally smart youth to commit crimes against the institutions of exploitation and oppression.
Originally published in the “Hacker” issue on September 11, 2015