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Los Angeles Joins Nationwide #WaveOfAction Occupation of FCC Offices to #SaveTheInternet

by Los Angeles People’s Media Friday, May. 16, 2014 at 5:29 AM

The #WaveOfAction to #SaveTheInternet swept through twenty cities across the United States on Thursday, May 15, 2014, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on new rules to drastically change how the Internet operates.

Los Angeles Joins Na...
1_occupy_the_fcc_save_the_internet_cerritos_ca.png, image/png, 697x429

This week, in a battle labeled #FCCvsNetFreedom on social media, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been considering a request by telecommunications giants Verizon, Comcast., AT&T, and Time Warner to create a “pay to play” environment, in which your ISP can speed up or slow down particular online traffic. In Washington, D.C. the People’s Firewall has established camp outside the FCC to defend the principle of net neutrality.

Many have termed the very quiet backroom deal between the FCC and cable companies “the greatest freedom of speech issue of our time.” Accordingly, awakened activists launched a #WaveOfAction to #SaveTheInternet at FCC field offices in twenty cities while the FCC Commissioners considered the rules change.

On Thursday, May 15th, three dozen people rallied in 102 degree heat outside the FCC field office in Cerritos, CA to #OccupyTheFCC in favor of net neutrality. Protestors waved signs bearing messages such as “FCC – Don’t Nix Net Neutrality,” “Don’t Neuter the Net,” and “Neutralize the Threat, Not the Net.”

This Southern California FCC field office is located in unmarked suite 660 of a large industrial park also housing a for-profit college. Despite chants of “Hey, FCC? Come out! We’ve got some stuff to talk about!” no employees appeared to address the assembled citizens.

Political activist Lauren Steiner posted a photo of an FCC employee with uniformed security behind glass, captioned, “Charles, from the FCC, wouldn't come down to hear our speeches, [including] 11-year-old Michael's letter to Tom Wheeler, even though I told him it would help with a young boy's civic education.”

A Homeland Security vehicle was on the premises and private security patrolled the building on golf carts while concerned citizens took to the public address system. “Ideas are free and so are we; vote yes on net neutrality. We’re here to tell the FCC: Keep the Internet open and free!”

If the FCC approves paid Internet “fast lanes,” websites that pay hefty fees will be easier for the average consumer to access. On the flip side, small businesses, start-ups, and anyone who can not afford the large fees will have their Internet traffic sent to the “slow lane.” #SaveTheInternet refers to the campaign to keep the Internet free from discrimination and defend the principle of net neutrality. #NoSlowLane

As Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) explains, “Whether you run a huge website or a small blog, you should have equal access to Internet users without paying a ransom to providers like Comcast.”

Or, in the words of Thursday’s rally, “Google fast, my blog slow? To that I say: no, no, NO!”

In 2007, then-candidate Barack Obama promised to protect net neutrality: “I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality, because once providers start to privilege some applications or websites over others, then the smaller voices get squeezed out and we all lose. The Internet is perhaps the most open network in history and we have to keep it that way.”

Despite his campaign promises to defend net neutrality (and keep lobbyists out of his administration), in November 2013, President Obama appointed telecommunications lobbyist Tom Wheeler to head the FCC. By April 2014, word had leaked that Wheeler was conspiring with the three largest ISPs to undermine the free, open architecture of the Internet by overturning net neutrality principles.

Independent journalists, small business owners, members Worldwide Wave of Action, Anonymous, and Occupy Wall St. know that if the FCC allows censorship and discrimination to rule the Internet, “the same large corporate gatekeepers that have bought control of our political process and cable television will now have dominant control of our online experience.”

On May 7th, the People’s Firewall set up camp in Washington, D.C. to “surround FCC headquarters with people who love the Internet and want to keep it open” in the week leading up to the May 15th FCC Commissioners meeting. That afternoon, President Obama traveled to a Bel Air, CA fundraiser where he was surrounded by signs reading “Obama, honor your integrity on keeping net neutrality” and “Obama, call off Tom Wheeler – Save the Net.”

People traveling to the Los Angeles “Tell Obama To Keep the Internet Free and Open” rally on May 7th were prevented from marching through Bel Air due to the federal Trespass Bill, which criminalizes protest in the United States by making entering a restricted area under the jurisdiction of the Secret Service an arrestable offense. Police closed down all the streets for blocks in advance of the President’s arrival, but about a dozen managed to wave signs at various points along the route his motorcade passed.

One protestor from Occupy Venice recalled watching the motorcade drive along Beverly Glen Blvd, “There were only five of us but we each had a sign. He saw.”

She also described the creepy sight of vacant rush hour streets, continuing, “They passed by [in] several long, black limos with US flags and darkened windows, sandwiched between huge black militarized SUVs with massive black-clad men in dark glasses in each vehicle. The windows were down all the way in those vehicles. Each man held up a big, shiny, highly automatic looking weapon as they drove slowly past, looking at us all as they passed. I understand why they want to close the streets around the motorcade now, even from press. It was an eerie sight.”

Contrary to what the Obama administration thinks, Internet access is a public utility. A group of 86 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press and Reddit, have asked the FCC to reclassify broadband companies as “telecommunication services.” Over 100 internet companies (including Google, Amazon, Twitter, eBay, and Facebook) wrote a letter to Wheeler indicting his plans as a "grave threat to the Internet" that would allow companies to “discriminate both technically and financially.”

According to the diverse coalition of groups who launched the Wave of Action for media freedom, “The Internet has empowered citizens with access to uncensored information and given us a voice with the ability to communicate freely on a global scale, which has led to a global awakening unprecedented in human history. The Internet has become a powerful tool in the fight for knowledge, democracy and freedom. We cannot allow the world’s most powerful corporations to seize control of it!”

Those who established the People’s Firewall demand:
- Reclassification as a common carrier so the Internet could be regulated in the public interest;
- Net neutrality put into law so that there is no Internet discrimination and we all have equal access to all of the web; and
- Remove barriers to public Internet at the municipal and local elections so communities are trapped into corporate domination of the Internet, but can develop public ownership of the Internet in the public interest.

Awash in a flood of criticism, the FCC phone system now presents an automated message asking Americans to email “open Internet” comments to a new inbox. The agency has received well over a million emails to date. Contacts in DC report, “Tom Wheeler was not expecting this kind of massive backlash to his net neutrality announcement last week. ...if they move forward with this proposal they are lighting the fuse to a massive citizen’s revolt that will impact their agency as well as the elected officials who put them in power.”

On May 15th, three concerned citizens were escorted out of the FCC commissioners meeting by security, as Chairman Tom Wheeler smirked. Kevin Zeese of PopularResistance.org stood up and declared, “It’s obvious the Internet is a common carrier. It brings us all equally to the net and we mouth off without any prejudice or bias, without any kind of discrimination. We want to see the FCC do its job and regulate the internet for the people, not to regulate it for the corporations!”

After Mr. Zeese was removed by armed guards, Margaret Flowers, also of PopularResistance.org, addressed the panel: “In the 21st century, the internet is our free speech, but in this country we are losing our rights to free speech The internet was created with our public dollars, as far as the public commons, and it should never should have been reclassified…”

Her passionate remarks were followed by applause and a spontaneous cheer of “save the Internet.” All reporters in the room focused on the next man in the audience to stand up, a U.S. Army veteran who cited his oath to defend and protect the United States Constitution before saying, "You're trying to destroy First Amendment rights to free speech and free press.” Security yanked on his arm to pulled him to the back of the room.

As the Vietnam veteran walked out under armed escort, he reminded the government officials, “The commons are for all the people!”

Net neutrality protesters removed by armed guards at FCC meeting (May 15, 2014):
http://youtu.be/DMztMIazG_A (2 minutes long)

Washington, D.C Rally to Save the Internet (May 15, 2014):
http://youtu.be/gL2rnDAlstg (3 minutes long)

SAVE OUR LOLCATS #NetNeutrality Bel Air (May 7, 2014):
http://youtu.be/sEtZXJq4DZw (6 minutes long)

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#WaveOfAction to #SaveTheInternet Occupies FCC Field Office near Los Angeles

by Los Angeles People’s Media Friday, May. 16, 2014 at 5:29 AM

#WaveOfAction to #Sa...
2_occupy_the_fcc_by_mc.jpg, image/jpeg, 550x367

On Thursday, May 15th, three dozen people rallied in 102 degree heat outside the FCC field office in Cerritos, CA to #OccupyTheFCC in favor of net neutrality. Protestors waved signs bearing messages such as “FCC – Don’t Nix Net Neutrality,” “Don’t Neuter the Net,” and “Neutralize the Threat, Not the Net.” Photo from Los Angeles, CA by M.C. on 5/15/2014.
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Wave of Action to Save the Internet (Los Angeles, May 15, 2014)

by Los Angeles People’s Media Friday, May. 16, 2014 at 5:29 AM

Wave of Action to Sa...
3_occupy_the_fcc_by_mc.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x600

A diverse coalition of groups launched the Wave of Action for media freedom and enacted a People’s Firewall to fight the FCC proposed changes to net neutrality. Photo from Los Angeles, CA by M.C. on 5/15/2014.
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#OccupyTheFCC outside FCC Los Angeles in solidarity with People’s Firewall Washington, D.C

by Los Angeles People’s Media Friday, May. 16, 2014 at 5:29 AM

#OccupyTheFCC outsid...
4_occupy_the_fcc_crowd_by_mc.jpg, image/jpeg, 580x382

Whose net? Our net!

A diverse coalition of groups launched the Wave of Action for media freedom and enacted a People’s Firewall to fight the FCC proposed changes to net neutrality. Photo from Los Angeles, CA by M.C. on 5/15/2014.
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President Obama, don’t let Tom Wheeler neuter the net!

by Los Angeles People’s Media Friday, May. 16, 2014 at 5:29 AM

President Obama, don...
5_dont_neuter_the_net_by_nikohl_vandel.jpg, image/jpeg, 450x600

Citizens Occupy FCC Field Office (Cerritos, CA) to #SaveTheInternet #FCCvsNetFreedom in this photo by Nikohl Vandel on 5/15/14.
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Citizens Occupy FCC Field Office (Cerritos, CA) to #SaveTheInternet #FCCvsNetFreedom

by Los Angeles People’s Media Friday, May. 16, 2014 at 5:29 AM

Citizens Occupy FCC ...
6_occupy_the_fcc_collage.png, image/png, 637x447

On Thursday, May 15th, three dozen people rallied in 102 degree heat outside the FCC field office in Cerritos, CA to #OccupyTheFCC in favor of net neutrality. Protestors waved signs bearing messages such as “FCC – Don’t Nix Net Neutrality,” “Don’t Neuter the Net,” and “Neutralize the Threat, Not the Net.” Photo from Los Angeles, CA by M.C. on 5/15/2014.
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#SaveTheInternet Citizens Speak Out Against Proposed FCC Changes to Net Neutrality

by Los Angeles People’s Media Friday, May. 16, 2014 at 5:29 AM

#SaveTheInternet Cit...
7_occupy_the_fcc_by_mc.jpg, image/jpeg, 516x396

A diverse coalition of groups launched the Wave of Action for media freedom and enacted a People’s Firewall to fight the FCC proposed changes to net neutrality. Photo from Los Angeles, CA by M.C. on 5/15/2014.
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Citizens Occupy FCC Field Office (Cerritos, CA) to #SaveTheInternet #FCCvsNetFreedom

by Los Angeles People’s Media Friday, May. 16, 2014 at 5:29 AM

Citizens Occupy FCC ...
8_occupy_the_fcc_collage.png, image/png, 577x434

On Thursday, May 15th, three dozen people rallied in 102 degree heat outside the FCC field office in Cerritos, CA to #OccupyTheFCC in favor of net neutrality. Protestors waved signs bearing messages such as “FCC – Don’t Nix Net Neutrality,” “Don’t Neuter the Net,” and “Neutralize the Threat, Not the Net.”
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“Expect Us, FCC” says Anonymous

by Los Angeles People’s Media Friday, May. 16, 2014 at 5:29 AM

“Expect Us, FCC”...
9_expect_us_fcc.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x375

“Expect Us, FCC” says Anonymous at the #WaveOfAction to #SaveTheInternet
Los Angeles, May 15, 2014
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#OccupyTheFCC outside FCC Los Angeles in solidarity with People’s Firewall Washington, D.C

by Los Angeles People’s Media Friday, May. 16, 2014 at 5:29 AM

#OccupyTheFCC outsid...
10_dont_feed_the_corporate_trolls.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x480

Don’t Feed the Corporate Trolls!



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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 3 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
More on This Action nobody Friday, May. 16, 2014 at 1:20 PM
Sign in bad taste nobody Saturday, May. 17, 2014 at 3:40 PM
when I saw the vote on thursday crazy_inventor Saturday, May. 17, 2014 at 5:46 PM

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