The internet is the lifeblood of what’s left of global democracy.

It’s under attack as never before. We must act.

It’s time for the hactivists to mobilize.

When the British slaughtered eight Americans at Lexington and Concord, farmers grabbed their guns and picked off 250 Redcoats as they marched back to Boston.

With guerrilla tactics learned from the Indians, the farmers shot from behind rocks and trees and then flowed back into the woods to fight again further down the road.

They began a Revolution in both modern warfare and the demands of a people determined to be free.

Today the corporations are marching again---this time to choke off the last gasp of a free media.

The prime culprits are “internet providers” like Comcast, Time-Warner, PacBell, etc.  They did not invent or develop the internet. That was done with public money and communal institutions.

They have simply, as always, used their ill-gotten billions to warp, buy and steal a public trust. Now they want it all. They need to be stopped.

Led by a corporate lobbyist named Thomas Wheeler, the Federal Communications Commission is poised to allow these corporations to purchase favored access to the internet---in other words, to buy it outright, just as they now buy our elections and own the flow of deliberate disinformation through radio, television and the magazines and newspapers.

Their murder of net neutrality would effectively kill the internet as an agent of democracy. It would again choke off public access to information and turn its control definitively over to the corporate elite, as has already been done to the rest of our major media.

So we must be prepared to make sure this does not happen if or when the regulators again sell us out.

The ideal of a free media guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States has been at the heart of democracy since 1791.

Those same farmers who picked off the British retreating to Boston would not agree to a federal government without a Bill of Rights that guaranteed, among other things, free access to information.

But electronics have transformed the playing field. When radio was born in the 1920s, a Republican Congress imposed the Fairness Doctrine. This required the owners of radio (and then TV) stations to provide an opposing point of view once they used “their” media to express their own.

Ronald Reagan killed the Fairness Doctrine in the 1980s. The result has been mutant monsters like Fox “News” and all-hate-all-the-time networks that carry the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Laura Ingram and so many more fake “patriots” with no rebuttal and no balance.

In other words, the corporations were allow to buy and operate electronic outlets licensed by the public and turn them into dedicated outlets for corporate propaganda---the Izvestia and Pravdas of the corporate state.

Reagan also killed the equal time provision, which guaranteed media broadcast equality to candidates from all political parties. It allowed underfunded challengers to get their points of view out to the public if the corporate shills were supporting a well-heeled candidate with lots of media face time.

The disaster was escalated by Bill Clinton’s 1996 Telecommunications Act, which lifted restrictions on ownership. Now the corporations could not only own push their propaganda without balance, they could buy up all the media in a city, state or region and totally monopolize the flow of information.

The “mainstream media” in fact became the Corporate Media.

Except for a few shafts of light like Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, Rachel Maddow, John Oliver and Colbert/Stewart at the Comedy Channel---a Dark Age descended on the flow of public information.

It has been balanced---barely---by the internet. Coming of age in the 1990s, the neutral net has allowed free publication of a wide range of information and opinion. It’s been criticized for its “excesses.” But that’s precisely what has made it the lifeblood of what remains of democracy.

It has also suffered from creeping corporate incursion. Huffington Post, for example, began as a feisty outlet for many at the margins. But when it sold out to AOL, those anti-corporate voices began to disappear...and in came the pop trash.

Ending net neutrality would seal the deal. To fit their moneyed agenda, the corporate “providers” would limit, censor and choke what free flow of information remains. The global network on which our species depends would degrade to just another corporate-owned outlet for hate-filled infomercials, imperial propaganda and commercial garbage.

What will pass for “news” on the internet will be “the joys of empire, the wonders of military slaughter, the glorious benefits of atomic radiation and hydraulic fracking, the life-threatening dangers of marijuana, the terrible excesses of grassroots democracy.”

Definitively and forever, on the internet as in all other corporate electronic media, war will be peace, freedom will be slavery, ignorance will be strength.

With stakes so high, we cannot entrust the future to a hoped-for third vote on a five-person commission chaired by a corporate operative.

The corporations trying to perpetrate this coup are named and known.

It’s time for the global grassroots internet community to take action.

On September 10 there will be an internet website protest featuring those maddening “just waiting” symbols we all hate so much. They symbolize the deathly delays we will all experience if net neutrality is killed.