Wed, 14 May 2014
Call the FCC – If Obama's FCC Doesn't Restore Network Neutrality, Black Agenda Report Will Die
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
“...the neoliberal internet, according to proposals Barack Obama's FCC chief Tom Wheeler is expected to make today, will have fast lanes, slow lanes and dead ends, depending on how much or how little the producers of web content are willing to pay ...”
Neoliberalism is the backward, predatory notion, that every civic, social or human function ought to be governed by and through the market. If the rich can't get richer from something, it probably shouldn't be allowed to happen, or at least it needs to “reformed” so banksters and other parasites can collect their tolls.
Neoliberal education turns teachers into Wal-Mart workers and public school systems into privately owned charters with a trillion dollar marketplace for testing and other contractors. Neoliberal agriculture grants agribusiness firms intellectual property patent rights on crops so farmers can't plant without paying up, and crops that won't grow without expensive herbicides and pesticides. Neoliberal “health care reform” was about subsidizing crappy private health insurance, often with high deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance, no protections against medical bankruptcy, plenty of exemptions for employers and often skimpy actual care, all paid for with public money.
And the neoliberal internet, according to proposals Barack Obama's FCC chief Tom Wheeler is expected to make today, will have fast lanes, slow lanes and dead ends, depending on how much or how little the producers of web content are willing to pay Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other so-called “owners” of the internet backbone, which was originally tested, designed and built by government employees on the public dime and given to them for pennies on the dollar.
In true neoliberal fashion, the regulating won't be done by big government, but by greedy corporations, pretending to be something they call “the market.”
You'll still be able to pay your mortgage and utility bills online, and reach Disney.com, HBO Go, WhiteHouse.gov, local government and CNN, even YouTube, though you might have to pay extra for that. Facebook and Twitter will still be around. But internet radio will die overnight, while blogs, online journalism and oppositional reporting and commentary like Black Agenda Report will be made inaccessible. You might even have to pay to send email, or to see sites and content outside the US.
With the internet a private toll road, those low cost phone cards, which route your phone calls over the internet could see steep price increases, unless they're issued by the same companies that own the internet backbone. Without network neutrality, internet companies could even dictate what kinds of machines or programs you connect to the net with, and refuse connections to those of which they do not approve.
“...Call the FCC today at 1-888-225-5322.... and tell them the internet should be a common carrier, not a neoliberal toll road, ...”
If Obama's FCC chief gets his way, this is what the end of network neutrality will probably look like. Back in 2007, when Barack Obama needed all the Democratic primary election votes he could get, he declared that his administration “...would take a back seat to nobody” when it came to protecting net neutrality. Neutral networks don't care where you access them from, or what you access them with. Neutral networks are common carriers, unable to discriminate for or against content based on who produced it or who wants to use it.
Apparently, President Obama lied. Both his FCC chairmen came in the revolving door from jobs lobbying for the cable and telecom industry, just like George W. Bush's FCC. Corporate media almost never cover stories about their own monopoly power, and this is no exception. And even though more than a million people have already voiced opposition on the phone and email to Congress, the White House and the FCC, all the talk around these proposed FCC rule changes is that they're unstoppable, a done deal.
But that's also what they said back in 2003, when Bush's FCC chair proposed to allow unlimited monopoly concentration of newspaper, radio & TV stations in any US market. Before it was over, members of Congress were being ambushed and cornered by their outraged neighbors in visits home, public meetings were conducted in dozens of towns and cities, and millions more had voiced their opposition. Bush's FCC caved, and Obama's FCC can be forced to do the same.
Call the FCC today at 1-888-225-5322. That's -1888-225-5322 and tell them the internet should be a common carrier, not a neoliberal toll road, and if you're seeing this on the internet forward it your entire email list. Do it now. While you still can.
For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
For Black -225-5322