Sunday, February 16, 2014
The People Fight Back
A tweet from New Mexico's Senator Tom Udall is first among the "notable tweets" shown on a web page at The Day We Fight Back, where statistics are shown of an effort last week to use the internet to marshall the people's political power to stop NSA spying - such as the number of phone calls to congress, the number of tweets sent, the number of web sites that displayed the effort's banner. (As did I - the link is still on the post below but the fancy floating banner disappeared after that day.) Udall's tweet mentions a bill he's co-sponsoring to curtail domestic spying and also mentions The Day We Fight Back effort.
Besides Udall, several other prominent politicians, media outlets and organizations who tweeted about the effort are also listed.
The Day We Fight Back was put together by the people behind the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been leading the struggle to preserve the internet as an unrestricted communications tool. EFF-organized efforts have beat back several attempts by the large internet providers, like Comcast, and their handmaidens in congress and the White House to privatize the internet and turn it into a two tiered system, where those who pay more can to get their message out, and we the people are put in a slow lane and can't reach everybody on the same footing as corporations. As the internet is configured now, my blog has just as much chance of being seen as Boeing's or Concast's web sites, and it downloads at the same speed, but Capitalism wants to change that.
The email I got today, with the link to the page with Udall's tweet, talks about the success of The Day We Fight Back and also about how the struggle will continue. Politicians are already using the internet and it's Social Media components as a way to increase and extend their power, but so far it's been largely a one way street. The peoples' use of the internet as a political tool is in its infancy, but you can see it evolving before your very eyes.
As it becomes more sophisticated and effective, expect politicians and corporations to try to co-opt the peoples' effort to use the internet to organize their inherent but latent power, and if they can't co-opt it to crush it, as they did Occupy, but so far it's something that we the people control. Udall and other power brokers can join in and help out and perhaps benefit personally, but are primarily only coming along for the ride.