This is what democracy looks like.
That’s not something I thought I’d ever say about the bureaucrats at the Federal Communications Commission.
After years of cronyism, corruption and cowardice, Thursday’s vote for strong Net Neutrality rules at the FCC is unexpected if not unprecedented.
Credit FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler for listening to his critics and changing his mind about how to best protect the open Internet. Praise President Obama for using his bully pulpit. Thank John Oliver for coining the memorable phrase “cable company fuckery.”
But know that none of this happens without a relentless push from the grassroots. The real story here was dozens of public interest groups, new civil rights leaders and netroots organizers coordinating actions online and off, inside and outside Washington.
Artists, musicians, faith leaders and legal scholars bolstered their efforts. And about a dozen mostly unsung advocates in D.C. pushed back daily against the phone and cable lobby. This diverse coalition broke the FCC’s website, jammed switchboards on Capitol Hill, and forged new alliances that are transforming how telecom and technology policy is made.
The long but probably still incomplete list of key groups that share in the credit for this victory includes 18 Million Rising, Access, the ACLU, the Center for Media Justice, ColorOfChange.org, Common Cause, Consumers Union, CREDO Action, DailyKos, D.C. Action Lab, Demand Progress, Democracy for America, EFF, Engine Advocacy, Fight for the Future, Free Press, the Future of Music Coalition, the Internet Freedom Business Alliance, the Media Action Grassroots Network, the Media Democracy Fund, the Media Literacy Project, the Media Mobilizing Project, MoveOn, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Open Media, the Open Technology Institute, PCCC, Popular Resistance, Presente.org, Public Knowledge, Revolutions Per Minute and SumOfUs.