…because whatever issues and campaigns you care about, you can be sure that they depend upon an open Internet free from censorship in 2016.
Before I came to Fight for the Future, I spent 20 plus years working my butt off for one issue and campaign after another. In total, I personally knocked on something like 75,000 doors, and ran an operation that did 1,000 times that. From toxics to climate change, I fought to make sure that the ordinary voices of people in our country didn’t get drowned out by the biggest, baddest special interests. When I could, I volunteered to get decent people elected to office, and when there were big political campaign moments, I pitched in to help mobilize millions. Along the way, I did whatever I could to build the movement–training and mentoring thousands of new activists and leaders.
Over my early career as an activist, I saw the Internet emerge as a platform for organizing and doing politics. I’ll never forget the first emails I sent for Moveon PAC on the 2004 presidential campaign. They turned the old inviolate organizing rule of halves (typically 50% of the people who get invited and say yes will show to your meeting) on it’s head. My e-mails were turning up more like 150%, sometimes 200%, of the people who received the email to a meeting. And while it’s evolved as a tool since then, and will continue to over time, it has never stopped blowing me away with it’s potential for creative, kick butt organizing.
There was Arab spring, Obama’s presidential campaign, #blacklivesmatter and the list goes on and on.
In my short time working for Fight for the Future I can tell you that I’ve grown even more convinced of the incredible role that the Internet plays in organizing (the team at Fight for the Future uses it more creatively than most on all of their campaigns to mobilize Internet users and this has provided game changing momentum on key fights). But I also grow more and more concerned about the threats that it faces.
In 2015 we saved the Internet from getting held hostage by US cable companies like Comcast. But in 2016, there are so many must-win victories.
In 2016, we have to win the fight to defend encryption (or privacy, safety and free speech online is lost).
In 2016, we have to keep winning on net neutrality, or the organizing websites set up by the David’s won’t stand a chance to the Goliath’s.
In 2016, we have to build a political force strong enough to take on the NSA. Or the Internet will basically be under martial law.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Internet for many reasons. But first and foremost, I’m working my butt off now to protect the Internet because I care passionately about so many issues. If we’re not vigilant and dedicated, we may lose what has become such a critical tool on every major fight.