WASHINGTON — On Monday, the groups that led the mass mobilization of millions of people during the July 12 “Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality” launched Team Internet — the next phase of organizing to defend the open internet against the Trump FCC’s plan to gut landmark Net Neutrality protections.
Team Internet, which will also combat congressional threats to Net Neutrality, uses a distributed-organizing model popularized by Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. The Team Internet campaign is designed to enable individuals to self-organize and defend Net Neutrality at the local, state and federal levels.
Nearly half a million participants in the day of action volunteered to carry this fight forward into the summer and fall by organizing in their communities to hold local elected leaders accountable. Team Internet activists will speak up at town halls, meet with senators and representatives in their home districts, and encourage neighbors, colleagues, family and friends to join in defense of Net Neutrality. Primary targets in this effort include members of Congress, the FCC leadership and any elected leader who puts the interests of large phone and cable companies before those of constituents.
Team Internet is coordinated by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Free Press Action Fund. Becky Bond and Zack Malitz, veterans of Sen. Sanders’ digital-organizing team and long-time Net Neutrality defenders, are joining forces with Team Internet to help use peer-to-peer organizing to build out a massive distributed organizing campaign.
“We’re combining people power with technology to build a volunteer network of bold Net Neutrality activists who can hold their leaders accountable,” said Free Press Field Director Mary Alice Crim. “Team Internet is hundreds of thousands of people dedicated to saving real Net Neutrality. The organizations supporting this effort will give activists campaign updates, access to organizers, connections to like-minded volunteers and the training and support to take their activism to the next level.”
“Time and again, massive public mobilization and polling have shown that Americans across the political spectrum support real, enforceable Net Neutrality,” said Demand Progress Director of Operations and Communications Mark Stanley. “Outside Washington, protecting the open internet isn’t a polarized or partisan issue — the public knows it’s a matter of whether it can freely innovate, organize and communicate online, or whether a select few at the big cable companies control what we see and do on the internet. Team Internet’s distributed-organizing model will make plain to all members of Congress — Republican and Democrat alike — that when it comes to Net Neutrality, they must stand with their constituents, not FCC Chairman Pai and Comcast.”
“Net Neutrality is the free-speech fight of our generation, and internet users across the country are pissed off and paying attention,” said Fight for the Future Campaign Director Evan Greer. “Lawmakers need to know that if they stand idly by and allow the FCC or Congress to strip us of the basic protections that keep the internet free from censorship, throttling and extra fees, they will be seen by their constituents as enemies of the internet, and enemies of free speech.”
"What's happening is truly amazing,” said Becky Bond. “Demand Progress, Free Press Action Fund and Fight for the Future have built a half-million person fighting force virtually overnight. Using powerful distributed organizing tactics pioneered on the Bernie Sanders campaign, they are are harnessing the previously untapped power of an army of passionate volunteers. If anything can save the Internet, this might just be it."
The July 12 day of action generated more than 5 million emails and phone calls to members of Congress and more than 2 million comments at the FCC, which is in the middle of a proceeding to jettison the Title II Net Neutrality protections internet users won in 2015.
As of last Thursday, more than 10 million people had filed comments at the agency, the overwhelming majority of which support preserving the existing Net Neutrality safeguards.