NAACP Sells Out “Civil Rights” to Net Neutrality

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Without the effective right to communicate with one's fellow humans, all other rights disappear. In opposing internet neutrality in return for corporate telecom money, the NAACP and other so-called civil rights groups have committed an unforgivable “theft of the people's trust.”
NAACP Sells Out To Te
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens have aligned themselves with the likes of Verizon, AT&T and Comcast.”
The battle for democracy in the 21st century is increasingly being waged on the internet – to such a degree that a movement for people’s power in the United States seems inconceivable without free and unfettered access to the internet. Yet established civil rights organizations, whose relevance has long been under question, have sold out the people’s internet rights in a bargain with the giant telecommunications corporations. As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to rule on fundamental issues of internet neutrality, the NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens, LULAC, have aligned themselves with the likes of Verizon, AT&T and Comcast. The Urban League and the National Council of La Raza are claiming to have open minds, but look ready to go where the money is.
The FCC's net neutrality ruling will decide whether the telecom corporations will be allowed to monopolize the internet for their own profit – whether all ideas and enterprises will have equal rights to travel on the internet, or it becomes a toll road for the billionaires. As a letter to the FCC, signed by 20 organizations, puts it, the principle of internet neutrality allows all Americans to speak for themselves without having to convince large media companies that their voices are worthy of being heard.”
The telecoms are willing to spread millions of dollars around to buy Black and brown people's support.”
When corporations rule, only money has free speech rights. That's the kind of internet environment that Verizon, AT&T and Comcast want to establish – and they're willing to spread millions of dollars around to buy Black and brown people's support. White internet activists have shied away from calling the deal cut between the telecom companies and the NAACP, LULAC and others by its name – but we won't. It's bribery, theft of the people's trust, a depraved sellout on a massive scale. Sadly, it's a path of betrayal already taken by most of the Congressional Black Caucus, three and a half years ago. Back then, the same cable and phone companies were trying to undo regulations that forced them to serve the poor as well as the rich. The telecoms pulled out all the stops. In addition to contributing heavily to Caucus members' campaigns and offering blandishments to influential Black community groups, the phone companies coerced thousands of their employees in districts around the country to call their congresspersons and push the company line. Progressive Black Caucus members told us the pressure was nearly unbearable. In the end, two-thirds of the Black Caucus caved in to the corporations. Only 13 members held out for the people's interests, while 27 bowed down to the power of money.
Now it's the NAACP's and the Urban League's turn to show if they still deserve to call themselves civil rights organizations. Make no mistake about: no civil right will be safe, or even defensible, if corporate America is allowed to decide who travels the information highway, and who does not. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected]

1 Comment

hypocrisy of Politicians.....

I always get so angry when crooked politicians use the amount of phone calls they supposedly recieved as an excuse for voting for a bad bill.It is as if if they received a bunch of calls from members of the mob asking for them to legalize murder that,they would do such a thing.....They are nothing but a bunch of greedy cowards and we should stop participating in their rigged elections