“We cannot continue to leave in the hands of corporations a form of communication that is so important for us. ” – Amalia Delaney
On Tuesday July 1, 2014, a group of Washington D.C. based public interest groups, such as Popular Resistance, Free Press, Code Pink, and the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press, as well as civilians supporters of real Net Neutrality, gathered in front of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ask FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, if he is with the people or with the telecom “fat cats” when it comes to reclassifying the Internet as a common carrier and protect real Net Neutrality. Although the event was a total success, it was sad to see that no LGBT interest group or organization came forward to support the event.
The event, which was organized by Popular Resistance, started around noon and was executed in three acts. The people, as the supporters of Net Neutrality identified themselves, started with a picketing demonstration on the sidewalk of the FCC. During the picketing demonstration people held signs and sang different chants, such as a version of “We Will Rock You” from the band Queen.
After the picketing, the people tried to organize under the entrance of the FCC to perform a tug of war between the people and the telecom fat cats. However, FCC staff as well as policedid not let this happen. Instead, they put the people in danger by demanding for them to perform in the street. But that did not stop the people. The supporters of real Net Neutrality organized themselves in the street, right in front of the FCC, and with a great energy and enthusiasm they were able to perform their tug a war.
While few people held the rope on the people’s side, performers dressed as the telecom fat cats held the rope on the other side. People started to gradually join the people’s side while singing,”Which Side Are You On, Tom, which side are you on?Are you with the people or with the telecoms?” After the people finished the song, they chanted “Don’t let the Internet die, time to reclassify” three times, and then, with a mighty tug, the telecom fat cats were thrown to the floor, symbolizing how they will lose the Net Neutrality battle.
After the people had their victory in the tug-a-war over real Net Neutrality, they played the song “The People Have the Power” and celebrated by dancing and taking pictures with their respective banners.
The event raised awareness of the dangers of eliminating Net Neutrality, and urged people to come forward, on or before July 15, with comments to the FCC about the importance of real Net Neutrality. In other words, although no LGBT organization or interest group came forward to support this event, they still have two more weeks to come forward and loudly raise their voices about why Net Neutrality is so crucial in furthering LGBT rights.
Public comments on Net Neutrality are due on July 15.