WASHINGTON, DC––Net neutrality activists who support strong free speech protections through Title II reclassification crashed a press conference organized by Republican FCC Commissioner––and former Verizon lawyer––Ajit Pai this morning when they attempted to unfurl a large banner reading “85% of Republican Voters Support Net Neutrality,” a reference to a University of Delaware poll from November, reported in the Washington Post.
Scroll to the bottom of this press release to see more PHOTOS and video.
FCC security violently attacked the demonstrators, knocking them to the ground. As they were dragged from the room, internet activists Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese of the group PopularResistance.org said, “Commissioner Pai, don’t you see Republicans love net neutrality? Stop being a mouthpiece for the Telecoms–your job is to represent the public interest. Title II now! The Internet should be a level playing field for all not one rigged for Comcast and Verizon. No crony capitalism for Comcast and Verizon. Equal access for all.”
After the activists left the building, FCC security continued to harass them, threatening them with arrest for standing on a public sidewalk offering an interview to a camera crew.
The action was organized by grassroots activists from the group PopularResistance.org with support from the digital rights group Fight for the Future. These two groups previously coordinated on the Occupy the FCC encampment last year that helped put Title II reclassification on the table at the FCC. Fight for the Future were also lead organizers of the September 10th Internet Slowdown protest along with Demand Progress, and the coalition website they helped build, BattleForTheNet.com was responsible for more than ¼ of all the comments the FCC received about net neutrality last year. PopularResistance.org has also organized a series of protests and direct actions on this issue, including a civil disobedience action where they blockaded FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s driveway.
Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said, “Net neutrality is not a partisan issue, but corrupt politicians in Washington DC whose campaigns are funded by the Telecom industry are desperate to make it one.” She added, “Given that Republican voters overwhelmingly oppose Internet fast lanes and support the principles of net neutrality, it’s clear that officials like Ajit Pai, who is a former high ranking lawyer for Verizon, are ignoring the public will and working for the industries they’re supposed to be holding accountable.”
While the action unfolded in Washington, DC today, the battle for the net continued to rage online. Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Free Press and other groups are organizing a sustained effort called theInternet Countdown, keeping up a constant barrage of online protest between now and the FCC’s vote on February 26th. More than 2,500 sites have joined the effort so far including Bluehost, BoingBoing, Thunderclap, and Daily Kos. Major sites like Tumblr and Mozilla are participating with custom landing pages encouraging their users to take action in support of real net neutrality protections through Title II reclassification. More than 6,400 people have signed up to join the countdown by automatically tweetingevery day between now and the February 26th vote.
Tumblr, Mozilla, BoingBoing, The Nation, AdaFruit, Daily Kos, CREDO, and more than 2,000 other websites participating in online protests this month. More than 5,000 people have signed up to tweet every day until the FCC’s vote, with a total social reach of more than 5 million people.
THE INTERNET––Several of the world’s most popular web companies have re-affirmed their support for online free speech this week by encouraging their users to take action in coordination with the Internet Countdown protest, an effort between websites, Internet users, and grassroots groups to keep up a sustained barrage of phone calls and emails targeting lawmakers in Washington, DC between now and the FCC’s net neutrality vote on February 26th. To amplify the effort, more than 5,000 people used the Internet Countdown twitter tool to signed up to tweet every single day leading up to the decision, with a total social reach of more than 5 million each day.
The Countdown was launched on January 26th, exactly one month before the FCC’s vote, and has already attracted a number of prominent supporters, and more than 2,000 websites overall. Many websites are creating their own actions geared toward their user base, while dozens of others are using the Internet Countdown’s ready-made “widgets,” which allow any website owner, blogger, or Tumblr user to easily include a “countdown timer” on their site, literally counting down the seconds to the FCC’s vote. Clicking on the widget takes users to BattleForTheNet.com, the net neutrality hub site that was responsible for more than ¼ of the overall comments that the FCC received during its comment periods.
This week, blogging platform Tumblr with its more than 220 million blogs unveiled a creative action at https://tumblr.com/everybodyontheinternet driving phone calls and emails to Congress in support of Title II net neutrality. On Wednesday, Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, began showing U.S. users of their popular web browser a message encouraging them to take action, and published this blog post. Popular news site BoingBoing is showing users the countdown at the bottom of most articles sitewide. The Nation magazine also joined this week, along with popular DIY electronics site AdaFruit. Social media app Thunderclap is displaying the countdown widget prominently on their frontpage.
“Internet users around the world are celebrating the hard fought victory of getting the FCC chair to come out in support of real net neutrality through Title II reclassification, but they also know that the battle for the net is not over yet,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future. She added, “We know that when the Internet comes together for the public interest, nothing is impossible. We will not accept defeat––the Internet will keep fighting until the FCC enacts strong, bright line rules that ban Cable companies from all forms of discrimination, blocking, or throttling of web content.
“These next few weeks are crucial,” said David Segal, Executive Director of Demand Progress. “Based on what we know now about Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to reclassify broadband Internet under Title II, we have never been closer
to real net neutrality. But we can’t let up. We need to beat back any
changes or loopholes in the rules that might weaken them, and we need to
ensure that Congress does not interfere by advancing proposals that
would undermine real net neutrality. That’s
why we’re urging the platforms that benefit from a free and open
Internet to join us in the Internet Countdown over the next three weeks
and finish what could be one of the most historic wins for the open Web
that we’ve ever seen.”
The Internet Countdown is being organized by Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Free Press, with the support of a broad #TeamInternet coalition.
We’ve got chills as we write to you about this: we are on the brink of scoring the biggest victory in modern memory for the public and the Internet against some of the fiercest lobbies in the
FCC Chairman just proposed rules for net neutrality, which will get
voted on February 26th – they plan on reclassifying Comcast, Verizon,
AT&T, all telecom as a… Title II. Common. Carrier… meaning we keep the Internet equal for all.
Dollar for dollar, this is the biggest win against entrenched corruption and million dollar lobbyists in recent memory. No matter what happens next, this is a watershed moment for free speech.
We can celebrate soon, but first we have to finish the fight. Will you chip in? But,
it’s also true we still have three weeks to go before these rules get
voted on. Almost anything can happen in that time, and the details of
the rules matter so much. We know our opponents in the Cable industry
will use their exclusive access to the FCC and Congress to add loopholes
and attack the process. This
is our last moment to blow this fight out of the water and make it
crystal clear that we will not let ANY loophole or monopoly behavior gut
this historic win we’ve fought so hard for.
you make an emergency donation to help ramp up a bring-it-home,
all-hands-on-deck campaign to protect free speech for decades?
no doubt this is the moment we’ve all been fighting for. The FCC vote
for net neutrality – the most important vote of the FCC’s entire
history – was a year in the making (and a decade of groundwork) and the
result of coming together around smart, strategic mobilization at the
FCC, the halls of Congress, across the political spectrum and around the
the Cable lobby knows exactly what they’re going to do about it and
they are unrolling their plans as we speak. We don’t know all the
details, but we
know they are putting everything they’ve got into the next three weeks
to mobilize the TV networks they own, the million dollar political lists
they’ve bought, and the politicians they gave campaign contributions to
(especially the ones who are already pushing a bill that could derail
will all come down to February 26th, when the FCC votes on their rules.
We know we can beat them, but on that day we’ll either have done
everything we needed to do to win real net neutrality or we’ll lose it
for a long time.
we’re going to generate a massive avalanche of public opposition to
Cable’s plans by creatively distributing a ticking vote-countdown clock
all across the web on thousands of websites and social media accounts.
We’ll generate such a determined outpouring of support for real net
neutrality rules that we’ll resoundingly save the open Internet and make
it so politically toxic for any member of Congress and any FCC
commissioner to be on the wrong side of history.
moved mountains to get here. A year ago when net neutrality rules were
struck down in court, Title II was off the table. We bravely came out
for it when it was scary and built campaigns so the support would
spread. No one expected us to set up camp outside the FCC offices for 10
days. And, when we created the Internet Slowdown protest and made the
spinning wheel of death the iconic emblem of Cable’s plans, and with our
partners, helped drive a historic 4 million comments, we created the
turning point for net neutrality that changed everything.
millions of dollars and a host of lobbyists are a stone’s throw away
from every Congressional office and FCC staffer, we defied all odds and
are winning, not on their terms of corruption and DC lobbying, but on
our own – the public banding together. Our fingerprints are all over
these rules. We know exactly how to finish the job.
Are we ready to make the FCC vote on net neutrality the biggest moment for you, me, and everyone else? Oh yes.
those sleepless nights. All that wrist pain. The rain and the cold
streets. All of that has been worth it. And it’s going to be worth going
through it all again over the next three weeks.
been an overwhelming years worth of work. But we’re not going to let up
now. We’ve come so far. Not long ago most people didn’t have a clue
what net neutrality even was. Now, we’re mobilized and ready. Can you
make a donation to help finish the job and save the free and open
February 26th is the day of the most important FCC decision of our lives.
In this post are a bunch of resources for companies, organizations, people, and cats to use to promote the #InternetCountdown. If you’ve told us you’re joining the countdown, great! Now tell the world on social media and in a blog post, or through whatever other channels you can use to reach your audience.
FCC move toward Title II net neutrality rules is a huge win for grassroots activists and Internet users
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler officially announced his move toward strong Title II net neutrality protections for both mobile and broadband. Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future, the digital rights group that has led the grassroots on this issue and created BattleForTheNet.comand theInternet Slowdown protest, issued the following statement:
“We’ll be ramping up the pressure to make sure the details are right, but the significance of the FCC moving to use Title II rules to protect net neutrality is undeniable – it is an awe-inspiring, unprecedented victory for the public and the Internet freedom movement against DC’s fiercest lobbies.
Every Internet activist who has signed a petition, made a call, or showed up at a protest deserves to celebrate. It’s crucial that we keep the pressure on both the FCC and Congress to make sure they get the details right, but no matter what happens from here, we’ve already accomplished more than any pundit, lobbyist, or Cable CEO thought was possible.
We’re celebrating, but we will remain vigilant. Based on media reports, it sounds like the FCC may be trying one last time to leave a loophole open for Cable companies to charge interconnection fees. By now the FCC should know better – the public is paying extremely close attention, and won’t be fooled by anything less than the real thing.”
Fight for the Future, a digital rights group best known for their role in the massive protests against SOPA, has been at the center of the net neutrality fight since last year, and were instrumental in rallying widespread support to get Title II onto the table at the FCC, pressuring the White House to publicly support it, and then bombarding Congress with phone calls and emails to keep them from derailing the process. Their latest campaign is the Internet Countdown, launched last week, which has already attracted thousands of Internet users and websites using innovative “countdown” tools to broadcast messages every day until the FCC’s vote on February 26th. There are several high profile announcements related to the Countdown coming later this week.
Here are some highlights from net neutrality campaigns spearheaded by Fight for the Future:
-We worked with PopularResistance.org to organize the Occupy the FCCencampment, where activists camped outside the FCC for 10 days leading up to the initial release of the proposed rules. This was widely credited with making “Title II” a household name and getting it onto the table at the FCC.
-With our partners Demand Progress and Free Press we launched BattleForTheNet.com, which has become a central clearinghouse for net neutrality action and information, has been shared hundreds of thousands of times, and has attracted a wide coalition of Title II supporting #TeamInternet organizations and tech companies including Tumblr, Kickstarter, Mozilla, reddit, Etsy, and Imgur.
-More than 40,000 websites joined us to support Title II during the September 10thInternet Slowdown protest. In a single day we drove more than 770,000 comments to the FCC and hundreds of thousands of phone calls and emails to Congress.
-When the FCC leaked a so-called Hybrid proposal, we organized nationwide Emergency Protests, including one on the White House lawn, quickly sending the FCC back to the drawing board (eventually to write a full Title II rule.)
-We’ve driven more than 55,000 phone callsto the FCC through our tool at CallTheFCC.com, which circumvents the FCC switchboard to connect concerned Internet users directly with FCC employees.
-We delivered more than 75,000 signatures to the White House and ran a seriesof public facingcampaignsdemanding that President Obama break his silence on net neutrality and speak out in favor of Title II reclassification. We were instrumental in pressuring the White House on this issue, and they used many of our messages and framing in their video announcement.
-We threw an epic dance Party at the FCCto celebrate after President Obama finally caved to intense public pressure and came out in support of Title II.
-When members of Congress who take large sums in campaign contributions from Cable companies proposed legislation that would derail the FCC’s move toward Title II, we launched 535 websites, one for each member of Congress, and quickly drove thousands of phone callsand emails against the bills and in support of Title II.
-We are currently organizing theInternet Countdown, a sustained effort to keep the pressure on the FCC and Congress as the Internet literally counts down the seconds until the vote for real net neutrality.
Fight for the Future leadership are available for interviews or to discuss background information related to the net neutrality debate. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org