Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post from Evan Greer, campaign manager at Fight For the Future)
It’s happening. A group of dedicated net neutrality activists are gathering right now outside the FCC’s headquarters in Washington DC. They brought banners, signs and… sleeping bags.
These folks — Internet users just like you and I — are camping out in front of the FCC day and night until the agency hears the overwhelming cry of the public to reign in abusive telecom monopolies and keep the Internet equal for all.
Here’s the best part: it’s already working. Before a single protester had even shown up at the FCC’s doorstep, we got a call from Chairman Tom Wheeler’s office asking what our message was, and saying they may be interested in meeting with us. That’s particularly interesting, since when we helped deliver more than 1 million net neutrality signatures to the FCC last month, they wouldn’t meet with us.
Now we know for sure we have the FCC’s attention, since they’ll have to walk past our encampment every day when they come to work. We’ve heard from our contacts in DC that Tom Wheeler was not expecting this kind of massive backlash to his net neutrality announcement last week. AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast have dozens of paid lobbyists surrounding the FCC daily, this is our way of fighting back.
Not only do we have Tom Wheeler’s attention, but two other FCC commissioners stepped up and publicly questioned Wheeler’s proposal in support of open Internet policy. We have a real chance of winning this fight and keeping the Internet as a free and open platform for communication and expression, but we need everyone to help spread the word. This is getting bigger than anything the FCC expected – and it’s only going to get bigger leading up to our big action on May 15.
If you’re in Washington, DC, please come join us! We will be rallying outside the FCC every day from from now until May 15 at 445 12th st SW in Washington, DC. And if you’re especially dedicated bring your sleeping bag and camp out with us. The more people keeping up a constant presence outside the FCC, the more likely be will be to win net neutrality and defend freedom of speech online.
About the Author:
Evan is the Campaign Manager at Fight for the Future, an organization that’s building a grassroots movement to ensure everyone can access the Internet affordably, free of interference or censorship and with full privacy. You can follow Evan on Twitter at @evan_greer.