Fight for the Future


Media Advisory: Net neutrality activists plan protests in more than a thirty cities today opposing "hybrid" FCC proposal that fails to protect basic rights

Posted 13:25 EST on November 5, 2014

Media Advisory
November 6, 2014

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Email: press@fightforthefuture.org
Evan Greer, Fight for the Future, 978-852-6457
Kevin Huang, Fight for the Future, 510-648-5048
Margaret Flowers, PopularResistance.org - 410-591-0892

Net neutrality activists organize protests at White House and nationwide, opposing FCC’s leaked “hybrid” proposal, demanding real net neutrality

Civil liberties, tech policy, and free speech groups have called for nationwide emergency protests to oppose proposal reported in WSJ that would open the door for Cable company censorship and abuse

On Thursday, November 6th, net neutrality activists will protest in front of the White House in Washington, DC and in at least a dozen other cities across the country to demand that the FCC and the White House drop their proposal for “hybrid” net neutrality rules that fail to protect Internet users from censorship and discrimination.

Inspired by successful mass protests against an unpopular Internet Tax in Hungary, demonstrators will hold their cell phones, laptops, and tablets above their heads as a symbol of protest, and shine light on the corruption unfolding in Washington, DC.

See an updated map and list of protests planned here: https://battleforthenet.com

WHAT: Nationwide Emergency Protests for net neutrality

WHEN: November 6, 2014, 6PM EST, CST, MT and PST, depending on locality.

WHERE: The White House, Lafayette Park, Washington, DC;

And more than 30 other cities including:

MA State House, Boston, MA;
Comcast HQ, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
Minnesota State Capitol, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota;
Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, CA;
Federal Building, Cincinnati, OH;
Federal Plaza, Chicago, IL
City Hall, Houston, TX
Federal Court House, Las Vegas, NV

Capitol Building, Austin, TX
At&T Building, Worcester, MA
Park Square, Asheville, NC

WHY: To demand that the FCC drop its leaked proposal for corrupt, discriminatory “fastlanes” and listen to the 4 million Americans and thousands of businesses who’ve called for real net neutrality through Title II reclassification.

VISUALS: Group of open Internet advocates holding cellphones, laptops, flashlights, candles; White House and other government buildings in other cities. In DC there will be a light up sign reading “SAVE THE INTERNET.”

WHO: The protests are supported by Fight for the Future, PopularResistance.org, Free Press, Demand Progress, reddit, and several other grassroots organizations in collaboration with millions of online supporters.

BACKGROUND: Nearly 4 million Americans (alongside companies like Reddit, Tumblr, Netflix, and Google) have spoken out against discriminatory fastlanes and for real net neutrality. September’s #InternetSlowdown protest rallied over 40,000 websites and drove 312,000 calls to Congress and more than 700,000 comments to the FCC. But last week, news leaked in the Wall Street Journal that the FCC was planning to do the exact opposite: enshrine paid fastlanes in law, giving cable companies power over the open Internet. The current FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is a former cable & telecom industry lobbyist. Obama, who appointed Wheeler, has promised net neutrality from the campaign trail in 2008 to as recently as weeks ago. But the Obama administration has yet to reign in Wheeler’s plan to hand his former employers legal power over America’s Internet. Internet users are well organized after several mass online actions, and are preparing escalating responses leading up to the FCC’s final decision in the coming weeks.

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Fight for the Future works to excite the Internet to fight for the public good, our basic rights and freedoms. Founded in 2011, we’re known for effective, viral organizing and mass engagement through the distributed organizing platforms we’ve built, including the SOPA protests in the winter of 2011-2012 and the Internet Defense League. For more information, visit www.fightforthefuture.org or our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Whoever wins today, we will have to fight for future of the net

Posted 20:50 EST on November 4, 2014

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Dear Fight for the Future member,

Click here to join an emergency protest for net neutrality on November 6th!

Did you hear about the massive protests in Hungary? The government there proposed an Internet Tax, that would have charged ordinary internet users exorbitant prices *per gigabite.*

Thousands of people took to the streets in protest, holding their shining cell phones aloft as a symbol of resistance to the unfair Internet Tax. In response, the government announced they would lower the tax.

Instead of accepting the compromise, even more people took to the streets demanding unfettered, affordable access to the free and open web. And they won. The government backed down and took the controversial tax off the table.

It’s election day here in the U.S. and we face a similar crisis. Regardless of which party comes out on top today, the FCC is set to annihilate net neutrality and open the floodgates for rampant Internet censorship and abuse. This is the moment we’ve been building for. In the last year, Fight for the Future has grown to more than 1 million members! We are stronger than we’ve ever been and we have the power to save net neutrality, but signing petitions and making phone calls isn’t going to be enough.

This Thursday, November 6th we’re organizing emergency protests across the country, but we need more people to step up and help “anchor” protests in their towns. Anchoring a protest is easy: it just means you pick a time and location, and agree to be there and get as many of your friends as possible to come. The protests themselves are simple: we are asking people to gather in the evening at government buildings and hold their glowing cell phones, laptops, and tablets aloft to shine light on the growing corruption in DC and demand real net neutrality.

We, and several other groups with large email lists, will send an email to our thousands of members in your area encouraging them to attend your event.

Click here to join an emergency protest or start one in your town.

You can also reply to this email if you are able to help anchor a protest and we’ll get in touch with you right away.

The protests on Thursday will be the kickoff for a month of escalating actions leading up to the FCC’s final decision, which we expect to come in early December. We’ll be holding these vigils every Thursday leading up until that point, so if you can help organize one any time in the coming weeks, let us know! Just reply to this email, we’ll see it.

We’ve updated https://Battleforthenet.com to support these emergency protests.

Please share the link far and wide and tell as many people as possible that the fight for net neutrality is coming to a head and we need to start something big right now.

For the Internet,
-Evan at Fight for the Future

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Why President Obama deserves to lose the Senate today

Posted 17:34 EST on November 4, 2014

FFTF co-founder Holmes Wilson published this op-ed in The Hill today.

Link: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/222721-why-obama-deserves-to-lose-the-senate-today

The Internet has been game-changing in nearly every important political moment. From the Arab Spring to Occupy, from Ferguson to feminism, groups facing oppression have a chance to control their own narrative, introducing topics too complex and provocative for traditional, top-down media. 

Today, how average people feel about an issue finally, actually matters. When something important happens, public discourse can be more than soundbites crammed down our throats by paid (read: corrupted) professionals. When Ferguson or Gamergate happens, we can actually learn from it. 

When activists make a video decrying street harassment, for example, the absurd response on cable news is just icing on the cake. The hundreds of millions of people who watched the video directly, on their own terms, have already gotten the point (that what women in American cities go through every day is just unacceptable). 

For those of us who came of age in America’s dark days of post-9/11 hysteria, George Bush, and cable news (not to mention a cleverly co-opted New York Times that sat on the news of warrantless wiretapping for a year and pumped up the WMD threat in Iraq) it’s impossible to overstate the difference. 

But America’s telecommunication and media giants are threatening to return us to that pre-Internet dark age. And Barack Obama–who more than any other American president has benefited from the open Internet and promised to protect it– is helping them do it. 

The issue is net neutrality, the ability for people to connect online without interference from cable companies. The cable industry wants power over what sites and services people use, to start applying the confusing pricing– the kind that lets them charge such ridiculous amounts for TV– to the Internet. 

If they win, your access to cable-sanctioned services will get fast and cheap, while access to millions of other voices on the Internet will get slow and expensive, perhaps impossible. 

Obama has spoken out for net neutrality dozens of times, from the campaign trail, to just weeks ago. And he’s saying the right things. 

But that’s where it ends. Obama’s pick to run the FCC–the agency with the power to enforce net neutrality– is a former lobbyist for both cable companies and telcos. 

Despite having hand picked the FCC’s leadership, the Obama administration is pretending to have no power over the FCC. This is not true. Obama has the power to remove Tom Wheeler from his position as FCC chair and replace him with one of the other commissioners. If that’s not power, what is? 

Then, last week, the FCC’s current plans leaked to the Wall Street Journal. Even though millions of Americans supported net neutrality, this proposal gave us the opposite: fastlanes for those who pay, and slowlanes for everyone else. 

At this point, we no longer feel like we’re speaking to an administration (and especially an FCC Chairman) that’s operating in good faith. Four million Americans and nearly the entire tech community speak out, and the FCC does the opposite. This looks like simple corruption and–given everything Obama has promised his voters, volunteers, and donors on net neutrality–hypocrisy.  

And more than anything else, we see this as a pattern. Whether it’s the financial crisis, health care, immigration reform, or climate change, the Obama administration always says the right things. But when it comes time to act, it caves to elite power, again and again. 

Obama’s candidacy promised an escape from the dark ages of Bush, cable news, and a war built on hysteria. Now, by breaking his promises on net neutrality, Obama’s legacy will be to actually return us to that dark age, where our entire Internet experience will have the thumbprints of  top-down big cable/media conglomerates all over it.

Today, America goes to the polls. Obama’s party is expected to suffer a series of defeats, and lose control of Congress. Is it any wonder? This was a turnout election, the people who care most about an open Internet are those without power, and Obama hasn’t fought for them. From where we sit, they deserve to lose.

Wilson is a co-founder of Fight for the Future, a nonpartisan organization that works to defend the open Internet.

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