Net Neutrality: Stop Congress

Dan Massey
and I were there at the birth of the Internet, Dan directly involved in the research and development that brought it about. Based on the work of Alan Turing and others, the Internet was an expensive, tax-payer-funded, labor intensive product for the military. By the late 70s, it became a utility available to the public.

The great joy of its arrival in our home was supercharged by sharing the recognition throughout the world that for the first time in history everybody could be an author.

It changed everything.

That long ago, you paid for the creation of, and the permanent public access to, a neutral Internet. For sometime now it has been unfortunately embroiled in a cultural war with a small group of corporatist elites attempting to exploit this public resource out of greed, and, as always, at the expense of the 98%.

Flickr/creative commons
Flickr/creative commons

Think about it. There would be no Internet now if American taxpayers, your parents and grandparents, hadn’t paid for its development, decades ago. For all the activists who are working everyday to Save the Internet, along with anyone else who stops to think about it for 3 minutes, there can be no other premise:  This is a utility that should be treated NO differently that any other public utility such as water and electricity.

As you are probably aware, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has at last been indicating that its 5 commissioners are close to announcing their new rules, another attempt to split the baby, a hybrid that includes giveaways to those who would exploit it rather than organize it for the public good, so they can make money from something we now all share in paying for.

The FCC has been talking about these new rules ever since a Big Cable lawsuit against the FCC was successful in dislodging the previous set of rules which Big Cable found too restrictive. For the last two years, the FCC commissioners have been pressured, you can say assaulted by Big Cable lobbyists and their cronies in Congress, to allow these few huge companies to become the de facto self-regulators of the Internet. This will allow Big Cable to create fast lanes for a selection of their commercial clients/customers while shutting out the rest of us, making us pay more for diminished service in the slow lanes they will let trickle down. Small companies, schools and universities, whistleblowers and activists, non-profits, innovators, and on and on — all shut out.

On Tuesday, President Obama, in his State of the Union speech, made clear that net neutrality is important to everyone throughout the world, saying, “I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.” And, yesterday, we urged you to call Senate and House committee members and their chairmen (who received massive donations from BC) to stop any legislation that would usurp the FCC in order to give the corporatists and the politicians what they want. Tens of thousands of calls and emails were received by Congress, yesterday, and we have to keep calling. Also today, launched 535 new websites to track all congressmen’s stand on the issue.

Keep the pressure up, and continue to educate yourself about this crucial, life-changing issue. Without a free and open Internet, we are surrendering to the thought police. Your voice and the voices of countless others will be silenced if you don’t act now.

Friday Postscript: The struggle to assure the Internet remains open and available is foundational to efforts to solve some other pressing problems, such as responding to climate change and stemming corporate attempts to capitalize the world’s resources. Soon your enslavement will include demanding you pay  for each quart of water you consume. Climate change is bringing the scarcity of goods, mass migrations, and droughts these profiteers will use to make billions, but only if we let them.