Above photo: Sign outside the FCC in 2014 during “Occupy the FCC.”
Washington, DC – April 20 was the third public meeting at the Federal Communications Commission under the leadership of the new chair, Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon. Pai has been a long-time opponent of rules to protect net neutrality. He voted against reclassification of the Internet as a common carrier under Title II in 2015 and he met recently with telecom representatives to discuss how to undermine net neutrality by relaxing enforcement of the rules. Net neutrality means that the Internet should be treated as a utility so that all people have equal access to content without discrimination based on ability to pay.
The coalition that won net neutrality in 2015, which includes Popular Resistance, reconvened rapidly after Pai was chosen as chair and put together a strategy to protect net neutrality. Protests have taken place at every public meeting since Pai took over.
At the April public meeting, net neutrality protectors were in attendance and disrupted the meeting by “rickrolling” Chairman Pai with the message that we are never going to give up on net neutrality. See the video below. FCC security and Homeland Security officers removed the protectors from the building and banned them from ever entering again. Popular Resistance co-directors Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese were similarly banned in 2015 for multiple protests to win net neutrality.
Mary Alice Crim, field director for Free Press, warned after the meeting that Pai could move as early as next week to weaken net neutrality. This means that the time has come to mobilize again. It took a large coalition of organizations, months of actions and the online participation of more than four million people to win net neutrality in 2015. That level of activity is necessary now to protect it.
Here are actions that you can take:
1. Tweet to Chairman Pai at @AjitPaiFCC to tell him not to destroy net neutrality. The FCC is a public agency that must serve the public.
2. Sign up for the national organizing conference call hosted by Free Press on Thursday April 27 at noon. Actions are being organized nationally. Click here to register.
3. Let us know if you are willing to protest at the FCC in Washington, DC. We will need to escalate our actions as the FCC increases its attack. Click here to register.
Net neutrality supporters ‘rickroll’ FCC, The Hill