Advocates for net neutrality blockaded FCC Chair Tom Wheelers driveway this morning, Monday, November 10, 2014, just as the Chairman was getting into his car. Six people participated in the blockade with a large banner that read “Save the Internet.” They also held signs demanding that Wheeler listen to the people. They chanted “Don’t let the Internet die. Time to reclassify!” and sang “Which side are you on Tom? Are you with the people or with the Telecoms?”
The protest, which kicked off at 6:55 am, is organized by PopularResistance.org, the same group that Occupied the FCC from May 7 to May 15. They are demanding that Wheeler drop plans to advance so-called “hybrid” rules that fail to protect free speech, and fully reclassify the Internet as a common carrier under Title II.
“We’re blockading Tom Wheeler’s driveway because he’s made it clear that when he goes to work, he’s not working for the public, he’s working for Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T, the companies that used to pay his salary when he was a lobbyist for the Cable industry,” said Kevin Zeese, co-director of Popular Resistance, “The future of the Internet is a life or death matter for marginalized people all over the world. We cannot in good conscience allow this corrupt official to carry on with business as usual.”
“The Internet is an essential tool in all of our lives for many reasons such as the growing citizen’s media, information sharing and access to goods and services. All people must have equal access to content without discrimination. Wealthy corporations should not get faster Internet delivery service than start-ups and citizens’ groups. ” said Margaret Flowers, MD, co-director of Popular Resistance.
Zeese added “The FCC received a record number of comments, with more than 3.7 million responding to the rulemaking proceeding on the future of the Internet; 99% of those comments favored net neutrality and reclassification. How dare Chairman Wheeler ignore the overwhelming majority of the people in favor of corporations like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T. Tom Wheeler is playing with fire. We will be escalating our protests if he continues down the path of ignoring the people. If Wheeler is unable to fulfill President Obama’s promise to protect net neutrality, then he should resign or be removed from office.”
Wheeler served as the top lobbyist for cable TV and telephone corporations before becoming chair of the FCC. “This is a crisis of democracy. The people have clearly spoken and Wheeler is supposed to represent the public interest, not the interests of Comcast and Verizon. It is time for him to listen to the public and reclassify the Internet as a common carrier so it can be regulated like a public utility,” added Flowers.
Popular Resistance is urging people to join them at a Vigil to Save the Internet tonight, November 10th, at Tom Wheeler’s Georgetown home. Journalists or activists interested in attending should contact Margaret Flowers or Kevin Zeese at . Following successful nationwide protests last week, the group is also working with other net neutrality advocates to hold a Dance Party to Save the Internet at the White House on Thursday evening, November 13th, at 6 PM in Lafayette Park.
At approximately 9:30 this morning, the White House released this video: