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Opposing Censorship Isn’t Just for Internet Giants

Press Releases - Thu, 2012-01-19 03:33

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 19, 2012 – As well-trafficked websites like Wikipedia and Google faded to black in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), local organizations across the country voiced their opposition to the proposed legislation by joining the strike.

Members of the Media Action Grassroots Network led the way as thousands of local organizations blacked out their sites to raise awareness of the threat they say these two pieces of proposed legislation pose to free speech online.  Though the debate on these “anti-piracy” bills has pit Hollywood against Silicon Valley, local leaders say the communities they serve will be most affected if these bills become law. 

“It’s increasingly clear that the SOPA debate has become about those who want to control the Internet versus those of us who need to use it,” said Media Literacy Project Director Andrea Quijada.  Her organization in Albuquerque, New Mexico, posted a similar action and a humorous graphic about the issue on their website.  

Minnesota Senator Al Franken, a long-time supporter of Internet Freedom, was called upon by Danielle Mkali of Minneapolis’ Main Street Project to champion the fight against Internet censorship. “SOPA/PIPA would threaten the innovation, creativity and connection that Minnesota artists, organizers, small business owners have come to depend upon. We urge Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar to oppose this bill” 

While both anti-piracy bills claim to protect content creators rights, local leaders like Bryan Mercer of the Media Mobilizing Project in Philadelphia are convinced that the bills threaten civil rights. 

"Enacting SOPA will cripple journalism, independent creative expression, and life saving services by making it possible to shut down a website for a single link,” adds Bryan Mercer of Philadelphia’s Media Mobilizing Project. “Passing SOPA/PIPA means sacrificing millions of American's freedom to openly exchange information." 

In the Bay Area, Media Alliance Director Tracy Rosenberg agrees. "The Protect IP Act is over-reaching and threatens every web address with more liability and less freedom. You wouldn’t shut down the Internet because of one bad actor, and we shouldn’t shut down the whole Internet to protect copyright." 

These leaders were joined in their opposition by more than four million people who signed petitions asking Congress to kill these bills.

 

Additional Sources:

SOPA-PIPA Justice Talking Points A Day of Censorship Protests, Online and Off  What is SOPA Anyways? A Guide to Understanding the Online Piracy Bill What is SOPA? Here Are 5 Things You Need to Know Why Should Latinos Care About SOPA Black on Black Digital Freedom: Why I Participated in Yesterday’s Internet Strike

 

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The Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) is a local-to-local advocacy network of over 100 grassroots community organizations working together for media change to end poverty, eliminate racism, and ensure human rights.

 

 

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In the "Year of the Activist", Grassroots Organizations Score a Major Victory Against Corporations

Press Releases - Tue, 2011-12-20 07:38

December 20, 2011 – The Media Action Grassroots Network is excited to celebrate a major victory for media justice advocates and communities across the country.  Yesterday, AT&T announced that they would be dropping its bid to takeover T-Mobile at a price tag of $39 billion. 

The proposed merger met with resistance from the Federal Communications Commission, the United States Department of Justice, and members of Congress, who all expressed concerns that AT&T’s plans were not in the public interest.  But without question, this hard-fought victory was due to months of work by grassroots organizations that knew from the beginning that more mergers would mean more problems for everyday people. "The now defunct merger had little to do with basic cell phone services in this U.S. This bid was about how generations of community would access the Internet,” says DeAnne Cuellar, Executive Director of Media Justice League. “We're pleased that millions of South Texans will enter the new year with more, instead of fewer, options to access mobile broadband."

Community members raised the alarm all over the country that consolidating two of the four major cell phone carriers would result in less competition, fewer options and higher prices for the 99%. “We are inspired by the voice and actions of so many within our communities that rose up as a collective force to help push federal officials to act in the public interest,” Carlos Pareja, Training and Policy Director for People’s Production House said. “We must continue the struggle so that our cellular airwaves are recognized as the public spaces and virtual town squares they are. We’ve seen how the only unfiltered story may be a livestream from a cell phone. What we hold in our hands therefore must be recognized as an instrument that supports democracy and free speech. This move to maintain more diversity in the cell phone market is a positive step in that direction.” 

Danielle Mkali Media Justice Organizer of Main Street Project says, "the hard working families, low income folks, people of color and T-mobile employees that risked job losses here in Minnesota join the country in celebrating the failure of the AT&T T-mobile merger. Minnesota recognizes that this duoply would have hurt our democracy, pocketbooks and options for cellphone service."  Had the merger gone through, not only would consumers have gotten the short end of the stick, so would’ve thousands of T-Mobile employees.  Betty Yu, National Organizer for the Center for Media Justice explains, “AT&T tried to fool people into thinking that they would be bringing more jobs and opportunities to the American public, but mergers with few- if any- exceptions equal job losses, not job gains.  The reality is that thousands of jobs would’ve been gone, and the 40,000 T-Mobile workers with no union protected rights were the ones that would’ve been first on the chopping block.”  

This holiday season, millions of people across the country will not be blind-sided by high phone bills, and T-Mobile employees will get to keep their jobs.  But Andrea Quijada, the Executive Director of Media Literacy Project warns, “the end of AT&T’s campaign to eliminate mobile competition and jobs is a gift to working class New Mexican families this holiday season. However, we know that this decision was not the result of AT&T putting people before profit. This result was won by media justice advocates and our allies in New Mexico and nationwide.  Though we are certain this is not the last we’ve heard from AT&T/T-Mobile, we want to take a moment to acknowledge this victory for consumers.  

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The Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) is a local-to-local advocacy network of over 100 grassroots community organizations working together for media change to end poverty, eliminate racism, and ensure human rights.

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The Federal Communications Commission Chairman comes out against AT&T's attempted takeover of T-Mobile

Press Releases - Wed, 2011-11-23 02:00

On Tuesday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski released a draft order recommending AT&T and T-Mobile appear at a hearing in front of an administrative judge before the $39 billion deal between the two corporate giants goes through.  An FCC agency analysis has led the Commission to the same conclusion the Department of Justice reached this past August - the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile "merger" does not serve the public's interest.  "It is encouraging to see the Commission recognize consumers faced higher prices and fewer choices from the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA by AT&T," says Tracy Rosenberg of Media Alliance. "It's good to see the FCC joining the DOJ and the California Public Utilities Commission in not rubber-stamping the deal, but asking hard questions about market concentration and potential job loss."

While AT&T maintained in a press statement released yesterday that the order will "prevent the creation of many thousands of new jobs," research and history shows that it's more likely a merger would result in massive loss of US jobs as the two companies cut duplicate positions and streamline operations. It's likely those left out in the cold would be thousands of nonunionized T-Mobile workers, 48 percent of whom are people of color.  Andrea Quijada of the Media Literacy Project adds, "As the holiday season approaches, economic stability is more important to New Mexico families than ever. With 2000 jobs on the line for our state if the proposed merger goes through, Media Literacy Project applauds the FCC’s decision to hold a hearing. As the process moves forward, we hope the FCC will do right by all of America’s working families and prioritize our needs over AT&T’s bottom line.” 

Chairman Genachowski also called into question AT&T's previous assertion that the merger would allow it to build out it's 4G high-speed wireless Internet access to cover  97 percent of the population as opposed to only 80 percent.  He concluded that irrespective of a merger, AT&T could and would likely build out access anyways in order to remain competitive with Verizon Wireless.  "The FCC has done the right thing by rural and low-income communities by requiring a hearing for the deal," according to Nick Szuberla of Thousand Kites. "This is a good step for American consumers.  There is no support for AT&T's stance that the deal would lead to faster service.  This deal was going to equal less competition and directly equal layoffs of communication workers across the country."

Media justice advocates, community-based organizations, consumer rights and corporate/media watch dogs have long contended that the AT&T takeover was a bad deal for communities and for the US economy. Carlos Pareja of People's Production House asserts, "Ever since the merger was announced, we have drawn attention to the negative impact it would have on consumers, especially low-income folks, people of color, immigrants and other historically underrepresented communities that overwhelmingly rely on cell phones to access the Internet. Greater concentration in the wireless sector can only mean less competition which translates into higher prices and jobs cuts."

“We commend the FCC for standing up against the corporate greed of the 1% - AT&T- and defending the interests and needs of the majority of people in this country - the 99%," says Betty Yu, of the Center for Media Justice. "Already facing economic hardship, U.S. working families and historically marginalized communities can't afford to pay higher prices. This decision demonstrates that the FCC listened to people's concerns about the merger's negative impact and how it would hurt our families and communities." 

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The Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) is a local-to-local advocacy network of over 100 grassroots community organizations working together for media change to end poverty, eliminate racism, and ensure human rights. 

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The Mural Speaks

Bookmarks Feed - Dom, 2010-05-09 08:37
Monthly Review Zine

The Mural Speaks event is more than a mural commemoration; it's a public art project that has galvanized and touched local residents, as well as individuals and groups nationwide and globally. The Mural Speaks is also the finale to the People's Movement Assembly, May 8th, 9-5, a gathering of Olympia's grassroots organizers to discuss the US Social Forum and other strategies moving forward (for more information: <omjp.net>).

Building Cross-Continental Grassroots Resistance to U.S. Militarization - United States Social Forum & the SOA Watch Encuentro in Venezuela | venezuelanalysis.com

Bookmarks Feed - VIer, 2010-05-07 18:46
While the USSF is taking place in Detroit, anti-militarization activists and human rights defenders from across the Americas will be gathering to strategize in Venezuela at the SOA Watch Encuentro. The dates of the Encuentro were deliberately chosen to coincide with the USSF in order to connect the two historic events. The connection will strengthen the bond between grassroots peoples movements in the South and the North. We propose a 10-15min live video link from the Encuentro in Venezuela to the main plenary at Cobo Hall.

Please, No More Requiems For Detroit

Bookmarks Feed - VIer, 2010-05-07 18:42
By Susana Adame, guardian.co.uk

Detroiters do not need yet another story about how their city is dying – they need resources, support and a new type of headline.

Stronger than tea: What it means to host the U.S. Social Forum

News Archive - Thu, 2010-05-06 18:07
By Larry Gabriel, Metro Times

On April 4, a group of progressive activists started out from Mississippi's Gulf Coast, headed for the Motor City — on foot. They expect to arrive here in time for the June 22-26 United States Social Forum 2010. There's a group pedaling here from Washington state on bicycles. Motor caravans headed in from San Antonio, New Orleans, Atlanta and Albuquerque, N.M., will meet along the way to make a grand entrance into the city. Organizers expect the motorcade to be 2,000 people strong when they arrive in time to march down Woodward Avenue with what some predict will be as many as 25,000 folks from all over the world.

It'll be the opening of the United States Social Forum 2010, an event the likes of which the city has never before seen.
Categorías: News Archive cat

Stronger than tea: What it means to host the U.S. Social Forum

Bookmarks Feed - Thu, 2010-05-06 18:07
By Larry Gabriel, Metro Times

On April 4, a group of progressive activists started out from Mississippi's Gulf Coast, headed for the Motor City — on foot. They expect to arrive here in time for the June 22-26 United States Social Forum 2010. There's a group pedaling here from Washington state on bicycles. Motor caravans headed in from San Antonio, New Orleans, Atlanta and Albuquerque, N.M., will meet along the way to make a grand entrance into the city. Organizers expect the motorcade to be 2,000 people strong when they arrive in time to march down Woodward Avenue with what some predict will be as many as 25,000 folks from all over the world.

It'll be the opening of the United States Social Forum 2010, an event the likes of which the city has never before seen.

Green Detroit: Why the City Is Ground Zero for the Sustainability Movement

News Archive - Thu, 2010-05-06 17:11
By Ron Williams, Alternet

Ignore the mainstream media. Detroit is not about architectural ruins. The people are re-imagining their city in fresh and courageous ways and there is a lot to learn from them.
Categorías: News Archive cat

Green Detroit: Why the City Is Ground Zero for the Sustainability Movement

Bookmarks Feed - Thu, 2010-05-06 17:11
By Ron Williams, Alternet

Ignore the mainstream media. Detroit is not about architectural ruins. The people are re-imagining their city in fresh and courageous ways and there is a lot to learn from them.

Leftist Lounge @ USSF

Bookmarks Feed - Thu, 2010-04-29 22:04

The Social Forum Movement and The History of Resistance

Blog Mentions - Tue, 2010-04-27 15:29
By Harry Targ, Diary of a Heartland Radical

Just as globalization today has its roots in five hundred years of trade and investment, and in exploitation and capital accumulation the global justice movements of our day also have their roots in the patterns of resistance since the beginning of capitalism...
Categorías: Blog Mentions cat

The Social Forum Movement and The History of Resistance

Bookmarks Feed - Tue, 2010-04-27 15:29
By Harry Targ, Diary of a Heartland Radical

Just as globalization today has its roots in five hundred years of trade and investment, and in exploitation and capital accumulation the global justice movements of our day also have their roots in the patterns of resistance since the beginning of capitalism...
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