Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Thursday's vigils are inspired by recent successful protests in Hungary against an internet tax, including this demonstration in Budapest in late October. (Photo: euronews)

Thursday's vigils are inspired by recent successful protests in Hungary against an internet tax, including this demonstration in Budapest in late October. (Photo: euronews)

'Internet Emergency': Protests to Sweep United States In Defense of Net Neutrality

'We are not going to roll over and let the FCC take our rights away'

Sarah Lazare

Inspired by Hungary's recent victorious protests to defeat an internet tax, "Internet Emergency" vigils to defend net neutrality are slated to sweep the United States Thursday evening.

In over a dozen cities across the United States, "demonstrators will hold their cell phones, laptops, and tablets above their heads as a symbol of protest, and shine light on the corruption unfolding in Washington, DC.," according to a statement from organizers, who include Fight for the Future,, Free Press, Demand Progress, reddit, and grassroots groups.

Under the leadership of chairman Tom Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the cable and telecommunications industry, the Federal Communications Commission is currently considering what the New York Times calls a "hybrid regulatory approach to net neutrality." Open internet campaigners warn that the new rules fall short of the strong net neutrality protections that are needed, because it would allow for internet fast and slow lanes.

"This so-called hybrid approach is not a compromise, it is a sham," Evan Greer of Fight for the Future told Common Dreams. "It allows companies to cut deals with content providers for access to better service. It's based on untested legal theories that are shaky and won't hold up in court. Given that the chair of the FCC is a former cable company lobbyist, it is hard not to assume it will fail on purpose."

Advocates of Net Neutrality are calling for the FCC to reclassify the internet under Title II of the Communications Act, which would treat the service as something to be protected in the public interest, like water and electricity.

Thursday's coordinated actions are just the latest in massive mobilizations to defend net neutrality, including an "Internet Slowdown" protest in September, during which supporters made more than 312,000 calls to Congress and submitted over 700,000 comments to the FCC.

Campaigners say the issue has attracted broad support because it is a matter of social justice and access to resources for the poor and marginalized, at a time of media consolidation and corporate power.

"The internet is an important avenue to freely express ourselves and communicate," Margaret Flowers of told Common Dreams. "If it is no longer an open platform, we will see corporate voices dominate.

"We are not going to roll over and let the FCC take our rights away," said Greer. "Those in power should expect rebellion over this if they don't listen to the public and do the right thing."

Reports and commentary on the vigils are being posted to Twitter:

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Senate Barely Approves Scaled Back Legislation on Climate, Taxes, Healthcare

But thanks to Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), there was a huge, last-minute win for the private equity and hedge fund industries

Common Dreams staff ·

'What the Hell is Wrong With Them': GOP Senators Kill $35 Cap on Insulin

'Republicans told millions of Americans who use insulin to go to hell.'

Common Dreams staff ·

World Faces 'Loaded Gun' on Hiroshima's 77th Anniversary

“We must ask: What have we learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled above this city?”

Common Dreams staff ·

'Extremely Concerned': Shelling of Europe's Biggest Nuclear Power Plant More Worrying Than Chernobyl

Ukraine said parts of the facility were "seriously damaged" by Russian military strikes.

Common Dreams staff ·

'Backsliding on Democracy': Indiana Governor Signs Extreme Abortion Ban Bill

'The extremist lawmakers who forced this bill through a special session clearly could not care less about what their constituents want or need.'

Common Dreams staff ·

Common Dreams Logo