Defend Net Neutrality!


Net neutrality activists in Washington. The Trump administration is trying to overturn Obama-era regulations that protected it. Photograph: UPI / Barcroft Images

About 200 internet companies and activist groups are coming together this week to mobilize their users into opposing US government plans to scrap net neutrality protections.

The internet-wide day of action, scheduled for Wednesday 12 July, will see companies including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Vimeo, Spotify, Reddit and Pornhub notify their users that net neutrality – a founding principle of the open internet – is under attack. The Trump administration is trying to overturn Obama-era regulation that protected net neutrality, and there is less than a week left for people to object.

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Bernie Sanders Loyalists Are Taking Over the Democratic Party One County Office at a Time

The followers of Sen. Bernie Sanders, shown above last week, are aiming to transform the Democratic Party’s power structure, starting with the lowest-level state and county committee posts.

In fight to define party in age of Donald Trump, Sanders followers want to transform it from the bottom up by taking control of low-level state and county posts

 

The followers of Sen. Bernie Sanders, shown above last week, are aiming to transform the Democratic Party’s power structure, starting with the lowest-level state and county committee posts. Photo: mandel ngan/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

By Reid J. Epstein and Janet Hook

Wall St Journal

Feb. 22, 2017  – In Washington, Democrats are grappling with what it means to be a minority party in the age of Donald Trump. In the rest of the country, populist followers of Sen. Bernie Sanders are mounting a sustained effort to answer the question from the bottom up.

In California, supporters of the 2016 presidential contender packed the obscure party meetings that chose delegates to the state Democratic convention, with Sanders backers grabbing more than half the slots available.

In Washington state, they swept to power at the Democratic state central committee, ousting a party chairman and installing one of their own in his place. Sanders acolytes have seized control of state parties in Hawaii and Nebraska and won posts throughout the party structure from coast to coast.

Those gains come from an under-the-radar blitz in a debate over the future of the party following its bruising 2016 losses. While Democrats nationwide have put the focus on President Trump, the Sanders wing of the party has engaged in an intramural fight to remake the party in a more populist, liberal mold.

“It is absolutely imperative that we see a major transformation of the Democratic Party,” Mr. Sanders said in an interview last week. The party has “to do what has to be done in this country, to bring new energy, new blood.”

The party will choose its new chairman on Saturday at a meeting in Atlanta. Some in the Democratic old guard harbor concerns that a sharp turn to the left could alienate centrist voters, jeopardize the party’s position in the next presidential election and, before then, lead to primary challenges to incumbent Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

The Brevard County, Fla., Democratic Party’s executive committee meeting in Rockledge drew a full house last week.

The Brevard County, Fla., Democratic Party’s executive committee meeting in Rockledge drew a full house last week. Photo: Jacob Langston for The Wall Street Journal

“Is the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren wing of the party going to push us too far to the left?” asked former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “Only if they start going after incumbent moderate Democrats in primaries like the tea party did.”

Last week, a group of former Sanders campaign aides launched a super PAC with the explicit goal of mounting primary challenges to Democratic incumbents. Party leaders are urging Democrats to focus on fighting Mr. Trump and his GOP allies instead of turning their fire inward.

For now, the strategy of Mr. Sanders’s followers is to infiltrate and transform the Democratic Party’s power structure, starting with the lowest-level state and county committee posts that typically draw scant attention.

Brevard County Democratic Executive Committee chair Stacey Patel, standing, spoke at the meeting last week in Rockledge.

Brevard County Democratic Executive Committee chair Stacey Patel, standing, spoke at the meeting last week in Rockledge. Photo: Jacob Langston for The Wall Street Journal

“From where I come from in the Bernie movement, people believe that there are permanent obstacles to change,” said Larry Cohen, the board chairman of Our Revolution, the political organization that grew from the 2016 Sanders presidential campaign.

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10 Steps to Transform American Society

Presenting ‘The Democracy Charter’

By Jack O’Dell
The Nation

April 6, 2015 – In the fall of 1979, the Rev. Jesse Jackson invited me to accompany him on a ten-day visit to South Africa, coordinated by the African National Congress. Everywhere we went, from Cape Town to Durban, from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg, the Freedom Charter would come up at some point in our conversations. This document, drafted by the ANC, had been discussed and modified by gatherings all around the country before being adopted at a nationwide assembly in Kliptown in 1955. Its vision-of a South Africa with civil, human and economic rights for all-would serve until the end of apartheid to unite the freedom movement in all of its sectors and to inspire hope and confidence in ultimate victory, despite the pain of the struggle and the ruthlessness of the regime.

Two years later, I was privileged to be one of the people whom The Nation invited to take part in a US peace activists’ tour of the NATO countries of Western Europe. We went in response to the Reagan administration’s unilateral initiative to deploy nuclear-armed missiles in Europe, as well as the great concern being expressed in many parts of Europe about this decision. In the Netherlands, one of the groups we visited was the Women’s Peace Committee at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. Near the end of a very cordial and interesting meeting, one of the women commented: "In 1940, the Germans came; they left in 1945. In 1945, the Americans came. When are they leaving?"

These two experiences, among many others, impressed upon me the idea of a Democracy Charter as a uniting vision for the diverse sectors of our social-change movement in the United States. The following version summarizes and updates ten points I first drafted in 2005-the fiftieth anniversary of the ANC’s Freedom Charter-for a conference of US and Canadian social-change activists and academics at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Since then, as I’ve continued to revise the draft, study groups have formed around the country, from South Carolina to the Bay Area, to consider and update the charter as an outline of substantive democracy.

Most of the issues included in the Democracy Charter were chosen because they have been the object of public activity, led by a great variety of organizations, over a number of years. The Democracy Charter, summarized below, seeks to enlarge the public’s understanding of the connectedness of these issues as a way to achieve a social transformation of American society. This is the ultimate purpose of our movement.

I. A national commitment to affordable housing. Initiatives to house the homeless (many of them families), as well as those who pay most of their income for cramped and dilapidated housing, would create jobs in construction and renovation. Such initiatives would also give us the opportunity to increase our proportion of housing that uses sustainable energy. Negotiating realistic terms for homeowners who default on unsustainable mortgages can preserve neighborhoods otherwise destined to decay. (Continued)

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