We’re big fans of manifestii around these parts, and we’re big enemies of internet censorship, so when we saw this Anti-SOPA Manifesto by Alex Lindsay on G+, we knew we had to pass it on.
We’ve tried to ignore the problem… I tried to ignore the problem. I wanted to ignore the politics of the internet and, in many ways, politics itself. From a netizen point of view, Democracy often seems inefficient and ineffectual. But just because WE want to ignore it, doesn’t mean politics wants to ignore us.
There are many groups who would subjugate us if they could. They would force us to pay every time we heard a song on the car radio, they would make sure we can’t speak freely about their brand or their brand of government, they would exert complete control over our online existence.
As Netizens, we naively think that calmer heads will prevail and this has often been the case… but laws like SOPA and PIPA, which could potentially make the Patriot Act look tame if used to their fullest extent… continue to be paid for by big industry and pushed through congress. These acts are not just bad, they are unAmerican and more akin to something we would see in China or Iran… not here.
How does this happen? It’s simple enough, Congressmen are paid to make laws that would oppress us. In the emerging world, this would be called “Corruption”… here it’s called “Contribution”. It’s easy. These laws are complicated and their most of their constituents don’t even know that their congressmen are involved or how these laws would affect them. The industries behind these laws are wealthy and spend lavishly on representatives willing to support them. Most importantly… there is little to no political pain for these representatives. They fill their campaign coffers with cash… if the bill fails, they keep the cash and it’s quickly forgotten. If the bill passes, they’ll get more money next year.
This needs to stop.
We can no longer expect our representatives, many of whom couldn’t write an email on their own, to represent us without firm action. We can no longer depend on OUR means of discussion – Facebook, Twitter, and Email -l to express ourselves.
We need to fight these laws, and the lawmakers that would pass them, in their back yard. We need to earn their respect, and fear if necessary. We need them to know that supporting these bills has a political cost.
We need a sort of “Internet Protection Fund”, a PAC, that is designed for a single purpose – To use every legal means to attack those who would attack us. To bring the fight to to their doorstep, their airwaves, and their TVs. We need to organize and focus the resistance.
Step 1 – Stop the SOPA and PIPA before they are passed through targeted boycotts, information campaigns, and letter writing campaigns.
Step 2 – Target those in Congress who support these bills and attempt to unseat them in the fall with internet, grassroots, TV and Radio campaigns. Congress needs to know that supporting these bills is no longer a blank check…it’s no longer safe.
Step 3 – We need to build our organization BETWEEN elections, build its resources, and build its capacity to defend our rights… aggressively. This fight is about to intensify as the information age matures. We need to begin to take an active role in shaping our online future.
This is not a replacement for organizations like the Electronic Freedom Foundation… without whom we will be already be in virtual chains. This is the sharp end of the stick that comes when they are not able to negotiate our freedom. These are the troops that back up the political discussions with real, tangible, action.
This is not a replacement for Anonymous. They play harder than we will. We will keep our fight within the confines of the current laws. We will use every means within those laws to express the will of those we represent but we will stay well within the confines of the current rules.
We will play by the political rules that our opponents play by… not the ones we wish they would play. We will use our skills, connections and ability to organize online but we will bring this fight to their field and beat them there.
So now what do we do?
Step one: +1 this post and pass it on. If there is enough interest, the next steps will be somewhat obvious (begin the organization structure). Comment and let me know what you think and what you would do next. If there is enough interest… more posts will follow.