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Net Neutrality: The People Win the Internet!

by Rachel Rye Butler

February 26, 2015

Today, thanks to amazing activism from people across the country, the people win the Internet!

This is truly a moment to celebrate because ALL THE CAT VIDEOS!!! a free and open Internet is at the core of our societys commitment to a democracy of, by, and for the people.

At Greenpeace, we think the Internet should be open, free and green. Thats why we have spoken out against illegal NSA Internet surveillance and joined allies in suing the NSA over illegal spying. Its also why were pushing for companies to power the data centers behind the Internet with renewable energy, instead of polluting coal and gas. So today, were cheering the decision to keep the internet free and open!

The people vs. big telecom

If you hadnt heard about the people-vs-corporate monopoly battle over net neutrality, heres whats up: over the past few years, corporate telecom giants have been pushing changes to the way people are able to access the Internet, including pay-to-play fast lanes for those with the cash to be able to access and promote content on the Internet.

As another Greenpeacer put it, by getting rid of net neutrality, The companies who can pay to get content up on the fast Internet, like Shell and Exxon, get to keep pumping their ads for oil and gas in front of online videos on the fast Internet, but activists and start-ups have to run their content on a slower Internet that never gets nearly the same audience.

But, across issues and organizations, people have been organizing to protect a free and open Internet, and today, the Federal Communications Commission, due to immense public support for net neutrality, voted with the people.

The fight for the soul of our democracy

The push to undermine net neutrality is eerily similar to whats also going on in our political system, where a few powerful interests, the Koch brothers chief among them, are marshalling corporate wealth against people power, and trying to drown out the voices of the 99% with the money of the 1%.

In many cases, powerful interests have been getting away with tearing down key pieces of our democracy, with the Supreme Court knocking down restrictions on money in politics with the Citizens United decision in 2010 and rolling back protections to voting rights with the Shelby decision in 2013 that stripped away key parts of the Voting Rights Act. But, like with net neutrality, the people are fighting back.

Todays win is a victory for the burgeoning, people-powered movement for democracy battling on all fronts, from a free and open Internet, getting money out of politics, and protecting the right to vote.

Greenpeace has been proud to be a very small part of the massive, beautiful and diverse movement to protect our Internet from a corporate takeover. We want to offer our gratitude and congratulations to so many groups who have been key organizers in the fight for an open Internet, like ACLU, Center for Media Justice, Color of Change, Common Cause, Credo, Demand Progress, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Engine, Fight For the Future, Free Press, Moveon.org, Mozilla, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Open Media, Popular Resistance, Presente, and too many others to name here.

When people organize to protect fundamental pieces of our democracy, we all win.

Let’s celebrate this people’s victory!

Rachel Rye Butler

By Rachel Rye Butler

Rachel Rye Butler is a campaigner at Greenpeace USA

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