The kind of world many of us, including me, grew up dreaming about—the one where everything is open to us and there are no barriers to making the world your own—is actually coming true.
And it's happening on the open Internet and in the many open spaces we're creating. We're more connected to the ideas, cultures, and people that let us change the world around us, band together to flip the status quo, and touch someone with our art or thoughts, much more so than when I was a teenager! It seems like freedom of expression is more powerful than ever and is what define our future while we can relish seeing the old boys club that once defined our future get broken up one by one.
But that means we have a lot to protect. There's lots at stake, and big telecom, big defense, big tech, and big entertainment are all racing to protect their business models with more money and connections than much of the world combined. They’re slick at grabbing control and centralizing everything. The kind of world they'll create is one with devastating surveillance, fast and slow lanes on the Internet, data discrimination, and content shutdowns outside of the courts.
Thankfully, this time the fight is very different. Much of the oppression and closed-offness we've seen in our cities, markets, homes – and now online – are all born of an older system created by concentrated power. Now, we're actually able to pull off that oppressively tight grip layer by layer through the organizing power of people on the Internet. We get to say what happens to us. I’m so glad to be a part of making some of that happen.
The organization I started with my high school friend, Holmes, is dedicated to defending the open Internet, free expression, and that gamechanging momentum that are core to a much more open future for everyone.
We all have reasons why we care about living in the kind of world without systemic oppressive forces and unchecked power. For me, it's seeing people throughout history to now shut out of the very system that they could make better in ways that would in turn allow them to lead meaningful lives.
It burns me when I see people live under an authoritarian idea or power who have never known their ability to change anything. I have my own experiences with authoritarian regimes trying to shut out change: Mao’s great famine, the Vietnam War, boat people, and the grandeurs of nationalism, authoritarianism, genocide, and war held by members of my family. And, growing up, everyone around me – family and neighbors – seemed oppressed and held back by the vapidness of consumer cities.
I care to break up the status quo because it was always that that gave me terrible and non-sensical ideas, and told me nothing can change, nothing can be done, and no creative innovation is going to help, all in the spirit of seeing that power maintained.
I’ve also seen creative solutions fix the very stuff that ails us. I’ve seen fearless ideas take down whole dictators, the oppression of cities, monopolies, and class and race issues.
FFTF is dedicated to that. We use technology and innovation to make the politically impossible happen on fights for freedom of expression, and to make the political dynamic more open. We’re finding ourselves at the frontlines of organizing by helping people band together to pull off some of the most effective efforts ever and the biggest things I've ever been a part of.
FFTF kept the Internet open against Comcast and big telecom so that every website and image and video can travel to whoever wants to see it. Our battleforthenet.com broke records to secure landmark net neutrality rules.
FFTF stopped institutions from having the power to shut out voices by taking away any number of magical wands that are summoned under copyright infringement, terrorism, trade, or cybersecurity. http://Sopastrike.com was the largest online protest in history, and http://sunsetthepatriotact.com did the monumental and stopped the PATRIOT Act for the first time ever.
See https://fightforthefutu.re for all the great work this A-team has done. You will feel inspired by what a few dedicated individuals can do to change the world. We expect to continue making big wins to make sure our shared future is as open and lovely as heck for all.
So, in the spirit of keeping change alive, and shedding our oppressive forces, I hope that this organization, FFTF has a place in your heart and in your giving. Help keep FFTF, one of the Internet's most creative forces, going!