So I typed up a long transcript of the debate in the Labor Caucus on the two competing net neutrality resolutions, but the computer ate it. So let me summarize.
When we last left our story at the CDP convention, the various net neutrality resolutions were referred to the Labor Caucus. The caucus officers got together and put together a resolution that merged some of the elements of the other ones. The chair of the Caucus is Jim Gordon, a member of CWA (Communications Workers of America). Now, CWA has been pushing an astroturf campaign called “Speed Matters,” which advocates for building out high-speed networks by reserving a piece of the bandwidth for proprietary video services for the telecoms. That is ludicrous, and a wormhole into overturning the principle of net neutrality and a completely open Internet for everyone.
So Brad Parker, of Progressive Democrats of America, submitted a different resolution, one that demands equal access and no two-tiered structure on the Internet, where telecoms can extract payment in return for speedy content delivery. And in the Labor Caucus this morning, both proposals were heard and a compromise position is in the process of being reached. This is good news. The caucus rank-and-file was clearly in support of equal access and net neutrality, and not for reserving any special services for telecoms. Jim Gordon’s defense was that “if we don’t build out the Internet, it’ll tumble.” Right, because they’re standing in bread lines at AT&T. We all believe that it’s pathetic that the United States is 16th in connectivity in the world, but we do not believe that telecoms need another revenue stream to incentivize them to build it. Indeed, the calcification of our connectivity is a DIRECT result of the laws being written for the benefit of telecoms who have no reason to innovate. The Internet is the lifeblood of communication in America, and it cannot be controlled in any part by private interests, it should be like a public utility.
At the meeting, a compromise was reached, and the two competing resolutions (both endorsed by the Labor Caucus) is being merged into one. Brad Parker is writing the new resolution and is confident that the bit about “reserving a portion of the bandwidth” will be struck out. The people of the CDP have spoken, and I believe we will come out with a resolution we can all get behind. I found that when you explain this issue in clear terms, people understand it. It’s a free speech and free press.